Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guest Blogger: Author Louisa George

Back by popular demand - it's the Romance Author Extravaganza! And I'm especially thrilled to hand over the reins to the gifted Louisa George, who I had the pleasure of meeting in person! Over to you, Louisa!

Hi Libby!

So lovely of you to invite me here today! And so fabulous to have actually met you. In Person. In Anaheim! What a total thrill!

Anyway, on to the blog…


So, I think I left my muse in the bar in Anaheim. She was being entertained by a mojito cocktail and a lovely waiter called Jason. I’d really like to have her home now, so please send her back if you see her! I’m stuck and I need her help.

So what to do in times like these? When the story has hit a wall and your brain is out to lunch? Sometimes you write yourself into a corner and it seems as if there’s no way out.

What works for me- what ALWAYS works, is going back to the core conflict. Not the silly argument the hero and heroine had in chapter two which meant they had to kiss and make up, or the misunderstanding they had in that last scene about the woman she saw him with who wasn’t his wife but was really his sister…but the CORE CONFLICT of the story.

What is preventing the hero and heroine getting together? It isn’t the visible obstacle, although an axe-wielding murderer is pretty important, but deal with him and you’ve still got to have some kind of roadblock to the romance. You need an emotional obstacle.

The emotional/inner conflict comes from some sort of belief your hero/heroine holds that prevents them from achieving their goal. In a romance it prevents them from finding love.

This conflict stems from something that has happened to them in the past that has formed this belief – usually crystallised by thoughts such as – love hurts/ love can’t last/ you can’t trust a charming man / I am worthless. They are unhealed wounds that shape the character’s way of thinking about the world and their place in it.

So, after the kiss, or after their first night of wild love-making the thing that holds the tension and the pacing of the story is how the character sees the relationship IN LIGHT OF THE CONFLICT.  This is why so many romances have a dark scene after a love-making scene- the hero/heroine cannot believe they are lovable /or that they can trust someone else so they shrug on their emotional armour and put up barriers again. Thus we have the lovely push/pull and will they/won’t they? of the romance journey.

This inner conflict is the key to story because it is key to character. And character is what makes readers invest their emotions in our books.

So, when the chips are down and you can’t see a way forward in your plot, always look to your characters’ inner journey to find your answer.

In my current release, Waking Up With His Runaway Bride heroine Mim strives to keep her independence after a childhood dominated by controlling men and her mother’s addiction. So when ex fiancĂ© Connor turns up to decide her business’s future she fights tooth and nail to retain control of both her emotions and her medical centre.


Their make-or-break reunion...
Mim McCarthy needs to focus on saving her clinic—not her insufferable yet outrageously sexy ex Dr Connor Wiseman. He might have grown into those cheekbones, but she knows he won’t have forgiven his runaway fiancĂ©e so easily! Yet it’s impossible to deny the sparks between them – their fights used to be legendary, but their making up might be even more momentous…

I’m happy to give away one copy – all you have to do is leave a comment!

Waking Up With His Runaway Bride is available in ebook from: 

And in paperback (free postage worldwide!) from:

Friday, August 3, 2012

RWA Conference Wrap-Up

This is me at the awards ceremony with the fabulous chicks from the Chick Lit chapter.

Hello all! I'm taking a side jaunt from the Romance Writers Extravaganza to check in because I know some of you will be itching to hear about the RWA conference in Anaheim. So without any further ado, here's a recap of what happened:

I arrived on Tuesday evening full of excitement (and nerves). I'd never done anything like this before - gone to a professional conference and I wasn't sure what to expect. The hotel was super (and huge!) and all but taken over by folks in the romance biz. They were identifiable by the RWA badges, but most everyone you passed in the halls, the lobby, etc. was sporting a friendly smile along with a badge. The energy was seriously buzzing. I ran into Heidi Rice in the elevator that first night and took it as a good omen. :-)

On Wednesday I signed up for the Women's Fiction mini conference and I'm so glad I did. Margie Lawson led the morning session with tips and techniques on Deep Editing. I am thrilled that I got to sit in on this. Am starting to think of Margie Lawson as Queen Midas, given the number of Margie graduates who go on to snag RITA awards... After the technical portion, the WF mini con arranged for an author panel, and agent and editor panel and later a marketing expert. So much great information! In addition to padding my knowledge on all aspects of the biz, I got to meet some wonderful women including Laura Drake - the chapter president, Lucie Simone - who I already knew in the virtual world and was so psyched to meet in real life, and Victoria Russell - who is fabulous. More on her in a bit.

