Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Good Wife

In my opinion, The Good Wife is absolutely riveting, must watch TV, and I can't wait for Series 3. I know that both Series 1 and Series 2 are currently playing around the world, so won't give away any vital plot twists and turns in this post... except to say that there are plenty, and if you haven't seen them all, keep watching!

The series has won critical acclaim, both for the excellent writing by writing team Robert King and Michelle King, and by the fantastic acting by the entire cast. Ridley Scott and Tony Scott are amongst it's impressive executive producer team, and the attention to detail shows.

As I'm a writer - for me the icing on the cake is the strong writing - and the perfect portrayal of the characters by the talented actors. I could talk about them all day, but I'm going to focus on my two favorites in this post - two strong women characters - Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies) and Kalinda Sharma (played by Archie Panjabi).
Alicia FlorrickI've long been a fan of Julianna Margulies, from right back in the ER days, when she and gorgeous George were a couple-but in my opinion, Alicia Florrick is her most perfect role. Everyone has their own preconceptions about what they might do in her circumstances when the story starts-she's been publicly betrayed by her husband-and is thrust back into the workforce for the first time in 13 years. There was plenty of scope to treat such an emotive situation badly. But the character Alicia is stoic, brave and contained. No ranting at the unfairness of life for Alicia - rather a careful application to doing her best for herself and her children. The writing is masterful-a classic portrayal of the 'show don't tell' approach. Alicia is often hurt, in obvious emotional pain, but shows it by her expression, the subtle tightening of her mouth, and what she doesn't say. And each episode has it's own self contained storyline, with Alicia and the other's characters in the background building through each episode. It's done so sucessfully that I'm drawn in, week after week. And often surprised at what I learn about each character.

Kalinda Sharma
Archie Panjabi is a wonderful actress. And she has been gifted a great role, as Kalinda, a woman wreathed in secrets, unwilling to share anything of herself, who over time becomes Alicia's closest confidante and best friend. Once again, like Alicia, we know there is a hell of a lot going on below the surface. We wonder about her background, her lovers, what she cares about. And I for one enjoy the way she manipulates, investigates and earns the admiration of all who come in contact with her. She's a fantastic heroine, scarred and vulnerable in the peeks that we get of her character's inner journey.

In conclusion, I applaud all involved in the making of this terrific series. Alicia and Kalinda are real. Their actions are driven by their motivations, and as such they come across as believable characters because they act the way Alicia and Kalinda would in the circumstances they find themselves in. They are also strong heroines, living life on their terms. Facing adversity, feeling the pain, and dealing with it.
They're the sort of heroine's I love. the ones I try to write. And  I can't wait for Series 3...

For a rundown of The Good Wife on Wikipedia, see here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Kissing Couple

An iconic photograph flooded the internet this week of a couple kissing on the ground in the middle of a riot in Vancouver after the Stanley Cup final between ice hockey teams the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins. You can see the photograph and read the story here
Twitter is awash with the story – there’s a hashtag #kissingcouple, and a new twitter account (which may, or may not be them) @kissingcouple. Today, the Irish Examiner report that the couple have hired a PR firm Markson Sparks to handle their public relations in Australia, with Max Markson saying "It’s a $10 million branding exercise. If you had something he could endorse it would be amazing. It would be good if he drank Red Bull."

Like the thousands tweeting, this powerful picture touched me. It speaks directly to the heart–to the often unspoken desire of all of us to protect and comfort the one we love. This moment captured in time has touched so many because In the midst of chaos, the couple’s entire attention and focus is on each other.

In the secret heart of all of us, we want someone to care. Someone to offer comfort. Someone to love.

The moment in time that has thrust the kissing couple into the world spotlight may be exploited to endorse products in the future. But the deep emotions it sparked in those who see this photograph—and allow themselves to believe what they see—aren’t diminished by that. It strikes a worldwide nerve. Highlights a universal truth. In the midst of chaos, we all want someone to protect us. To care. To love.
I wish them all the best.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fancy a visit to Isola dei Fiori? Reviewers wanted!

There is almost a month to go to the release of my new book, Marrying Cade.
I'd love this book to launch with a few reviews on Amazon on it's launch or, whatever is your Amazon...
So - with the earnest plea that you review it after reading, I'd like to offer five of my blog readers the chance to journey to the Tuscan Isle, Isola dei Fiori (between the pages!) before everyone else can get their hands on it!
Any takers? Send me an email using my 'contact me' in the sidebar, and a pdf will be winging its way to the first five!
p.s. Warning - spicy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Results from Kindle Nation Daily Sponsorship

A quick post today to report on the sales results from my Kindle Nation Daily Sponsorship on the 10th...
via novelrank... 7 sales of BTL Amazon US, 2 sales of BTL Amazon UK, and 2 sales of CMAC.

Now, back to the wip! And here's what I'm listening to - a favourite that seems to make it onto every one of my writing playlists!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I have a release date!

