Monday, June 27, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Rob Healy has everything he wants, or will have once he’s built his new resort on a small island in the Pacific. A woman in his life isn’t planned at the moment, but when he sees Cassandra Kearns in the foyer looking stiff and out of place amongst the holiday makers his interest is spiked. What is a beautiful woman doing wearing a business suit and holding a laptop doing on an island resort, especially when there are no conferences booked that week?
Cassandra Kearns is fleeing New York and all that makes her comfortable for two idyllic weeks in the tropics. She’s stressed, overtired and close to breaking point. Her divorce is finalised, her daughter is grown and she’s realising that she’s on her own and dare she say it - lonely.
She needs to take some time and recharge her batteries. But how is she to do that? She’s worked 24/7 for years. Does she know how to have fun?
When Cassandra meets Rob she rejects the spark of attraction she feels. A man in her life, after the betrayal of Oliver? She’d rather eat broken glass!
Yet Rob is persistent, he’s funny and he’s gorgeous, but what exactly does he want?
The music changed to a faster tempo and some of the couples got up to dance. Rob got them another bottle of wine and refilled her glass. Cassandra studied him as he secured the bottle back in the sand. Had she ever met such a man as him before? Yes, he was attractive, but he had something else that drew not only her attention, but the stares of other women around him.
There was magnetic quality about Rob, a mixture of a devil-may-care attitude and an inner strength of purpose which fascinated her. Desire grew inside her, igniting, and she felt a delicious heat in the pit of her stomach. It had been so long since she'd throbbed in need for a man’s body.
Reggae thumped out of the speakers. Rob stood and held out his hand. “Come on, let’s dance.”
“Really?” She stared, as he helped her to her feet. “You dance?”
“Don’t you?” He led her closer to the fire.
“I haven’t for a long time, and the men I know never dance, at least not to this type of music.”
He didn’t answer her as the music was turned up, and the Jamaican rhythm of steel drums and a Caribbean voice urged them to let themselves go.
Fired by the wine, the heat of the fire, and the music filling her senses, Cassandra was transported to another world, one full of sensual stimulus, of earthy primal urges: to eat, to frolic, to cavort. Nature’s way was very powerful, and she didn’t fight against it.
She raised her arms and swung her hips, dancing as she hadn’t done for a very long time. Laughing, Rob twirled her under his arm. The flames reflected off her gold shimmering dress. All the guests were dancing now, the music infectious, the atmosphere festive. Everyone seemed to just want to have fun, forget their problems and dance.
Cassandra squealed as Rob lifted her off her feet and spun her around. He stepped aside, grinning as a guy in his twenties came up to her and did a bit of dirty dancing with her, grinding his pelvis against hers, and she threw her head back and laughed. She felt young and completely alive. Within moments, he’d gone on to another woman, a young twenty something wearing hardly anything at all. The people around her were happy, and it had been forever since she'd felt this way.
The music changed to Salsa, and Rob took her in his arms and pulled her against him. Sexual need lit his blue eyes. He hungered for her. Her skin heated, longing for his touch.
Her smile melted away as the length of his body moved as one with hers, their steps not perfect, but instinctive, powerful. His shoulders muscles bunched beneath her hands. She ran her fingers down his back, and he tightened his hold even further.
They were locked in a dance as sexy and sensual as actually making love. Rob’s eyes never left hers, his mouth only inches from her touch. His hands cupped her hips, guiding them against his own. She shimmied, turned and, with her back to him, danced in a way she’d never done before. Every provocative movement was a gesture of intimacy, of want, of promise. Through music, their bodies touched, sending silent messages to one another. Rob flipped her around to face him again and slipped his thigh between hers. His hands slid down over her bottom, and she gasped at the ache throbbing inside her.
The music changed again, back to a pumping beat. Rob slowly released her, and she regained some of her sense and took a step back. Shocked at her wanton behaviour, her smile was perfunctory.
God, she hoped she hadn’t humiliated herself. She desperately wanted to sit down. What had gotten into her? She turned away from the bonfire and wandered away from the other dancers. Rob kept pace with her.
“Would you like to go for a walk up the beach?”
“No!” She jumped at the harshness of her refusal. “I mean no, sorry, thank you. I think it is time I went back to the beach house.” She gathered up her purse and shoes from the blanket, refusing to make eye contact.
“Please, Rob. I must go. Thank you for tonight. I had a great time.” She flashed him a tortured look, silently begging him not to say or do anything else. “Good night.”