During the break, I headed over to the Literacy Signing where I met more people I've only known online up to now, including some of my all-time fave HMB authors: Fiona Harper, Kimberly Lang and Louisa George, AND some of my friends from the Absolute Write Water Cooler: Sandy James and Joanna Bourne AND some of my fellow Musa authors: Lisa Sherwood-Fabre and Donna Del Oro. It was pretty surreal to put real live people with all these online personalities.

Here's the goody room. So much fab stuff there.

The next day I hit several workshops, all of which were informative and helpful. And I also discovered the goody room. This picture isn't so great. It hardly captures what that room really looked like - rows and rows of fun stuff (sparkly pens, chapter excerpts, little bottles of perfume, etc.) Somewhere in my pile of booty, I've got a "do-not-disturb" door hanger thingie with an image of a historical novel cover and the words "Her ladyship cannot be disturbed" or something like that. Too hilarious.

The RWA held a keynote luncheon featuring author, Stephanie Laurens, whose speech was fabulously inspirational. (The chicken was not so good though.) In the afternoon, I met up with Joanna Bourne, Sandy James and Victoria (not sure of her last name) from Absolute Write. It was such a great experience. We chatted for a nice spell. They're great gals, all of them. 

A little later, I found Heidi Rice at the Harlequin book signing, and it was so fabulous to catch up with her. I was fortunate enough to have met Heidi a couple of times before back in England and we chatted like old pals. Later that evening, I met up with the warm and wonderful Tari Lynn Jewett, one of the writers behind the fabulous From Fact to Fiction blog, and later I hung out with the lovely Victoria Russell and we practiced pitching our stories to each other. The pitch sessions were looming and the nerves were definitely tightening... I'm SO glad Victoria and I pitched to each other, though. You can only rehearse alone so many times.

On Friday I eased up on the workshops a bit. I think I only attended two as I had my agent pitch that day and definitely wanted to seem fresh, not burned out. After another RWA luncheon with another amazing orator (Robyn Carr) and sadly more dry chicken, AND after a few outfit changes, I went down to the ballroom for my agent pitch. 

Oh boy. Walking through the lobby and into the ballroom, I honestly felt like I was walking towards the gallows. But the pitch wasn't painful at all. I don't really want to say much on this - don't want to jinx myself or anything. Sorry. Believe me, I'll be shouting it from the rooftops if this pans out. :-)  Anyway...

Saturday was more of the same. Workshops, an editor pitch and lots of chatting with some fascinating authors at all stages of their careers. I spent time getting to know RITA winners, writers who were just getting started on breaking into the industry and everyone in between. 

Just a random sign indicating the workshop inside. These were everywhere.

One thing I have to say is that despite all the forewarnings about sore feet, that was definitely not an issue for me. Course I didn't spent a whole lot of time standing in line and I had fairly comfortable shoes on - not the most comfortable ones I own, but definitely not my spiky heels or anything. Another thing I have to remark on is the incredible amount of books they give away during the conference! I had to mail a small box home to myself and, believe me, I was pretty conservative about picking up books. I'd have loved to go the whole hog, but I was concerned with when I'd find time to read them all! 

And then it was Saturday night and time for the awards banquet. I sat with the lovely ladies from the Chick Lit chapter of RWA and we had a great time before the awards began. About the awards... in a word... wow. Oh my goodness. If you took all the excitement and energy of the previous few days and multiplied it by ten, then you'll get some idea of the atmosphere that night. Each and every one of the Golden Heart and RITA winners was overwhelmed with her win, and the speeches were so touching, I felt myself almost starting to tear up a few times. The incredibly talented Joanna Bourne - if you recall, one of the authors from Absolute Write that I'd met up with earlier - took home a RITA for Best Historical novel. Cool, huh? Naturally I indulged in a few fantasies that night. Is it possible that someday I might be up on stage getting an award? You never know... 

Haha, when I started this blog, I'd planned on quickly summarizing what happened at the conference. Fat chance! But to wrap this up, I'll just say:

Amazing energy, inspiration, encouragement, support, sisterhood and camaraderie, seeing/meeting my idols, learning that dreams can come true.