Valerie Parv

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My first encounter with “Writing Romance” occurred in the early 1990’s by chance as a listener to a radio program where Valerie Parv was a guest discussing her new book, “The Art of Romance Writing.”  I ran out and bought a copy.

I was totally enchanted, still working full time, participating in further studies in Medical Science, and generally too busy to do much more.

So “The Art of Romance Writing” sat beckoning, stationed between Muir’s Pathology and Dacie and Lewis’s Practical Haematology for the best part of a decade, whilst I read sections, tried my hand at short stories and thoroughly enjoyed creative writing.

I mentioned this to Valerie at the recent Romance Writer’s Conference in Melbourne and it brought a smile to her face. She said she liked the idea of her book firmly ensconced amongst the Pathology tomes in my office.

Needless to say, my genre is “Medicals” – and Thank you, Valerie Parv.

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‘En Vacances,’ now ‘Back in Oz .’

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With the Romance Writers Conference just a page-turn away, it’s on to the last minute tweaking of Pitch proposals and Elevator length, spell-binding book blurbs.

Visiting Monaco again for the Tennis Masters 1000 and catching up with friends from all over the globe was always going to be hard to avoid. The effort well worth the expense.

– polishing up the schoolgirl French

– the routine of using lifts at the end of tunnels and passageways carved through the rock with entrances neatly tucked away in Church entrances, help to offset the trip back up the mountain. Staircases skipped down with a smile at 8am develop a less jovial appearance on return after 4pm.

– learning to calmly negotiate the buses to ‘je ne sais ou’ and find oneself there, more often than not.

– My sporting hero Rafael Nadal has achieved “La Decima” at Monte Carlo Country Club.

🙂

Back to the Classroom

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It’s been a while, another manuscript, one more contest, several rejections, not much joy.

Oh, writing the MS was – always is. 🙂 So it was time to get back into the Classroom and knuckle down. I chose Margie’s Classroom  see  http://www.margielawson.com  and I have two wonderful editing partners.

Now that’s joyful!

We are all looking forward to the immediate road ahead and I’ll be back, once I’ve rounded that first bend up ahead.

Cheers

sytycw

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So you think you can write? Well, yes-but with the realization that I’m still at base camp with a long haul straight up, ahead.

Harlequin and Mills & Boon’s global writing competition has opened for First chapter and Pitch submissions and mine HIDDEN TRUTHS, OPEN HEARTS  is amongst them under the tab, Read Entries.  http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts/

This is an exciting opportunity, not simply to enter, but to read all the other writer’s First Chapters and think about how important it is to begin a story well in just under 5000 carefully chosen and constantly evaluated words.

Then there is the Pitch-the 100 word pitch. In such a small space, the concept, plot, conflict, characters and setting need to be outlined with as much pulling power as possible to convince the reader that this book is well worth the effort of at least reading the first chapter.

If it fits your ideal of a Romance between a wonderful guy and a gal finding her feet after adversity, then I hope you will visit the sytycw website and vote for HIDDEN TRUTHS, OPEN HEARTS – just one amongst all the amazing stories there.

Voting begins on October 2 to 10 – with ONE VOTE per DAY allowable.

So for the continued high regard and success of this global competition, please visit ^^ read the stories and don’t forget to VOTE.

Thank you,   Wendy

From Rose to Gold

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Well, I’m sneaking back in on tippy toes after a more lengthy absence than anticipated, but “la vie en Rose” it certainly was and our Hero made it eight-in-a-row. Well worth the effort to be there…

So, back on the Gold Coast, still savouring the aftermath of the wonderful Romance Writers Conference here last week. Pure Gold, in so much as what was presented, what was learned and what can be done to enhance one’s WIP.

Alex Sokoloff’s workshop on the Friday thrilled us with her Screenwriting Tricks for Authors and set the tone for the entire event – it was fabulous – as were without exception,  our keynote speaker,  Eloisa James and presenting Authors of the sessions I was lucky enough to attend.

