Friday, 23 August 2013

I went to a conference, a Romance Writer's Conference.

I suppose you are all expecting me to talk about the fabulous Seminar by Kim Hudson.  A workshop entitled Virgin on the Half Shell was bound to get me to attend though I would have liked the Georgette Heyer workshops at the academic conference.

There were lots of fabulous workshops to help my writing and of course I put my name down to pitch with a couple of the publishers.  Probably the less said about that the better *mumble mumble* total stuff-up.  Whatever.

What I want to talk about is my fan-girl moments.  You may have somehow received the impression I'm a Mills and Boon fan from the dawn of time.  Near enough.  I read my first Mill's and Boon Romance in 1976 when I went to Brisbane to go to boarding school.  Now there is a stressful environment that requires total escapism.

Susan Stephens and Carole Mortimer
Anyway...this being said I've read lots of Mill's and Boon romances, from my three a day addiction while trying to forget my imprisonment *cough* educational institution to my current, never without a book at hand life.  This blog is mostly about the Harlequin Mills and Boon authors I met at the conference.  I met lots of fantastic and lovely authors of all different romance genres
but it would take a book rather than a blog to list them all.

Around the same time I started reading romance, Carole Mortimer started writing them.  She had her first book accepted in 1978 and has been writing ever since.  Needless to say I've been reading them ever since and have a large plastic box full to overflowing as she's written over 200 books.

So when I found she was coming to the RWAus13 conference in Perth with another English Mills and Boon author I've read over the years, Susan Stephens, I was naturally excited. (Understatement)  I only walked past them three times before I got up the courage to ask for a picture.  And being the lovely ladies they are they obliged.

 Of course one of my major motivations for booking for the Perth conference (apart from the very educational workshops) was that Maisey Yates was coming from her home near Seattle in the U.S.A.  Maisey is at the other end of the spectrum from Carole, a new author with Harlequin, Mills and Boon who writes stories I really love. (including a virgin hero)

With her is Jackie Ashenden from New Zealand, another new author who writes for *shhh* Samhain and Entangled with some frabulous heroes.  She just announced a new series with St. Martin's Press.

I stalked them all the way to Rottnest Island, the ARRA signing and pictured here at the costume party on the Friday night of the conference.
Caitlin Crews, Me looking smug and fangirly and Maisey Yates

Special Bonus Author from US was Caitlin Crews

Nicole Flockton

Another lovely author I met on line who writes for Crimson Romance and Escape Publishing is Nicole Flockton.  She writes lovely Mills and Boon style romances with classic alpha males and a series with a medical slant.  This is Nicole at the Awards Night on the Saturday night of the conference.  An Australian living in the U.S. she came home to visit family and attend the conference.

It was also great to meet Paula Roe, a Harlequin Mills and Boon Desire series author who I met last year and also at ARRA13 in Brisbane.  Following the Nautical and Nice theme, she came as an island complete with Palm Tree and Parrot.  Sunbaking on her golden sands is Seal, Rachael John's, who writes great Rural Romance published by Harlequin Australia.

Here we have a Medical Contingent with Fiona McArthur, Emily Forbes (Ruby Winner) and Amy Andrews.  With them is Mills and Boon Medical (and other things) Editor Sheila Hodgson who will hate me forever for this picture but she wasn't fussed on my story pitch anyway so it's all good really.

I also met Sarah Wendell from SmartBitchesTrashyBooks blog site.  Most embarrassing fangirl moment.*flails*  Yeah me speechless.  Hard to imagine but it happened.  Naturally she was thrilled to meet me.

I've run out of pictures of people I met.  My iPhone battery always died at the inconvenient moment.  Instead here is a selection of books I brought home written by authors I met at the conference.  They include Emmie Dark,  Michelle Douglas, Melanie Milburne (we shook hands), Rachel Bailey and Annie West as well as authors mentioned above.  I'm also pretty sure I saw Leah Ashton in a Nice Biscuit.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

When is an Alpha Hero not an Alpha hero....

