Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Good things...

Scribes began two and a half years ago as a source of inspiration and encouragement to three (and, a little later, four) unpublished writers. Since then two of us have made it, India Grey, who writes for Mills & Boon Modern Romance, and Bronwyn Storm, who writes primarily for The Wild Rose Press. Two out of four, that ain't half bad!

As for Annie and Eva, we've moved on to other things but have plans to return full-time to writing in the future. Both of us have enjoyed success and don't intend to stop now. Our time will come—just you wait.

This post, and Brown's below, mark the end of an era. We will no longer be regularly updating this blog. However, don't worry, we're not taking it down. You can come here as often as you like and search our archives for inspiration, advice, and humour. Feel free to visit us anytime you please: to ponder the mystery of Annie's true identity (for those who haven't guessed), to read of the powers of India's lucky mug or to learn of Eva's penchant for scouring university campuses in search of heroes for her historicals, and/or to fully appreciate the generous spirit of Brown who has been a great source of support both as a regular visitor to the blog and (a little later) as an equally regular contributor.

Finally, this post is dedicated to the woman who brought us together. India calls her a real-life fairy godmother and she is certainly that. We must thank Penny Jordan for introducing us to each other: India, Annie and myself at writerly gatherings held in her sumptuous home in Cheshire, and Brown back in Canada via email. Thanks a million, Penny!

Thanks, too, to my fellow scribes. It's been a blast.

Good things don't come to an end...they evolve and, with a little luck (and an equal measure, if not more, of effort) surpass our wildest expectations.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On insomnia

No one told me preteens suffered from insomnia. I know all about the other symptoms: acne, angst, attitude (and those are just for starters). I've been trying to convince my daughter to take advantage of the time by writing in her journal, listening to music, and reading. If only I had the time for such things. Typically, as soon as my head hits the pillows, and certainly two or three pages into the novel I'm currently reading, I'm fast asleep. (At least until offspring decides to get up and make yet another trip to the toilet.)

coverHere's what I'd be reading long into the night if I were not so tired, both of which I picked up over a week ago:
  • The Last Rake In London by Nicola Cornick
  • Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase
I started Your Scandalous Ways and I'm still not done! Shameful!!


Friday, May 16, 2008

Get it while it's hot!

Today is the official release of Ethan's Chase by Bronwyn Storm, aka our very own Brown. The Romance Studio has awarded this contemporary romance an overall rating of 4.5 hearts (out of a possible 5). Congratulations, Brown!

Here is the synopsis, followed by the trailer:
From downed networks to binary coding, Chase Logan can handle just about anything. Except her sexy new client, Ethan Phillips. His sculpted looks have Chase’s libido spinning faster than a Pentium 4 processor, but his aloof attitude freezes her in an instant. Five years after charging his ex-fiancé with fraud and sending her to jail, advertising executive Ethan Phillips’s emotions remain in the ‘off’ position. But Chase’s laugh, her candor and delicious figure, are booting up his feelings and turning on his heart. Though both Chase and Ethan believe their emotions are safe behind their respective firewalls, their mutual attraction renders their logical programming inactive, and they're about to find out that when it comes to love, there are no defenses that can protect the heart.

Order Ethan's Chase today from the publisher, The Wild Rose Press.

Girls, let's start pouring those martinis!!

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Monday, April 28, 2008

On the bookshelf

The 13th Tale coverIt gladdens one's heart when a first-time writer produces a thoroughly engaging piece of work. I had a hard time putting down Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, a mesmerizing story with all the gothic allure of a nineteenth-century novel, with none of the plodding and not a single unbelievable plot twist. Everything fit together in the end like an intricate puzzle. Rare is it these days for me to shelve a book with such a feeling of satisfied loss, for as much as I shall miss the characters I know that they are at peace and have no need to enter my life again, save during moments of introspection.

This is a perfect book for those who love books, ghost stories in particular —The Turn of the Screw leapt to mind numerous times — and a well-turned phrase.

P.S. The website for the book is the coolest. Be sure to check it out: http://www.thethirteenthtale.com.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A W O L...R

Away Without Leave...Reading

After discovering the pleasures of Holly Black's YA novels during our recent vacation to Los Angeles, I've been able to do little beyond read, sleep and, on occasion, attend to crucial domestic duties. Note that I'm referring to Black's "modern faerie tales" aimed at youth slightly older than readers of The Spiderwick Chronicles, of which Black is co-author with Tony DiTerlizzi.

ironside coverIf you happen to have any teenagers in the household—the back cover of Tithe categorizes the fiction as appealing to ages 14 and up—do give Holly Black's books a try. Faeries are dark in this modern tale, the worst of the lot motivated by greed, revenge, even downright sadism, and the majority are no fans of humans; however, that doesn't stop an angst-ridden teen (in Valiant) and a half-human/half-pixy (in Tithe and Ironside) from falling head over heels in love with (respectively) a fierce but gentle-hearted troll and a goth faery knight.

The trilogy is dark, frightening, and, best of all, wildly entertaining. Featuring heroines that are flawed, vulnerable, and yet, when push comes to shove, utterly courageous, these novels top my 2008 best-book list.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

California, here I come!

I've packed my hard-won swimsuit, matching black skirt-wrap, a new dress, and sundry other items, and I'm all set for the sun, pool, beach, shopping — you name it, I'm ready! Catch you all when I get back. In the meantime, don't work too hard!!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One size fits all

To what garments does this little phrase apply? Hats perhaps? Scarves? Maybe gloves?

Certainly not swimsuits.

In anticipation of fun in the sun come March, yesterday I took courage in hand and ventured into the swimsuit department of the nearest department store to the office. In the brief space of thirty minutes, I climbed into at least thirty swimsuits — all the time my lunch break would allow.

