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Posts tagged ‘romance’

Love Sabre Q&A

You may already know that I’m one of seven Love Sabrists – a group of women who met at #RWAus15 – the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in 2015.

All different, we banded together to create a collection of short stories (an anthology) all including the phrase ‘sheathe your love sabre.’ Boroughs Publishing Group loved our brand of crazy fun and will be publishing the anthology in 2018. #woohoo

This week, I answered some questions over on the Love Sabre blog… and – if you’ve not already had the pleasure – you can find the Q&A here: Love Sabre Q&A

 

It’s 19 days to #LoveGoneWild

OMG! Squee! T -19 days and counting until we all go wild at #LoveGoneWild #RWAus17 and… well, I’m just a little bit excited.

IMG_6366Love Gone Wild is my third conference, so I’m now an ‘old hand’ – ha! I remember how nervous I was at my first conference (Get Fresh in Melbourne in 2015) and how I made myself a promise going into the event that I would say yes to everything – no matter what it was. That promise was hard for me – I’m normally cautious and don’t often say yes to anything that I’ve not been able to plan, organise or research. But I did it for conference and it was the best thing I have ever done.

So, in the spirit of passing some good advice onto anyone attending for the first time, here are my ten best tips for getting the most out of conference.

1. Step out of your comfort zone

Make yourself a promise to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. Set yourself a challenge to meet five new people. Introduce yourself to five of your favourite authors (this is a tough one but try it, I dare you!). Try to work your elevator pitch into every conversation you have, or learn ten new things from the workshops. If you’re a newbie – go to all the newbie events.

That being said, think like a professional. DO NOT bail an agent or publisher up in the loo (yes, it’s been done before…). DON’T interrupt your most favourite ever author when she’s in deep conversation with someone (yep, that’s been done too). DON’T get yourself into a fight with a publisher or agent (yep, this has also been done before…). It’s okay to fangirl a little – but don’t be a stalker. If you happen to rub shoulders with Valerie Parv at the scones – introduce yourself. If you happen to be in a lift with Anne Gracie, say hello. If you happen to be standing behind Kate Cuthbert in the coffee queue, smile and ask her how she’s enjoying the conference. If you happen to be sitting at a table with Amy Andrews, ask her when Ryder will be let loose on the world – her #SydneySmokeRugby series is hot!

IMG_63762. Take time out if you need it

There are a lot of people at the conference. If you need to take a little time away from people, then do it. Duck back to your room, take a walk around the block, go get your caffeine hit from a café outside the venue. You don’t HAVE to go to every session… if you’re inspired by something and want to take some time out to brainstorm how you’re going to use it then do it. Do what works for you.

3. Set yourself some goals

Writing is fun (in a kind of sadistic way…) but you’re likely at conference because you want to be a ‘professional’ or ‘published’ writer. This means treating it like a job – and most jobs require you to set some performance goals. It costs a lot to get to conference – so what is that worth to you? What do you have to achieve while there to make that outlay worthwhile? Don’t forget to make your goals specific, realistic and timely – and relevant to you. Everyone’s at a different place. If you’re only just finishing your first novel and want to sell it to Harlequin Mills & Boon, don’t compare yourself to Marion Lennox (but read her stuff, she’s amazing!

4. Take a bigger suitcase than you need

For those coming from interstate, believe me the hassle of having to wait for your baggage to be deplaned or manhandling luggage on public transport will be nothing compared to trying to shove your book booty into your carry-on. And then there’s the horror of having to debate which books you must leave behind. There will be loot. It’s unavoidable. So be generous with your luggage sizing (or maybe bring some sort of hardy tote bag with you that you can fill up as carry on for the trip home).

5. Layers, layers, layers or let’s talk about clothes

Advance weather forecasts have Bris-Vegas in the early 20s temperature-wise for Love Gone Wild, but the air-conditioning in hotel conference suites is always low to combat the body heat of hundreds of people. Pack wisely – and think layers. Most people wear something in the broad realms of business casual. Neat, tidy, professional. You may want to try something fancier if you’re pitching but it’s not required. As long as your ass isn’t hanging out of those trendy jeans, you’re good. For the cocktail party and dinner –some people go all out and some don’t – so wear whatever makes you feel fabulous, and confident (but beware, you’ll be walking/standing some so make sure the shoes are comfy).

Also, finally, remember that Love Gone Wild is advertised as a fragrance-free event (to ensure that everyone can focus on the event and not get sick/sneezy/a headache from the eau de whatever on their neighbour).