As fast as she could run in the soft sand, she left the beach and headed up to the steps to the path. “What a mess,” she cried. Not bothering to put her heels back on, she ran along the shadowy path, away from Rob—wishing she could run away from the feeling he brought out in her, too.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011
No, I am NOT about to strip to my bare nakeds and run about outside, at a cricket match or even a ping pong tourney. If nothing else, it's too Bloody cold. No. This is another type of streak. (Have written about this before, but I have a habit of harping on things ...)
Inspiration. It comes and it goes. Where and when, nobody knows. Maybe I'm a lucky one, because I can walk down the road on any given morning and have three good story ideas before I get home. In all probability tho, by the time I sit down I've also probably forgotten all of them, or the thread of them. It's a little annoying.
I remember once, a fair while ago, I used to walk six k's along the highway to work. On the way I wrote the perfect story, one I'd had in my head for ages but could never get it just right.
You know what I mean? It's there, it makes sense, but it's not
It's called " The Cruise", and it's about youth in the country towns, the car culture that grows in small country areas because it's the only real route to freedom, and how some people build these cars, these wonderful, perfect pieces of automobilia and having spent their lives, their savings building what is - in their minds - the perfect escape machine, never going anywhere, except maybe around the block, or down the street, with a dozen others just like them on a Friday or Saturday night.
The story is beautiful. It has angst, pathos, feeling, heartbreak, you name it. And in that six k walk I had IT!! Did I write it down?
Did I record it, at least?
No. I still have the story, mostly complete, but what I have has no edge. It's not perfect. It's flawed. It isn't the story I told myself on that walk to while away the time before work, a story that just held me, and I was telling it to myself.
Back to inspiration.
I never feel at a loss for inspiration. Walking in a field one morning gave me a line. "The last of the summer spiders." All because where I was, the ground was covered in these tiny cone shaped webs strung between tall stalks of winter grass. Hundreds of webs. There was a story there, too, but all I have left is the line.
Ideas bounce through the hollow of my brain like dust motes, blown by a gale. I have tended to wait and see what takes root, what says a week. if it finds a home in one of the cob-webby corners of my brain, if it maybe grows a little, and if, only if it still grabs me after a week, it gets page space. sometimes it grows from there, sometimes it stagnates and just sits there, becalmed in a sea of ideas and thoughts and no wind of creativity to propel it further.
Sometimes it just gets forgotten.
Oh yeah, the streak.
In the past three/four weeks, I have written down maybe tw hundred bits and pieces that will maybe becoe stories. At the moment they are just germs, seeds waiting to burst forth and grow the roots I need in my mind to pay them some attention and nurture them little more to fullfilledness (is that a word? should be!). I have had a creative streak that is second to none in the past three years. I can create anything I want anywhere. It is that good at the moment.
But have I done anything? Have I tended the garden of creativity and brought forth a bounty of stories to amaze and astound? Have I?
Short answer: No.
I start, I stop, I move on to the next.
And I don't know why.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Leeds. 1870. Lonely and brokenhearted, Grace Woodruff fights for her sisters’ rights to happiness while sacrificing any chance for her own.
The eldest of seven daughters, Grace is the core of strength around which the unhappy members of the Woodruff family revolve. As her disenchanted mother withdraws to her rooms, Grace must act as a buffer between her violent, ambitious father and the sisters who depend upon her. Rejected by her first love and facing a spinster’s future, she struggles to hold the broken family together through her father’s infidelity, one sister’s alcoholism, and another’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy by an unsuitable match.
Caring for an illegitimate half-brother affords Grace an escape, though short-lived. Forced home by illness and burdened with dwindling finances, Grace faces fresh anguish –and murder– when her first love returns to wreck havoc in her life. All is not lost, however. In the midst of tragedy, the fires of her heart are rekindled by another. Will the possibility of true love lead Grace to relinquish her responsibilities in the house of women and embrace her own right to happiness?
Grace blinked to clear her frozen mind as her mother and Verity climbed the staircase. If Verity was here then was William here too? Movement at the door caused Grace to close her eyes. She couldn’t bring herself to open them and see the one man she’d longed for since she was sixteen.
‘Miss Woodruff?’ Doyle inquired at her shoulder.
Startled, she spun to face him, but she was blind to him, blind to everything but the sensation of having William here. Crazily, she wondered if she would swoon like a maiden aunt.
Doyle’s hand reached out, but he quickly tucked it behind his back. ‘What is it, Miss Woodruff?’
Grace swallowed, feeling the fine hairs on her arms and nape prickle. He is here.
'Good evening, Grace.’