The Author Cafe morning teas and brief lunch breaks with, in my case, Barbara Hannay and Fiona Lowe gave us the chance to ask one on one, questions dear to our hearts.

New friends made and existing friendships reinforced – it truly was a Conference worth it’s weight in Gold.  Thank you, Romance Writers of Australia,  RWA and all of our sponsors and supporters who participated fully and really were part of the Conference. Thank you.

Monte Carlo – et la vie en rose.

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April is surely the favourite sporting month for those of us obsessed with tradition, stunning venues and top sportsmen.

While the Masters at Augusta plays its way scenically through the azaleas to conclusion, without I might add, the chest thumping, win-at-all-costs aggression  or screaming hype, my bags are packed for Monaco.

The gals and guys from Vamosbrigade are converging from all corners of the globe, zeroing in on another stunning venue for two weeks of top Masters Series Tennis with vigorous cheering, flag waving and a margarita or two.

As moderators and members of an independent site for Rafael Nadal we’ve watched a young teenager grow up, evolve into one of the top tennis players of all time, deal positively with the ensuing pressures and importantly remain a charming fellow with good manners and a great smile.

As a parent and caddy of a professional sportswoman, watching the joys and woes of junior golf at first hand and the ever increasing dilemmas of elite sport, I have watched with a fine tuned interest and can only send plaudits to him and his family.

One smile sadly missing this year in the golf world is that of Seve Ballesteros. It would have been his birthday tomorrow. I remember it clearly as we awoke at odd hours every year downunder to watch the Masters and in particular the Spanish hero, Seve and his amazing golf game.

So, that’s what I’ll be doing – as well as refreshing my character file with interesting people I meet and places I visit.  As for la vie en rose, well its terre battue, clay and has a rosy hue and I love the style of tennis played on it. So au revoir aux tous, bonne chance Rafa and Vamos!

Looking Back at Heroes – and even more Impressed.

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As a child, my parents took me to see the new movie hit, South Pacific. My father had returned to us and although a casualty of the War in the Pacific himself, he was in good spirits at that time and wanted to see the film.

Shown on a wide screen in colour with the glorious music of Rogers and Hammerstein, it was inspiring and I fell in love for the first time.

I was too young to really understand the arguments of the day regarding politics, the War itself and the attraction between the grown ups – aka the sailors and the nurses. I was however desolate that the young Joe Cable didn’t get to go back to his girlfriend and it put paid to the rest of the film for me. How could the others be happy?

Living unknowingly in the midst of the perpetuating horror of the Stolen Generations of my time, I was discretely informed while my tears were gently brushed away, that this ‘friendship’ was somehow not allowed and that’s probably why it wasn’t continued with, in the film. It was my introduction to racism and like Joe Cable had so eloquently sung with the help of Bill Lee, ‘You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught.’

I saw the film, now a Classic Movie, again for the first time just last week and have re-run it several times, enchanted with the story by James A Michener, the scenery, the dancing and singing and the acting. It’s ‘fifties’ but I think it has aged well when compared to other musicals of the era which seem stilted and highly vaudevillian, imho.

Many at the time criticized the use of filters which flood the screen with red or deep purple hues when intriguing, mysterious scenes are about to happen. Similarly golden yellow hues overlay the happy moments. I thought in a way it worked well as it gave the theatrical singing scenes, a comfortable place to be until we returned to the main storyline. However the critics’ POV was detrimental to the very popular film and did affect the actors’ futures.

Getting back to the Hero.  For me it was and still is, without doubt, Joe Cable played by the actor John Kerr.

I realized this week I have often thought of him,  John and ‘Joe,’ over the years and wondered ‘whatever became of…’ as one does. So he, his acting, his character’s role in the story, the screen play and how it was played out on the screen had a huge effect on my childhood view of the world. He seemed such a good young man and I related well to his gentle portrayal of his brave young character at the time.

