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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GUEST BLOGGING over at Riverina Romantics

Where has February gone?

This blog tour has sped by and today the train stops at Riverina Romantics where we're discussing what makes a hot, sexy hero! I've shared my opinion, with a few snippets from VENGEANCE BORN, and you're invited to share yours.

So don't miss out on the chatter, come join us, and go into the draw for a copy of VENGEANCE BORN.

TOPIC: An Author's Life...with Yvonne Lindsay

Being a published author is an ... involved ... process, and I take my hat off to those who've been in the business more than a few years now.

As a pre-pubbed author I was always curious about what happened once you received THE CALL and stepped into the world of publishing.

What did it involve? How did they handled the day to day pressures? Did they developed routines, set goals etc.? What did they like/dislike about the process?

So I asked my special guests these questions and many of them have offered some intriguing insights into their lives. Maybe they'll even give you a heads up on what to expect if you're thinking of entering the world of "getting published".

Please welcome my next guest...

USA Today Bestselling author, YVONNE LINDSAY, took 13 years and multiple rejections before she sold her first story to Harlequin Desire in April of 2005.

Her first book rose to #1 on the Borders/Waldenbooks Series Bestseller list and in 2007 was also nominated for the prestigious Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year Award. Her books are distributed in more than 27 countries and in almost as many languages.

With 23 contracted titles through Harlequin, Yvonne is thrilled to be living the life she always dreamed of bringing her stories to her readers.

Author Facts
Pseudonym or Given Name on the cover? Why a pseudonym?
Given name. My family and I discussed this at length when I sold my first book and, while I’d always thought I’d take a pseudonym, they convinced me to write as who I am.
Location: Auckland, New Zealand.

Auckland, NZ
Published Genre/s: Contemporary Series romance with Harlequin Desire.
Website: http://www.yvonnelindsay.com
First published in: October 2006. 
Number of books published: By end of 2012, 20 books and 1 novella plus 2 online titles with eHarlequin.

The Nitty Gritty
List up to 5 significant events in your journey to publication.
  • Hearing Susan Napier speak at a local community centre guided me toward joining RWNZ in it’s first year or so. After that,
  • Robyn Donald influenced me to finish a book when she spoke at an RWNZ conference back when I was a three chapters and synopsis queen.
  • Fiona Brand then influenced me to enter competitions with that finished book, which won the RWAustralia 1999 Emma Darcy Award and led to the opportunity to submit directly to an editor for four years.
  • During that time I benefitted hugely from the mentorship of Bronwyn Jameson, and the friendship of Trish Morey who I’d finalled in the Emma Darcy with, and both of them kept me sane when I didn’t make it with that editor and through more rejections after winning the 2004 RWNZ Clendon Award.
  • The combination of the years of advice and support all helped to make me and my writing stronger, which eventually led to my first sale in 2005.
What resources/techniques/events did you find useful to develop your writing skills/craft? Competitions were a huge help when I was also working and busy raising a, then, young family. They gave me a chance to write sections of a book, rather than a whole book when I just couldn’t find the time to devote to a complete manuscript.

As to events, conferences in New Zealand and eventually in Australia as well. The richness of the experience of an intense weekend with likeminded people and learning from other writers and specialists in their fields is priceless for any writer.

Can you share the special moment when you received THE CALL/THE EMAIL?
In early February 2005 I’d had an email, followed by a phone call, from the editor I’d been working with and submitting to for four years after I won the 1999 Emma Darcy award.

During the phone call the editor said she felt that no matter which way we tried to push my work, I just didn’t quite fit in with either of the category romance lines they published at the time and she suggested looking elsewhere. Totally devastated, I felt as if all the work I’d done up until then had been a waste of time.

To me, my dream was dead. I gave up writing altogether...for two whole weeks. But, as many people know, you can’t just give up something that has been a driving goal for a good part of your life.

Bronwyn Jameson had been prodding me for some time to query Silhouette (now Harlequin) Desire—so I did. To my shock, I very quickly received a letter back in response to my query letter and synopsis, requesting my full manuscript. I was lucky enough to attend a weekend at Kara School of Writing with Robyn Donald and Daphne Claire where they gave me guidance on how to improve the work.

I posted that manuscript on the 31st of March 2005 and on 21 April 2005, while I was halfway through putting my makeup on before heading out the door to my day job, the phone rang and on the end of the line was my new editor offering to buy my book.

It was magical—the moment I had waited for, for what felt like forever. I had always thought myself prepared for such an eventuality and even had a checklist of what I should ask and information I should know next to every phone in our house should “The Call” ever eventuate. I always thought I could be cool, calm, collected and professional but I was soooo wrong.

I cried, I gushed, I cried some more, I told my editor that it was the happiest day of my life. I felt like I’d finally, finally, reached an incredible milestone—something I’d actively strived for, for thirteen years. It was amazing.

How important is it to set career goals? Can you give an example of one you have for yourself?
For me it’s important to set career goals on a regular basis, otherwise I feel like I’m a bit of a gerbil running on a wheel. My current goal is to complete a single title manuscript that’s been ticking away in the back of my mind for several years now. Personally, I want to write this book to prove to myself that I can. Professionally, I’d like to widen my horizons and my readership while still writing for Desire.

Is there anything you think pre-published writers need to know about the business/industry before they're published?
I think people need to remember this is a business and you need to behave professionally with everyone you deal with—all along the road to publication. Respect is hard-earned and easily lost, so once you’ve earned that respect, hold onto it and treasure it and nurture it for all you’re worth. 

A Bit of Fun
Favorite color: Blue, no, purple, no, blue, no, purple. Purply blue? :-)
Hunkiest hero ever: Black Niall in Linda Howard’s book, SON OF THE MORNING.
Most daring thing you've done in your life: White water rafting. I’ve done it, now I don’t ever have to do it again.
Greatest love: My family.
Timeout/relaxation for me includes: Reading and not having to cook or do dishes.
Special quote/saying you like: "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least." – Goethe

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Helen Lacey Giveaway Winner announced!

