Friday, August 26, 2011

To Prologue or not to Prologue - Question, much?

Sue Grimshaw (who is lovely, and approachable, and a breath of fresh air) really threw the cat amongst the proverbial chickens when she advised us during a cold read at the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference, that she like prologues.

An editor who likes prologues?

Yes, apparently Sue was serious and, to tell you the truth, I couldn't be happier because if there's something I love, as a reader, it's a well thought out prologue. One that makes me think I've been let-in on a seriously cool secret right from the beginning.

Of course, that doesn't mean I think we need a lot of prologues at the beginning of books and I don't think that's what Sue was saying.

My rule of thumb?  Nut out the pertinent information, drill it right down to the most important facts, then write a prologue that creates the feel and tone you want for your manuscript.


If you're having problems with it. If it doesn't flow or come out right,


admit that maybe you don't need a prologue - as all it is, is a lump of backstory - which may be interesting but not the best way to hook your readers (or an editor).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Romance Writers of New Zealand Conference

I'm taking a deep breath and blogging about conference.

The first couple of days were amazing and then Sunday, knowing how ill Sandra was, it's just a blur - except for a poignant song by Adele that was played at just the right time, a fantastic casual workshop with Lucy Gilmour, and a wonderful warm hearted workshop with Molly O'Keefe. Well done Suzanne Perazzini and Erin the Pocket-Rocket, for keeping us all going - you both deserve a medal.

So most of my recall is from the first couple of days.

I travelled to Auckland on Thursday night with Nicki Davidson as the first cold reads were 7am on Friday morning - and there's no way we were travelling up at 5am - waaaaaay tooooooo haaaaaard :)

Went to dinner at "The Stables" and had a mixture of French, Japanese and Italian for dinner with Iona Jones, Nicki Davidson and Sandii Manning. Kamy Chetty (aka the best critique partner EVA) arrived at our room after eight pm on Thursday. It's such a bonus to sleep room share with important people, cause I got my ribbons earlier than anyone else *vbg*

Nicki and I chose the cold read with Sue Grimshaw, Editor at Large for Random House. By luck this was the best start to the conference we could've possibly got. Sue asked for our names for our cold reads and, later in the weekend, requested from both of us. I now need to send Sue the first three chapters of Paranotte: Warlock, the first three chapters of Paranotte: Vampyr (better write it) and *sigh* synopsis for both. Nicki got a full request and a very excited editor raving about her writing - high five Nicki.  Kamy meanwhile bonded with Lucy Gilmour HM&B and it doesn't get any more exciting than that.

Then I loitered all day on Friday, had a cup of tea with Lucy Gilmour HM&B who requested the first three chapters of my medical - must've been something in the tea, and then a time-out chat with Maria V Snyder who is one of the loveliest visitors a conference could have. We had a chat about home life, children, allergies :) ... and during the weekend she very kindly signed her YA 'Inside out' for my daughter AmberJane.

The Sword workshop late on Friday was absolutely fantastic - from broadswords to rapiers to daggers - the guys knew their stuff and the information we gleaned on defence positions and "moving the feet" was invaluable for anyone writing historical or paranormal. I have to admit the photo op with 'Silver' later that night at the cocktail party was a hoot, especially when he started to do some Fabio poses with his long, blond hair.

Speaking of the cocktail party - Sandy Manning wowed me with her Prince which included electric guitar and Clare Scott was Paparazzi extraordinaire - and soooo realistic.  It was certainly a royal night with Kendra as a very sexy Queen of Hearts and Michelle de Rooy as a sensual bellydancer - sweet.

Saturday - Tess Gerritsen (supreme, riveting, wow), more Maria V. Snyder (seriously worth driving or flying miles to be at her workshops), and Molly O'Keefe (what a hoot! I loved it - and I'm looking for the credits to RWNZ in her next book as we brainstormed it with her).

I think I'm missing heaps of stuff but the brain is a little fuzzy. I do remember that Nicki and Jeanne Drake won an incredible amount of raffles between them. Nicki's I remember vividly because we had to pack it all into my little car for the trip home.

Before the awards evening we had the AGM - a huge thank you to Adele (Abby Gaines) for the fantastic amount of work she's done the last few years, as president. She had to leave before we could thank her properly and I'm hoping I'll be able to do just that, sometime soon.

I have taken on the role of Vice-President and look forward to my turn at 'giving back' over the next couple of years.

Awards night was brilliant. A little dress, not really appropriate for climbing stairs, but I did my best.  Congrats to Clendon Winner Rebecca Skrabl - who will have to come over at some time - 2nd place to our new President Iona Jones, and 3rd place to Michelle de Rooy who also won readers choice - yee ha! Huge thank you to Barbara and Peter Clendon, and to Francis Loo (who received a life membership).

I'd decided to wear some of my 50's dresses for the weekend - petticoats and all - so I think I stood out a little, lol. This was kinda on purpose because I wanted to make the most of the weekend, and force myself out of the hiding shell I have previously gotten into at conference where I mainly talked to people when I was selling raffles or doing a job - bet ya'all didn't know that. Also, they are seriously cool dresses that I otherwise don't get to wear - and a fantastic side effect was the "cushion" effect the petticoats had. Yayee for my hips and butt after three days of sitting down.

In all, the conference was one of the most exciting weekends, and one of the saddest, I've ever had. The ups and downs have left me a little shell shocked. I'm glad to say I'll be able to travel up to Auckland on Thursday to pay my respects to Sandra's family and to support our wonderful Auckland writers who've lost such a fantastic mate.

Hugs to everyone.

A few photos - play spotto :)

 Natalie, Yvonne and Lucy (masking it)
 Gracie and Kylie - mischief in the making
 Me and Nicki doing our Princess bit
 With Kamy, Silver and Louise
 Chilling with Susan, Yvonne, Kamy, Nalini, Me, Tess and Tessa.
Pre-Clendon drinks with Jenny and Nicki

(Great pre-party thanks Barbara and Peter - amazing Bellydancing routine to warm us up!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Such a sad time.

I was expecting today to blog about a fantastic New Zealand Romance Writers Conference - but right now I can only think of the sad news surrounding us.

Two wonderful Auckland romance authors passed away this weekend.

Norah Hansen-Hill - a wonderful, successful author who touched the hearts of many and sadly passed from us because of a long fought illness

and Sandra Hyatt (Hyde) - who was with us at the beginning of the conference, then fell suddenly ill and passed away last night surrounded by her family.

I send all my love and support to Norah and Sandra's family's. And to their close writing buddies in Auckland. This is an absolutely shocking and sad time. My heart goes out to you all.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Conference Week

It's conference week in New Zealand. Romance Writers of New Zealand get together in Auckland to celebrate our achievements for the year and partake of workshops and seminars -
with the odd bit of food and wine thrown in.

This is my berocca for the next twelve months. I get energised and re-creative-ised; the following ten months are the most productive with the last two a count down to conference again.

It's my time - to spend three full-on days with my critique partner, amazing romance authors and fantastic friends from around New Zealand and Australia.

Bring It On!