new contract, new books!

Reading: Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield
Watching: Bob The Builder
Listening to: Break The Spell by Daughtry

Hello, gorgeous people! As you may be aware, I’ve been a little scarce with my posts, on account of… well.. lots of stuff – school, writing books and various workshops I’ve been developing.

But huzzah! Good news time! I’ve just signed a two-book contract with Desire, so next year I’ll have one (or possibly two!) new books out 😀 The first, if you follow my hashtag #babyplan on Twitter, is Baby Plan B (working title). If you’ve read Promoted to Wife? you will already have met AJ, (sister to Wife’s heroine, Emily). And my hero? Well, let’s just say he’s an old flame – and AJ’s own personal McDreamy 😀

The second book is yet to be decided, but I’m confident Marco (Luke’s cousin in Bed of Lies) will be the hero.  His perfect match is also his best friend, which should make for some great fireworks!  He has his own hashtag too (#hotMarco)  if you want to follow my progress.

I also have a bunch of other stuff in the works but I think I’ll leave the details out until I have more news 😉

May news

Reading: Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
Listening to: What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction
Watching:  Simpsons Movie

Hi everyone!  Some fabulous news to share with you all this week.  First, the news that Harlequin Australia are reprinting the fabbo Diamonds Down Under!  Squeee!  I loved this series and loved being a part of something with my fellow Aussie and Kiwi friends.  Book one (featuring Bronwyn Jameson, Tessa Radley and Maxine Sullivan) is out this month, and book two (with Jan Colley, moi and Yvonne Lindsay) is out in June, coincidentally my birthday month 😀 Happy birthday to me!  Aren’t the covers gorgeous?  If you missed the series the first time around, you can read all about it at our Diamonds Down Under website (and blog).

The Australian Romance Readers Association is hosting a massive book signing at the QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise on 17 August from 4.30 pm to 6.00 pm.  With over 60 authors attending, it’s your chance to meet your favourite.  To register or for more info, check out the ARRA website.

I’m very excited to see Desire’s newest series, The Highest Bidder coming to fruition.  This six-book series is set in the world of a famous auction house and revolves around movies stars, scandal and intrigue of the rich and famous.  The line up is:

  • Gilded Secrets by Maureen Child  (you can see the cover here)
  • Exquisite Acquisitions by Charlene Sands
  • A Silken Seduction by Yvonne Lindsay
  • A Precious Inheritance by Paula Roe
  • The Rogue’s Fortune by Cat Schield
  • Golden Betrayals by Barbara Dunlop

And bonus, some of the books will contain an extra mini story!

Lastly, some more cool covers to show off – the French Kindle bundle, which includes my Billionaires and Babies book, Billionaire Baby Bombshell,  and the German translation of Promoted to Wife? For more cover goodness, you can check out my website.

School, exercise and other assorted challenges to my writing schedule

Reading: Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
Watching: Star Wars: the Clone Wars season 3
Listening to: One Last Breath by Creed

So my 11 year old started Year 6 at the beginning of this month.  What makes this year different is it’s a brand-new school – smaller, better, and more expensive.  It’s also – if you’d been reading my Facebook posts late last year – a 45 minute drive away, as opposed to the public travesty that was a 5 minute walk down the street.  Public transport is not an option (at least, not right now) so I have a 1.5 hour round trip to take, Monday to Friday, until further notice.

Challenge Number 1.

I also changed gyms around Christmas, one that has electronic equipment, because I’ve started back into running (with the help of a fabulous app called Ease into 5K – TOTALLY recommend it!), plus I wanted a more intense weight workout than my 30min Contours could provide.   Problem?  It’s at the start of that 45minute drive.  And in my totally optimistic way, I assumed I would jump out of bed at around 6.30 and do my workout, get home in time for a shower, breakfast, bag pack and then drive to school.  I did not take into account the fact that it’s still dark at that time, plus getting darker as we head into winter.  Oh, and I suck at mornings – with half an hour until we have to walk out the door, I always, ALWAYS end up losing time.  How on earth can I get ready (after being at the gym) on time?

Challenge Number 2

My PC is at home, with my email and internet connection.  It’s where I write.  It’s where the coffee is.  It’s where I can shut the door and write to deadline for a few hours.  But it’s now 45 minutes away.