Thank you to everyone who visited and made Helen feel welcome!

She's placed all the names of those who commented into a hat and drawn out a prize winner.

Congratulations goes to:

Tina C.

If you could contact me - kyliegriffn71 (at) optusnet (dot) com (dot) au - and I can put you in touch with Helen to claim your prize!

Riverina Romantics Swag!

Ooops, I'd totally forgotten about this bit of exposure over at Riverina Romantics (*hanging head in shame* but I'm going to use the excuse I have been uber-busy!).

They have a Sunday Swag feature and this week there's some Light Blade series swag up for grabs - seven different prize packs consisting of a variety of things.

Good news is that the contest is open internationally! So head on over there, check out the swag and enter.

VENGEANCE BORN - Cross Genre Appeal

One of the most exciting things about finally seeing your book out there is getting that first fan email. Reading the letter gave me the weirdest feeling of "holy gwok, I'm really an author" (I said something else but I'm not repeating it here *grin*).

The letter started with:
My copy of Vengeance Born arrived yesterday from Rosemary’s (Romance Books – I couldn’t believe how quickly I got it! And of course I devoured it last night and am suffering from lack of sleep today!
Hoo-yah! I kept her up late into the night. Now that's something an author likes to hear!!!

But then the same reader sent me this email just yesterday.
Hi Kylie,
My Dad is here staying with me for a few days. He’s voracious reader and in recent years has been reading many romance novels from people I know and to his initial amazement, thoroughly enjoying them (he thought romance meant category and didn’t realise the ST [single title] involvement).
So I gave him VB. I could hardly get any sense out of him yesterday as he got swept up in your story. He finished it late last night and is eagerly awaiting Book 2 – he wasn’t happy that it’s not until July!! He was amazed at how much action there was in your story and how well developed your world.

So another convert...
Double hoo-yah!!!

This isn't the first bloke to have read VENGEANCE BORN - and I have to admit I've felt some trepidation on hearing that they're reading the book, especially considering that VENGEANCE BORN has been promoted as a fantasy romance novel.

I anticipated derogatory remarks about it being a romance, or worse, "porn for women" sort of comments (yeah, I know I shouldn't have thought so negatively but some of these guys aren't known for reading romance novels!).

So, it's been a pleasant surprise, and unexpected bonus, to find outthey've thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, and, like this reader's father, they're wanting to know when the next one comes out.

I love it when a book has cross-gender appeal. :-)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

VENGEANCE BORN round up

It's been one manic month but an exciting one.

I've covered some territory, from home soil (Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia), to across the ditch to New Zealand, north to the Phillipines, and then over the Pacific Ocean to the USA.

Most of it has been via cyber space to guest on blogs, and I've had a ball of a time being interviewed, meeting readers and giving away prizes.


To all the wonderful hosts who made me feel so welcome - THANK YOU! - but most especially, a huge hats off to everyone who dropped in to comment or participate in the contests.

Lots of VENGEANCE BORN copies and other goodies are winging their way to destinations as varied as the blogs I visited.

So, thank you again to everyone - and I hope to see you next blog tour (sometime in July/June!).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review from My Book Chatter

A lovely 5 star review from My Book Chatter today.

My favorite line (and imagine me with a huge grin on my face) - "Not only will Vengeance Born be sitting on my keeper shelf but author Kylie Griffin will be added to my list of favourites along side the likes of Nalini Singh and Jeanine Frost."

O.
M.
Goodness!

What a HUGE compliment!!! (for those who don't know, NS is the author I most want to be like when I grow up! So, sitting beside her on anyone's bookshelf is amazing!) :-)

GUEST BLOGGING over at My Bookish Ways


My second to last official guest blog - I'm over at My Bookish Ways talking about the fantasy romance genre, firefighting, my favorite places to travel, & what my students think about me being an author!

There's also another short snippet from VENGEANCE BORN and a giveaway copy up for grabs!

Visting Dear Author

I'm visiting the DEAR AUTHOR blog as part of Jane's Debut Print Book Feature.

There were some great questions asked about what inspired me to write VENGEANCE BORN, the characters, books used for research & my writing process.

Do you have time to drop in and say hi?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GUEST BLOGGING over at Minxes of Romance

Procrastination, honeymoons, BISFOK and, of course, VENGEANCE BORN discussed.

Drop in at Minxes of Romance and join in! Would love to see you there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review from Heart to Heart:The B&N Romance blog

I'm over the moon with this review of VENGEANCE BORN from Marissa, a reviewer for Heart to Heart:The B&N Romance blog.

A snippet:
It’s wonderful to find a new voice in romance, and author Kylie Griffin has a great voice. Her new paranormal/fantasy romance, Vengeance Born, is the start of an exciting new series. With a terrific mythology, clever world building and fully developed characters, this one has all the makings of a series that will become an addiction.
Thank you, Marissa!

TOPIC: An Author's Life...with Karina Bliss

Being a published author is an ... involved ... process, and I take my hat off to those who've been in the business more than a few years now.

As a pre-pubbed author I was always curious about what happened once you received THE CALL and stepped into the world of publishing.

What did it involve? How did they handled the day to day pressures? Did they developed routines, set goals etc.? What did they like/dislike about the process?

So I asked my special guests these questions and many of them have offered some intriguing insights into their lives. Maybe they'll even give you a heads up on what to expect if you're thinking of entering the world of "getting published".

Please welcome my next guest...

On average, romance authors take 5 years and  4.5 manuscripts before they get their first book contract. Despite her willingness to be the exception, journalist KARINA BLISS ended up fitting that statistic almost exactly. En route, she became the first Australasian to win a Golden Heart® from the Romance Writers of America.

