Monday, February 27, 2006

booksignings and committee meetings

my first ever booksigning went very well indeed. Lots of people popped into the shop for a chat, and lots of books were bought and signed. It was fun chatting to fans--some of whom were also writers--and discussing what they did and didn't like, what characters they loved and wanted to see more of, and where they thought the series might be going. I have to say, though, being in a bookstore for that length of time is dangerous for the pocket--and I'm afraid mine ended up being a whole lot lighter :D I bought Moon Called by Patricia Briggs and Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn, and I'm looking forward to reading them both. I also bought a gorgeous 'burgundy dragon' paperback book cover. If you want to check out what it looks like, wander over to the Hidden Secrets site.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing committee stuff--though much fun was had (and wine and chocolate consumed) once the sun went down and we could officially quit working for the day. The hotel was a stones throw away from broadbeach, and our apartment up on the 17th floor, and the view was simply amazing. Blue sea and white sand for as far as the eye could see. Of course, I came home totally stuffed last night, so I'm happy all I have to do today is read through Kissing Sin and check for errors. I don't think the old brain could have coped with anything more detailed.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Yay me!

I've finished the edits! And a day earlier than planned, too :) Over all deleted page count is 68, but the added page count was 73, so we're a few pages up on the original page numbers. All good :) I think Kissing Sin reads a whole lot tighter now. It definitely has more action in it (though it wasn't exactly lacking beforehand, trust me ;) Anyway, I'll let both books sit over the weekend, then do a final read-thru over Monday and Tuesday and see if there's anything else I pick up. Then both books are back to my editor and I can finally start working on my Loch Ness book.


In other news, I'm off to Queensland tomorrow for a combined book signing and RWAustrala committee meeting. If anyone happens to be in Brissie tomorrow between 11 and 3, pop on over to Rosemary's Romance books for a chat! I'll be there with chokkies and pens in hand :)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A whine, and updates

The whine first:

Dear Lost writers....Get on with the story already! Geez! How many times can we watch the same few scenes, with a little extra bit tacked onto the end? Apparently, endlessly, if you're the Lost writers. Get over it--and get on with it already! As much as I love the show, I'm getting a little irked with the drip-feed method of giving us information. And who didn't guess that woman was a spy? Hello, are those men dumb or what? And I'm sorry, but are the writers trying to tell me that the minute the woman punched Sawyer, the other two men wouldn't have jumped on her? That was just stupid.

Liked the whole taking the bullet out of the shoulder bit though--even if it was a little unbelievable.

Okay, I feel better now--onto some updates. We trundled up to Mt. Macedon on Saturday and checked out the park and the cross. It's almost as I had in the book--just had to update a few little details. Given it was such a stunning day, we went for a drive afterwards around the Woodend and Trentham area. Totally pretty area. Anyway, we ended up on this dirt road and were turning around when we saw what looked like a helmet walking along the road. Only it was a helmet with spikes. It was, of course, an echidna. I never actually seen one in the wild before, and this little fellow was quite happily waddling along the grassy strip at the side of the road. Of course, when we stopped to get a closer look, he played turtle and rolled himself into a spikey little ball. A very cute spikey little ball :)

In writing news, I'm half way through the edits on Tempting Evil. It's basically small stuff on this one--thankfully, there's none of the major scene deletions that happened in Kissing Sin. I'm hoping to get everything done this week, because I have an RWA committee meeting up in Queensland next weekend. It's a tough life, being on the committee :D

Thursday, February 16, 2006

another day, another blog

Well, I've finally finished the Kissing Sin edits. All I have to do now is go for a drive up to Macedon to check that the Macedon Cross actually looks like how I descibed it in the book. Up until now, I've been working from memory, but it's been agood 15 years since I've been up to the cross and the surrounding park, so a check might be prudent. (If you want to see a pic of the cross, click here). There's also a few places in Tempting Evil I have to check, but they're basically just street locations (and they're streets that I know, just haven't been near for the last few years. But changes happen, so I'd better check them out!)

