Archive for the 'All posts by Yvonne' Category


Is it woo-woo or does it work–our writing rituals and talismans!

woman-in-a-mans-shirtRobbie: I’ve thought hard about what rituals I perform before I can slip into ‘the zone’. Emails and surfing the net, cups of tea, thinking about doing the laundry…yep. But there’s something I hadn’t noticed before. I always write (at home) dressed a certain way. No, not in black lingerie or a lucky multi-coloured beanie, lol. But in one of my husband’s shirts.


Hmm, even that sounds a little weird. Let me explain.


My dh isn’t a small man and through his business he’s often given shirts from other companies. Shirts that don’t fit him but do fit me, and in a wonderfully roomy, comfie sort of way. If I need to go out in the morning, when I return home I’ll change into an Ark Marine or a Suzuki Australia button-down before diving into my WIP. Not a very flattering wardrobe for a romance writer, I confess, but I do own some impressive shoes, if that helps J



lapis-puffy-heartYvonne: I’m totally a creature of habit when I’m working on a book and if I don’t follow each step in my routine I definitely falter by the wayside. For total immersion I find I need to close my office door, light my oil burner and add pure essential oils that enhance mental focus, I switch on my water fountain and turn my iPod on, put my earbuds in, open my file and I’m off. Well, in theory I’m off. Sometimes when things are still not flowing I will choose one of my collection of puffy hearts (crystal/semi-precious stones) and I’ll hold it in my hand until it’s warm, spending that time mentally seeking an answer to whatever problem I’m facing with the manuscript. For me, these steps anchor me to my work and help me get into ‘state’ for writing. If I miss out something as simple as shutting my office door, I’m nowhere near as effective or productive as I am if I’ve closed it.  And I’ve noticed, if I just get a whiff of the oils I use for focus at any time I’m in my office, it’s as though it automatically switches me into work mode. I tend not to work anywhere but in my office so these steps really work well for me (well, most of the time! J )



t-shirt1Bron: Does time spent circling around the writing before starting count as a pre-writing ritual? 🙂  I write in splendid isolation, in a corner room far away from the mid-house activity and the internet computer.  I play a few games of spider solitaire, hearts, freecell, while listening to music on my iPod.  I need a cup of coffee when I first sit down and if I also have Starburst Babies (my current addiction), then I’m an even happier camper.  I also am a bit specific about what I wear: a very good friend gave me citrine earrings last year for my birthday. One of citrine’s properties is turning negative energy into positive, so a perfect choice for me!  Now the weather’s cooling down I always wear cosy, fluffy socks, sweats or jeans and one of variety of my writing T-shirts.  This is my current favourite which I bought in a charity auction last year as it’s signed by a host of my favourite authors. 



writer-at-workSandra: The writing rituals and talismans are on the simple side for me. I like to have a cup of tea beside me and absolute silence. I can’t seem to work if there’s any noise. So many authors I know love to play music, particularly if it’s evocative of the mood they’re after, while they write. I wish I could – but it just distracts me. I’ve also discovered that I work best at my desk on my trusty desktop computer. I have a laptop and it’s great if we’re going away and I have to work – but the words just don’t seem to flow as well.



laptop-in-bed1Rachel: I don’t have a talisman, and my rituals change constantly – much like the location of my writing. I have a writing desk, but after I’ve been there a month or two it always starts to feel… stale. So I take my laptop and any notes I have and move to the dining table. It’s fresh and full of possibility and I love it! Then after a month or two or three that starts to feel stale too. So I take my laptop and notes and move to the bedroom (which is where Marian Keyes says she writes all her books!). It feels great and relaxed and I love writing there. And then… you guessed it, after a month or two I move on again. I think I have some nomadic genes. Speaking of which – perhaps it’s time I moved…




