Progress So Far

  • Romance writer - Historical. Contemporary and Intrigue
  • 2 books written for HarperImpulse

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Critique Partner anyone?

Ummm. I might be hanging myself out on a limb here....but here goes. "Does anyone fancy being my critique partner?" There I said that very fast and with a wistful tone in my voice I can tell you.

(If you don't want to reply via this link then my email address is )

If not. Then does anyone know if there are any blog sites that cater for this particular field? As you can see from my blog site I write historical HM&B but also mainstream HM&B as well.

Other news? I've put to bed the big "R". Thanks for all the cyber hugs both on the blog and via email. Much appreciated I can tell you. Will now get cracking on finishing off Roman historical number 3. Are Romans in or out I wonder? Michelle Styles wrote some great ones a few years ago that got me hooked. But since then not a lot. I wonder if they will come back in fashion again? I think there are a few Hollywood blockbusters out next year featuring Romans. I'm sure I read that somewhere. So you never know they may come back with a vengeance!
Take care. Caroline x

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Big "R" - Rejection that is.....

Big Big (((Sigh))). I'm feeling sorry for myself. After waiting a long time I had a letter back from HM&B today. "Thanks but no thanks". It was a standard rejection letter. It annoyed me a bit (can I be annoyed? Is it "allowed"?) for the following reasons:

HM&B - " Ensure that your characters and conflict are character driven."
NWS - Report - " You write with fluency and skill, and in Justina and Marsallas you have created two very attractive central characters. In particular you did a very good job of showing...(rather than telling)."

HM&B - "Focus on the internal emotional conflict of your characters".
NWS - Report "The developing love story between Marsallas and Justina is strong and emotional. You depict the historical background with a very good sense of detail...I like very much the concept of Marsallas demanding that Justina be his mistress to repay her perceived betrayal of him..."

HM&B - "Use secondary characters to add richness and depth to your central romance but don't let them take over."
NWS - Report - "Your secondary characters are also delightful and I feel that you have created a very nice set of characters without diverting attention from the central relationship,"

HM&B - "Target your book to a particular series - this means you need to read current books in the series you are aiming for..."
NWS - Report - "You are aiming the book at Mills & Boon's Historical romance series and it is clear that you have researched the publisher and what they are looking for."

So that's it rant over. Best to vent my spleen and all that. (I'll probably regret putting this out on my blog site tomorrow - but there you go!) I'm half way through my current WIP - another Roman aimed at HM&B Historical. It may be that "Roman's" aren't in at the moment. I'll finish this one off, send it off and then perhaps consider switching to another time period or have a go at a "Modern" or an "Intrigue".

Sorry for the rant - but thanks for listening! Take care. Caroline x

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


On Kate Hardy's blog yesterday there were some lovely photo's of clouds and she asked us to let her know if we had some that we liked. Well as luck would have it I came out of my door this morning and saw this wonderful sunrise over the Snowdonia mountains as well as a "misty" inversion over the Malltraeth Marshes. Spectacular! Take care. Caroline x

Monday, 19 October 2009

Alas poor WIP, I knew it well!

Forgive my misquote (Hamlet) – but…’Tis Done. Or will be by the end of tomorrow! What am I rambling on about? The HM&B Writing Competition that's what! I've preened, pruned, slashed, cut, and editied the poor Chapter to within an inch of it's life - and now finally - it will be sent off.

So have I covered the basic’s? - Namely:
Are my character's physical descriptions vivid? Are main characters sympathetic despite their obvious flaws/faults? Is it obvious what the story is about from the first chapter?
What are their internal/external conflicts? Can I sympathise with then as the story progresses?
Are secondary characters necessary; and if so do they take over? If they do, is it a problem? Do they add interest and issues to the story?
How is the dialogue? Does it flow? Does it carry the story forward? How my pace? Is it too slow; too fast; not enough?
Does my chapter have a good romantic tone and what’s my voice like?
The above is not an exhaustive list. And if I’m honest I’m not sure if I’ve got it completely covered! But there you go. It’s going off whatever.
Take care. Caroline x

Friday, 9 October 2009

RNA - Dragon Chapter

I've just come back from the monthly RNA (Dragon) Chapter meeting. we have here in North Wales. I haven't been for a while as "life" kept getting in the way. But I'm glad I did today. I always come away feeling enthused - and today was no different. We are a group around 15 or so. Roughly half are published and the published authors ALWAYS give us unpubs. loads of moral support and lots of helpful advice.