Her debut, MR IMPERFECT, was published by Harlequin Superromance in Sept '06 and won a Romantic Book of the Year Award in Australia. Since then she’s written ten books for Harlequin SuperRomance.

Author Facts
Pseudonym or Given Name on the cover? Why a pseudonym?

With a name like Karina Bliss who needs a pseudonym, no one believes it's real anyway.
Location: New Zealand.
Published Genre: Harlequin SuperRomance.
Website: www.karinabliss.com (Karina also has a GoodReads blog)
First published in: 2006.
Number of books published: 10

The Nitty Gritty
List up to 5 significant events in your journey to publication?

  1. Peter and Barbara Clendon - The Clendon Award aka Finish The Damn Book for unpublished writers. As Kylie knows, a great success rate with picking writers who go on to publication. 
  2. The Kara School of Writing, a romance workshop run by Daphne Clair and Robyn Donald in Northland, NZ.
  3. The Writegals, my critique group, made up of Abby Gaines, Tessa Radley and the late Sandra Hyatt.
  4. My partner, Trevor, who is still patiently waiting to be a kept man. And in the meantime keeps me.
  5. Winning the Golden Heart®. The manuscript never got published but it didn't matter. Enough to be queen for a night.
What resources/techniques/events did you find useful to develop your writing skills/craft?
I'm a recovering craft book junkie.

The books I keep going back to are: STORY by Robert McKee, WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass; TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER by Dwight Swain, and SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder. 


Can you share the special moment when you received THE CALL/THE EMAIL?
All I can remember six years on is wishing Victoria Curran would quit with the small talk and get straight to the "We want to buy your book" part!

Funnily enough when she did say those magic words, it still took a couple of days before I really truly beleived it and started celebrating. 

Looking back over your writing career, how have you grown as an author?
I think I get better with every book - and worse - which isn't the contradiction it sounds. Craft improves hugely under the guidance of an editor, but it's also a case of the more you know the harder it is to let go through the first draft. Voice is there from the beginning but I also think it evolves and deepens with every book.

How important is it to set career goals? Can you give an example of one you have for yourself?
I have mixed feelings about setting career goals. One, I think they're important, two I think you should always be open to revising them.

The only personal goal that has never changed is to write keepers. Whether I acheive that or not is decided by the reader, the particular story resonating with me as I write it, and lots and lots of fairy dust. But I'd rather fail big than win small.

Can you describe your writing process/timeframe from when you start a new book to handing it in at deadline?
Let's take the last book I turned in as it's fresh - BRING HIM HOME, out June 2012.

I have an initial idea - A guy falls in love with his army buddy's widow. And I push that idea to the nth degree. What if he had to make a Sophy's Choice (lesser of two evils)  in the ambush that killed his buddy? What if his buddy was complicit in that choice? What if he's so scarred emotionally he turns his back on his friends, the only family he has?

What if his best friend's widow forces him to come home because his signature in a family trust is required in order for her sell the home and invest in a business? What if she hasn't forgiven her late husband for something and the hero has to act as go between?

What if his own redemption is increasingly tied to reconciling the widow to her late husband at the same time he falls in love with her?

I also look at genre conventions and try and twist them. Let's have a widow who adored her husband. Let's have the late husband a major character in the book. Let's have the love triangle about the hero's loyalty to his best friend as much as his love for his best friend's widow. Let's have a woman who's moving on and a hero who can't. Let's explore the idea of a soulmate against the backdrop of a happy marriage to someone else.

How will I make a reader believes that this man and no other is the 'one' while still developing an affection for the heroine's late husband?

That's a story evolution that takes a few months to write myself into. And all the time I'm studying facts looking to ground the story in reality which is necessary for SuperRomance. For this book, the SAS, sportsfishing, family trusts and working as a bodyguard were all areas that needed researching. Not to mention how people process grief.

The first draft is torturous. A crawl of four to six pages a day. If I write ten I can guarantee I'll delete five. I'm not a born writer but I'm an excellent reviser :) and I'm totally committed to doing my best work.

One of the things I found challenging about being a published author is the constant juggling of tasks ie. writing a book, editing another, planning promotion, writing the prosposal for another (and usually this all happens while holding down another job or dealing with family/life etc.).

What do you enjoy the most in the publishing process?
I love the beginning - coming up with ideas and the end - line edits and AA's when all the hard work is done and you're tweaking.

What do you least in the publishing process?
Everything after page three until three pages to the end.

What's the most memorable fan-mail you've received?
Every reader email is special. I still find it wondrous that strangers  read my books.

Is there anything you think pre-publishers writers need to know about the business/industry before they're published?
The quality of the book is the only thing you really have control over. Know what you want out of being published - fame, fortune, critical acclaim and keep that as your touchstone when you're making decisions that affect your career.

A Bit of Fun
Favorite color:
Money.
Hunkiest hero ever: Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall. (And then he cut his hair and I went off him...so shallow).
Most daring thing you've done in your life: I was a broke Kiwi travelling through the States and ran out of money. I slept on a friend's floor for a month, working in a card shop, until I could fly home. That friend lived in a frat house at Stanford University where he was studying! I was little sister to thirty guys. An amazing experience, Animal House meets The Sound of Music.
Greatest love: My husband and son.
Timeout/relaxation for me includes: Reading on an exercycle. I'm magically getting fitter while I'm lost in a book.
Special quote/saying you like: "I can't stand Willy Wet Leg, can't stand him at any price. He's resigned and when you hit him, he lets  you hit him twice." - D. H. Lawrence. It just makes me laugh.

Monday, February 20, 2012

GUEST BLOGGING over at The Book Bordello

My blog tour is beginning to wind down but there are still some great prizes up for grabs.


I'm talking VENGEANCE BORN & first kisses with Xandra James over at The Book Bordello. What's your favorite part of a romance novel? Leave a comment and go into a draw for a giveaway!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Secondary characters

While the Light Blade series has an ever growing cast, here are just a few of the main players in VENGEANCE BORN.

