Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome 2012!




May your 2012 be full of laughs and success.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
 

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

January Writing Workshops




Please note that all course descriptions are in blurb form. There’s often more information at the official websites. The January writing workshops are listed in order of start date and length.


A Study In Recreation: Comparing And Contrasting A Study In Scarlet And A Study In Pink
Instructor: Beth Daniels
Dates: January 2 – 8, 2012
Course Description: Rewriting a classic…how the heck to do you that successfully? Do you stick with every single one of the original concepts or do you find replacements, ways to tweak, modify, and recycle elements in different ways?

To answer these and other questions, we’re going back to school and do a comparison/contrast of Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novel, A STUDY IN SCARLET, and the re-imagined “A Study in Pink” from the BBC’s SHERLOCK series, which rewrites Holmes, Watson and Lestade as 21st century sleuths.

Instructor: Jody Henley
Dates: January 2 – 8, 2012
Course Description: Do your characters change over the course of your story? Do they have to? In this practical hands-on workshop, participants will learn about the transformational character arc--what it is, how to find it, and whether or not it's needed. Although Showing the Transformational Character Arc is designed for all skill levels, because of the hands-on nature of this workshop, participants are encouraged to bring their work-in-progress and get ready to show change as we work through a variety of easy-to-use techniques in a supportive, feedback heavy atmosphere.

Instructor: Mary O’Gara
Dates: January 2 – 15, 2012
Course Description: Evolutionary change is the basis of the character arc. The character moves from, maybe, naïve bliss to full-blown empowerment in the space of a novel, novella or short story. And the reader changes as the character changes.

In a two-week workshop, you’ll learn
• The six stages of change
• Behavior patterns for each stage
• What works to facilitate change at each stage (and what doesn’t)
• How the stages of change relate to character arcs
• Genre-specific ways to present the stages of change without slowing the action

Sleuth Facts: Real PI Procedures for Your Plot

Instructor: Linnea Sinclair
Dates: January 2 – 22, 2012
Course Description: Slink down any interesting back alleys lately? Retired Florida Private Investigator and award winning sci fi author, Linnea Sinclair, invites you to step into the world of private detective work and learn the basic procedures -- and some not so well known tricks of the trade -- that will add a touch of realism to your stories as well as provide plot twists and conflicts. How quickly can a PI locate someone? How easily can things go wrong on surveillance? What happens when a mundane case becomes a murder case? A former news reporter, Sinclair was a licensed private investigator in Florida for ten years and is featured in the nationally distributed instructional video, "Secrets of Top P Is?". She has also taught investigative methodology for writers at COFFIN (College OF Felony and I Ntrigue? online) and at various RWA and MWA conferences nationwide.

Instructor: Susan Palmgoist
Dates: January 2 – 27, 2012
Course Description:
• Learn why a good synopsis is similar to a great job interview
• Learn why it’s a must have skill for every writer
• Learn what makes a good synopsis
• Learn what should always be included
• Learn what tense a synopsis should be written in and how it should be formatted
• Learn to write both a short and long synopsis

Instructor: Laurie Schnebly Campbell
Dates: January 2 – 27, 2012
Course Description: For everyone who’s ever faced the sobering realization that writing isn’t ALWAYS a joyous dance from the first spark of an idea straight through to sending a swiftly-completed manuscript to an admiring editor, this class looks at all the steps between those two points — and how to make them easier, less stressful and more satisfying.

From “why am I writing” to “schedule conflicts,” “saggy middle,” “dwindling enthusiasm” and “writer’s block,” a series of (always optional) homework assignments will get writers focused on what they need to put the joy back in their craft.

Instructor: Angela Knight
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: A crucial ingredient of great romantic suspense and adventure is the fight scene. Yet many writers have a difficult time pulling off believable fights and climaxes that deliver on reader expectations. New York Times bestselling author Angela Knight discusses the techniques she uses to create heart-pounding action sequences. She discusses how to create heroes and villains who are a good match for each other, how to choreograph fight scenes, and how to build a plotline that rises to a climax that makes readers eager for your next book.

