Friday, 21 January 2011

The Call!

At 1.34pm today my life changed. The phone rang. The Call. As I was driving. The number came on the dashboard and I thought 0208???? is this a marketing call? But I pressed the button on the steering wheel and it was the lovely Sally Williamson from Mills and Boon.
Now at first I was worried. When other people have got the "The Call" they've usually had an email to arrange a time to talk. I hadn't had an email. But the day before I'd emailed Sally asking if she'd had time to look at my revisions and if she liked them or not. So I was worried. The crows of doubt were definitely circling.
My first thought was - she's phoning to let me down gently. So when I heard the words "We want to buy your book" I screamed so loudly I probably deafened her. Then I had to pull the car over as I started crying. Happy tears. Lots and lots of happy tears.
Then I heard the words "forward" and "two book deal". It was all a bit of a blur after that. I phoned my beloved and shouted "I can pay off the Visa bill!"
Then I ran into work and started shouting "I write for Mills and Boon!" The people I work with are wonderful and have known that I was waiting to hear for a while, so flowers and cake seemed to appear out of thin air.
Then I took two minutes to go and email my critique partner Nancy, my other online colleagues, Rachael, Jackie, Joanne. Then I emailed the poor Mills and Boon medical authors I've been stalking for a while Kate Hardy, Wendy S Marcus and Anne Fraser.
Then I had to go and tell my mum, dad and sisters. None of whom knew about my exploits to write for Mills and Boon - so that was fun.
So tonight I've finally sat down. I've read the confirmation email that Sally sent me. This ISN'T a dream. It is true. I've got to pick a pseudonym as there is another Romance writer in America called Susan Wilson. So what will I pick? I have no idea. But I have a whole weekend to decide. Feel free to make suggestions... Friends have already told me to call myself Scarlet, as I spend my life wearing red, but I'm going to take a bit of time.
Finally to say, that this all came about because of a Pitch on the eharlequin website in March last year. Wendy S Marcus, myself and two others won the chance to pitch our stories to Lucy Gilmour from medical romance. A partial was requested and then I was passed to Sally who requested the full. The rest as they say is history!
Now, to find the wine...........

Friday, 7 January 2011

How many do you have?

Writing books that is.  Or How-to books.
I must confess I've been a bit naughty again.  And it's all Mulberry's fault.  She recommended a book on her blog and that's all it took.  To be fair to her I'd heard this book mentioned before, but this was in a workbook style so I felt like it was a message for me to do something.  And I can't blame her for the second purchase.  So, lo and behold, off I trundled to the Book Depository and bought
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder  and
Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass.

Now I'm sure that I'll like these books.  Because I seem to like ALL of these books.  Then I took a little wander through to my "office".  You know I don't really have one, but it's the part of the house that's designated mine, with my old clanky computer, a filing cabinet and a bit of a bookcase. 
And guess what I find.  A treasure trove of how-to books.  Some that I'd forgotten that I'd even purchased!
So what was in that store?  Wait for it folks and take a deep breath.....

Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies                                       Leslie Wainger
Revision and Self-Editing                                                             James Scott Bell
The Everything Guide to Writing the Romance Novel                   Christie Craig & Faye Hughes
The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes                          Jack Bickham
On Writing                                                                                  Stephen King
Hooked                                                                                       Les Edgerton
Solutions for Novelists                                                                  Sol Stein
The Romance Writers Handbook                                                 Rebecca Vinyard
The Writers Journey                                                                     Christopher Vogler
The Enneagram made Easy                                                           Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele
12 point guide to Writing Romance                                               Kate Walker
The Romance Writers Phrase Book                                              Jean Kent & Candace Shelton
How to Write Romances                                                              Phyllis Taylor Pianka
How to Write a Blockbuster                                                         Helen Corner & Lee Weatherly
Manuscript Makeover                                                                  Elizabeth Lyon
Scene and Structure                                                                     Jack Bickham
Goal, Motivation and Conflict                                                       Debra Dixon
Getting the Point                                                                           J Hadden & E Hawksley


I really need to get out more.  But to be honest some I've liked some more than others.  And they're not all writing books, some are about editing, some about characters, and some about punctuation. 

It's a weak defence - I know!

Most of all my favourite is still the one I bought first - Kate Walkers 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance.  It's still the one I find most useful.  And what's better, she's just released a new updated version.  There are a number of websites currently offering copies as prizes, but I won't be telling you where they all are because I'll be entering them myself!!!!

There are others I've enjoyed like Leslie Wainger's Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies and, now don't laugh, The Romance Writers Phrase Book.  It may be a little outdated, but it helped me write my very first story aimed at Mills and Boon.  For my latest story I didn't use it at all, but I think that just shows me that I've finally made some headway and progressed.

So, what about you?  Do you own any of these books?  Do you have a secret stash somewhere?  Which one do you like best?  Or, dare you recommend something else to me?  Remember - there may be repercussions!!!