That's the one thing you have to be careful about when you're writing any book set in a real location--you have to make sure you get the local descriptions right. (people sure do let you know when you get them wrong! :D ) Location is something I've been doing a lot of research on for my Loch Ness book, which is primarily set in America (Oregon and Michigan). I haven't been to either place, so I'm relying on the internet to get a feel for both places. Of course, this isn't ideal. Pics do lie--they can often make a place look totally different from the reality--which is why I like looking for travellers blogs, as well. The real identity of a location comes shining though on these blogs--and they often drop interesting little facts that you just can't uncover on regular tourist sites. Of course, I'd love to be able to physically go to both places, to walk around, check out the sights, pick out story locations, etc, but that's just not possible. Especially with the cost of airfares at the moment!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

for those that believe in it...

...happy valentines day.

Me, I think this day is a crock. Always have. It's not about love--it's all about people making lots and lots of money. That probably sounds surprisingly cynical coming from someone who writes romance, but hey, someone has to speak up for the true meaning of romance. And where's the romance in having a 'special' day where all the stores and flower shops jack up their prices 100% and people are made to feel guilty if they don't get their other half something? Romance isn't having one set day and being told you have to give the love of your life something. Romance is giving your lover a gift (whatever that gift is, be it flowers, chocolate or a thumb drive!) because you want to, and when it's least expected. Romance is unexpectedly throwing your arms around your other half's neck and telling them you love them, just because you can. Romance is bringing home flowers for no particular reason, or buying the dinner because you know your lover has had a shit of a day. Splurging on one day, then ignoring the whole thing the rest of the year just doesn't count in my opinion.

Anyway, enough of that! On to writing--not that there's been a huge amount of it happening. I'm still on the edit trail, and once I finish Kissing Sin, have Tempting Evil here to do. Still, there's not as many changes on Tempting, so hopefully it won't take long. Which is good, because I need to get back to my Loch Ness story!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

one hurdle down...

well, I didn't get to write any of my Loch Ness story last night. I wanted to, but I was so darn close to finishing the major rewrites of Kissing Sin that I just decided to plough on with those. And it worked, because I did actually finish them. WooHoooo! :D All in all, I've deleted about 67 pages, but added back 77, so I'm ten pages up on the overall page count. Hopefully, this novel will seem a whole lot more action orientated now than it was before (not that it was slow or anything--a whole lot happens in this book--but compared to the first and third books, it was more chatty.) Now I have to go through it all again and do the line edits--a difficult task considering I've lost so many pages. I feel sorry for my poor editor--I'm absolutely blind when it comes to spotting grammar mistakes, so she'll probably have to do another read-thru check on the book. Sorry Anne!

In other news, I just choofed off an email for my prefered 'chat times' for the RT convention club lounge, and have chatted to the lovely lady organising the book fair about getting my books there. It's getting soooo exciting! I've never been to an RT convention before, but have always wanted to because they look such a hoot. But the added bonus for me this year is that many of the people who I chat to over the net are going to be there. It'll be such a blast to meet everyone and talk face to face (and see how far out my image of them all is :D ) Of course, if they're looking for the me that appears in the publicity photo, they're going to be sadly disappointed. That me has make-up shovelled on thick and deep. The real me is short, round, and freckly, and has far more wrinkles than that photo!

Friday, February 10, 2006

the editing trail goes on...and on...

yep, still editing. But I actually had a good day yesterday and got over sixty pages done. Which doesn't sound a whole lot, but those sixty pages included adding two new scenes and taking out one, then trying to marry the resulting mess into a readable format. All in all, I've now deleted 55 pages, but added back 67, so I'm actually 12 pages up on my original page count now. Just as well my editor mentioned it was a little short rather than a little long :D

The Loch Ness book hasn't been touched for several days. I'm afraid to say TV called me away. House is on Wednesday nights, and Lost Thursday, so writing time was severely cut into. But there's nothing on tonight, so hopefully, I'll be able to concentrate on it. (and speaking of Lost--what was with that second episode? Much of it was a repeat of what we've already seen, with a few extras thrown in. Come on guys, that's just cheating! Give us some real answers for a change!)