Light Blade warriors - male and females who have the skill to channel kinetic energy through weapons. They defend human territory against the Na'Reish, patrolling the border between human and demon territory to stop Na'Hord raiding parties from taking humans as blood-slaves.

Na'Reish - a race of demons. They possess superior physical strength, night-sight and hearing. They rely on and consume human blood to survive. The Na'Rei is their king, his rule is a dictatorship. The culture implements a caste system and within Na'Reish society power and might earns respect. Most Na'Reish believe in purity of their bloodlines and revile any mixed blood unions (ie. between humans and demons).

Na'Chi - a half human, half demon race who possess similar physical characteristics to the Na'Reish. They have a less heavy build & height, no pointed teeth, violet eyes with flecks that reflect their mood and emotions, and paler spotted marking on their skin. They rely on drinking blood to survive, just like the Na'Reish. Discrimination and misconceptions abound because of their half-breed heritage. Demons kill them on sight, humans believe them to by a myth.

The Lady - revered goddess of the humans. Also a religious figurehead for some of the Na'Chi.

The Lady's Light Blade amulet with sun symbol
Arek Barial - a Light Blade warrior, Kalan's best friend and his Second-in-Command. He lost both his parents (who were also Light Blade warriors) at a very young age. He was raised by his maternal grandfather, Davyn.

Kymora - as I imagine her
Kymora - the Temple Elect, religious leader, of the humans. As a child she caught a highly contagious fever and lost her sight, one of the less severe side effects. She's Kalan's sister. Kymora is the heroine in ALLIANCE FORGED, Book #2 in the Light Blade series.

Varian - leader of the Na'Chi
Varian - leader of the Na'Chi who follow Annika from her father's fortress in Na'Reish territory. Both respected and feared by those in his group. Varian is the hero in ALLIANCE FORGED.

Lisella - one of the Na'Chi who follow Annika from her father's fortress in Na'Reish territory. Outspoken and a devout follower of the Lady.

Davyn - Arek's grandfather, member of the Blade Council (the ruling body for humans). After losing his daughter and son-in-law to the Na'Reish he passed on his need for vengeance against the demons to Arek.

Candra - Master Healer and councilor on the Blade Council. Supporter of Kalan.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review from Rabid Reads

An awesome, comprehensive critique of VENGEANCE BORN over at Rabid Reads.

If you'd like to know some of the story, Carmel has done a great job of giving you the flavor of it without any massive spoilers.

Thanks, Carmel! :-)

GUEST BLOGGING over at Get Lost in a Story

Angi Morgan is my host today over at GET LOST IN A STORY.

We're talking favorite fairytales, cartoons, villains and scenes from VENGEANCE BORN - there's also a signed copy of VB to giveaway!

Come join us!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review from All About Romance

All About Romance has posted a review for VENGEANCE BORN.
"The first entry in Kylie Griffin’s new series The Light Blade was a breath of fresh air. In the world of paranormal romances where a lot seem to follow the same pattern, this one was unique, creative, and I just couldn’t put it down."
Yes, I am :-) 'ing!

GUEST BLOGGING over at the Dark Side DownUnder

It's Magic Thursday over at the Dark Side DownUnder, and yes, that's where you'll find me this morning!

Flights of Fantasy (romance, that is!) is what I'm chatting about - daydreaming, coming up with plot ideas, characters and scenes, and there's a snippet from VENGEANCE BORN that hasn't been seen before (unless you've already read the book :-) ).

And speaking of VENGEANCE BORN, there's a copy up for grabs! Come and join me - I'd love to see you over there.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review from Reader To Reader Reviews

And they keep coming!

This time VENGEANCE BORN receives the nod from RTR Reviews.
Griffin's characters are multifaceted and...[the] plot was exciting as the author enticingly reveals secrets and the truth changes Kalan and Annika’s future forever. Absolutely wonderful!
Thank you, RTR!

Review from The Window Seat on a Rainy Day

Aimee's review of VENGEANCE BORN on her blog - The Window Seat on a Rainy Day - brought a smile to my face this morning, especially the comment;
"Griffin's writing reminds me of a mix of Kresley Cole and Lynn Kurland."
Wow, what a compliment.

Thank you, Aimee! I think my smile will last most of today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review from A New Kind of Ordinary

This time the review is from Melanie from A New Kind of Ordinary.

She gives VENGEANCE BORN a 4 star rating with a tag of "a unique blend of paranormal romance & pure fantasy". :-)

TOPIC: An Author's Life...with Valerie Parv

Being a published author is an ... involved ... process, and I take my hat off to those who've been in the business more than a few years now.

As a pre-pubbed author I was always curious about what happened once you received THE CALL and stepped into the world of publishing.

What did it involve? How did they handled the day to day pressures? Did they developed routines, set goals etc.? What did they like/dislike about the process?

So I asked my special guests these questions and many of them have offered some intriguing insights into their lives. Maybe they'll even give you a heads up on what to expect if you're thinking of entering the world of "getting published".

It's rather appropriate that I introduce today's guest on Valentine's Day - a special day for any romance author.

Considered one of Australia's pioneering authors in the romance genre, please welcome VALERIE PARV.

With 25 million copies of her books sold internationally, including many Waldenbooks bestsellers, it’s no wonder Valerie is known as Australia’s queen of romance and is recognised as the media spokesperson for all things romantic.

Already a successful writer of non-fiction, Valerie has made love and romance a career, with over 60 novels to her name. 
(See Valerie's booklist for a complete list of her books) Valerie’s short fiction is also regularly featured in national magazines.