Having decided to follow up on the ‘whatever…’ and now as a woman of an age who definitely should not be ogling such a gorgeous young man in his prime, I was impressed with the results of my research. And John Kerr, I say with a smile, is older than me in real life so I don’t feel so badly about it, really.

He was a contemporary of James Dean and in fact both were in line for roles in the many films they both made. But he took a different route in his life, relaxed his focus on Hollywood, enrolled in University and became a Lawyer.

He received bonus points from me for remaining a lifelong friend of France Nuyen his ‘girlfriend’ in South Pacific and indeed assisted her in a matter of Law later on in life. She too went back to University and became a successful professional woman. Well done both of you; if I may.

So, a truly happy ending for my first Hero who caught my attention as a child for many reasons and is also seen appraisingly from this stage of my life.

It’s highly likely that he, John or Joe, may resurface as a thoughtful, good looking, romantic Hero in one of my next books.

I hope he doesn’t mind.

Pirates in Paradise

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It’s a beautiful morning – as they say here with no modesty whatsoever, “Beautiful one day, perfect the next.”

Colourful parrots are squawking in the garden as I head for the beach with my coffee and “someone’s baby” from my to-be-read pile.

The latest “Tallest … since…” is near completion and I must say it is a pretty building.

It’s hot and I walk along the fore shore rather than the beach – there are shady trees further down. But what’s this?

Pirates in Paradise?”

It’s the Australian Sand Sculpting Championships for 2012 and they are busy shaping, others contemplating, these works of art as the Pirate theme emerges from the sand. They are huge, amazingly beautiful and delicately carved. One of the artists wears a pirate scarf knotted under his hair at the back and with the seas behind him really fits in.

But I think I know where the treasure is buried. I had an indicator of it in January and at the time almost bobbled my latte. The most beautiful rainbow stretched across Surfers Paradise and so high up in the sky. It took my breath away.

Where does it end?

Perhaps I’ll follow these Meter Maids as they weave their way through the crowds – clad in gold lame and sequined bikinis, do they know the way or are they merely on hand to save someone’s day from the dreaded parking inspectors.

… and what would I find in that pot?

Well, heaps of the character outlines I’ve wished for and their POVs on everything. A few pirates amongst them, in nature if not in clothing apparel, and perhaps a Call for one of my “babies.”

Now finding that fabled pot would make my tomorrow “perfect.”

The Australian Sand Sculpting Championships are coordinated by Sandstorm Events :  www.sandstorm.com.au

Summer in Oz

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Latte's with a view

Fourteen days into the New Year and all’s well.   Of course it is – it’s summer Downunder. It’s early in the morning but the beach is alive. On the water, surfers are making the most of some impressive waves. .

Heroes

On the sands and promenade, joggers, power walkers and families with kids – most with balloons from a membership drive for the local footy team, participate in the goings on.

Ouch, creative cropping - sorry mate

By the way, “Go the Gold Coast Suns” and thanks for the fantastic greeting.

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Tigermoth in full flight

A Tigermoth with sightseers didn’t waste any time this morning and two beautiful greyhounds have just loped languidly past.

… and Heroes, well Whitey and the blokes have just zipped past on their state of the art bicycles…

Whitey and the blokes

More heroes

…and the AFL football players have taken up where the Magic Millions thoroughbreds left off during the week – sprinting down the beach to the delight of beach goers. .

Down south, the Australian Open Tennis is about to start in Melbourne while the Cricket and the A-League soccer, the tip of a sporting iceberg down here at the moment, are in full flight.

The buzz of expectation is palpable so it’s hard not to be caught up in the excitement.

Having a rest now

Yet, for me so far in 2012 – I can say definitively, there’s not much happening as I await the Call/rejection letter for my first manuscript with ever decreasing length of fingernails.  I’m trying to smile and be communicative. 🙂

Surfing

That said, trying to use my time judiciously, dividing it between books #2 – (nearly done) and #3 – (outlined), plus read everyone else’s wonderful blogs and websites while I wait , is really hard.