On the Full Moon Rising front, I've recieved another good review, this time from the gals over on A Romance Review. Click here if you want to check it out :)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

If you want to find out a little bit more about Full Moon Rising, and where I got the idea from, there's an interview with me over on if you'd like to check it out. There's also a great review. :)

In writing news, well...things are a little slow. The muse was in one of those moods yesterday--and no doubt the non-writing bug was helped out by the knowledge that the Serenity movie was due to be delivered. So naturally, I had to catch up with the last few episodes of Firefly (which I missed when they aired them on foxtel here), so I was already to go for the movie. And yeah, I have seen the movie, but since when has that mattered? More Mal is only ever a good thing :D But back to the writing...or lack there of. I'm actually inserting a new fight scene over the old 'bitch and whine' scene, and it's somewhat slow going getting the lead-up and exit to match the new stuff. I'm just over half way through the major edits, and I'm seriously hoping to get these finished by the weekend. That'll give me two weeks to do the line edits and final read-through, which should be enough time.

Meantime, the Loch Ness story is tootling along slowly. The heroine and heroine are turning out to be an argumentive pair. Not sure whether this is a good thing or not, but I'll keep on rolling with it. Words on page can always be fixed, but a blank page never can! :D

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

lunch, not edits...

Went out with the Melbourne Mob for lunch yesterday, so not a whole lot was done in the way of editing. The mobbers are a fab group of published authors (they're all single title or category romance writers--I'm the odd one out, as usual :D ) who get together every six weeks or so just to chat, share information, have a whinge--all that good sort of stuff. Why I'm actually mentioning this is because I was asked yesterday where I got my idea for the Loch Ness book. Now, this is a question all writers get asked time and again, but this is the first time I actually had an answer that stunned! :D

The idea for the Loch Ness book came from...The Bourne Identity.

Yep, the link is obvious, isn't it?


Well, he does come from the sea in the opening scene, after all...

Okay, okay, it's a bit of a stretch, but my initial thought was, wouldn't it be cool to write something like the Bourne Idenity from a female prospective. Have a woman with no memory, who could fight and kill but who couldn't remember who or what she was. Or where she was. Hence the opening scene, with my heroine waking naked on the beach beside a dead man.

Of course, my muse never likes things absolutely straight forward, so paranormal elements starting creeping in, and suddenly the Loch Ness monster had become a major part of the book. I really have no idea why this happened. It's just one of those unplanned things that makes complete sense when you start writing it down (but never makes sense when you try to explain it). The book has evolved a whole lot more since then, and really, hasn't got a whole lot to do with the original idea. But that's cool--it's all part of the fun of writing.

But it just goes to show--a writer can find ideas from the strangest of places!

Monday, February 06, 2006

when an agent calls...

it's either very good news, or very bad news. Luckily for me, this time it was the former rather than the later. :)

The news was, Bantam have offered another three book contract! Woohoo! :D

The story behind this one is a bit different to the usual submission and acceptence route. Remember how I going on about being unsure as to whether I should continue with the Loch Ness book, or just concentrate on my Riley books? Well, as you all know, I sent the first three chapters to Miriam (my agent), who absolutely loved it and said it was definitely worth continuing with. What I didn't mention was the fact that she sent it on to Bantam. Bantam loved it too, and come back with an offer a couple of days later.


Of course, I couldn't say anything until the deal had been agreed on, dates settled, and all that stuff. All I've got to do now is sign the contracts (and here's hoping nothing disasterous happens last minute now that I've blabbed my head off to everyone!). Bantam are taking the 4th Riley, the first Loch Ness book, and either the 5th Riley or 2nd Loch Ness (a decision they'll make later--I guess based on sales). So, as you can imagine, much celebrations have been going on in the Arthur household over the weekend! :D

Saturday, February 04, 2006

editing continues...

inch by inch, step by step...or maybe that should be word by word.