A qualified trainer and counsellor, Valerie conducts seminars and workshops on creativity and all aspects of the writing craft based on her best-selling guides for writers: Heart and Craft, (Allen & Unwin, 2009) How do I Love Thee (Valerie Parv editor, Allen & Unwin, December 2009), The Art of Romance Writing (Allen & Unwin 1993, 2004) and The Idea Factory (Allen & Unwin 1995).

Valerie held Australia’s first romance writing workshop in 1988, which led to the founding of Romance Writers of Australia, and she has been a member ever since.

In 1994 the State Library of New South Wales, Australia, began to acquire Valerie’s papers for their collection and continues to acquire material from her.
"These papers detail the author’s career as one of Australia’s most successful writers in the romance genre and include manuscripts of her works and correspondence." [The State Library Collection, Annual Report]
This year Valerie moved to country NSW from Canberra where she was a volunteer guide at the National Zoo and Aquarium for 11 years. She draws on this and other aspects of her life for many of her novels, having spent almost 38 years happily married to her romantic hero, Paul, a former crocodile hunter in Australia’s tropical north, later a cartoonist and illustrator of many of Valerie's nonfiction books.

Valerie continues to write her page-turning novels because they affirm her belief in love and happy endings. As she says ...

"Love gives you wings, romance helps you fly". 
Author Facts 
Location: Country NSW.
Published Genre/s: romance and romantic suspense, non fiction, short stories and articles. 
Website: www.valerieparv.com 
First published in: 1979.
Number of books published: over 70, 50 are romance novels. Sales last estimated 29 million.

The Nitty Gritty
List up to 5 significant events in your journey to publication?
Writing a book about doing your own plumbing made me resolve to write something closer to my heart. Fortunately, my voice turned out to suit romance writing. I don't think a writer should try to change their voice to fit a market, but for me, this was a very natural fit.

Another major milestone was the passing of my husband and soulmate, Paul, in 2008, which knocked the stuffing out of me for some time. My writing has changed, as well. My Harlequin Superromance, WITH A LITTLE HELP, took my romance writing in a new direction, and I'm experimenting with others including flash fiction and possibly screenplays.

What resources/techniques/events did you find useful to develop your writing skills/craft?
There were almost no resources and groups when I started out, so I reinvented a few wheels without knowing it. The upside was not knowing how many romance manuscripts publishers were receiving, so I had no idea of the odds against acceptance.

Like the bumblebee which is not designed for flying, and flies anyway, I flew, thank goodness. My wings sag now and again, but basically I'm still flapping away. The idea is to keep learning, experimenting and growing.

Can you share the special moment when you received THE CALL?

Again, editors didn't respond by email when I was accepted. I got a snail mail letter which I picked up from reception where I had my office. I was the only person in the entire building. I remember my knees going week and the print blurring, then I called Paul from the switchboard. I had a deadline for The Changing Face of Australia, so I went to my office and wrote. The champagne came later.

How important is it to set career goals? Can you give an example of one you have for yourself?
As I say, I try to keep learning and growing all the time. No writer can ever know everything about the craft.

These days my goals are to use my blog, Facebook page and Twitter as effectively as I can. The great benefit is the amount of social interaction compared with the solitary life of a writer pre-social networking days.

My next goal is to publish a spec fic novel and write a successful romantic screenplay.

Can you describe your writing process/timeframe from when you start a new book to handing it in at deadline?
I gather you don't want the procrastination, the frustration, the conviction that every book beforehand was a fluke? They're regular parts of every writer's life.

The rest is what Bryce Courtenay calls "bum glue" - apply seat of pants to chair and get on with it. Talking about writing isn't writing. Research isn't writing. Putting one word after another, even when you think it's total drek, is what finally gets me there.

One of the things I found challenging about being a published author is the constant juggling of tasks ie. writing a book, editing another, planning promotion, writing the prosposal for another (and usually this all happens while holding down another job or dealing with family/life etc.).

What do you enjoy the most in the publishing process?
Without doubt the best part of the process is holding your new baby in your hands. You forget all the struggles, frustrations and fears, and just admire this wondrous thing you've created.

Any author who tells you they don't sneak peeks at the book to make sure it's real, and even read a few pages and marvel that they actually wrote those words is a dirty rotten liar. :-)

What do you least enjoy about the publishing process?
Least enjoyable is having to the work read over and over and over through the various editing and proofing stages until every bit of joy has evaporated.

These days that feeling tells me the book is ready to be released into the reading world.

What's the most memorable fan-mail you've received?
It was more a fan comment made at a Romance Writers of America book signing.

As I signed my latest for her, the buyer said she was stockpiling my books because she was having surgery soon, and they were her treat during recovery. Knowing you've helped someone through a tough time is amazing and humbling.

I also had many emails asking when Cade, the "fourth brother" in my Code of the Outback series, would have his story told. He finally had his day in a novella in "How do I Love Thee" an anthology published by Allen and Unwin.

Is there anything you think pre-publishers writers need to know about the business/industry before they're published?
Having a book published isn't the end of a road, but the start of a whole new journey.


A Bit of Fun
Favorite color:
hot pink.
Hunkiest hero ever: Hugh Jackman in Paperback Hero (sigh).
David Tennant comes a close second, the perfect Doctor Who IMO.
Most daring thing you've done in your life: Playing with the cheetahs at the National Zoo & Aquarium, Canberra, where I was a volunteer guide for 11 years.
Greatest love: Without question, Paul, my love and muse for 38 years.
Timeout/relaxation for me includes: Watching real estate porn, reading just about anything, collecting dolls house pop-up books and vintage paper dolls, and indoor/carpet bowling.
Special quote/saying you like: "I shall pass this way but once. If there is any good that I can do, or any kindness I can show, let me do it now and not defer it, for I may never pass this way again." I read this on a poster when I was a teenager, and have tried to live by it ever since.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Unseen snippet of VENGEANCE BORN!