It was quite a feat if I do say so myself. Fortunately, I found a suit — the only one that fit properly, in fact. Some showed too much cleavage, others too much bottom. Many didn't fit my rather long torso, resulting in a comical display. Often the sizing followed no pattern whatsoever. Tankinis proved a complete disaster, with some fitting on the bottom and not on the top, and vice versa. Prints that appeared enticing on the rack looked absolutely hideous on, and a surprising number of solids proved boring to the extreme. Plus, I had a devil of a time figuring out the jargon: phrases such as tummy-tamer, bust-enhancer, fantasizer...remember when you were twelve years old and everything fit!

Oh, for the good ol' days.

No wonder many of the heroines we read about are slim, beautiful and blessed with an extensive wardrobe. We spend so much of our day figuring out what to wear, it's a relief not to have to worry about it when curled up with a good book. Hurray for the perfect size ten (or is it eight these days?)!

I wager finding a matching wrap should prove infinitely easier.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Keeping romance alive

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, nothing untoward has happened. Last week my husband went on his annual ski trip with the boys, that's all; during which time I had a devil of a time putting a bit of spice in my life. You know how it is: when deadlines are the only highlight of the week, amid racing both to and from school, fixing meals, doing laundry, attending to the kitchen sink, and squeezing in the many children's extra-curricular activities too...well, let's just say that sometimes it's difficult to recall the truly important things in life.

A few items helped keep love alive in dear hubby's absence:
  • An edition of Time magazine, in which I learned a great deal about the scientific side of romance—interesting, of course, but hardly the sort of reading that quickens the pulse.
  • The return of Lost, and a glimpse of long lost Sawyer (Josh Holloway). Sigh. Be still my heart.
  • A viewing on the weekend of Enchanted at the neighourhood cinema, a truly wonderful film.
  • A sneak preview of a dear friend's latest romance novel in galley form.
So all was not lost. By the time hubby returned home, muscles sore, fed up with living in a single hotel room with three other men, not to mention sick to death of male banter, drinking, and over-eating, I was in a fine state to welcome him home. I think next year he may skip the ski trip and whisk me away. This year, Valentine's Day came early!


Friday, January 25, 2008

This one goes out to...

...two talented writers whose hard work is paying off and to whom this post is dedicated. They are:
  • Bronwyn Storm: Bronwyn has recently sold yet another short story to The Wild Rose Press, on the heels of her first, very well received Miniature Rose I Love You a Latte, which has enjoyed pride of place on the publisher's Bestseller list for weeks. Her full-length novel, Ethan's Chase, is due to be released in coming months. Here is a teaser:
    From downed networks to binary coding Chase Logan can handle just about anything, except her sexy new client, Ethan Phillips. His sculpted looks have Chase’s libido spinning faster than a Pentium Four processor, but his aloof attitude freezes her in an instant. Five years after charging his ex-fiancée with fraud and sending her to jail, advertising executive Ethan Phillips’s emotions remain in the ‘off’ position. But Chase’s laugh, her candor and delicious figure, are booting up his feelings and turning on his heart. Though both Chase and Ethan believe their emotions are safe behind their respective firewalls, their mutual attraction renders their logical programming inactive, and they're about to find out that when it comes to love, there are no defences that can protect the heart.
  • India Grey: India has just this week sold her fourth novel to Harlequin Mills & Boon Modern. Her first novel, The Italian's Defiant Mistress, recently won a CataRomance 2007 Reviewers' Choice Award, and her second, The Italian's Captive Virgin, is out in England this month. For those of us over here in North America who must wait until October for release here, see the teaser at right and visit her website for an excerpt. Do you have any promotional literature on the third, India, and any idea when it will be released?

Congratulations, Brown and India! Keep up the good work.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

A metaphor for writing

Now that the festivities are over, and the first official work week of the year begins, it's back to the old drawing board. I don't know about you, but the prospect of another year stretching out before me is a bit daunting. Sure, it will be full of success, joy and prosperity. But it will also involve a heck of a lot of work. That's what's proving tough to get my head around.

This weekend I read an article about the YA writer Tim Wynne-Jones, in which he likens writing to stacking wood. He stacks his firewood not tight like interlocking bricks but criss-cross so that gaps are left for air to flow through and thus dry out the logs. It's no small task, as he uses the wood to heat his home in Perth, Ontario, Canada all winter long. He approaches the task patiently, one log at a time, and points out that it is not an endless but a finite task. "You have to approach something like writing a novel the same way. It's just a chapter at a time. Like stacking wood."

My father and brother (and sometimes my mother when winter encroached too quickly) stacked the wood in our household. My sister and I were more likely to be given the task of cooking dinner, tidying up the house, or feeding the cattle. So, sadly, I can't borrow the metaphor, even if I feel desperately in need of a similar inspiration for my writing.

So what metaphor have I latched on to? Dominoes! I'm not talking about the game of strategy but rather domino toppling. Like stacking wood, standing hundreds, maybe thousands, of dominoes on their ends in an interesting and intricate pattern in such a way that they all topple precisely as arranged, takes planning, ingenuity, patience, and inspiration. And, unlike stacking wood — or so I imagine; correct me if I'm wrong, Tim — dominoes have a way of going their own way, much as my favourite characters habitually do. The best part about writing is letting the "tiles" fall where they may.


Tim Wynne-Jones points out: "Sometimes you pile [the wood] so that so much air can get into it, and then it falls over. You discard the odd-shaped logs that don't work for you. And you build more firmly." That's the crux, I figure. No matter the planning and the careful precision, something invariably goes awry. But the best work benefits from little setbacks.

What is your metaphor for writing? How do you imagine it will help you return to the drawing board/keyboard/blank page?