Tag Archives: Dianne Blacklock

10 Secret Things About Summer and the Groomsman!

8 Replies

Summer and the Groomsman

Crack the champas, bring out the choccies, for today is Summer and the Groomsman’s release day. Whee!

For those of you who have pre-ordered copies of my new rural romance, THANK YOU! I hope they’re a-winging their way into your e-readers, phones, tablets and computers now (although because we’re always early here in Australia we might have to wait until midnight ticks over in the USA before the files are actually released).

Most of all I hope you enjoy Harry’s and Summer’s sweet, cute romance. I had a ball writing it.

And now, for your delectation, here are…

10 SECRET THINGS ABOUT SUMMER AND THE GROOMSMAN

1/. Poor Harry was not always Harry. He started out as Cameron (Cam) but he never really fitted that name. So I changed it to Henry, which I adored. Then I discovered that Henry clashed with a character from Admella Beach (the two stories overlap) and I had to rename him Harry. Summer was always Summer.

The change from Cameron to Henry was not without its dramas. Idiot me did a universal change for Cam without specifying whole and capitalised words only, resulting in EVERY letter sequence of “cam” changing to Henry. Thank god for the undo button.

2/. The idea for the story came to me in a day spa at the QT Hotel on the Gold Coast where I was staying for the 2012 Romance Writers of Australia conference. Good buddy Rachael Johns and I decided we deserved a pampering and booked ourselves in for a morning of bliss. Harry drifted into my brain during a very pleasurable massage. I don’t know why I don’t try this plotting method for every book. It’s lovely!

 

Me and Rachael Johns at the 2012 RWA conference

Me and Rach at the RWA Gold Coast conference wearing red for for the Heart Foundation, that year’s charity.

3/. Harry’s looks were very loosely inspired by Midshipman Alonso Frame (actor Russell Tovey) from Doctor Who’s Voyage of the Damned (he’s the one with the gunshot wound in the TV trailer).

4/. Summer and the Groomsman’s stunning cover was designed by Kellie from Book Cover By Design. To say I’m thrilled with it would be an understatement.

5/. Gavin Chalk’s property, where Summer agists her horse Binky, was inspired by one where I once kept my beloved first horse Mysty. It was also the location where my dad, an ex-jockey, infamously fell off her one Christmas and broke his wrist, resulting in endless teasing about his riding prowess.

6/. Summer and the Groomsman is my first self-published work. It was a hell of a learning curve but very exciting. Special thanks to author and editor Dianne Blacklock who edited the novella and was a great pleasure to work with, Kellie from Book Cover By Design, and to wonderful people like New Zealand author Maggie Le Page who held my hand throughout the journey, and happily answered all my dumb and panicked questions. Also to the private BI50Days loop for their support and error spotting, and Rachael Johns for her endless belief and encouragement.

7/. The exterior of the church where Em’s and Josh’s wedding takes place was inspired by my home town of Mount Gambier’s Christ Church where my Mum and Dad were married.Christ Church Mount Gambier

8/. Because this book is my first to be published world-wide I agonised over what spelling to use – Australian English or US. Initially I directed edits be skewed for the US market but when the time came to accept the changes I couldn’t do it, and so the novella remains Australian. With the setting and characters all Aussie, it just seemed right.

9/. Sometimes I write books to music, sometimes I don’t but almost every book has at least one “theme” song. Summer and the Groomsman is one of the few that doesn’t. No idea why. It just happened that way. I suspect it was because the story and characters were vivid to me from the start and didn’t need the extra creative input.

10/. Harry has a brother Eddie, who is very competitive, convinced he’s far more heroic than his brother could ever be, and now won’t stop nagging me to write his story. Looks like I’ll have to book myself in for a spa session and indulge in another long massage to find out what it is!

*

I hope you enjoyed these ten secret things. But what I really hope is that you have a ball with Harry and Summer and all the Levenham crew.

Keen to read an excerpt? You’ll find one on Summer and the Groomsman’s book page on this website plus others on Teaser Tuesdays here and here. And don’t forget you can download samples from ebook retailers.

Of course, I know that deep down you’re excited enough to want a copy right now, oh yes you are! To satisfy that want, simply clickety-click on these retailers and Summer and the Groomsman will be yours.

