Thursday, September 28, 2006

More Good News

Won 'Beat the Mondayne' competition over at Stacy Dawn's blog.

Prize being sent in the post.

Hangover banished by hair of the dog.

Still trying to come down to earth. Keep thinking someone will phone and tell me it's all been a mistake.

Now I know how India feels.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Imogen says 'Thank you and goodbye!!'

THANK YOU all so very much for the messages of congratulation you've posted both here and on other blogs. Reading them all has been so fabulous and touching and... well, I'd better stop myself right there before I come over all Gwyneth Paltrow. May I just say in a very British, stiff-upper-lip kind of way that it has made the whole event even more special and memorable, and I am truly grateful to everyone. And not just for the congratulations over the past few days, but the support and encouragement beforehand too. Thank you. (sniff. xxx.)

So now I've come to the bit when I have to say goodbye. Well, not me exactly, but Imogen.

The day after I got the call my lovely, lovely editor (eek-- will I ever get tired of saying that??!) rang again. Given that I was fully expecting her to apologise and say that they'd changed their minds about accepting the book it came as something of a relief to find that the only thing they wanted to reconsider was my name. Imogen was thought to be too difficult for non-English speakers to read and pronounce. Could I think of another one?

I wasn't going to say no. (I think she could have asked me to run down the M6 in my underwear and I would have agreed. Happily.) Besides, I've always found the whole idea of changing my name enormously appealing. When I was in the infants I remember yearning passionately to be called Rosebud, though by the time I had achieved the vast maturity and sophistication that comes with being about 7 I had swung more towards Cynthia... Anyway, sadly neither of those seemed quite right anymore. And I'd already decided I wanted to keep my own initials.

Did you know there are surprisingly few girls' names beginning with I? (apart from the obvious-- Isobel which is lovely, but has family connections.) In a way I suppose that made it easier to arrive at...


India Grey.

So. What do you think?


Friday, September 22, 2006

Party Time!!!

chinkEek! Does anyone know how to throw a cyber party?! We have plenty to celebrate here at Scribes' Sanctuary. Has everyone checked out Imogen's post below?!

If not, get to it. We are all so excited and pleased!

P.S. As your critique partner, I get first crack at the official interview, agreed Imogen?


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Good News

Book accepted.

Hangover subsiding.

Feelings of euphoria, exhilaration, relief and huge gratitude still present.

(along with tiny, nagging suspicion that there's been some mistake...)

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Hail the Roman hero

The Gladiator's Honor bookcoverI just finished Michelle Styles's The Gladiator's Honor, published in North America by Harlequin Historical (thus the "or" as opposed to "our") and winner of the 2006 Cataromance Reviewers' Choice Award (for best Mills & Boon Historical Romance).

I can't recommend it highly enough. It is evocative, passionate, tells a heartwarming tale of forbidden love between a Thracian slave turned gladiator and a Roman noblewoman—both characters I loved from the get-go—and, best of all, it's not a Regency!

I know, I know, I myself have reviewed Regency romances here with equal enthusiasm, and I must admit I have a weakness for them. But I say it's high time Harlequin/Mills & Boon/Silhouette etc. started widening its scope. Personally I want to see on the shelves fewer Regencies and Medievals in favour of romances set during Roman times, the Restoration, the Renaissance – anything but the period dominated by Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen.

Readers and writers, let's unite and together bid farewell to Darcy, Knightley and the Duke of Wellington. Hail instead heroes such as Spartacus (picture Goran Visnjic rather than Kirk Douglas or Russell Crowe) or Johnny Depp in The Libertine, not to mention Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff. (As we know, I have a weakness for all things Victorian.)

Hey, wait a second, how did I make the jump from romance novels to leading male actors? Please forgive me, Michelle, I promise to write a proper review next time.

P.S. Thanks, Amanda, for the book recommendation. And, yes, it's been sitting in my Wish List that long!

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Friday, September 08, 2006


Hmmm... Surprisingly difficult.

I feel like someone who, having scaled Everest, feels they absolutely have to stop for a cup of tea and a long lie-down 100 feet from the summit.

However, am receiving coded messages from blogger. On my most recent sign-ins the letters I have had to type in the box have been


Don't know why it doesn't go the whole hog and say what it really thinks. Something along the lines of Stop faffing around on other people's blogs and get back to your ms you lazy old trout might just do the trick.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Back to blog land

Two weeks walking the south west coastal path has left my feet even itchier than when we set out and made it even harder on my return to settle down at my desk and write.

But write I have done - mainly because I've paid my dues to the RNA New Writers' Scheme and want my money's worth! Actually, it's more about wanting to have the benefit of a published writer read my work and give me constructive criticism on it. This is the first year (of 3) that I haven't managed to submit a full ms, only reaching chapter 10 (of a probable 20) before the due date (31st August). In my defence, this was due to last year's submission being given a second read and being submitted by the RNA direct to a publisher. This meant that when the ms was returned to me by the publisher, together with the RNA feedback, I hadn't had sight of my work for six months and hadn't been able to really get going on anything new (other than that all important mental preparation) because I was concerned/hopeful the publishers might actually want my book and with that would come the inevitable revisions, which I thought would be more difficult to do if I was immersed in another book. Yeah, okay, I was stupidly optimistic back then!

Once reality hit home, I decided to stick with the book that had very nearly made it and been validated by the RNA readers, implement the feedback they'd given and try sending it out elsewhere. Hence, the new novel was placed firmly on the back burner once more and I only really got going on it a couple of months ago - which actually means that 10 chapters (46,000 words) is pretty damn good! Well done, me!