When he's a Cowboy who is also an Indian

Are you confused yet?

I read romance for the heroes.  Yup.  Oh I know there has to be a heroine in there somewhere but really she is just a place card for me...

The Honey is BitterI've been reading romance for close on forty years and through most of that time, the Alpha hero has ruled the pages.  I remember the ones from the seventies, who used their power and influence to force the heroine into marriage, who were not above a little forced seduction.  These days, the feminists among us call them jerks and I nod sagely and slide my stash of vintage alpha jerks out of sight.

The modern Alpha is usually distinguishable by his revolving bedroom door, his billionaire status (inflation has effected more than the size of their manhood.) and usually some childhood trauma that is his excuse for being a jerk.  Seriously, they are mostly still jerks but they are too PC to actually rape their heroines.  Now their virility seduces the heroine into bed faster than you can say internal conflict.  (Same result but the feminists are happy because the heroine is ready, willing and able.)
Wife in the Shadows
So why am I burbling on about Alpha's.  It's because I've discovered a new kind of hero.  Shall we call him a Gamma hero.  Has the power of the Alpha but the sensitivity of the Beta.  They are subtle and sexy in the best way.

Sarah M. Anderson's Men of the White Sandy series are just the most amazing heroes.  They are...indescribably gorgeous.  Most of us wouldn't really want to live with an Alpha hero...but these guys are ready and packaged to take home for a Happy Ever After you would die for.  I've just finished Masked Cowboy, following on from Mystic Cowboy and I'm already hanging out for the next one.  It probably helps that I'm a sucker for an American Indian from way back.

I've reviewed both the books and include the reviews here.

Mystic Cowboy  *****

Mystic Cowboy by Sarah M. AndersonSooo. Just dragging myself away from contemplation of the cover. Rebel Runs Fast is some hot cowboy, even if he happens to be an Indian. And he is just as hot, just as gorgeous inside the covers.

Rebel is no alpha male, but he is something else, in the best possible way. He is the kind of hero that makes you want to...well in Australia it's totally impractical to go looking.

Madeline is the closest you could get to an alpha female, a driven doctor with money, used to power but searching for something more than the life she'd been destined for.

They both have something the other needs, but with lives so different, expectations so far apart it could be an impossible task. 

I love the way Rebel 'gets' Madeline and oh so gently draws her into his world. Uptight Madeline reveals a whole different side under the gentle handling of a mystic cowboy.

The painting of the Lakota Reservation, the people, the struggles, the history is all very well done without being heavy handed.

I look forward to seeing more of the Men of the White Sandy.

Masked Cowboy  ****'

Masked Cowboy (Men of the White Sandy, #2)

4 1/2 stars. What can I say about Jacob Plenty Holes? He is just fascinating. What else can you call a man who each Summer evening does a Flashdance style semi-strip with a glass of water in front of every woman in the small town of Faith Ridge, South Dakota. This is the same guy who wears a mask to cover scarring on half his face.

The heroine,veterinarian Dr Mary Beth Hofstetter took me a little longer to warm up to. I prefer to keep my modern sexually liberated women in the real world. Mary Beth has a bit of a mouth to her which contrasted sharply with the lack of chattiness from Jacob. As I got to know her better I liked her more. But it is Jacob that kept me reading.

Like Mystic Cowboy, this book has a fairly strong mystery element dating from three years ago when Jacob received the injury to his face. He also became the sole carer to a small girl. Kip is an albino, so stands out dramaticly on the reservation among the Lakota tribe. She doesn't speak and Jacob is extremely protective.

The action of the story takes place over quite a few months, allowing Jacob and Mary Beth to get to know each other realisticly so that when things develop it's a logical progression to the relationship.

The ending was extremely dramatic and the aftermath really sweet. It got me all emotional.

We get to see Mystic Cowboy, Rebel and Doc Madeline along with Nobody and I'm still looking forward to his book.