Instructor: Marcy Weydemuller
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: Because they encompass timeless motifs, mythic elements can add an extra layer of depth to a novel, whether contemporary, historical, paranormal or fantasy. Mythic elements have contributed to the success of many stories from Star Wars and The Princess Bride to O Brother, Where Art Thou, Troy, and Raiders of the Lost Ark trilogy. During this four-week course we'll examine some metaphoric functions that help build emotional resonance and memory.

Instructor: Lucinda Schroeder
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: This fascinating class shows writers how to mix true crime stories with fiction writing craft. The result is writing that is realistic yet highly engaging. Students will learn how to create criminal characters that live quietly within the common fabric of society until they pull a trigger, grab a knife or concoct a poison.

Instructor: Sally J Walker
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: Examine your storytelling process from start to finish. Whether you are a total newbie or an author of 30 novels, you can find tricks and processes that will challenge and freshen your productivity. No one wants to be a forgettable copycat. A change of approach to every aspect of your fiction writing may just be the spark you need at this moment in time. Take the journey will Sally Walker in examining ten steps in creativity.

Instructor: Todd Stone
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: The Triage and 7 Revision Passes strategy for Nano--or for anyone who's ready to revise. Make the most of the 50k words you wrote in NaNoWriMo--or any draft manuscript you have--with the most comprehensive revision system available.


Instructor: MM the Queen of English
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: Do you love words? to a fault? Do you believe the more words in your manuscript the merrier? Does your writing show your philosophy that if one adjective is good, then five are even better?

Okay, so you’re going to suck it up and cut the fat out of your baby. In this four-week workshop, MM the Queen of English will give you ways to do that without too much pain and agony. Trust the Queen, it’s so much easier trimming your bloated prose than your bloated tummy. She knows first-hand of what she speaks.

If you complete all of your homework, the Queen will line edit 1,000 words of your writing. That’s your reward for all that cutting you’re going to do during this month-long workshop.

Instructor: Sherry Peters
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: "Silencing your Inner Saboteur" is designed for writers of all stages in their writing career. In this workshop, writers will identify the voice of the saboteur, recognize the tricks it uses to keep them from achieving their goals, and how to win the battle against it.

Instructor: Hillary Rettig
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: Secrets of the Prolific: How to Overcome Procrastination, Perfectionism and Writer’s Block will forever change your relationship with your writing. People suffering from procrastination or a block often think they’re lazy, undisciplined, or otherwise lacking, but they really aren’t lacking at all: they are merely constrained from using their creativity and power. Liberate yourself from those constraints and you will see your energy, discipline, commitment, etc., “magically” reappear – and your writing take off!

Instructor: Roy Miller
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: Conflict is the essence of story-telling. Violence is the rawest and most visceral form of conflict. Rory Miller, former Corrections Officer, Tactical Team leader and Contractor/Adviser in Iraq will help you get the details right. The class will cover the context-- the who and why of violence-- as well as the nuts and bolts of chaos, damage and pain. You'll get a taste of violence from the technical to the spiritual and understanding from the precursors to the aftermath.

Instructor: Carol Hughes
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: What does Nora Roberts, Stephen King, George Lucas and all of those other blockbuster creators know about writing that makes them the mega stars that they are?

Learn about the 18 scenes that every story contains, no matter its length or genre. Find out how to identify your character's mental gender and what impact that has upon readers. Discover how your character's arc drives your story and how your story drives your character's arc. Learn the four throughlines of every story and how to weave them together.

Instructor: Karina Fabian
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: Want to create a detailed believable world for your stories, but don't know where to start? Worldbuilding 101 will challenge you to examine the major aspects of your world, from geology to culture, and how it applies to your story. This is a fun class of brainstorming. Participation, side comments, and kibitzing highly encouraged!

