Happy Valentine’s Day!

Finding Love... Where the Grass is Greener

 

I would like to wish my readers all the love, romance and delicious reads they can fit in on this auspicious occasion.

Can’t decide if you’re a country lover or a sexy city seducer… check out my latest novel, “The Grass is Greener” that follows two distinctly different heroines.

Today my husband and I also celebrate the 12th anniversary of our marriage. We went out for a relaxing lunch… without the kids J

These days it’s not so much about the gifts we exchange or where we go that matters. It’s more about the quality time we get to spend together. It’s always an effort to carve out a space in our hectic schedule to squander purely on relaxation and being in the moment.

Many romance writers, including myself, also consider V-day a celebration of our genre. Romance novels capture and celebrate the most precious of human experiences – falling in love. Nothing will make a character sacrifice more or go the distance further. Love is one of those mysteries that man can never completely grasp even though he can experience it so fully. And, let’s face it, it’s also provocative, heart racing, tantalizing fun!

Happy Valentine’s Day! If you can’t be with your special someone than I hope you’re reading a great book. Preferably one of mine.

Best wishes,

Loretta Hill

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Next Release Announcement

Okay, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Or maybe the moment I’ve been dying to get to. I’ve just been itching to show you this cover and blurb for weeks now. But the team at Random House just needed a little more time to perfect it. The title, particularly, was very hard to settle on. There are a lot of suggestions on the cutting room floor between my editor, me and my agent as we tried to come up with something catchy. Finally, we settled on strong and simple and I think it works rather well. Don’t you?

 

Anyway, enough babbling!! I am soooooooo excited to announce my next release, hitting shelves in January 2015. This is a book about sisters, “The Maxwell Sisters,” and it’s very close to my heart as I have three wonderful sisters of my own and have been hanging out to tell a story like this for a long time.

 

I’m sorry to all my FIFO fans out there. No, it’s not a mining story. But after three years on a jetty, I had to try my hand at something else. Not to say, I’ll never go back. I definitely do have more FIFO stories in me. But I hope you all enjoy the change as much as I have.

 

Anyway, let’s get on with the reveal… my most heart warming cover yet, I think. Enjoy!

maxwellsistersfinal

‘ You are cordially invited to the wedding of Phoebe and Christopher . . .’

All families have their problems. No more so than the Maxwells of Tawny Brooks Winery. Situated in the heart of the Margaret River wine region, this world-renowned winery was the childhood home to three sisters, Natasha, Eve and Phoebe.

Today all three women are enmeshed in their city lives and eager to forget their past – and their fractured sibling relationships. Until Phoebe decides to get married at home. . .

Now the sisters must all return to face a host of family obligations, vintage in full swing and interfering in-laws who just can’t take a hint. As one romance blossoms and others fall apart, it seems they are all in need of some sisterly advice.

But old wounds cut deep. Somehow, the Maxwell sisters must find a way back to one another – or risk losing each other forever.

The Maxwell Sisters is a heartwarming romantic comedy about three extraordinary women on a journey to find love and rediscover family.

The Ending

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before but I always find the last few chapters of a novel the most challenging to write, mainly because this is where the book is the “fastest.”

 

You usually start at about 60km/hr. A comfortable pace, not to slow to be boring, but not so quick that the reader can’t take in the scenery out the window. It’s a time to build tension.

 

You feed it in slowly, here and there, drop your hints, incrementally increasing your speed little by little as you go. In engineering speak, if you’re upping the velocity by about 10km/hour per chapter, you’re doing it about right. In general, I have a lot of fun around the middle of the book, where the reader knows all the characters pretty well and I can just start having fun with them. You know, really laying on the torture thick and watching them tie themselves in knots.

 

But the ending, damn it, there’s just no time for fun. No time for looking out the window anymore. You’re just going too fast. I like the finish to be explosive. And so, with that in mind, I try to tie up as many of my strings all at once, in one big focal event that brings everything together – both emotional and external conflicts. The race to the finish line should be, well… a race. I want my reader to arrive there breathless.

 

 

My latest manuscript is no different. Only this time around I’ve been battling. Why? Because I have three heroines and about six story lines all colliding in the final chapters. That’s a difficult set of balls to juggle, especially for a panster who has no idea where she’s going.

 

So this week, I did the ultimate flip face. I decided to do something I’ve never done before and plot, (yes I do say that like it’s a dirty word), the ending – Scene by scene. I just couldn’t see a way around not doing it without my head spinning out of control.  So with the aid of paper cards and colour coding textas, I have managed to story board my ending into eighteen scenes.

 

It feels amazing!

 

In fact, I feel like I’ve just discovered a new food group. And I’ve cut down my stress levels by about half. Now all I have to do is stick with it.

 

I’ll let you know how I go!

 

My Story Board, Scene by Scene, on the floor of my study

With “All My Love”

All My Love Cover OnlyI’m all for technology. Hell, I’m an engineer. Don’t I have to be? But sometimes I just like the good old fashioned feel of a paper book. That crisp woody smell of the pages and the heaviness of it in my hand. If you were disappointed last year to discover that my first contemporary novella was only available electronically than I have good news! “One Little White Lie” was released today in print along with four other great stories in one big book called “All My Love.” It’s not often you get to read novellas in this format, so enjoy the treat. I know I will.

The cover is beautiful, don’t you think? Joyous and romantic. I am so proud to have my story along side the work of these other wonderfully talented authors. I can’t wait to delve into their stories myself.