That's What I'm Talking About has a snippet of VENGEANCE BORN up on their blog - one I haven't ever posted here on the blog or anywhere else! :-)

GUEST BLOGGING over at Romance Book Paradise

I'm in Fiji today, folks!

Well, in cyber-space Fiji at the Romance Book Paradise blog pimping my recipe for a fantasy romance. Yes, an actual recipe!

Would love to see you there as there's another chance to obtain a copy of VENGEANCE BORN - lots of fun, so come join me!

GUEST AUTHOR: Helen Lacey

HELEN LACEY grew up reading Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables and Little House on The Prairie. These childhood classics inspired her to write her first book when she was seven years old, a story about a girl and her horse. Although, it wasn’t until the age of eleven when she read her first Mills & Boon, that she knew writing romances was what she wanted to do with her life. Her parents’ love of travel meant she saw much of the world in those early years and she feels fortunate to have had a diverse and interesting education over several continents.

She continued to write into her teens and twenties with the dream of one day being a published author. A few years and careers later, including motel operator, florist, strapper, dog washer, and retail manager, she got the call from Harlequin Special Edition. She loves writing about tortured heroes, both cowboys and CEO’s, and heroines who finally get the love of the man of their dreams. She now works part time in her sister’s bridal shop, where she gets to meet fascinating people, some of whom might one day end up being in one of her books.

From Welsh parents and a large family, she lives on the east coast of Australia in a small seaside town at the southern most point of The Great Barrier Reef, with her wonderfully supportive husband, many horses and three spoiled dogs.

About the book...
Title – MADE FOR MARRIAGE 
Setting – Queensland in a small seaside town at the southern most point of the Great Barrier Reef.
Hero – Noah Preston.
Heroine – Callie Jones.
Scene you would never cut – Where the heroine goes to the heroes home for dinner and spends time with him and  his children.

Something your hero or heroine would never do or say – That’s a tough one …. I think my hero would never say ‘it’s over’, because he fought so hard to get her.

What's one quirky thing about your hero/heroine? My hero hates green vegetables. And my heroine – well, she can’t hold a tune, but that didn’t make it past the final round of edits.

What do you think the readers will like about this book? I hope they like the sense of family and the small town setting. And the horses, of course.

Equestrian Callie Jones was used to difficult parents at her riding school. But Noah Preston took the cake.
How dare he question her teaching abilities, after his headstrong daughter paid no heed to rules—her teacher's or her father's?
Single dad Noah was ready to apologize for overreacting. But he wasn't sorry for the way the stunning American riding instructor made him feel. And he soon learned that there was more to Callie than her smarts, sass and fire: a shattered heart that threatened to splinter even further. Could he make her see that he—and his family—were for keeps?

Buy Links

What's next for you? I’m just about to submit book four and five to my editor, so am polishing up both at the moment. I’m also looking forward to the release of book two later this year and book three in early 2013. 

About you... 
Favorite movie of all time –  Rebecca, Man From Snowy River, Shawshank Redemption (I can’t pick only one!).
Favorite fairytale – Beauty and The Beast.
Favorite story to disappear into – Black Beauty.
Favorite TV program – At the moment, Big Bang Theory. Ever? Probably Deadwood and Star Trek Next Gen.
First book you remember reading – Black Beauty.
Dog or cat person (or other) – Horse (but I do have three dogs).
Author (living or dead) you'd most like to meet – Jane Austen, of course!

A romantic retreat for you would be...well, I live in an idyllic place by the sea, so for something different maybe a weekend in the country, in a cabin, cold weather, log fire . . . or a week in Tuscany would be good too.

What do you do to unwind or relax? I like to spend time with my horses and dogs. And I have a large family so it’s always great to catch up with them and close friends.

I’m also a bit of a sci-fi nut when it comes to movies, the more aliens and ray guns the better, so I like to watch DVD’s to unwind, and stories that are different to the romances I write every day. Although, I do like the sci-fi that has a little romance in it to.

What era would you like to time travel and visit? And why? I think I’d like to go to the future, maybe five hundred years and see what they’re up to. I’d love to be able to say, “beam me up” and actually have it happen.

What does love mean to you? Consideration and honesty. The one thing I love about my husband is his innate integrity, and I think that’s an important part of a good relationship.

For more information on Helen's MADE FOR MARRIAGE Blog Tour, check out this link.

You can also find out more about Helen on her website, blog, Facebook page, her RomanceWiki page and on Twitter.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lynne Marshall prize-winner announced!

Congratulations to...

Cathy Shouse

 You've won a 2012 Affair de Coeur wall calendar and Lynne's going to throw in a few more goodies as a bonus!

If you could contact Lynne - lynne (at) lynnemarshall (dot) com- she can arrange for your prize to be sent to you!

Thank you to everyone who dropped by to welcome Lynne!

GUEST BLOGGING over at Paranormal Haven

It's been a busy morning already over at the Paranormal Haven.

Come join us and learn more about the Light Blade series and check out who my ultimate fantasy hero is! :-)

Oh, and did I mention that there's a giveaway copy of VENGEANCE BORN up for grabs? :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

GUEST BLOGGING over at the Qwillery

Today I've wandered over to The Qwillery for my second visit, to take part in their 2012 Debut Author Challenge.

Lots of great questions followed by a VENGEANCE BORN giveaway - care to join us?

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Rissa

To continue the introduction of the characters from VENGEANCE BORN, today you find out more about Rissa, one of the secondary characters.

Name: Rissa 

Race: Human 

Age: 10
A younger version of Rissa.
Background & Skills: An orphan, Rissa grew up on the streets in Sacred Lake in an area called Coppertown - the place where the poor, destitute and law breakers reside.

As a trainee healer - her Gift is being able to sense when someone is in hurting on an emotional level and help them recover.

Her instructor is Healer Danna is her instructor although she is tutored by Master Healer Candra who has a soft spot for the talented, young girl. 