Instructor: Christine Amsden
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: With special emphasis on the concerns inherent in writing science fiction and fantasy, we’ll delve into such topics as where/how to begin a story, relevant description, and common beginner mistakes. There will be weekly writing assignments and peer review is expected. This workshop was designed with beginner and intermediate writers in mind.

Instructor: Louisa Bacio
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: Beginning writers are often told to: “Write the story you want to read, not what someone else might want to see.” This class, instead, deals with catering a short story specifically to a publisher’s request for submissions. Regularly, editors and publishers list upcoming anthologies and the types of stories they’re looking to include.

The course will explore current call-outs, and students will be encouraged to write specifically for one anthology and to submit the work at the end of the course. Basic crafting of a short story, such as development, characterization, plot structure & dialogue also will be covered. Since most short stories fall within 2,500 to 5,000 words, we’ll also look at ways to making word choice count and the editing process.

Instructor: June Diehl
Dates: January 2 – 29, 2012
Course Description: In this workshop we’ll cover: What is a YA paranormal? What is the same or different that adult paranormals? What subjects might you write about? How not to be preachy, but still open up discussion about your theme(s). How to pick ages for your young characters.

Instructor: Joni Fisher
Dates: January 2 – February 19, 2012
Course Description: There's nothing worse than bland-as-oatmeal writing that doesn't evoke passion, laughter, anger, love…some kind of emotion from your reader. Story tellers who don't elicit emotion won't gain an avid readership. It's that simple.

If you've struggled, wondering how you can get your writing to sparkle like a new penny, or a just cleaned window, learn to see everything as a metaphor for your writing. Start by looking in your spice cabinet, or your herb garden with a fresh perspective.

Instructor: Joni Fisher
Dates: January 5 – 29, 2012
Course Description: This workshop three-week workshop is designed for fiction writers, college age or above, who have completed a first draft of a novel. At the end of the workshop, students will be able to:
• Identify the purposes and limitations of dialogue.
• Infuse dialogue with conflict. Make each conversation matter. One acting technique and nine elements show how to enliven any dialogue ranging from polite debates to violent confrontations.
• Construct dialogue with depth of meaning that flows at two levels. Fine tune dialogue to create suspense and raise questions in the reader’s mind.
• Transform predictable exchanges into memorable, fresh dialogue using a simple creativity technique.
• Craft believable, dynamic conversations that cut to the chase. Apply the less-is-more adage to dialogue. Learn when to summarize and use fragment quotes.
• Talk the talk. Individualize characters through dialogue using any of eleven revealing markers. See how to conduct field research for dialogue.
• Apply the stimulus/response pattern to maintain clarity of action in a scene.
• Use dialogue tags, action tags and thought tags to show character’s goals, motivations and conflicts.
• Format and punctuate dialogue properly.

***This workshop is limited to 45 students. The first 30 students to register will get a free critique on the first 30 pages of their WIP.
 
Instructor: Pat Hauldren
Dates: January 5 – 29, 2012
Course Description: This class will examine how to write for online media such as Examiner, Demand Studios, Suite 101, eHow, etc., to build a writer’s platform to help the author get published.

We will examine the benefits for writers, especially for those who write fiction, what skills are needed, where to find the media, and how to get started.

Instructor: Jeannie Eddy
Dates: January 5 – 29, 2012
Course Description: Want an editor or agent to want to read your book? You have to write a great hook to drag them into the story, so they want to find out what happens. Your hook should inform, inspire and interest your readers – no matter who they are. You can use the hook as your pitch, using it at pitch sessions or conferences or wherever you happen to run into your dream editor/agent.

In this class, we’ll explore what a hook is, what it should say and how to write one. And to make it even better, we’re going to work on each student’s hook in class, and help them carry that hook further into the book, to make your first chapter your “money” chapter.

Instructor: Beth Daniels
Dates: January 5 – 29, 2012
Course Description: This workshop is for anyone interested in ways to slough past the parts where our imagination fails to go, through the times when our Muse heads for the Caribbean and leaves us to fend for ourselves.