6. PensIMG_8505

I love pens. And, as was pointed out to me by the awesome Janet Gover, you’re going to want to have something with you to capture all the brilliant tips you’re going to learn. So, conference is an excellent excuse to hit Kikki K right? Alternatively, you can bring your laptop, or tablet. Whatever means of capturing information works for you.

7. Engage on social media

Whether you’re a Facebooker, a Tweeter or an Instagrammer, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved online. I’ll be tweeting some (find me @wordsbykc) so please say hi! And, maybe think about bringing a portable charger for your phone/tablet… because trust me, that battery will drain and you don’t want to be caught short when [insert fabulous author name here] agrees to have a selfie with you.

8. Drink water

There can be a lot of alcohol at these events 😊 so remember to alternate between the champers and the H2O. Bring a water bottle with you and fill it/chill it in your room. Also remember you’re at a professional conference so naked runs down corridors at four in the morning* should be left to the rugby league players please. Limit your liquor and don’t forget to eat.

* No, as far as I am aware this has never actually happened at a conference but… there’s a first time for everything!

9. Be ready to pitch at (almost) any opportunity*

Even if you’re not ‘officially’ pitching, you should have an elevator pitch about your current work in progress. Or about you as a writer. If you’re in that lift with Anne Gracie and she asks ‘so, what are you writing?’ you want to have something to tell her. Any sensible opportunity to pitch is good practice. Also, think about investing in business cards (check out Vistaprint or moo.com, and you can design some great stuff on canva.com). They make you feel professional, and they’re a great way of keeping track of your new friends.

*Except the loo. Pitching in the loo is the poo.

10. Find your tribe, love them hard

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At the 2015 conference, on the last day, I found myself sitting at a table with a bunch of women I’d met at various times over the weekend. These ladies are now my tribe. We all write within different sub-genres of romance and live up and down the eastern seaboard. We’re all at different stages in life and on our journey to publication. But we’re besties. They’re my tribe (and if you don’t find us at conference, you can come hang out with us at lovesabre.com).

Winner winner chicken dinner!

Recently I entered a five thousand word story in the inaugural Romance Writers of Australia Spicy Bites competition. The competition required a romantic short story, with a ‘happy ever after’ or a ‘happy for now’ ending, and a sexually explicit storyline. It also required writers to include the specified theme of ‘tattoos.’chamaedrys-424906_1920

I wrote a piece called ‘Forget-Me-Not’ about Abigail, a young woman finding love again after grief and loss. My aim was to be one of the entries chosen to be published in the RWA anthology.

Instead, I WON!

When the call came, I was nursing a friend’s nine week old baby so couldn’t really jump around the room the way I wanted to, but I was pretty excited nonetheless! And Forget-Me-Not will be published as part of the Spicy Bites – Tattoos anthology later this year.  I’ve signed my very first publishing agreement and I’m IMG_1329going to be able to be bought on Amazon!

Now, I should head back into the writing cave – or at least to the writing couch – and get some more words down on my works in progress, but I can’t wait for you to meet Abigail, and her man Levi.  Spicy Bites – Tattoos should be available in mid-August and, as soon as links are available, you’ll be the first to know!

 

Photo of the beautiful forget-me-nots free from pixabay.com

 

 

Romancing the Page – a course with Anne Gracie

Like most writers aspiring to be published, I attend a few courses and conferences throughout the year.  Some are, of course, better than others but, when the opportunity arose to spend a day with Anne Gracie at the New South Wales Writer’s Centre I knew I’d be mad not to take it.  Even if it meant I had to get up rather early after spending the night with Adele. IMG_0904

Seriously, Adele’s Sydney concert was amazing and I’m wishing I’d got tickets for night two.  Instead I’m listening to the Adele Sydney set list as I write this post… and I’m side-tracking myself!

Anne is an award-winning author of some fabulous historical romances and an all-around fabulous woman (the Anne Gracie stand-ups was one of the most memorable moments of my first RWA conference in 2015).  Her course, appropriately called ‘Romancing the Page,’ started from the premise that readers want four things: a compelling story; characters to care about; conflict (tension on the page); and an emotional and entertaining experience.

Seems obvious, right?  But pulling all that together in a single package is hard!  So, after today’s course I thought I’d pull my top three takeaways:

Make ‘em laugh.  Make ‘em cry.  Make ‘em worry.  Make ‘em wait.

This one’s getting printed out and posted on the edge of my monitor as an always there reminder (and strictly speaking, it belongs to Charles Reade not Anne Gracie… Anne says she just added the worry).  If you can do this, you’ve met all the above criteria.