iced-coffee2Paula: Hmmmm… writing routines and talismans?  Can we call Subway and iced coffee a talisman?  Seriously!   I actually think of it more as ‘getting in the mood,’  because sometimes sorting your bookshelves or flipping through iTunes is more appealing than putting words on a blank page J    Sometimes I’ll listen to my story soundtrack (music I specifically pick to convey the mood and feel of my characters and theme), sometimes I’ll think about fragrances and scents that my characters encounter (men’s fragrance is a favorite!!).  But the routine I seem to be attached to is Subway and iced coffee.  While I eat I get rid of my emails (if I haven’t already earlier that morning) because I cannot bear the thought of leaving them unanswered.  Then I have to re-read my last chapter before I can get into the story.    And I simply must close my door.  No distractions because the narrative in my head is disturbing enough J




 So, those are our rituals, folks. Do you have rituals in your work or daily life that you just can’t do without?


I love February!

Let me tell you why…


It’s my birthday month (which, just quietly, makes it the best month of the year 😉 ) and, its the first month of release for my Rogue Diamonds mini-series. How did Rogue Diamonds come about as a title for the mini-series? Well, with this year being the 60th anniversary of Harlequin/Silhouette in the USA, it led me to thinking of diamonds. To be honest it really doesn’t take much to get me thinking of diamonds…I do like sparklies, 😀


So, anyway, when dreaming up the series I thought of old school buddies who have remained close friends but who liked to play a little on the wild side.


The past:


“All of the students in your year are diamonds…some polished, some still a little rough. All, except you three. You, sirs, are rogues!”


So said Thomas Woodley, the favourite professor of Brent Colby, Adam Palmer and Draco Sandrelli, after he caught them demon riding (high speed runs on their motorbikes on dangerous roads at night with no headlights on) when they should have been at their private boarding school’s honours ceremony.


The present:

The Rogue Diamonds are drawn together for the memorial service of Prof. Woodley’s late wife, and after the service two of them are thrown into contact with women they never expected to see again.


So, who are the Rogue Diamonds?


convenient-marriage-inconvenient-husbandBrent Colby (CONVENIENT MARRIAGE, INCONVENIENT HUSBAND, US Feb 09, Aus/NZ Mar 09) was always the bad boy at school and the one who instigated most of the boys’ adventures. He’s the ‘scholarship boy’ from the poorer side of the family and he always felt he had something to prove. An innovative man, he fell headlong into his first million dollars only to lose it just as fast. Unfortunately, at the same time, he also lost the woman he loved. With his exceptional drive and entrepreneurial skills he’s rebuilt his world, bigger better and far stronger than before, but he’s never forgotten the woman who chose money over his love. When she fronts up to him in the men’s room of the Jubilee Hall at Ashurst Collegiate, he’s more than intrigued about why.


secretbabyDraco Sandrelli (SECRET BABY, PUBLIC AFFAIR, US Mar 09, Aus/NZ Apr 09) is the sole surviving son of Italian aristrocracy and lives in the Sandrelli ancestral palazzo in the Tuscan countryside. A natural charmer, he’s had it all, but he learned loss at its most painful level when his fiancee died of a congential heart defect while pregnant with his baby. A short and fiery affair with a New Zealand girl, Blair Carson, touring his homeland has an unexpected repercussion when he discovers Blair is catering the memorial service at Ashurst Collegiate. He wasn’t ready to let her go the first time, he certainly isn’t ready to let her go now, especially not when he discovers she’s carrying his child.


pretend-mistress-bona-fide-bossAdam Palmer (PRETEND MISTRESS, BONA FIDE BOSS, US Apr 09, Aus/NZ May 09) is a workaholic. The survivor of twin sons born to the powerful billionaire Palmers, he’s been groomed to take over the running of the family business. All his life he’s only felt as if he was half of what his parents were due and works darn hard to make up for that by being twice as good at everything. His office is run with incredible precision at all times yet somehow secrets are being filtered out to his arch rival, Josh Tremont. When Adam discovers his assistant, Lainey Delacorte, is hiding the truth about herself, he’s determined to get the bottom of her deception and discover if she’s responsible for the information leaks–no matter what it takes.