Challenge Number 3.

So what to do about these challenges?  First, own up to them.  I understand that I suck when it comes to getting out the door on time.  I realize there is simply NO WAY I will get to the gym before school, so I investigated other options and found a fitness centre that met my needs in the town over from school.  I joined up today, at a cheap off-peak rate.  Yes, it’s an additional fee, but I can put it on hold during school holidays, plus I know I feel 100% better when I exercise, so the benefits outweigh the money issue.  Two problems solved right away, which means I won’t have to a) stress about not getting to the gym and b) feel shitty and guilty about it.

Now, the writing thing.  I have a MacBook.  I have noise-cancelling headphones and the iPod loaded with music, books and movies.  I have a power cord, a cooler bag (for a packed lunch) and water.  I am a one-woman roving office.  I can get to a local library which has free wireless (yes, I am using it as I write this, listening to Leona Lewis singing Bleeding Love  :grin:), then head off to the gym after a light lunch, before picking up my son for the drive home.

So my lesson learned in all this?  I have made important changes that allows me to ultimately meet my writing deadlines, my desire for exercise and my son’s educational and emotional needs.  It meant a flip in my thinking, getting used to doing stuff differently (which I sometimes have a problem with) and allowing a transition time.  So as of tomorrow, I’ll be an official member of two gyms, and that person typing furiously at the table in the back of the library.  And if you happen to see me there, looking distracted and with headphones on, mouthing the words of songs you can’t hear, don’t disturb!  I’m working, okay? 😎

My goals for 2011

Reading: MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead series (hail, Queen Betsy!)
Watching: Rex the Runt (hilarious claymation series by Aardman)
Listening to: Creeping in my Soul by Cryoshell

And so, with a new year, come the New Years Goals.  Not resolutions, because they suck and I just don’t like the implications of the word.  Much rather work around ‘goal’.

This time last year I wrote a post about what makes a goal a goal, specifically a SMART goal.  Make it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  And as I look back on those goals, I see I didn’t exactly achieve all of them 🙂  Which is okay, because I at least attempted them.  So on that basis, here are mine for 2011 (yes, some are  ’10 rehashes!):

Writing/Sales

  • I’ll write and submit two books aimed at Desire by the end of the year
  • I’ll finish rom com short story/novella by June
  • I’ll finish first draft of erotic space opera and pitch it at RWA’s August conference

Promotion

  • I will post to my blog at least every two weeks
  • I’ll design and print postcards for my new book coming out in March/April
  • I’ll work on new promo products for ARRC in March, RWAC in August
  • I’ll revamp my website

Craft Education (developing/strengthening skills)

  • read up/find out more about effective marketing strategies
  • I’ll make a dent in all those unread how-to books on my shelves!

Reading

  • I’ll read at least two new-to-me authors
  • I’ll read at least one unread how-to

Outreach (helping others)

  • I will judge at least one RWAust contest
  • I will read for RWAmerica’s RITA contest
  • I’ll be more proactive with offering to read my critique group’s work
  • I’ll refine and finish my “Pain Free Plotting” workshop in preparation for speaking engagements
  • I’ll approach local schools. libraries and community centres to offer writing/educational workshops

It may look like a long list, but really, some of these things I’m either already doing or just about done.  The big challenge is writing those books!

Do you have any specific goals/plans to achieve this year?  I’d love to hear them!

Christmas is looming…

last year's effort - The Death Star

Reading: Dead in The Family by Charlaine Harris
Listening To: Lift by Sister Hazel
Watching: Bones Series 5

So it’s getting hotter, the cats have been shedding and there’s a sense of impatience, irritation and/or short tempers  in the air.  This all means Christmas in my house.

You know what else means Christmas?

