Archive for August, 2008

31
Aug
08

Series Love

Edited to Add: Thanks for the great discussion everyone! I’ve drawn the random winner (thanks to random.org) and it’s TERESA W. Congratulations. Can you email me at nalinisinghwrites at gmail.com with your details? 🙂

I’m currently anticipating the September 2nd release of the 5th full-length book in the Psy/Changeling series, Hostage to Pleasure. Though I’ve participated in one continuity (the Ashtons), and written two loosely connected books (Desert Warrior and Craving Beauty), this is my first continuing series. And I love it! Love, love, love it!

If had to enumerate the reasons why, I think I’d say that one of the most wonderful aspects of these books is that I get to see my characters develop and change. For example Sascha and Lucas from Slave to Sensation, continue to be integral parts of the stories—we get to see them after their happy ever after, get to see them growing into their love, into becoming ever stronger as a couple.

As a reader, this journey of a developing love is something I’ve always wanted to see. If a book ends with declarations of love (come on, give me an epilogue at least!), you can be sure that in my head, I’m imagining a future for the couple – I want to know that they really did make it, that their happy ever after is solid and true.

With my Psy/Changeling couples, I not only get to fulfil this desire, I also get to develop the world book by book, story by story. And I also get to populate my world with secondary characters who are as important to the fabric of the stories as the protagonists.

For example, my series wouldn’t be the same without Julian and Roman, the twin leopard cubs who pretty much stole my heart the instant they jumped onto the page and opened their mouths in baby growls. I’ve even gotten reader mail asking if I’ll ever write their stories. They’re only little, so I don’t know about that, but I do know that this is a world I’ll continue to play in as long as they let me (and probably after, too!).

So now, my question to you. As a reader, what is it about connected books, or books in a series, that you love? What are your favorite series? Do you have a favorite book that you wish the author would write a sequel to?

Giveaway: And because my release is coming up, and I want to share the joy, everyone who leaves a comment goes into a draw to win a book from my backlist (not including HtP). Contest ends Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008, midnight, New Zealand time.

Also, a quick note. If you blog, keep a livejournal, myspace page etc, don’t forget to enter my Hostage to Pleasure Release Contest and go into the draw for a US$75 gift certificate.

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27
Aug
08

Bronwyn Jameson, still Spellbound on Southbank

Last weekend six of the DU Desirabelles–myself, Yvonne Lindsay, Paula Roe, Maxine Sullivan, Rachel Robinson and Robyn Grady–attended the 17th annual Romance Writers of Australia conference.
For the past 12 or so years the conferences have alternated between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane or the Gold Coast. This year was Melbourne’s turn and saw a return to the Langham Hotel which had provided a stunning venue in 2005. Picture: Bron Jameson, Lilian Darcy, Yvonne Lindsay at the Awards Dinner .

The hotel boasts of blissful beds – they even sell the beds, pillows and bedding in their hotel shop, along with their signature ginger lily room spray. I wanted the pillows but they’d sold out. The scent, however, puts me right back in that special spellbound place.

The conference theme, BTW, was Spellbound on Southbank…that being the hotel site, on the south bank of the Yarra River (see picture.) And everything from the venue to the speakers to the enchanted cocktail party to the awards night supported that theme. We’ve all dug deep into our store of memories to share a favourite spellbound moment.

Mine was the keynote address by Barbara Samuel, “What Do You Believe In?” Enriching, empowering, engrossing, it challenged me to consider what is important in living, in writing, in life. Although spawned from one of my all-time favourite movie quotes (Kevin Coster’s notorious “I believe in…” speech from Bull Durham) it was delivered straight from the soul with Barbara’s trademark lyricism and insight. She held me spellbound for the entire forty minutes. I did not take one note. (Aside: I’ve linked to her blog where her insights of Melbourne illustrate this perfectly.)

Yvonne: my favourite ‘spellbound’ moment was truly when I stepped into the lobby of the hotel for the very first time. The chandeliers, the marble fountains, the majestic curving staircases—all so beautiful they just took my breath away…and will definitely be appearing in my next manuscript.

