Monday, November 26, 2012

Title announced!

I now have a title for my third SuperRomance. It's going to be:

Just For Today

Just For Today will be out in June 2013. I know that's a long way away, but I promise it will go fast! (Because it always does!)

Don't worry, you can be sure I'll be back to tease you with some details before then.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Guest blogger - Louise Reynolds with "Her Italian Aristocrat"

Louise Reynolds
I'm thrilled to have a guest blogger visiting me today! I'd like to introduce the lovely Louise Reynolds to you all. 

Louise's book, Her Italian Aristocrat, has just been released. I'm reading it right now, and it's making me long for an Italian holiday, Italian food and wine, and a bit of Italian tall-dark-and-handsome! 

Louise is here to talk about her book and I thought it'd be appropriate if she touched on one of the regular topics here on the blog: her favourite wine. 

Welcome, Louise! 

Living in the Southern Hemisphere I tend to drink Australian and New Zealand wines. But in Her Italian Aristocrat, set in an historic hill town in the Marche region of Italy, I couldn’t have my heroine sipping a crisp Marlborough sauvignon blanc, excellent as they are. It needed to be a wine of the Marche and I chose verdicchio. It sounded like the sort of wine I like to drink: Crisp, dry and white.

I’m not averse to research, especially when it comes to wine, but I was in a hurry when writing a dinner scene and I hoped my hero and heroine would forgive me if my choice didn’t perfectly match the excellent vitello tonnato they were eating.

But later, in the spirit of retrospective research, I found myself wondering about Italian wines, verdicchio in particular. So it was off to my local Italian wine merchant to see what I could find.

I offer you Exhibit A:  Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

Here’s something to like about Verdicchio: It’s only made in the Marche, from the ancient grape of the same name. There are two distinct types, their growing regions separated by a mere 50kms, and with one made within spitting distance of the stunning hill town of Macerata, the inspiration for the town of Montefigore in my book.

Now, I don’t know about you but when it comes to wine my receptors are, well, receptive. They happily engage without reference to terms like bouquet, length and finish. My palate is pre-programmed to ‘like’ and rarely bothers me with complaints. Clearly I am a lush and need help from the experts. Still, the writer in me wanted to express the qualities of verdicchio in my own words first before referring to a smarty-pants like wine guru, Jancis Robinson.

My notes describe it as “golden, with a slight dry sherry flavour, quite dry.” The professional tasting notes said it was “straw yellow, herbaceous, with a bitter almond after taste”.

Despite the difference in choice of descriptors the wine experts and I agreed on the basic characteristics. What hit me most was how different the flavour was compared to the antipodean wines I’ve been drinking. Of course that has a lot to do with the unique grape variety but the concept of terroir, the idea that the product is directly affected by the environment in which it is grown, was also brought home very soundly.

Maybe it was the mellow mood the wine engendered but I found myself thinking that, in a way, a book needs terroir. It should have the flavour of the location, with authentic details, characters who belong and appropriate dialogue. And although I hadn’t articulated it at the time of writing, I tried to give Her Italian Aristocrat terroir, to reflect the character of the beautiful hill towns of the Italian Marche.

Thanks, Emmie, for having me as your guest. I have a special bottle of verdicchio to share with you soon and I’m looking forward to your opinion.

Her Italian Aristocrat is available:
To International buyers from
To Australian buyers from Amazon, Kobo, Apple, GooglePlus and Destiny Romance
Louise can be contacted at: or you can find her on Facebook 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A report on my NaNo efforts

Typing that title for this blog made me suddenly think of school reports and what kind of mark the teacher would give me for my efforts so far.

I think it would probably be a D. Maybe, if said teacher was feeling generous, a C-.

It's not quite an F, because I did manage about 15,000 in the first week or two. But my output since then has been pretty much zero.


(Isn't there always a "however"? And doesn't it just automatically make you anticipate a load of self-indulgent excuse-making? So, here we go...)

There has been a lot going on for me this month. I knew that going into the challenge and was reasonably sure I probably wouldn't make it to 50k, but I wanted to see just how much I could do. I did think it would be more than 15k (probably though it would be double that) so I can't exactly give myself a gold star. Maybe an elephant stamp for effort.

AND, I will say (and perhaps this earns me the C-), that I have still been putting in a lot of writing effort, although just not into writing new words. Well, not exactly. It's been going into completing revisions for my next SuperRomance and to revising a completed single title for submission.

I also think -- and I'm hoping the good folks at NaNo will agree with me here -- NaNo is not all about the "winning". Yes, it's great to reach the target. It's awesome to have a target in the first place. And without an aggressive target, you don't have any hopes of high achievements. 

But NaNo is also all about finding time to do something you enjoy -- to put focus and effort into writing. I applaud that completely, and if instead of word count NaNo somehow measure effort (or perhaps even hours put in) I think my report card would be looking more like a B. 

I hope, if you're NaNoing away, your report card is looking shiny and healthy. And, if not, that you're still feeling satisfied with your attempt. 

PS - In a world first for Emmie's blog spot, I'm hosting a guest blogger tomorrow! The very awesome Louise Reynolds will be stopping in to talk a little about wine and a lot about her brand new book, The Italian Aristocrat, newly published by Destiny Romance. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

On the first day of NaNo... email brought to me.....

One big fat rejection letter.

I think I broke the land-speed record from query to rejection on that one. Oh well, at least it was a nice letter.

It's not exactly the most positive way to start of a month-long writing fiesta, but I'm proud to say I didn't let it get in the way. Today's word count was a quite respectable 2,542. Not enormous, for sure, but more than the daily requirement and a nice start. If I can do that every day for the next 29 days, I'll be doing okay.

November is going to be a big month.

I'm in the middle of Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, otherwise known as GISHWHES (the I did it last year, too). I have an absolutely wonderful team gals from around the globe, none of whom I've met face to face. We were randomly assigned together last year, and it was a random piece of wonderful in my life. We've kept in touch through social media and this year we have more or less the same team again, with a few lovely extras we've roped in to boost our team numbers to the required 15 (it was 10 last year).

GISHWHES asks you to do all kinds of things with the aim of breaking out of normalcy for a little while. It's a brilliant concept. I love the opportunity to do creative and silly things just for the hell of it. The prize is pretty awesome -- a trip to Scotland to stay in a haunted castle. I'd love to win just to meet the rest of my team.

So far for GISHWHES I've scoured charity shops for Barbie and Ken dolls, done a quick Philosophy 101 on Kant's deontological ethics, and defiled a Tickle-Me-Elmo doll (trust me, you do not want to know. I'm so ashamed). That's barely scratched the surface.

I'm heading to Singapore for work shortly, and I'm having a girls' weekend away in Queensland later this month. Plus I've got to present at a conference and attend another one.

Somewhere in there, I have to write 50,000 words. I've told myself I'm participating this year to have that extra bit of motivation that NaNo brings. Not necessarily to write 50k. If I get there, great. If I don't, I'm not going to be too hard on myself, because I'll know that I will have achieved more than I would have if I hadn't taken part.

So, I'd best get offline and do some writing. Oh, but I have to roast a Barbie and Ken doll in a compromising position surrounded by root vegetables first. Wish me luck. ;)