It’s strange to say but it’s hard to make your characters suffer.  Really hard.  They talk to you all the time and you know they’re good people so you don’t want to make their life difficult.  You want to give them sunshine and roses and chocolate and sex (lots of sex!).  And you can… right after you make them work for it!  You can make ‘em laugh along the way (and who doesn’t like a good laugh).  But you must make ‘em cry and worry and wait before you give them (and your reader) the payoff.

For me, Christina Lauren are masters at this, at making you feel every emotion the characters are experiencing (and I’ve even written about my book induced anxiety here).

Concentrate on the five senses

This was more of a reminder for me – but it’s worth adding to my list as it’s important and can often be overlooked when trying to get through writing the plot.  Writing romance is all about emotions and what better way is there to demonstrate feelings than by concentrating on the tickle of cold night air IMG_2938trailing over bare skin, the smooth taste of a decadent chocolate dessert (see picture for one of my favourite chocolate desserts!) or the fresh scent of freshly cut grass beneath you(r main character!).  Or what about the sight of someone you love putting their hands on your skin (is that cheating… could be touch too, I suppose!) or the sound of the love song your man (or woman) sings out of tune in your ear.

I’m certain my writing can benefit from me slowing down some when I’m writing and focusing on what my characters are touching, tasting, hearing, seeing and smelling.

Nora Roberts is my go to here.  She clearly doesn’t write at my preferred heat end of the spectrum.  She’s a bit above the midpoint but she’s certainly no writer of explicit sex.  And yet there’s still heat and passion and feeling every time her characters are together (in bed or out of it).  I’m currently ‘re-reading’ (via Audible) her Bride Quartet series and remembering why it’s one of my favourite series.

Give yourself permission to write as yourself

Yes, we’re all driving towards publication and yes, a publisher is going to ask you where you see yourself in a market but you have to write as you first.  If you don’t everything you write will (probably) be shit (and, I should note that’s me saying that, not Anne).  I know when I’m trying to write something I don’t feel it appears on the page as stilted and dull.

This is also a timely reminder for me.  I’ve been working on a manuscript for a while and taken a lot of advice on it – all of which has been really helpful in some respects.  But I need to commit to telling my version of the story and stop trying to tell everyone else’s version of it.  Because if I keep trying to tell everyone else’s version of it, it’ll never get told at all!  I think I’ve done about three drafts of about two-thirds of the book and I’ve yet to write the magic words (a.k.a. ‘The End’).

 

And, on that note, I’m going to write (well, I will be, after I get a coffee!) but if you get the chance to take this course with Anne – do it!  Well worth the investment of time and money for both knowledge and inspiration.

Thanks Anne.

Lascivious

Lascivious.

Inclined to lustfulness. Wanton. Lewd. Arousing sexual desire. Indicating sexual interest or expressive of lust or lewdness.

Welcome to ‘L’ day on the A to Z Challenge. A little 300 word scene starter that may be continued tomorrow.


Fastening the black lace between her breasts, she smoothed her hands down over the soft chiffon of the baby doll top and adjusted the elastic of her panties at her hips. She ran a brush through her mass of red hair, letting the length settle in loose waves around her shoulders. A final touch of shiny lip gloss to her lips and she was ready.

Stepping back into the bedroom she paused, looking around. He’d been busy while she was gone, lighting candles and placing them around the room. Now he stood at the window, his back to her, looking out over the lit city beyond.

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“Babe,” she said, crossing the room on bare feet. “Whatcha looking at?”

“Nothing really,” he replied, turning to watch as she moved towards him. “Whoa. Where’d you get that?”

“You like?” She did a little twirl. “I found it in a little boutique downstairs.”

“I like” he said, reaching out to grab her hand and pull her against him. “I like a lot.”

With that she wrapped her arms around his neck and brought her lips to his, greedily demanding he return her kiss. Tongues tangling and teeth clashing, his hands fisted in the delicate fabric, pulling her tight to him.

“More,” she mumbled against his mouth, her hips rocking, rubbing up against his growing erection.

“Yes,” he replied, lifting her and walking towards the bed.

She loved how strong he was, how he could carry her across the room and lower them both gently to the bed, almost without breaking a sweat. And then he could hold himself above her on strong arms, his pelvis resting in the cradle of her hips.

Urgency still simmering beneath the surface, she paused, running her fingers over his forehead and smoothing the creases marring his skin.


See you back here tomorrow for ‘M’.

Photo is mine today!

Kitchen

It’s ‘K’ day in the A to Z Challenge and I’ve decided to go back to the beginning of my flash fiction journey.

I wrote today’s little snippet as my first entry in a flash fiction competition. I didn’t win (I did win the Virgin Award for my first time in the competition) but I loved the little taste. And when I thought of ‘kitchen’ as today’s inspiration, I thought of this.