 

In fact, I’m saving it as a special treat for Mother’s Day. Hey, I deserve it! I’ve got four kids, you know. That’s one novella per child. (Excluding mine). Perfect!!!

So if you’re looking for a heart warming gift for mum or for yourself, I wouldn’t go past this.

Enjoy!

 

All My Love

Fall head over heels for five heart-warming tales of love all in one great book . . .

One Little White Lie by Loretta Hill

A hilarious rom-com about a white lie that turns into a red-blooded reality!

 

Eliza’s Home by Rachael Herron

An enchanting wartime love story set in a sleepy Californian town.

 

Dr No Commitment by Virginia Taylor

A mischievous romance about a man who’s always run from love and the girl who just might catch him.

 

Anybody But Him by Claire Baxter

What happens when you fall in love with the man you hate?

 

Captivation by Nicola Moriarty

An intoxicating paranormal romance in which true love never dies . . .

 

I will also be releasing a novella in 2014!

I’m currently writing the final chapters of a romantic comedy novella to be released as an e-book early next year. I am thrilled to be releasing the title and blurb today to whet your appetite for it. I’ve certainly had a lot of fun writing it. I do love a heroine who is unlucky in love and a hero who has “Bad” as his middle name. This one has a lovely Valentine’s day theme, so the release date is perfect for all you romantics at heart.

Here’s the details.

Operation Valentine

Out February 2014

“Once upon a time, there was a young girl called Sarah Dubert who needed to fall in love in six week …”

Thanks to food poisoning, broken dates, airport malfunctions and even death, Sarah Dubert has never had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. However this year she’s determined to break the curse and snare herself a man before Big V. Signing herself up to the online dating site soulmates.com, she begins eliminating possible candidates through dates at her favourite bar, The Blue Saloon…

Owen Black, the handsome new owner of The Blue Saloon, likes his women fast, experienced and temporary. A woman on a mission to find love – particularly one with a six-week deadline – would normally have him running for the hills. So why is he so uncharacteristically interested in Sarah’s search? And, more importantly, the success of her dates…?

Turning Points – I think I had twelve this week…

In mid August, I went to the RWA writers conference in Perth and attended Kim Hudson’s workshop on “The Virgin’s” journey. “The Virgin” being an archetype that describes the heroine in most romantic fiction. Kim proposes that “The Virgin” makes her journey through twelve story turning points. In her workshop she illustrated much of this using well known romantic comedies. My kind of genre! Her work actually expands the work of Joseph Campbell who developed the original twelve step journey for “The Hero” (another archetype) for general fiction.

Anyway, so why am I relating all this mumbo jumbo to you? Well, I would like to introduce a third archetype to the mix. Let’s call her, “Loretta Hill.” This archetype, describes the typical struggling writer, dreamer by day, word smith by night, always looking for a way to make her life easier – mostly to no avail.

Anyway, if I were to plot this particular archetype’s twelve point journey this last week. I would have to say, it went something like this.

1. Loretta is trapped by her Dependant World. She realizes that she has a novella to submit to her publisher by November and she’s still in holiday mode. Eeeek!!!
2. The Price of holiday mode is an angry publisher, disappointed readers and an unimproved bank balance. Groan.
3. But she has an Opportunity to shine, by using the techniques just discovered at Kim Hudson’s workshop so,
4. She decides to leave her comfort zone and for the first time in her life : PLOT a book to make writing it go faster.
5. In this new Secret World where she’s a plotter not a panster, she is able to plot the journey of “The Virgin” on paper until she notices that,
6. Her heroine Doesn’t Actually Fit “The Virgin” archetype profile. In fact, “The Virgin” archetype is more appropriate for the male lead in her story. In desperation she…
7. Digs up Joseph Cambell’s twelve point journey for “The Hero” and uses this to plot the journey for her heroine. It works well, and now compliments or Collides perfectly with the journey she has plotted for her male lead.
8. With her two beautifully plotted plans, she feels Inspired and sits down to write. The words fly off her fingers as inspiration soars until she realizes,
9. Shit! She has deviated from both her plotted story plans after just six sentences and created Chaos.
10. Oh well, too bad. She feels so much better in this Wilderness and the words flow, from zero to five thousand.
11. By ten thousand words, she has to confess, “Once a panster, always a panster.” But at least,
12. In this New World where she accepts who she is, she realizes that maybe it would be better to use archetypes for inspiration rather than plotting.

Happy Writing!

Getting into Character

Well, break time is over.

Time to begin writing my next book which will actually be a novella.  Nice, short, sweet and funny. At least, that’s what I’m aiming for. I haven’t actually started yet. In fact, I’m procrastinating. There’s nothing more intimidating than a blank page. And even though I’m excited about my premise, I don’t really know my characters well yet so I’m kinda nervous about working with them. I guess it’s like that feeling you have when you’re about to meet in person someone you’ve only corresponded with over phone or email. You’re pretty sure you’re going to like them but you’re slightly worried that at first, it might be a little awkward.

manTo help, combat first greeting jitters, I think I might do some character sheets. I tend to do them before I start any story. It’s basically a questionnaire addressed to my character. I fill it out as my character and in this way get to know them very quickly before I have to write in their point of view. Not to say, this questionnaire is set in stone. Usually by chapter five it’s completely changed -even eye and hair colour. But it still helps me to get started. And one thing, I’ve learnt about being a writer is, if it works just do it.

 

Happy reading!