Amazon.com

Amazon.au

Amazon.uk

Kobo

iBooks

Nook

 

Thank you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to stick a bottle of fizz in the fridge for later. One must celebrate book releases in style. ‘Tis the rules!

PS. Due to Summer and the Groomsman hogging the bloggy limelight, there will be no Teaser Tuesday today. Never fear, it’ll be back in all its tantalising glory next week.

Click to subscribe to my newsletter

THIS WRITING LIFE: GenreCon 2013

Ahh, Brissy, what a warm and friendly city. And made even better by the staging a few weekends ago of GenreCon, the conference designed for that most excellent of authorly species, Genre Writers. I’ve been a quite a few Romance Writers of Australia conferences now and GenreCon was a lot like one of those, except it had men. A lively, lovely lot of them too. It also had, thanks to the irrepressible Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Publishing Services, karaoke, an event from which my voice didn’t recover for a week. A week of gravel-throat and I didn’t even get to sing Dancing Queen or Paradise by the Dashboard Light. Although I did get hear editor and writer Patrick O’Duffy do the most amazing deep-voiced version of Total Eclipse of the Heart imaginable.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

 

Friday: The Start of Sleep Deprivation

 

Before karaoke and the conference proper, there was lunch on Friday at GOMA Restaurant with romance authors Amy Andrews, Anna Campbell, Keziah Hill, Rachael Johns, Bronwyn Parry, Helene Young and myself where much prosecco was drunk, rabbit terrines savoured, desserts drooled over, and happy birthday and Frocktober ditties sung. There may have also been unsubtle mention of the Penis Beaker Debate and He of the Mighty Wang (Amy Andrews’s fault). Personally, I think we added a nice splash of colour and noise to the restaurant although I’m not sure the staff would agree, but at least they were good sports about our rowdiness.

GOMA lunch ladies, left to right: Anna Campbell, Helene Young, Rachael Johns, me, Bronwyn Parry, Keziah Hill and Amy Andrews

L to R: Anna Campbell, Helene Young, Rachael Johns, me,  birthday girl Bronwyn Parry, Keziah Hill and Amy Andrews

Friday night was the opening night reception on the State Library of Queensland’s aptly named Queensland Terrace. Fantastic venue, partially open to the sub-tropical air and a great area in which to mingle, sip wine and eat naughty things.

Anne Gracie and Alex Adsett

Best-selling Regency romance author Anne Gracie and Alex Adsett

Anna Campbell, Lea Scott and Sandy Curtis

Regency romance superstar Anna Campbell with crime and thriller authors Lea Scott and Sandy Curtis

Rachael Johns and Dianne Blacklock

Good buddy and fellow rural romance author Rachael Johns with women’s fiction author and lovely lady Dianne Blacklock. Best-selling babes!

Amy Andrews and Sandy Curtis

Romance author Amy Andrews (and Penis Beaker Debate enabler) with Sandy Curtis

This was followed by a trek back to the bar at Rydges South Bank, the official conference hotel, then cabs into town to Fat Louie’s for some karaoke where so much silliness was had that this may become tradition. I hope so, although if next time anyone tries to make me sing Summer of ’69 again there will be reckoning…

Chuck Wendig in full karaoke throttle

Author and Terrible Minds blogger Chuck Wendig in full karaoke throttle. I have no idea what he was singing but by that time of night I’m not sure anyone did!

Saturday: Brain Awakenings

 

Saturday opened with the Power of Genre Fiction, featuring speeches by Anne Gracie, Kathryn Fox and John Birmingham to well and truly put us in the mood. I then attended Rule of Knowledge author Scott Baker’s Worth A Thousand Words workshop which I found brilliant. Scott has spent the last year working with Peter Jackson on the Hobbit films and was also a consultant in the film industry as well as lecturing at the Australian National University in digital video. How well he knows his stuff was shown in the booktrailers he made which are nothing like I’ve ever seen and, quite frankly, amazing.

Scott Baker

Rule of Knowledge author and booktrailer guru Scott Baker

In fact, this was such an interesting session that I’m considering writing a separate post on it, so stay tuned! After lunch I attended the Writing Fast workshop with Anne Gracie, Charlotte Nash and Anita Heiss, hosted by Denise Rossetti. Thank goodness for Anne making me feel semi-normal over my painful writing process, because Charlotte Nash’s super speedy production levels just left me feeling completely inadequate and even more depressed about my output. But you know what? We all have our processes. I’m slow and horribly pedantic, but I get there in the end. Time to stop beating myself up about it.

