Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where do I get my ideas?

I'm blogging at The Romance Dish today, about where my ideas come from, and specifically, what sparked my new book, Bride By Mistake.
Where do you get your ideas?
It's a question often asked of authors, and most writers hate it. Not me.  I get ideas for stories all the time - there's no shortage. They come from all kinds of places — a snippet of overheard conversation, an image, a scene in movie or a book where I think, "No, it wouldn't have happened like that," and an idea is sparked.
(This image is from )
But most often stories come to me just as I'm drifting off to sleep, or just as I'm waking in the morning. A scene starts rolling in my head like a movie and depending on my state at the time, I'll either scribble it down into the exercise book I keep beside my bed, or stagger out to the computer and type it up. If it's a scene from my current novel, I'll head for the computer, but if comes out of the blue, I usually use the notebook.

I always write it down, because if I let myself drift off to sleep, I know I'll forget it. I've learned that the hard way, waking in the morning, remembering that I'd thought of a really good scene, but with no memory of what it was, except that it was The Best Idea Evah!  ...          
 Read the rest of this blog here, and leave a comment to be in the draw for a copy of BRIDE BY MISTAKE.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

'Twas the Lull after Christmas. . .

Here's a little poem I composed for that period after Christmas.

'Twas the lull after Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a spouse.
Leftovers are placed
On the fridge shelves with care
With instructions that 
"You all can just graze from there."
"Please do not disturb me
Unless there is blood.
'Tis my time for reading
'Bout a fictional stud."
"Just leave me alone
With my books for a while
I'm a much nicer person
With the TBR pile."

Read the rest of the post that goes with this poem here, at The Season for Romance.
And if you go there, scroll down to the post below mine— they're giving away a kindle.
(That's not my TBR pile, by the way — I borrowed it from

I Visit the Ballroom with my latest hero, Luke. . .

As you know, I'm on a blog tour to launch Bride By Mistake — see below for the dates of each blog.
I've decided to post the beginning of each blog here, so if it appeals, you can click over to the site I'm visiting.

This is The Ballroom Blog, and my hostess is the wonderful Katharine Ashe. She says...

Today I’ve donned my prettiest gown, new kid gloves, and a pair of antique pearl earrings I borrowed from one of my heroines. I’ve even dabbed lavender water behind my ears and on my wrists. Why the extra primping? Because it’s my first time bringing an author as a guest to the ball, and I’m feeling celebratory! 
And what a guest! Anne Gracie – author of deliciously emotional, sexy, captivating stories – enters the ballroom with me. She’s dressed in a flowing purple gown and is wearing a string of glittering beads and a turban with peacock feathers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blog Tour

I'm doing a Blog Tour to launch BRIDE BY MISTAKE.
Here's the schedule. I hope you can join me. Each blog is individual to that site, so you shouldn't get bored, and at each place I'm giving away a copy of the book.

19th Dec — the Affair de Coeur blog

22nd Dec — the Ballroom Blog
27 Dec — 
The Season for Romance
27 Dec 
— WordWenches (Christmastide mini Blog)
29 Dec — The Romance Dish
3 Jan — SOS Aloha
4 Jan — WordWenches (Christmastide mini Blog)
5 Jan — Jaunty Quills
5 Jan — Tote Bags 'n Blogs 
6 Jan — MaryJo Putney interviews me about the book
8 Jan — Risky Regencies
9 Jan — the Goddess Blogs
10 Jan — Fresh Fiction
11 Jan — Regency Romance UK
12 Jan — Berkley Jove Author chat 9pm ET (USA) 12 noon (Aust'n Eastern states)
13 Jan — WordWenches 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Listening to writers

Last night I went to see Tom Stoppard and Neil Gaiman talk. 
(This is Neil Gaiman in the pic)

The event was put on by the Wheeler Centre and was 2 separate talks/interviews. The old Athenaeum Theatre where they had it was packed. It was first come first served seating, though we'd all paid weeks before, and for Tom Stoppard I was in the middle of the stalls about half way down, which I thought was great, but then they made us all leave in the interval while they did a sound check for the next part, so the scrum was on for seats again for the second half.

I've been an admirer of Tom Stoppard most of my adult life. (I remember arriving in London aged 19 after a 23 hour flight and going to a Tom Stoppard play (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead) that same night and, not knowing about jet lag, I ended up staring down at the stage from my seat in the gods, holding my eyelids open with my fingers, thinking, this is brilliant, this is brilliant, don't fall asleep. )

It was such a treat, listening to this grand old man of the theatre talking about his life and his work and his  insights into writing and acting, and all with such a lovely dry sense of irony and humor. He was particularly incisive when talking about actors "interpreting" his words and his attitude to workshopping scenes and doing improv "to see where it takes us"w as pretty funny — just speak the words I wrote, he said.

So, back to the Athenaeum, as I said, we had to hang around for an hour in between the two sessions and queue for seats again, which wasn't much fun as it was crowded and airless and hot, but all of a sudden this young woman jumped up onto the bar bearing a ukelele and started performing this brilliant song about ukeleles. It's a bit of a blurry pic, I'm sorry, but I was at the back and had to hold the camera high.

It was Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman's wife. At first some people thought she was just some ratbag exhibitionist, and were scowling and muttering but then they listened to the lyrics and soon started smiling and laughing. It was fun and unexpected and generous of her - a real treat — and in the end she'd charmed the whole crowd, and we'd have happily waited another hour.

So then it was back inside to grab a seat for Neil Gaiman and this time I was about four seats from the front, and it was great —I could see every expression. He was witty, frank, very warm and appealing and acerbic and funny and brilliant.

He fielded a lot of questions from the audience, but before the Q&A started he fixed the audience with a gimlet eye and explained that a question was a short, interrogative sentence, not an invitation to give some long-winded opinion. The audience applauded, me included. And it did have an effect. So often at these things you get some opinionated person trying to impress, rather than asking a question, but this time most of the questions were okay.

The only fly in the ointment for me was a couple in front of me who were recording the interview on their i-pad, holding it up and passing it back and forth, so that it was like having a TV screen between me and Neil Gaiman. Soooo annoying and distracting. I don't mind people taking photos — I took some myself at the beginning (with no flash) but having this lit-up screen floating around and occasionally blocking my view of the stage throughout the entire interview, was extremely irritating.

I noticed, too, that all around me people were tweeting on their phones. That wasn't too distracting, but I did wonder why people can't simply be in the moment and listen and absorb what's happening.

But in general, it was a lovely night — a real treat all around, so thank you Tom Stoppard, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer and the Wheeler Centre.