  • The smell of plastic, wrapping paper and sticky tape 😀  Yep, like a Pavlovian reaction, as soon as I get a whiff of plastic, I automatically think of Christmas.
  • Baking fruit mince pies (my mom’s are the BEST!) and roast turkey.  I looooove turkey!!! And prawns.  And trifle.
  • Lunch.   Christmas at our house means a smorgasbord spread, full of cold cuts, cheese, crackers, prawns and assorted salad.   I’ve found that as you get older, when the joy of opening presents becomes less important,  food takes priority.
  • An early, early morning.  Thank you, 10yo child of mine 😉
  • Lamenting the fact I have no air conditioner in my bedroom.  THIS YEAR (royalties willing) I am going to buy one.
  • Lego.  I love Lego.  My son loves Lego.  My 15yo nephew loves Lego.  I’d probably build Lego even without the excuse of a Lego-obsessed child.
  • The line.  And we say it without fail, every year, barely an hour after every present’s been opened.  There’s a bag of rubbish on the floor, boxes have been ripped apart, toys are strewn and the tree is looking bare underneath.  We all look at each other and say the line:  “Huh.  Well, that’s it for another year.”

uh... don't think you'll fit, Sophy.

And of course, after Christmas comes the sales.  The crazy, crazy sales that means filling up that brief bare wardrobe space with NEXT years’ presents.  Like Mother Nature, my wardrobe abhors a vacuum.  Dammit.

Sojourn to Surfers

PA150017

the pristine Broadbeach sand

For many of you Aussie natives, Queensland’s Gold Coast is a popular summer holiday destination.  As a kid, I remember taking the 1 hour flight nearly every year – we even celebrated Christmas there once, at the wonderfully retro Pink Poodle motel 🙂

With Seaworld and Movieworld, pristine beaches and glorious summer weather in mid-October, it truly is the perfect budget getaway.  So off me and my boy went, spending 6 days at Broadbeach, just south of Surfers Paradise.  We shopped at Pacific Fair, we built sandcastles (well, I built a sand-mermaid that garnered attention and photos from visiting Japanese tourists!) and of course, we frequented the theme parks.  Mister 9yo won a massive plush Nemo in the first five minutes at Dreamworld, we flew in a helicopter at Seaworld and we mucked about on the rides and water attractions at Movieworld.

PA170050 small

the residents at Seaworld

We also got a tour of the Broadbeach police station because, well, we’d never been in one before.  Constable Nick was lovely, showing us the office, the place where they hold the bad guys and out the back where they have the paddy wagons and the cool beach buggy patrol car thingys (which you need a special licence for, apparently).  Here’s some happy snaps for you all to enjoy.

I also did some heavy thinking about my next book, which will be – yes! – Zac’s story.  I alluded to this runaway black sheep of the powerful Prescott family in The Magnate’s Baby Promise and after some very pleasant research of the Gold Coast and Currumbin, I’m excited to be getting his story out of my head and down on paper.  It will be an office/secret mistress romance, with lots of juicy conflict and emotional baggage for him and Emily 😀  Cal and Ava will make an appearance too, and finally get their gorgeous wedding in Jindalee.

May 09 update

P4240049P4200038Well, I’m back from Hervey Bay, school’s in and so there’s not much to report, except I’m busily writing, writing.  Oh, if you could call missing our outbound flight newsworthy 😦  We had to stay overnight in Sydney and as luck would have it, we caught the fabbo Star Wars exhibition at The Powerhouse Museum.  Here’s a few shots of our eventful week.

I stumbled across an interesting piece about Harlequin’s 60th Anniversary on YouTube.  If you can overlook some of the cheesy recitals, the rest is very well done.  Cheers to the reporter who was upbeat the whole time.  And Paul Rudd is simply a scream!

baby promiseboardrooms swedishI got my cover for my August release, The Magnate’s Baby Promise.  Gorgeous!!!  And what should also lob into my mailbox this week but four new translations for Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir.  The ‘new’ titles always fascinate me – Prosperity and Power (Finnish), A Brilliant Proposal (Norwegian), Lust For a Brilliant (Swedish) and, my favorite, Hot Dreams (Danish).  Here’s the cover for all four.

February – sweating our heads off!

Since Christmas I’ve been lost in a Deep Dark Writing Void (otherwise known as school holidays).  I’ve often heard other authors say that writing is like a muscle and you have to exercise it regularly to avoid it getting flabby.  And you know what?  It’s totally true.  For the last few weeks I’ve been jotting down scenes, notes and things that occur to me with my current work-in-progress, frustrated I can’t get right into the story.  So now school’s back, I’m determined to throw myself into it and work towards my new goal of writing more, procrastinating less.

The weather around my way has been unbearable the last few weeks – 44C (or over 110F if you prefer) and I’m praying the air conditioning holds up until the end of March when it usually (but not always) starts getting cooler. 