Let me know what you think.

Adult content below.


I looked back at him sprawled across the bed, beautifully naked, his head hanging backwards off the side at an uncomfortable angle. I remembered the feel of his waist tight between my knees, his chest hard and cock deep inside me, his fingers pulling and twisting at my nipples as I rode him into unconsciousness. Having now experienced his apparently natural abilities, I’d never have guessed that he was a virgin.

Wearing only black lace, I padded barefoot into the kitchen, mentally running through Nanna’s recipe for cherry pie. Scott would need sustenance when he woke, before he took me again, and I needed a distraction while I gave him time to recover. Starting with the pastry, I mixed and measured, kneading the dough out on the bench. 

Absorbed in my kneading, and a little daydreaming, I didn’t hear him move up behind me, wasn’t aware of him until he pressed against me, his cock needy against my lower back. 

“Keep kneading,” he murmured, slipping his fingers beneath my lace, unerringly finding my clit and working me to a rapid climax. My knees released and we both slipped to the floor, all thoughts of cherry pie replaced by him. 

Yum.


I’ll be back tomorrow for ‘L’ day… brought to you by the word ‘lascivious’.

Jewellery

I’m catching up! I certainly wasn’t expecting to be writing this at 9:23 pm today, but I’m here and I am. Today (well, yesterday) was ‘J’ day in the A to Z Challenge and today’s inspiration is jewellery.

Who doesn’t love jewellery. And even more so, who doesn’t love Tiffany’s (this first photo is actually mine!  A photo of their store on Fifth Avenue in New York).

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So tonight I thought I’d do a 200 word flash fiction inspired by jewellery.

As always, I’d love to hear what you think…


The morning sun slipped underneath the half lowered blinds, spotlighting the mess of clothes strewn across the floor. The empty bottle of champagne stood on the side table, flanked by the beautiful crystal flutes, still partly full. As she roused and stretched, she rubbed the back of her hand against her face. And scratched the hell out of her cheek. 

Then she remembered.

“Will you marry me?”

“Fuck. Yes! Of course yes!”

Holding her left hand out in front of her and wiggling her fingers she admired the beautiful ring. Although they’d never discussed rings, he’d listened well over the years and had, without any help, picked the exact ring she would have picked for herself. A beautiful, brilliant round diamond flanked on each side by a blood red rubies in a simple platinum setting. It was gorgeous.

“Good morning, Mrs Martin.”

She giggled. “I’m not Mrs Martin yet. Still Ms Taylor here.”

“Mmmm,” he mumbled, pressing his lips to the back of her neck. “We have to fix that. And soon. When should we get married?”

“Lots to plan,” she murmured, rubbing herself back on his morning erection.

“Hmmmm, yes,” he agreed, pushing back. “Plan later?”

“Yes. Much later.”


And we’re done… much later than I intended! See you tomorrow for ‘K’.

Illicit

Whoopsie. I’m a day late and a dollar short… well, just a day late.

As always, I had good intentions but my Friday went a little more pear shaped than I had anticipated, so I didn’t get to post. And then I had good intentions of doing it first thing this morning, but that didn’t happen either. But I am here… and I’m currently working on a post for today… to cover ‘I’ and I’ll take advantage of the rest day tomorrow to post for ‘J’. Hopefully I’m not stretching the A to Z Challenge rules too much!

So first, ‘I’… and my promised ‘I’ inspiration: illicit, infatuated or indecent.

I’ve decided to go with illicit, which is defined as forbidden by rules, law or custom. And, once I’d read that definition, I decided that I had to give you a little Gabriella and Antonio. So the next step in their illicit rendezvous is below.


Walking out of the wine bar, I wasn’t sure my legs would hold me up. Everything felt a little unreal, like everything had been slowed down and, as I stepped out onto the footpath, I stumbled slightly. Antonio reached out, his huge hands coming to rest on my hips as he steadied me.

“Thank you,” I said, fighting a blush as I got my feet back underneath me.

“You’re welcome,” Antonio replied with an incline of his head.

I stepped forward, starting to head towards my apartment. “I, uh, I’m down this way.”

As we began to walk, Antonio dropped his hands and I immediately missed their warmth. I wasn’t a small woman and his huge hands almost spanned the width of my hips. I wondered what those hands would feel like against my bare skin and immediately shivered. Then I started thinking about why his hands would come to be on my skin. And I wondered again what the hell I was doing.

I started walking faster towards my apartment, trying to burn off some nervous energy. Antonio kept up easily, his long legs matching pace with my much shorter ones. As we reached my front door, he put out a hand to stop me.