Denise Rossetti and Charlotte Nash

Award winning erotic romance author Denise Rossetti and Ryders Ridge author Charlotte Nash

Writing Fast was followed by What Writers Get Wrong with Helene Young, Kathryn Fox and Deborah Burrows. My take away from this was that if you don’t know something, then ask. People tend to be fascinated by this strange writing business and are usually delighted to help.

Helene Young

Award-winning romantic suspense author Helene Young, looking lovely as usual.

John Connolly In Conversation was the last Saturday session and it was funny and fascinating, with the auditorium completely charmed and engaged. One point John made that struck me enough to write down was: In genre fiction, it’s the characters the readers care about, and authors can and do make a living off this affection and investment in character. An important thing to remember when writing.

John Connolly in conversation

Internationally best-selling Irish author John Connolly in conversation

Dinner at Rydges was a great night with crackup author and Terrible Minds blogger Chuck Wendig entertaining the crowd with his 25 Reasons Why I F**king Love Genre Fiction followed by a Q&A with Escape Publishing’s Kate Cuthbert. And then, surprise-surprise, another, even later night gasbagging in the bar.

Listening to Chuck Wendig

Some of the rapt dinner crowd listening to Chuck Wendig

 

Sunday: Can We Do It Again?

 

Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Publishing Services and karaoke organiser

Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Publishing Services and karaoke organiser

Sunday’s Plenery Session was The Future of Genre Fiction, featuring agent and contract lawyer Alex Adsett, Leanpub’s Peter Armstrong, and author and academic Anita Heiss. Alex, seemingly unharmed and in good voice despite Friday night’s  karaoke-ing, gave a great overview of industry changes (including a handy tip about reversion clauses on print rights with digital deals), while Anita’s discussion about targetting her audience was equally thought-provoking.

Anita Heiss

Author and academic Anita Heiss

Peter Armstrong of Leanpub

Peter Armstrong of Leanpub

But it was Peter’s rundown of the history of genre fiction and serialisation which had my mind a-spinning and triggered an excellent discussion with good buddy and GenreCon roomie Rachael Johns as we headed back to the hotel to check out, and which so caught us up that we missed the next workshop. A bummer because by all accounts Beyond Rippling Muscles and Uzi 9mms was a hoot.

Amy Andrews, Rachael Johns and Dianne Blacklock looking mighty fine for a Sunday lunchtime.

Amy Andrews, Rachael Johns and Dianne Blacklock looking mighty fine for a Sunday lunchtime.

Post another excellent lunch (the food was fabulous at GenreCon!) I attended the Thinking Like A Pro workshop with John Connolly, Valerie Parv and Keri Arthur, followed by Know Thine Enemy with Chuck Wendig, PM Newton and Kathryn Fox. The fact that I stayed awake throughout both after an extremely late night proves how entertaining they were.

Thinking Like A Pro Workshop. L to R: Aimee Lindorff (Chair), Keri Arthur. John Connolly and Valerie Parv

Thinking Like A Pro Workshop. L to R: Aimee Lindorff (Chair), New York Times best-selling paranormal and urban fantasy author Keri Arthur, John Connolly and romance queen Valerie Parv

The Great Debate: Genre Just Wants To Have Fun was a blast. John Birmingham opened strongly with a story about a certain literary author’s pillow problems that had everyone laughing, only to be neatly countered by Anne Gracie with her “Paris” jibe.

And a new nickname is born: Anne Gracie giving John Birmingham her "Paris" dig

And a new nickname is born: Anne Gracie giving John Birmingham her “Paris” dig

Lindy Cameron and Dianne Blacklock (gorgeous lady!) put in sterling efforts but the negative side, with their brilliant goblin story and Scott Baker’s clever revisioning of The Raven, were just too strong. And so it was proven that genre doesn’t just want to have fun. Which could be said for all GenreCon attendees, I think. We had fling your arms in the air and sing it out, loud and proud fun, certainly. We had karaoke, great food, met lovely old friends and made gorgeous new ones, but thanks to a fantastic program, excellent speakers and plenty of opportunity to network, we also learned an enormous amount. And for that I can’t thank Peter Ball, Meg Vann and their team of ninjas enough.

A wonderful conference. I’ll be back in 2015 with bells on.