Today was particularly good as a lot of us had our NWS reports/critiques with us. Lots of +ve reports all round (it was a bit like comparing school reports!) and lots encouragement from the published authors as a result. One of our ladies had a second reading and that was so encouraging it actually listed the agents/publishing houses she should send it to. Way to go!

I broke with tradition and actually asked one of the authors if she wouldn't mind reading the first 3 chapters of a HM&B Historical. I felt a bit cheeky doing so - I've never done it before so it was a big step to do so - but she didn't mind at all! So thanks June (Francis) (HM&B Historical author) it means a lot to me. Here's hoping it's not the dogs dinner and she thinks the story has promise....I'm feeling nervous already!

So if any of you are members of the RNA and don't go along to a local chapter - please do so. You won't regret it!

Take care. Caroline x

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

How Do I Write?

As a "newby" in the field of romantic fiction writing I thought I would share with you my creative process (lol - wow does that sound pompus or what!) Before I start I have to say I lovvvvvve reading about how authors approach their writing and can't get enough of reading about it. I also love reading as many books on the writing craft as I can possibly get hold of. I justify this by saying that a writer is doing a "job" and therefore needs to be adequately trained in doing so. And trust me as a relative newcomer to all things writing (romance that is) I need as much training as possible.
So what's my writing process like? Well if I have to put myself in a "camp" then I am definitely a "panster" writer. I start off with a idea for a book - normally the opening chapter or a scene in my head - and then off I go. So far things have worked out well and I've been able to finish 2 full novels - not a lot I know - but I consider myself a fledgling. Most times the book has changed beyond recognition from my initial idea (although the opening chapter so far has always stayed the same) and I've managed, so far, to avoid writers block and the sagging middle. Of all the things I find the hardest to deal with - then it is the sagging middle. How to take a book out of the duldrons and inject enough fizz to make anyone (normally the poor reader at the NWS) want to finish reading the book! Another niggle I have is the fact that in the day job I tend to write a lot of dry stufy letters and technical reports. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth to get out of this particular mindset and try and write fun, flirty dialogue rather than the falling back into "official" writing, and not letting my wip get too stuffy!
As you can see from the picture I also like to do a story board. This is my current wip. Spot who the hero is! No prizes there - it's the lovely Hugh Jackman. The "diagram" thingy is something I found on WORD recently - I use one for each of the H/h and put all their relatives/where they live etc. in each of the circles as an aide memoir when I'm typing away. Having been over to the Pink Heart Society blog this morning the lovely Kate Hardy has done a great post about her writing. Wow to be as productive as Kate would be amazing. But that is definitely not me - unfortunately. I tend to do my writing in dribs and drabs fitting it around work and life, BUT there is one thing I am disciplined about, and that is trying to write something every day. Even if it's a bit of editing, plotting out (on paper) the next chapter whilst in bed, or actually typing away. I find that my best time to write in the evenings, and at the weekend in the afternoons once "life" has slowed down and all the chores have been done. I have tried to write in the mornings - sometimes it's ok and the words flow, but mostly life intrudes and it isn't doable. So there you go. Now I'm off back to work (day job) having done this in my lunch hour. Take care. Caroline x

Monday, 5 October 2009


Saw these and went "ahhh". These are my dogs Molly (on the right) and Bob (on the left). Most of the time they are cute. Some times they rule the house! Take this picture. We went out for the afternoon and came back to find the terrible duo firmly encamped in OUR chairs! The silly jumpers were our idea of a joke. Obviously they didn't like it and made their objections known. Take care. Caroline x

Thursday, 1 October 2009

What a week that was!

It's been a long week to say the least. Out of respect for my lovely M-I-L I haven't said anything. But now she's on the mend I feel able to do so. My MIL underwent major surgery a week ago for bowel cancer, and repair to a (very large) hernia. It was a success thank goodness. They have got rid of the cancer which had spread to an ovary (which was removed as well) and have repaired the hernia.

There has been a minor setback this morning - she does have an infection in the wound so they may have to operate to clean out this infection we think - it all depends on the result of a CT scan that she will have to have.

But that aside, through it all my MIL has been very, very positive - which is always good. But I have to say not so easy to keep up day after day. I'm not sure if I would be able to be so +ve all the time! Now she just needs to heal and get her strength back.

My DH went down to Essex to be with his mum and has been away for a week now. I had planned to keep occupied by writing. In truth I have done some - but was only able to do so once I knew my MIL had come through her operation.

Then, if that wasn't bad enough my best mate Kath had a car accident. She ok - but has severe whiplash. So Kath if you're reading this get well soon babes!

Take care. Caroline x