“You are nervous, yes?” he asked, his head tilting sideways as he watched my face.

“Uh, um, uh. Well, yes,” I said, looking at the ground. “I am.”

He reached forward, his hand coming up to cup my cheek. “It’s okay to be nervous. But please remember, you are in control. Nothing will happen unless you want it to.” 

I nodded, and he lifted my face towards him. 

“But,” Antonio grinned. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to kiss you now.” 

“Oh.” Blinking stupidly, I couldn’t find words. His gaze was steady, and patient, waiting for my answer, but his hands had somehow made themselves back to my hips and I could feel his thumbs rubbing softly against my hip bones. As he rubbed, my whole body seemed to pulse. I struggled to think clearly but his touch felt so good, I knew I wanted more. 

“Yes?” 

“Yes.”


And there it is, a little more of Gabriella and Antonio… I promise I won’t leave you hanging but there’s a lot of April to go!

See you tomorrow…

(Broken) Heart

Tonight I was planning on going old-school with my ‘H’ inspiration as heart.

And I was planning to go down a more positive route. But inspiration isn’t really hitting tonight and, what I really want to do, is introduce you to my current main character, Katherine Montgomery.

This is a scene from my current work-in-progress that I won’t be using in its current form. It is, however, one of the first things I wrote when Katherine started to speak to me and, while it’s rough, I love this scene.

I warn you though it’s inspired more by broken heart than heart!

Adult content below.


Katherine breathed a sigh of relief as she slipped her key into the lock. Arriving home after a fourteen hour day at work, she hoped that Anthony, her boyfriend of the last 9 months, had left her some of the Thai takeaway that he’d been planning to bring over for dinner. She was starving and wanted, in order, Thai food, a hot shower and her big comfortable bed.

Walking further into her apartment, Katherine dropped her handbag and keys on the hall table and looked around. She’d expected to find Anthony sprawled on her couch with a container of Pad Thai, drinking a beer and watching the rugby games he’d recorded on her DVR last weekend. Instead, the couch was empty, the television off and Anthony was nowhere to be found.

Slipping out of her shoes and wandering into the kitchen, Katherine found the kitchen as clean as when she’d left that morning. No dishes in the sink, no takeout containers on the counter. She wondered if Anthony had been caught up at work too and wandered back to the hall table to grab her iPhone but there were no messages or missed calls. Odd, she’d have to give him a call and find out what happened.

Deciding to get changed out of her work clothes before she started to forage for food or called Anthony, Katherine padded down the hallway in bare feet towards her bedroom. She’d barely formed the thought that it was strange her bedroom door was closed before she opened it and stopped dead in her tracks. There, on the bed in front of her was her boyfriend, pants crumpled around his ankles, ploughing into what appeared to be a very naked blonde from behind. 

Katherine felt the lump form solidly in her chest as her eyes took in the pretty pink sundress tossed carelessly across her bedside table and the blue men’s shirt hanging artlessly from the antique coat rack in the corner. She’d bought that shirt for Anthony last Christmas. It matched his eyes. Strappy sandals and pieces of pale pink lace lingerie blazed a trail across the floor. A bright blue condom wrapper lay on the bed beside them, stark against the white sheets.

At least they’re practicing safe sex, Katherine thought choking back a laugh as she bordered on the edge of hysteria. Between the closed door, the rhythmic moaning and the slapping sounds they made as he took her so roughly, they’d obviously not heard her come in. Taking a deep breath, Katherine spoke. Loudly.

“What the fuck are you doing?”

Anthony’s head whipped around and he stopped mid-thrust, causing his partner to mewl in dissatisfaction. 

“Baby. You’re not supposed to be home for ….” He turned his head to look at the alarm clock beside the bed and Katherine could see it as awareness dawned on his face. He’d miscalculated.

Katherine watched, somewhat horrified, as Anthony stepped back and slipped out of the girl beneath him. He began to walk towards her, his hand out as if he was calming a wild animal, his still erect penis bouncing up against his stomach.

“Baby…” he began, halting his progress across the room as she held her hand up to stop him.

Gathering all of the wits she had left, Katherine straightened up, looking Anthony in the eye. Quietly, she spoke. “I’m going out. I’ll be out for an hour. You and your friend will be gone by the time I get back. And, please, leave your key on the table.”

As she turned and left the room, Katherine thought that the smirk on Anthony’s face would haunt her until the day she died.


So that’s Katherine. You should know, I write romance and, while I like my angst, I like my endings happy ever after. So never fear… Anthony will get his!

See you back here tomorrow for ‘I’… I can’t decide between illicit, infatuated or indecent. Check back to see where I go!