Paula: There were a few, from seeing my favorite authors and friends again, to chatting non-stop about writing and life. But I think my major moment came during Jo Beverley’s “conflict” workshop. She not only provided an excellent list but said they could also be used to avoid the dreaded sagging middle. Brilliant! Because as we know, life isn’t about solving our one major conflict, it involves varying degrees of stress and source of tension from family, friends, work, past relationships, etc.

Maxine: The Mills and Boon centenary segment entranced me from the moment they showed a picture of their very first published romance novel. As they went through the decades showing various covers, it was like looking back through a photo album that for a while left me with a lingering sense of the past. Then I realised that I’m now one of Harlequin’s authors and that I am honoured to be a share of such a wonderful kinship. It’s spellbinding!

Rachel: Being so brand new to Desire at this conference, I was spellbound by actually being a Desirabelle and joining such an incredible bunch of authors, some of whom I’d never met in the flesh before (though I was certainly acquainted with their heroines and heroes!). Their willingness to welcome me into the fold so warmly and openly really touched me.

Robyn: The official part of Awards Night was over. Everyone was celebrating and a lady I’d met at Melbourne’s last conference – Christine Darcas – came over and re-introduced herself. She’d been published this year with Hachette in women’s fiction, her dream. I stopped, looked around and recognised so many of my tenacious talented writer friends who’d been rewarded with contracts over the years. A truly magical, memorable moment. Pic: me with Anna Cleary, Kelly Hunter, Anne Oliver with Ally Blake and Nicola Marsh whose workshop I attended at the 2005 Melbourne conference.

There you have it, some special moments from our weekend conference. How about you — has anything captured you in a spellbound moment recently? Tell and you will be entered in the draw to win a three-pack of books by “Down Under” authors. Prize drawn Aug 31.

21
Aug
08

Contest & RWNZ Conference

Most of the other Desirabelles are off to the Romance Writers of Australia conference this week, so we’ll be getting some reports from them when they return. Until then, I thought I’d swing by and let you all know I’m giving away a copy of Susan Napier’s Accidental Mistress on my blog. Drop your name into the hat by Sunday to go into the draw.

And here’s a photo of me with Susan herself at the recent Romance Writers of New Zealand conference (yep, it’s conference season).

Thanks to Christina Phillips for the photo (Christina just got her first ever cover, so drop by and congratulate her) 🙂

Hope you’re all having a great week!

08
Aug
08

RWA Conference Highlights, by Bronwyn Jameson

Confession time: I almost pulled out of this conference trip. No matter how hard I worked at it, I couldn’t come up with enough business reasons to make the expense viable. In the end I changed my motivation. I needed the break, so looked at this as a holiday, a chance to chill with friends. Anything else would be a bonus and RWA 2008–my fifth RWA National–gifted enough bonuses to make it one of the most memorable and motivational conferences yet. I am ever so glad I went.

Here are a few of my highlights:

1. The organisational geek in me loves the Conference Journal. (New this year?) A small notebook with the abbreviated program in the front and lots of pages for notetaking. Small, convenient, and necessary for those last minute what’ll-I-go-to-next? decisions, because this year I didn’t plan everything in advance. I noted the must-see sessions and left the rest to spontaneity. The journal is also essential now, as I flick back through my notes (all in the one place, yay!) to choose my highlights.

2. The Literacy for Life Booksigning. One room, 520 authors, over $60,000 raised. This year I signed and it’s always a delight to have readers drop by, to purchase a book or to tell you how much they’ve loved one or several. That never gets old, I tell you. This year I had the privilege of meeting some of my writing idols, as I helped collect signatures for a fundraising auction for RWAustralia. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts, Suzanne Brockmann — they were all so gracious and giving and nice. Major fangirl moments ahoy. Pic below: me at the signing

3. Speaking of writing idols…Linda Howard. This was a PAN (Published Author Network) Q&A session, where she was smart, wry, sharp and funny, all the while looking fabulously stylish. She shared her personal favourites from her backlist: the Blair Mallory books, Son of the Morning, Cry No More. How can you not love a woman whose answer to the Q: “Have you ever considered writing a book without a romance in it?” is “Why would I?”