Have I mentioned that I hate editing?

well, not really, but there are days, when the muse is busting to be working on anything other than a story it considers finished, that it's a real pain in the butt. I suppose the worst of it is that's there's some big changes in this one. Not so much to the story line, but to some--two--of the characters in it. As I mentioned before, I have to tone down one character and beef up the other. (For those who like hints, the tone-down character is a new character, the beef-up character a character mentioned in FMR). The story will definitely be better for it, but the actual process is...well...painful. In the meantime, the muse stomps her feet impatiently, wanting to get back to the Loch Ness story. I did actually let her free on it yesterday--I decided that instead of using the hour between 9 and 10 to cruise the net before I started work, I'd hand it over to the muse and the Loch Ness story. Ended up writing five pages, which is pretty darn cool. And I'm handing Sunday over to that story, too. When the muse is this hooked on a story, I need to write it!

Anyway, I've now deleted 45 pages from Kissing Sin, but have added back 40, so I'm still only 5 pages down and have yet to add two major scenes. The over all aim is to make this book the perfect bridge between FMR and Tempting Evil, the third book in the series which (in the unbiased opinion of the author) really rocks . Whether I succeed will be up to you all out there to decideI

Thursday, February 02, 2006

billy connolly and other things

Pete and I headed off to Hamer Hall at the Arts Centre last night to see Billy Connolly in concert. I know they say laughter is good for you, but when your cheeks ache and you can't get your breath because you're laughing too much, then I'm not entirely sure the saying is right. Connolly is a very funny man. His rambles about women last night had me in hysterics--I actually couldn't see at one point, because of all the tears of laughter. And yet, as ever, when someone asks "what did he talk about', I'm hard pressed to say. Connolly doesn't tell a story--or a joke--straight out. He comes at them from all different angles, through various parts of the night. So it may actually take an hour or more to get a full story, but it's a funny, funny journey. If you love comedians, and you don't mind a bit of crudity and swearing, pick up one of Billy's DVD's or check him out at concert. There are certainly worse ways to while away a few hours!

Onto writing! And really, there's not that much to say about the whole process at the moment. I'm 150 pages in on the first major edit, and am now 8 pages down on my original page count. I'm still not worried about the overall length being too short, because there's still quite a few scenes I have to add back in. Because we went to Connolly last night, I didn't get the chance to write anything on the Loch Ness book, but I'm hoping to do some tonight. Although, season two of Lost finally starts tonight, so you know where I'm going to be at 8.30!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

release day!

No, they're not letting the loonies out...Full Moon Rising is out today! Woohoo! It's very exciting to finally have the book out--it seems like ages since I sold it to Bantam, and for a while there, I didn't think this day was ever going to roll around. So, much champers and chocolate will be consumed in the Arthur household today!

As I mention on my website, I'm featured author over in the Spectra Pulse newsletter, so if you want to find out how I came up with the idea for Full Moon Rising, head on over and check it out.

And while I'm here, I just want to send a huge congrats to Rachel, who sold her first novel yesterday! Hope you've cracked open the champers and had a party, Rachel!

In writing news, the edits continue. I've deleted 37 pages now, but have added 34, so I'm really only three pages down on my original count. I'm about a quarter of the way through the major edit run and I'm hoping to finish next week sometime. Then I have to sift through it and do all the line edits. Of course, given how much this book has changed in sections, a lot of them won't apply. I haven't managed to do a whole lot on the Loch Ness book--I edited to late last night rather than let the muse free on Destiny, but I'm hoping to write a bit more tonight. I'm slowly, slowly crawling towards a hundred pages done (I like reaching mini-milestones. One hundred pages is basically a quarter of the book, and it's always nice to get there :)

edited to add: I'm doing a chat with ImaJinn authors Cynthia Eden, Rickey R. Mallory, Lily Saintcrow and Jeanne C. Stein over on Coffee Time Romance at 9 pm EST (which is 1pm Aussie time). Feel free to pop in and say hello!