The more you read, the less you write but still one needs to keep up and continuously enhance one’s knowledge.

Taking the plunge

Maybe I’ll go for a run along the beach.

Year’s end and a New beginning

I’ve decided I won’t be recapping the past year – I lived it, I’ve appreciated the pluses, despised those responsible for the minuses and will take many lessons forward. But I don’t need to relive it. My TV and radio are currently in a state of rest. 🙂

The New beginning is another matter. The first of January gives us the opportunity to put an arbitrary line across the page of life and start again. I like it – it’s positive.

With a quiet Festive Season this year, I took the opportunity to read and decreased my ‘To Be Read’ pile by some dozen tomes. Some genres I’d never read or appreciated before were inspirational other regulars, somewhat disappointing.

Some criticize the art of writing with a dash of romance. I’ve just read a wonderful story that stopped being wonderful as the designated ending began to evolve some seven eighths into the journey. The final chapters became depressingly inevitable. I say depressing because the story had been so uplifting, showing such strength of the human soul.

It’s not that I feel all stories need to be fairytales with happy-ever-after endings, but the reader should be given hope – for the effort if for nothing else, otherwise just turn the TV and radio back on.

Choosing Heroes

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A few days ago, I walked along the Esplanade, soaking in the exquisite views of moderate rollers coming in, beach goers relaxing on white sand or strolling along in the shallows and gulls floating in to land amongst their own.

With a soft whirring, I turned my head to see four guys in racing gear cycle past in a neat single line. Like the many who practice here along the foreshore roads the length of the Gold Coast, they were trim and had a confident air about them. Without doubt, they knew exactly what they were doing – experience in any sport shows instantly.

As one by one they lent into the curve of the round-about up ahead, in a light hearted manner I thought, there go four Heroes, I wonder which one fits my next WIP. I could only see them from behind as they had raced past at a fast pace but the guy in white stood out.

Was it just the colour of the top? They all wore similar knee length tights and patterned helmets. Why not the the turquoise, the marine blue or the yellow?

Hmm… On reflection, it was the athleticism, the not-too-slim muscular definition; the tall but not-too-tall or gawky, rangy body type and the balance. Above all, it was his balance on the bike to the point of being one with it and in total synchronisation, that caught my eye.

As I sipped my coffee and concluded my short pieces of observation on Ibis’s squishy feet and the bright red fire brigade truck that had stopped at the lights a moment earlier, bringing memories of my little granddaughter’s delight on seeing one flooding back, I looked up and saw the cyclists pull up within a metre of my table.

Now I got to see their faces for the first time. They were all late thirties or early forties and one of many groups of retired competitive riders who enjoy their training runs together.

The guy in white smiled a stunning smile, luckily I was sitting down and said “Shh, watch the language, we have a lady in our midst.”

I returned the smile to the happy bunch but obviously along with a slight frown, as I tried to find a word that had escaped me – one to describe the fire engine.

I answered, “Thank you, but that’s OK.”

“Is there a problem, luv?”

“Actually, yes there is – I can’t remember the word for the window at the front of a car,” I said as I scratched my head gently with the end of my pencil.

“Windscreen, luv,” and as the lights changed, another gorgeous smile and in answer to my thanks, he said, “not a problem, see ya, bye” and off he rode.

“Thanks again, bye.” Whew.

Windscreen. Of course it was. But the metal protective screen to stop stones, debris and the odd kangaroo perhaps, had clouded the issue. In fact, since I’ve upped my daily word count I’m finding I’m often stymied by a simple word.  Something else to research.   🙂

Might I conclude by saying, he was my choice, Mr White guy – back, front, voice, twinkling soft grey eyes, hair a little long and escaping at the nape of his neck, hmm…

How did I know that?

—ooOoo—