At the sound of William’s deep velvety voice, her heart stopped beating, only to start again at a rapid pace. Her stomach clenched and her legs felt unable to support her anymore. Slowly, she swivelled to gaze into William’s blue-green eyes and knew she was lost again. William smiled his captivating smile. He had aged, no, matured since their last meeting. He looked leaner, but broader in the shoulders. There was an aura about him, something that females of any age wanted. He made all other men around him seem insignificant. A magnetism, a mystical air surrounded him, catching Grace in its clutches once more.
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For more information about me or my books, please visit my website.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Wendy posted very recently about her characters not doing as she wants, which is often the characters wont. Characters are like children, and - strangely enough - exactly like the actors who will perhaps portray them at some future moment, usually when you are dead and your estate sells your back catalogue cheap coz they have no idea what REAL art is worth.
Having had a little to do with serious thespians, I find that like some characters, they are spoilt, lazy, ornery and at times idiotic. Treat them as equals. threaten the crap out of them. Bring in new characters who will work harder and cheaper and do what they're told (at least until they get known and become just like those they replace).
But on the subject of characters (and not multiple personalities), I offer this little piece I wrote a while back about characters. Please enjoy (I did say please :) )
That doesn't happen to me. My characters are not cooperative. They tend to sleep a lot and require a wack from a big stick to wake them and get them motivated. If I have a cold, my characters cough and sneeze a lot. If I'm angry or irritated, my characters have a physical fight and injuries occur, and if I'm stuck in research mode my characters fidget or wander in a dark cave. On wintery days they struggle uphill through the snow or drown in an icy lake, but when the sun shines outside, they give cheek to the authorities and sing and dance in a forest.
Why can't they get a life of their own? That would make it so much easier for me to plot a realistic story.
At this very moment I'm procrastinating about opening my wip file (chapter 5 from the heroine's pov) but I know the heroine will simply sigh and be her usual bland self- centred self, worrying about how people perceive her. Whereas my villain, she will be running down the beach with her dog, doing exactly what I am feeling guilty for not doing.
. . . where's my dog?
Friday, June 3, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
from Jacqueline George
Just a few quick notes on creating covers. Firstly, I’m not a certified artist, graphic designer, web nerd or anything similar. (I am awaiting my certification as a complete nutter who sits at their computer writing books every day – it must be lost in the post.) So, there is no reason to respect anything below. They are just a collection of things I found out along the way.
1. The most important was that I am useless at selecting covers and titles that catch the readers’ fancy. Things that look good to me often flop badly. One way of getting around this is to make a series of thumbnail drafts of different covers, and invite web friends to choose the one they like best. Not infallible, but a good guide.
2. The second most important – KEEP IT SIMPLE! Someone pulling the cover up on their computer screen, or taking a book from a shop shelf, will give your creation only a quick look. They will not take the time to absorb any subtleties. Also, when your cover is displayed on Amazon, it will be as a tiny thumbnail – no subtleties there either. Before finally deciding on any cover, I reduce it on my computer screen to that small size and check if I can still read the lettering, and if the general idea still comes across. If it is too fussy, or does not have enough contrast, it will fail this test.
3. The cover sells an idea. It does not tell the story, so if you can find the perfect model but she has the wrong colour of eyes or hair, don’t worry about it. No-one else will. They are looking at the cover and gaining an impression of the delights within, and that’s what matters.
4. There is no substitute for using a good quality graphics program. I use Corel’s Paint Shop Pro. Adobe’s Photoshop is another. Neither of them will allow you to produce a brilliant cover on day one. You need to play around and learn how to translate your ideas into a high quality image, and that takes time. The results are well worth it. Once the graphics program had been paid for, I get exactly what I want very cheaply, and have even helped friends out now and again.
5. I like to use photo images as my cover backgrounds, and that immediately brings up copyright issues. Sometimes I can use photos I have taken myself, but mostly I use Shutterstock.com or Dreamstime.com. Dreamstime are good when you only want small images, such as the one above, because they charge less for small pics. That one cost $1.25 – cheap at the price. I do respect this copyright thing, because I sell ebooks and feel sensitive about thieving.
6. If an electrician comes to your house to fix something, he will be charging $50 per hour or more. If a graphic artist designs a cover for you, why should you expect them to charge any less? A complex layered image may take several hours and be a big dent in your budget. On the other hand something very simple, like the image above, will be finished in half an hour and you can do it yourself.
I hope those thoughts help. I’m sure I’ll think of a couple more as soon as I post this...
©Jacqueline George All rights reserved.
Jacqueline George lives in Cooktown, Far North Queensland. She enjoys the relaxed lifestyle there, and finds plenty of time write books, some of which are far too naughty for her own good.
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