Interesting Facts:
  • Rissa was found on a search for Gifted potentials by Light Blades when she was 7 years old.
  • She's one of the first people at Sacred Lake to befriend Annika and not judge her for being Na'Chi.
  • Her mentor, Healer Danna, labels her a chatterbox.
  • Having been teased when she first started to learn to read, she hates people who bully others.
  • She takes on the role of tutor, helping Annika to learn to read and write.
  • Her nickname is Bit.
  • Master Healer Candra describes her as precocious, bold, vivacious & talented but easily distracted and mischievous. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review from TWITA

Thank you to Gikany and Una from That's What I'm Talking About! for this review of VENGEANCE BORN:
This new Light Blade series and more importantly, this book, Vengeance Born is outstanding, and you just have to pick it up.  If you are paranormal fans, paranormal romance fans, heck, if you just love fantasy, you need to jump on this ride now!...
(We)... both found this new world to be mesmerizing.  It is a mixture outstanding fantasy and sizzling hot romance.  The flow of Vengeance Born is seamless and gripping; it was incredibly difficult to put down.  The balance between the storytelling, the creation of the mythology, and the development of the relationship between Kalan and Annika was impeccable.  The overarching themes of the struggle people have accepting others that are different and feuds that have lasted so long that no one really knows why, just that they are supposed to hate, are tackled by the author in a gentle but determined way.  Although Annika and Kalan’s stories are fairly well resolved in the end, so much more is left open with other characters.
As we’ve said before, the sign of a well-written book is that it lingers in your thoughts days or even weeks later.  Vengeance Born is one of them, the characters and world followed ...(us)... for days, even into our dreams.  We cannot wait until the next novel in this incredibly rich world.
To read the full review click here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review from Bookaholics Romance Book Club

Steph from Bookaholics Romance Book Club has this review for VENGEANCE BORN!

Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin
Paranormal Romance –Feb. 7th, 2012
4 ½ stars
Vengeance Born is a spectacular fantasy series that I could not stop reading!!

Annika is part human and part demon or Na’Reish.   Raised in the brutal Na’Reish world,  she is only kept alive because she is the daughter of the current Na’Reish leader who hopes to use her as a tool of vengeance.  Annika is reviled and constantly in danger- mocked for her weak human blood.  When a human, Light Blade warrior is captured, she heals him in the dungeon and makes him a bold bargain.  She will help him escape if he will help her leave to find a chance at a real life.  She hopes to find acceptance in the world of human.   Although the Light Blade name Kalan does not trust Annika, he realizes he needs her help.  So they embark on a journey that will test each person’s trust and a growing but tentative love and respect that will bring many changes to a world filled with prejudices.

This is fantastic story anyone for anyone who loves a good fantasy yarn with some solid romance.  I can’t wait for the next book to come out.  The world building in this world feels very authentic and genuine, and many readers will easily relate to the prejudices that Kalan and especially Annika must deal with.  Both are very noble characters with great integrity and good intentions who form an unlikely and touching relationship.  The journey together challenges Kalan and Annika, and I loved how they grew to slowly admire and care for each other.  There are also some surprises and touches of deep humanity which readers will find themselves quickly caught up in the story.

This is a riveting read with genuine and worthy characters that find unlikely love, challenge prejudices and strive to save humanity.
To check out the review on their website,  full review please click this link.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

VENGEANCE BORN - It's RELEASE DAY!

Today's the day!


Happy Release Day,
VENGEANCE BORN!

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born…

Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na’Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father’s people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she’s gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy.

With the Na’Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na’Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons—and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.

When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father’s dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey
to the border but enemies within the Council—and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war…

* * *

VENGEANCE BORN available from Berkley Sensation:

"Peopled with intriguing characters, the world of Vengeance Born is unique and filled with compelling mystery." Nalini Singh, NYTimes best-selling author

“Vengeance Born is a great debut novel; Kylie Griffin has me hooked... It's not only good on the first read, it's still good on the second; this is definitely one for my keeper shelves.”Jean Johnson, author of the Sons of Destiny series

"Kylie Griffin builds a compelling and fascinating world that pulled me right in!"Joss Ware, author of the Envy Chronicles

“In Vengeance Born, Kylie Griffin spins an intriguing story...The book has solid world building, sympathetic characters and a twisty story line.  I'm looking forward to the next in the Light Blade series.”  – Robin D. Owens, RITA award winning author

"A complex plot involving the Na’Chi freedom struggles keeps the taut and intricate narrative moving as Annika and Kalan slowly develop their emotional connection. Readers will look forward to future installments in a potentially long-running series."Publishers Weekly

"Enter a bold new series, the Light Blade, where a longstanding war between the demon and human realms rages. Promising new talent Griffin’s characters face danger and hidden secrets that threaten to change the world as they know it. A terrific debut!"Romantic Times Magazine

Monday, February 6, 2012

GUEST BLOGGING over at Mel Teshco's blog!

The VENGEANCE BORN blog tour continues.

We're talking tattoo's, milestones, writing companions, bk covers and a few other things over at Mel Teshco's blog - there's also a giveaway up for grabs - would love to see you there!

GUEST AUTHOR: Lynne Marshall

Today my guest is LYNNE MARSHALL, please make her feel welcome!

Lynne used to worry she had a serious problem with daydreaming, then she discovered she was supposed to write the stories in her head. A late bloomer, Lynne came to fiction writing after her children were nearly grown. Now she battles the empty nest by writing stories which always include a romance, sometimes medicine, a dose of mirth, or both, but always stories from her heart.

She is a Southern California native, married for almost thirty years, has two adult children and is super proud of them, is a dog lover, a cat admirer, a power walker, and fellow traveler on this wild road called life!

She writes Medical Romances for Mills & Boon, and contemporary romance for Harlequin Special Edition and The Wild Rose Press. The first book in the Grady family trilogy, COURTING HIS FAVORITE NURSE, is a March 2012 Harlequin Special Edition.  Also coming in March in e-book only is, AN INDESCRETION, a contemporary romance with strong medical elements, from The Wild Rose Press. 