So, do you want to win an autographed copy of the first of the Rogue Diamonds, CONVENIENT MARRIAGE, INCONVENIENT HUSBAND? All you need to do is comment on this blog and hazard a guess at what day my birthday is. If you get it right I’ll include a cute paua shell inlaid kiwi phone charm with your book. If there’s more than one correct answer by the end of the week I’ll put each name in a hat and draw one winner. Happy February!


On the Ninth Day of Christmas…

9_ladies_dancingDepending on the version of The Twelve Days of Christmas we could be blogging nine drummers drumming or nine ladies dancing. Anyone want to form a conga line? With nine? Would we all conga in time?


Oh dear, maybe there’s too much cheer happening here.  😀


Which brings me back to dancing. As a kid I loved to watch “Come Dancing” a ballroom competition show here on a Friday night. The gowns, the hairdos, ththe-great-waltze suits, the precision! I also loved listening to the Strauss waltzes and remember being dazzled by the movie, The Great Waltz, and the romanticism of a ball room filled with swaying dancers in exquisitely tailored ball gowns and jewelled or embroidered slippers and dripping with glittering jewellery, the men…well, let’s face it, it’s really all about the dresses, isn’t it?


And speaking of dresses, do you have plans to wear anything special on Christmas Day? I used to spend probably about as long searching for the ‘right’ outfit for Christmas Day as I did gifts! Nowadays, it’s more a case of whatever still fits and has an expanding waistband to accommodate the excesses of Christmas Day fare.


Hmm, considering the nine ladies dancing are supposed to be representative of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and the biggie SELF-CONTROL, maybe I should wear something that doesn’t stretch with the day, just to remind me.


Tell me what you’re planning to wear on Christmas Day, or what you’d like to wear (we’re all allowed a little fantasy) if you had the money, the climate, the figure–whatever!


One randomly drawn comment will receive a copy of my February release, the first in my Rogue Diamonds Trilogy, CONVENIENT MARRIAGE, INCONVENIENT HUSBAND, together with a very cute paua shell inlaid Kiwi phone charm.

(please note, I haven’t received my author copies yet so I can’t guarantee you the book before January but will send it through as soon as it is available)


On the 1st day of Christmas…

first-day-of-christmas1My True Love gave to meeeeee! (OMG, aren’t you glad you can’t hear me singing?)


Seriously though, the best gift I’ve ever received (and I mean, EVER!) was given to me by my true love at Christmas a couple of years ago. It was my ever handy, ever nearby, ever used Palm Z22–seriously, in no time at all it became an extension of my hand, the perfect adjunct to my life. Even more so when I discovered I could download ebooks onto it! (note to self: check installation disk for more new toys…) Now, I know there are higher spec models and PDAs that do everything bar your ironing (hmmm, wouldn’t mind me one of those) but my Palm is probably the most thoughtful and useful gift my hubby has ever given me in the whole time I’ve known him. And believe me, that has been more than half my life. Thinking about that aspect of it, he darn well ought to know what I’d like for Christmas by now 😀


So, in the spirit of the rapidly approaching C-word, what’s the best, the funniest or the most interesting thing your true love (or any love for that matter) has ever given to you?


For three randomly drawn comments Yvonne has–yes!–more cute little New Zealand keyrings!


Virtual Travel

atrani__amalfi_coast__italySometimes a girl has just got to get away, don’t you think? I know a whole lot of people satisfy their wanderlust in their late teens and twenties. I never had that–then. But now, oh, what I wouldn’t give for a Tuscan holiday, or several days and nights on the Amalfi Coast, or a Mediterranean cruise, or a lazy visit in the Lake District of England, tours of crumbling castles in Wales and Scotland, pub crawling in Ireland, a road trip across the United States, a cruise in Alaska, a trip to the Bahamas and, well, travel anywhere really.lake-district


Since I’ve never made these wonderful journeys I tend to like to live vicariously through others, e.g. Trish Morey’s blog where she’s talked about her recent holiday in Europe–five weeks of it! And the occasional travel programme when I can knock the green tinted lenses from my eyeballs for long enough 😉 .