My new book, Marrying Cade, has a release date - 13 July!

Marrying Cade (with a spicy rating) will be released by The Wild Rose Press on this date - and will be available through their website and also on Amazon. I'll post links when I have 'em!

The first 10 pages were entered into Savvy Authors' Drive em Wilde contest last year which was judged by Samhain's Angela James, and was a runner-up.

Here's the blurb...I'll post an excerpt in early July.

Capable, financial advisor, Melo Bellucci always knew when it came to organising her sister’s wedding she’d in charge. After all, her sister, Rosa is notoriously scatterbrained. But there’s a silver lining in the form of the Best Man, Melo’s childhood crush, Cade West.

When Cade returns to the Tuscan island, Isola dei Fiori, he’s prepared to mix business with pleasure, especially when he meets Melo again. The confident, sexy woman is a world away from the lanky tomboy he remembers, and attraction burns between them instantly.
But when he discovers that the perfect site for his hotel. idyllic Paradise Beach, belongs to Melo, rather than her father, can their relationship survive, when there are two plans for Paradise?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Free kindle book anyone?

I have a lovely new 5 star review just in from Geeky Girl Reviews for Catch Me A Catch which has put me in such a good mood, I have a free Kindle giveaway of Bound to Love for the first lucky commenter who tells me in the comment box that they'd like it!

Fingers on keyboards.....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spending time with boys

Romance writers love boys. Bad boys especially. It's an occupational hazard. And I'm editing at the moment, so I'm spending a lot of time with boys.


An boys? If you have no idea who I'm talking about; you may be a vile user (like myself) of one of the most heinous (apparently) crimes against grammar in the known universe.

Yes, I'm talking about the comma splice.

I love comma splices, I could use them all day, they're great!
But they're not allowed.

Comma splices (which sounds like coffee slices, which I guess is why I like them) are instances where two sentences are incorrectly joined with a comma.

And this is where the boys come in. Yup, the international grammar hit squad, the anboys, will eliminate these pesky splices in less time than it takes to say semi-colon.


Stick one of these fellas between your splices, and you're good to go!
Or use a .!?;. Your choice.

Back to the usual programming when I've got this manuscript debugged!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Getting published is only half the battle...

As regular readers know, my first book, Catch Me A Catch came out in July 2010. Since then, I've learned quite a lot about the business that I really wasn't aware of up until that point.

The hard truth of the matter is that it isn't enough to have written a good book, scored a good cover, and have it available on Amazon. All these things are vital, but not enough! After all, there are thousands of books available on Kindle and other ebook platforms, and the only way to sell decent numbers is to make yourself stand out in a crowded marketplace. Everyone has heard of the great sales of good writers who are powering through the bestsellers lists - but what is often absent is the fact that they are great marketeers, who have worked hard to build awareness of their product.

I find this difficult - as I guess many writers do. After all, we spend most of our time in the cave, rather than blowing our own trumpets!

So... here are some tips I've learned and applied....

1. Make sure you have an online presence before you sell. That means a blog, twitter, facebook etc.
2. Reviews of your book on Amazon are vital - both UK and US. The US version of Amazon sells ebooks into many countries (including Ireland), so you need to have reviews in both. Also, its worth remembering that most review sites take time to review your book (if they review it at all) so ideally need to have your book before it goes on sale, so that the reviews are done when your book goes live.
3. Good tags on your Amazon entries - and ask people to agree with your tabs, which will advance you up in the amazon listings.
4. Being shy and reticent to promote yourself doesn't work. You need to let everyone know when your book is out - shout it everywhere. If a few people buy it at the same time, you will shoot up in the listings, and appear on more lists, and this means more people will see your name and cover. Remember you are not so much promoting yourself as your book, and giving it the best chance to fly. Check out Kindleboards, accept every invitation, and blog tour you can find. The last thing you want to do is bore the pants off all your internet friends, or even worse, irritate with constant self promotion -  but you need to let new people know about your work - so expand out!

Here's something I'm trying... I'll blog about results when I have 'em!
On June 10th Bound to Love is the featured book on Kindle Daily Nation. This means it will be mentioned on the site, which is automatically forwarded to interested readers, who receive the KDN newsletter on their Kindles. I haven't tried this before, but I'm hoping it will have a bump in my sales. The most important thing before KDN sponsorship is to have reviews of your book, because then people can see what others thought of it, which will help them in their decision to buy. These reviews don't have to be from professional reviewers, they can be from anyone who has read your book and has an opinion about it. KDN links to your US Amazon page, and I have 5 reviews there presently, which is just about the bare minimum. If anyone has read BTL and has been putting off doing a review, doing one before the 10th of June would be nice!

I'll report back on this in the week following June 10th to let you all know how I got on!

In the meantime, if you want to know how the big sellers are doing it, here are some good links to check out...

JA Konrath
Talli Roland
Catherine Ryan Howard
Amanda Hocking