Friday, January 26, 2007


Have you heard the term PLU? It stands for People Like Us. I'm sure this term was originally coined by elitist snobs, but I use it in another sense. I can always tell if someone is PLU by the books they adore.

There is something wonderfully uniting about loving the same book as someone else, discussing it with them as if you're mulling over the problems, loves and triumphs of mutual friends. Nothing beats it--except perhaps when someone talks to you about one of your own books as if they know your characters intimately. Although it's a little disconcerting when they mention some minor character you'd forgotten all about:)

Not very long ago, I was giggling with fellow writer Anna Campbell over the mere concept of receiving fan-mail. To my astonishment, the other day, I received my first letter from someone with whom I had no connection, who said she loved the excerpt on my website and wanted to know why it was taking my book so long to come out.

What a wonderful feeling! I'm guessing she's PLU.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Anti-Rant...Rant

There's no doubt about it, romance as a genre has a bad name among the uninitiated. Whenever I see a poorly-informed, dismissive article about romance in a newspaper or on the internet, I feel indignant. Or at least I used to. Now it doesn't bother me quite so much.

I've learned that it's almost impossible to change someone else's opinion about something, particularly if it is based on nothing but prejudice. And most particularly if you are working from the inside. Of course a romance writer is going to defend the genre. Why would our words carry weight with someone determined to despise us?

So I think the best way to deal with the critics is to show them what a great time we're having over here. Romance is the definitive popular fiction. That's not to say romances can't have literary merit or social impact, but let's all acknowledge that the intent of romance is to entertain. And in that it succeeds extremely well.

In fact, it makes up 39.3% of all fiction sold.

Can you hear me chortle?

So what about you? Why do you read romance?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Speaking of Covers...

Here is Anna Campbell's cover for Claiming the Courtesan.

The moody, moonlit scene fits her dark, exquisitely written story perfectly, and I absolutely loved the coloured version of the scene, which would have looked great as a step-back (hint, hint! Avon, are you listening?) but is on the back cover instead.

If you want to check out the heroine's beautiful rose-coloured gown and the hero's no less beautiful chest, take a look at Anna's website.

Read the excerpt, and you won't be able to wait until the release date in April, you'll have to order your copy NOW!

I'll be doing an interview with Anna on this blog when her book comes out, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Alex the Dog: Great News!

Alex has fully recovered her eyesight! The miracle of modern veterinarian science--did you know there are dog opthalmologists? She is still a little sluggish because of her medication, but the vet assures us she will be back and bouncing in no time. What a huge relief!

Under Cover

There are two things writing with a view to publication teaches you: humility and patience. Or at least it should! Not sure I'm qualified to gauge how much humility I have acquired, but I certainly don't seem to have learned patience!

My editor emailed the day before yesterday to say that she had seen the cover for my book, SCANDAL'S DAUGHTER, that it was fabulous (and my editor is not an overly effusive person, so I'm guessing it really IS fabulous) and she would send it to me in jpeg form as soon as she could.

And that was all.

I don't know anything more than that. Not the subject matter, the mood, the colour scheme. Nothing. Nada.

Can everyone hear my tortured scream?

When I sold, I thought the agony of waiting for contest results, requests and rejections would be over. OK, perhaps I wasn't that naive, but unconsciously I did expect more instant gratification. I'm here to tell you, folks, that once you get 'the call' there is even more waiting, the wait is longer in many instances and, because you have more riding on it, the wait is even more excruciating!!

And of course I have no say in what the cover will be and I don't intend to argue about it, no matter what it is. The marketing and art departments at Berkley know a lot more than I do about what sells. When we discussed the cover, I sent my editor a document with a heap of pictures that I had been collecting throughout the editing stage of my book--settings, actors who look like my characters and other authors' covers I love. I knew when I sent this that it would probably be disregarded but that didn't matter. I had done all I could to put my views across. It made ME feel better, and that counts for a lot when you're a neurotic, control-freak like me.

Now, it's out of my hands. Nothing I can do except--you guessed it--wait. ::whimper::

And don't worry, as soon as I get the go ahead, I'll be posting that cover everywhere I can think of! So, er, maybe I haven't quite learned that humility lesson either.

What about you? What covers do you love? Did a cover ever make you buy the book?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Rainy Days and Sundays

I'm at the beach and it's raining. We have had a drought where I live this year, so we are not allowed to water our gardens or wash our cars with hoses, unprecedented restrictions in our water-happy corner of the world. Despite installing tanks and using what water we can collect to keep our garden alive, a once magnificent staghorn on our leopardwood tree is dry and riddled with ants and the rest of the garden is looking sparser and sadder by the week.

I try to remind myself of these things when I sit in our beach-side apartment and PINE for sunny weather. But I am here with a 3 year old with a mania for doors and light switches and a 3 month old baby, and goodness knows what I will find to entertain them for a week of rainy days.

Hm, perhaps I can tell them a story...