And then there are my characters. Now, they get to do all sorts of fabulous things, like in the second of my Rogue Diamonds trilogy that’s due out March next year and part of which is set in Tuscany near San Gimignano. Oh the research, I swear, it just about had me booking a flight there and then–for the food if not for the scenery!


Thank goodness for virtual travel through the joy of reading. Thanks to the stories of others I’ve lived small town America, sweltering Amazon jungles, snow bound winters in various countries at a time when I’m drooping under an Auckland summer’s high humidity, the luxuries of the south of France, the sparkling beauty of the Greek Islands. You name it, it’s been written about, and I thank all those writers for my experiences through their characters eyes.


So tell me, where’s your most wanted to visit place in the world? And why? And if you couldn’t go there, would you be happy to read about it?


Yvonne has some cute New Zealand Key-rings as a gift for three randomly drawn lucky comments.


What’s your favourite fairy tale?

One of my favourite childhood memories is going to bed on a Saturday night with the family’s transistor radio next to my pillow (ours was red and cream and very similar to the one pictured here) and looking forward to waking early the next morning so I could turn on the radio, tuned already to a particular station, and listen to the children’s story time that would play until I had to get up and have breakfast and head off to Sunday school. Of course, it’s also closely linked to one of my least favourite memories of having my completely straight hair rolled up in ribbons the night before by my mother who wanted me to have ringlets or curls for said Sunday school 🙂 .


But over the aching scalp, I still remember the magic of listening to those stories, of being transported into another world. Little wonder that from the time I could read I always had my nose in a book, reliving that magic, or that I’d be playing in my parents garden, being the characters that I’d read or heard about, or making up fairytales of my own where I’d always be the beautiful princess rescued by her handsome prince. Of course the enactments helped when a neighbour down the long driveway where we lived was the costume maker for what was then New Zealand’s biggest Christmas Parade and she would occasionally let me borrow a ‘real’ princess dress 🙂 . Ah, those were the days…


Suffice to say, I’ve always loved fairy tales–the tragedy, the high stakes, the quest, the romance–most of all the romance, and interestingly what characters gave up for romance. Do you remember the story of the little mermaid who gave up her tail for legs and feet but how much it hurt her to walk? Different to the santised versions we have today by miles. 


It still thrills me now, whether in book or movie form, to identify certain fairy tale traits e.g. in Jane Eyre–Beauty and the Beast, in Pretty Woman–Cinderella, etc.


So, when I started to plot CLAIMING HIS RUNAWAY BRIDE (US release August 2008 and Aus/NZ release September 2008) I focussed on my favourite all time fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast. I think it’s the whole ‘Love Conquers All’ that just gets to me, you know? The unwavering belief that true love can break the wickedest of spells and redeem the hardest of hearts. I wanted to write a dark wounded hero who would do anything to keep his Beauty in his kingdom, and of course my convoluted mind couldn’t help but put a twist on Beauty and make her an amnesiac runaway bride at the same time. Creating my Beast’s kingdom was another delight, and delving into why he would choose to live in such isolated splendour had me enraptured.


I think it’s safe to say I’ll always be a romantic at heart and I’ll always be looking forward to the next fairy tale to fall in love with. I hope, for you, that fairy tale might be CLAIMING HIS RUNAWAY BRIDE.


To celebrate the Aus/NZ release of my latest fairy tale, I wondered if you’d all like to share your favourite fairy tales with us here on Desirabelles, either movie or book. All comments will go into a draw to win a signed Aus/NZ copy of CLAIMING HIS RUNAWAY BRIDE, which I’ll draw Sunday 21 September FRIDAY 19 SEPTEMBER (NZ time) and announce both here and on my blog.