4. The Harlequin Party. Goes without saying, this is always a conference highlight and it is always, with a small salute to the dessert table, about the dancing. This year more so than ever, with the dancefloor a complete crush and the chances of finding a specific person reduced to zilch. Example: I glimpsed Nalini across the room at one point and never again. It was loud, uninhibited, let your hair down fun. (I have more photos, but what happens at the Harlequin party stays at the Harlequin party ;-))

5. Save the Cat! I’m not sure I would have picked this from the program if a friend hadn’t drawn it to my attention. (Thanks, Trish!) Blake Snyder is a screenwriter and he’s written a book of this name about screenwriting technique/process and concept. He was so enthusiastic and joyous and was possessed of a sense of irony that had me chuckling all the way through. Example: His first book is sub-titled “the last book on screenwriting you’ll ever need.” Then he wrote a sequel, LOL. As well as chuckling I made copious notes on my wip and will never watch a popular movie the same way again.

6. The people, the chats, the lunches. Whether the meetings are planned or spontaneous, nothing beats the face-to-face catchups with friends, fellow authors, editors past and present. These are people you may have only met on-line or haven’t seen in years but always, always there is plenty to talk about. We share bonds through what we do and our passion for books and romance. Then there are the new faces met, the short elevator chats, the meetings in line at book signings, and the big smiles on the faces of award winners and newly contracted and just-signed authors. Pic: A big smile from newly-contracted Down Under Desirabelle, Sandra Hyatt (right), pictured with Paula Roe and Silhouette Executive Editor, Mary Theresa Hussey.

I’m not sure when I will have the chance to attend another RWA conference, but my memories of this one will fill a happy part in my heart for as long as that takes.

ETA: I didn’t mention needing to buy an extra bag to haul home all the lovely, lovely giveaway books. Comment on any of the conference posts between now and Aug 16 and you will be in the draw to win a fab. book from this stash plus phone/bag bling.

06
Aug
08

San Francisco Photos

What a conference!! It was absolutely amazing – I’m still revved up from it. Here are some photos I thought you guys might enjoy. (I had a great one of Sandra at the Harlequin party, but it didn’t come out very well so I’ll have to finagle one from elsewhere. 😉 )

This one was taken at an informal get-together with some of the other Desire authors.

Bronwyn Jameson, Tessa Radley, Emily McKay, Olivia Gates, Nalini Singh
Bronwyn Jameson, Tessa Radley, Emily McKay, Olivia Gates, Nalini Singh

This next one was taken at the fabulous Harlequin party!

Sheree Whitefeather and Chris Marie Green

Sheree Whitefeather and Chris Marie Green

Kira Sinclair, whose first book Whispers in the Dark is an August release, was sitting next to me at the Literacy Signing. And who should come by to congratulate Kira than Linda Howard herself! I had to grab this photo!

Linda Howard & Kira Sinclair

Linda Howard & Kira Sinclair

I’ve got more photos over at my personal blog (I was very snap-happy *grin*), so swing by if you’d like to see more conference pics!

And last but not least – a great big welcome to the Down Under Desirabelles blog!!

03
Aug
08

An Aussie at RWA Nationals!

Welcome to our very first Desirabelles post!  It’s great to be able to bring this one-of-a-kind Down Under blog to you all, from a bunch of wonderful, talented ladies.  There’s some great weekly posts to look forward to in the coming months, so bookmark us and return often.

Well, the best news first – Sandra Hyde, the winner of our “win an editorial critique with Silhouette’s Diana Ventimiglia”  from the DDU blog got The Call the other day!!!!  Especially exciting for us Diamond Gals who are at Nationals because we got to cheer and dance her success at Harlequin’s popular cocktail party on Friday night.  Welcome to Desire, Sandra, and we look forward to making you a Desirabelle too!

In other news, my good Aussie friend Catherine also got The Call (but in this case, The Face-To-Face) from Harlequin American.  I believe she’ll be writing as Cathy Coburn and her book will be out in November ’09.  We don’t have the American line Down Under, so that will be on my e-book list.

More news to come when I get home and can post some photos up!!