For Australia Day (26th January) we were holidaying at The Entrance, a gorgeous beach-side community with fabulous hotels and restaurants.  Here’s a photo of Quay West,  the resort we stayed in.  And wouldn’t you know, during our five days there, I got a great idea for a new story <g>.  I’m thinking lovers reunited: a heroine desperate to have a baby and a workaholic hero who needs a life change. Hmmm… I’ll have to let it percolate a bit more!

qwrms_poolIf you’ve been visiting the Desirabelles, you’ll know that I’ve got a new love in my life – a brand-new white iMac Book  <g>.  I absolutely love it and no wonder – it’s fast, cute and totally portable.

Only a scant few days until the Australian Romance Readers Convention down in Melbourne.  I always look forward to these gatherings: meeting old friends, making new ones and talking about my favorite topic – books!   And lucky us, we’ve got some big names in the publishing industry appearing: Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregor, Liz Maverick, Stephanie Laurens, Mary-Janice Davidson, as well as reader favorites Anna Campbell, Annie West, Sara Bennett and heaps more.  I hope to see you there!

January 2009 news

At first I thought it was the hot weather but I suspect it was actually a solar flare that not only took out my computer and my external hard drive, but also my editors’ and a couple of other friends’.  I bought an external hard drive years ago to avoid these aggravating glitches, so I never save anything on my computer hard drive, except for the programs that are already saved on the removable one.  My ENTIRE life, both personal and writing are on that hard drive, a very scary thought when it looks like everything’s crashed and wiped.  My poor computer techie guy suffered daily calls until he could confirm that the removable drive was indeed savable.  Whew!   I rushed out and bought another back up, this time independent of a power source because apparently that’s what did everything in – a huge power surge. Technology always fails me at this time of year! 

So the week before Christmas I figured out how to connect the laptop and managed to get through my emails and onto the internet.  I can’t even tell you the probs I’ ve been having with my F drive now becoming my G drive and having to fiddle about with changing pathways in different programs… arrgghhh!

And now onto the good news.  First, I’m excited to announce that the Diamonds Down Under series has taken flight around the world!  It’s already off and running in Holland and the UK, and will see Germany and Italy in January.  I’m so excited because this is first time on British and Dutch shelves for me 🙂

Next up, I have a title for Cal and Ava’s story – The Magnate’s Baby Promise.  It’ll hit the US shelves in August, so traditionally this means it comes Down Under in September… just in time for our conference!  But wait, there’s more!  I’m thrilled to announce I’m one of the authors in an Aussie three-book series, tentatively called “Outback Billionaires and Babies.”  Robyn Grady is  kicking off the series in March, followed by Maxine Sullivan in April, and me in May.  I’m really excited about writing it (w/t His Seductive Alibi).  I guess you could best describe it as a seductive revenge-lovers reunited-secret baby-tragic past story.  Let’s just say things aren’t as clear as they appear to be!

I’m thrilled to see my good friend, Anna Campbell’s new release, Tempt the Devil is on the shelves… and garnering well-deserved praise from Romantic Times BookReviews.  It only seems like yesterday we were completing for the title of Contest Slu… ummm… Diva. I especially love the Aussie cover – check them all out below!

annabooks

At this time of year, thoughts go to two things: my “stuff I loved about…” list – here it is:

STUFF I LOVED ABOUT 2008

And now, onto New Years Resolutions.  I read an interesting email from a fellow writer the other day where she calls them ‘goals’ instead of ‘resolutions’.  I love the idea that you’re striving towards something tangible (goal) rather than listing an intention to do something you might not actually get around to (resolution).  During our first meeting of the new year, my writing group each lists their writing goals and I like to use Vicki Hinze’s example of setting goals for not just your professional life but for personal achievement, for family and for learning the craft and developing your writing skills.  So here’s some I’d like to share with you:

  • finish writing two books by August
  • attend two writing conferences this year
  • produce some promotional material for both conferences (my other creative outlet)
  • read at least two craft-related books
  • try at least four brand-new-to-me authors
  • get better at sticking to my allocated writing time 🙂

And on that note, come and visit us at our Desirabelles blog where we’re talking about what we’re looking forward to in 2009.