About the book... 
Title - COURTING HIS FAVORITE NURSE (Harlequin Special Edition, March 2012 #2178)
Setting - Southern California – rural Ventura County.
Hero - Jack Lightfoot, a math teacher and voluntary firefighter, and the big crush of Anne Grady’s life since the time she was sixteen. 
Heroine - Anne Grady, an R.N., and the oldest sibling in the Grady family.  She is the rock of the family who is occasionally blunt to a fault. 
Scene you would never cut - The hot air balloon scene where the Jack and Anne share their first kiss. 
What do you think the readers will like about this book? It’s a reunion story full of complications, twists and surprises, where you really want this couple to finally admit they can’t live without each other.

COURTING HIS FAVORITE NURSE
(Harlequin Special Edition, March 2012 #2178, US)

Anne Grady knew better than anyone that love was complicated. When she’d left her hometown, she thought she was leaving her past heartbreak behind for good, as well. But practically the moment she returned to care for her injured parents, she stumbled headlong into their confidant—her first love, Jack Lightfoot.
Jack had been unable to deny his feelings for Annie when he was a teenager dating her best friend, and he certainly couldn’t muffle the spark twisting between them now—even if memories of the past kept threatening to push them apart. This time Jack wasn’t going to let history repeat itself—he was going to show Annie that the two of them were meant to be much more than best friends!

Buy Links:
Amazon                 Amazon UK               B&N              Book Depository 

What's next for you? I have an e-book, AN INDISCRETION, from The Wild Rose Press available beginning March 2012 – it is a contemporary romance with medical elements.

AN INDISCRETION
A doctor… A nurse… An indiscretion…
Paul Valverde is stretched to the limit, caring for an elderly relative while running a business and maintaining a fulltime medical practice at St. Stephen’s Hospital—with no time for a relationship.
RN Carrington Hanover leaves her money-hungry fianc√© at the altar and moves on to a new job at St. Stephen’s Hospital in Los Angeles.  The next man in her life must love her, not her money.
All Work and no play has made Paul an unfulfilled man, and the resurrected redheaded crush from his youth is driving him to distraction.  Can their complicated past become untangled by their newfound attraction—or will their love be doomed by mistrust and long-held resentment?


About you...
Favorite movie of all time – The Wizard of Oz. 
Favorite fairytale – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. 
Favorite story to disappear into – anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. 
Favorite TV program – Currently – Modern Family (sitcom). 
First book you remember reading - I read a lot as a child, but I distinctly remember my 12th summer when I read To Kill a Mockingbird.  I woke up every morning eager to get back into that book, to see what Scout would be up to, and to solve the mystery of the carved toys in the tree stump. 
Dog or cat person (or other) -  I’m a dog lover and a cat admirer (how’s that for diplomatic!). 
Author (living or dead) you'd most like to meet - Mark Twain and C.S. Lewis.
A romantic retreat for you would be... A rustic lodge in any of several US National Parks surrounded by pristine vistas of mountains, lakes and rivers.
What do you do to unwind or relax? Walk, read, cook with a glass of wine close by, laugh – that’s the best way to relax of all. 
What era would you like to time travel and visit? When dinosaurs roamed the earth. 
And why? There is so little we really know about them.  I’d really love to see them from a  Jurassic Park standpoint, though in a safe, absolutely-no-chance-of-harm-to-me way. ☺ 
What does love mean to you? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says it best for me.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

In keeping with the theme of Lynne's book - two friends who become lovers - can readers share a favorite movie or book where this happens? Barring that, a movie with a love story that brought you to tears or gave you that *sigh* factor.

Everyone who answers will go into a draw - Lynne has a 2012 Affair de Coeur wall calendar to give away to one lucky person. Share your answer by midday, Sunday 12th February (Aussie time) and the winner will be announced that evening (just in time for Valentines Day!). Quite appropriate, don't you think? 

If you'd like to know more about Lynne and her books, check out her website or RomanceWiki, or keep abreast of her news on her blog or author page, or even follow her on Facebook or Goodreads.

VENGEANCE BORN countdown...

Nearly PARTY TIME!!!


1 day to go...

“Where is she?” Kalan hissed.

A malicious smile curved Davyn’s mouth. “By the time you find her, it’ll be too late. You’ll realize just what sort of animal you’ve given sanctuary to, Chosen.” Fantaticism crazed his gaze. “You’ll see she’s just like the Na’Reish.”
(VENGEANCE BORN Ch.25)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway ends shortly!

The Goodreads Giveaway for an ARC of VENGEANCE BORN ends Feb.7th - so, if you're intending to enter, don't leave it to the last minute! :-)


Good luck!

VENGEANCE BORN countdown...


2 days to go...

“I said I’d answer your questions.” With a trembling hand, Annika gently closed the book and pushed it away from her. “I don’t keep a journal, Councilor Candra, because I don’t know your letters and words. I was never allowed to learn them.”

Davyn grunted loudly. “Illiterate and a liar.”
(VENGEANCE BORN Ch.17)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

VENGEANCE BORN Countdown


3 days to go...

“So, do you always perch on balcony ledges?”

“Not always.” Annika shot Kalan a sideways glance. The pale mauve sky silhouetted his strong profile. “Usually I sit on the pitch of a roof.”
(VENGEANCE BORN Ch.15)

Friday, February 3, 2012

VENGEANCE BORN Countdown


4 days to go...

Was he insane? She was half human, half demon, the antithesis of everything he believed in.

The knowledge tore through Kalan, sent a wave of unease prickling along his skin. He pressed his lips shut and shook his head. To admit to anything would change the way things were between them.

The way things should be between them.
(VENGEANCE BORN Ch.9)