Instructor: Sascha Illyvich
Dates: January 5 – 29, 2012
Course Description: Sascha Illyvich, with the help of M Christian, Oceania, Jean Marie Stine, Ralph Greco, Deborah Riley Magnus and Thomas Roche, we are going to explore the daunting aspects of erotica in all its forms. Once a week we’ll discuss every aspect of writing sexy fiction from what makes a story erotic even if there is little to no sex involved. Writers of all genres will come away with writing tips that will benefit their careers. We’ll cover author marketing, what defines a story as erotic, things new writers need to consider and the business angle of writing erotica.

Instructor: Caroline Clemmons
Dates: January 9 – 15, 2012
Course Description: Your novel must contain multiple layers blended together in one masterful tale. Isn’t this what we all want for our writing? Whatever the genre or sub genre, we crave a perfect end result. Regardless of your genre, we’ll talk about some of the ways in which a writer can layer a novel. The tools you have are your words. How you use them determines your result. Do you want a towering epic skyscraper like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander or do plan a short cozy bungalow for Harlequin Presents? Each of you has the gift to create the world you choose. You alone can unleash the phenomenal power lurking in your subconscious. And, yes, THE POWER IS THERE whether you unleash it or not.

Instructor: Bonnie Edwards
Dates: January 9 – 15, 2012
Course Description: Do you fly into the mist of a new story without a plot? A strong grasp of Scene and Sequel will make your second draft stronger and your revisions easier. Does your story fizzle out by the end of Chapter whatever? Scene and Sequel can point the way ahead.

Applying scene and sequel to your work is one of the most versatile tools in your writer’s toolkit. This is storytelling in its basic form: it improves pacing, plot, how you reveal character and can tighten those dreaded sagging middles. Combine this with Stimulus and Response (an upcoming workshop) and you’ll find new ways to make your stories shine.

Instructor: Kris McConville
Dates: January 9 – 29, 2012
Course Description: In this workshop, Kris McConville will dispel the myths of lawyers shown on TV and movies and by the end of the workshop, writers will be able to accurately portray a lawyer in a manuscript; whether it be a main character or a secondary character involved in a subplot. Writers will learn a basic knowledge of the ins and outs of the legal system; different types of lawyers and their specialties; the difference between civil and criminal proceedings; and the basic knowledge of people involved with cases from court clerks to expert witness to juries.

Action-Adventure and the NYT List: What Makes a Steve Berry Best Seller Tick
Instructor: Beth Daniels

Dates: January 9 – February 5, 2012

Course Description: A look at what makes a Steve Berry tale tick is well worth the effort, whether your goal is to land a spot on the NYT list or merely improve the sales potential of your novel. To make it easy to find a title to use as our textbook (via library or bookstore), we’ll be working with THE ALEXANDRIA LINK, copyright 2007. It’s 499 pages long, which means we’re taking 4-weeks to read, study, evaluate, and do a bit of plot-wise emulating along the way.

Instructor: Jody Allen
Dates: January 9 – February 5, 2012
Course Description: The Warrior Monks of the Crusades have become a fascinating study in myth and legend but what about the facts? We know they were the world's first bankers creating the first traveler's check system, and were probably the world's first Special Forces warriors. This class will explore who they were and the structure of the order (military and religious) how they lived, their history as the Church's first warrior monks (with special privileges granted by the Papacy) with a mission to protect the crusading pilgrims in the Holy Lands (Outremer). Who were their competitors (Hospitallers and Teutonic knights)?...


Instructor: Pepper O’Neal
Dates: January 9 – February 5, 2012
Course Description: Now that you have your website or blog set up, it’s time to get creative. This course will focus on advanced customizing of WordPress sites. It will include: troubleshooting your site when it crashes, creating custom themes and child themes, allowing users, allowing subscribers, importing and exporting content from different sources, creating user-friendly permalinks, search engine optimization, using the WordPress community forum, and creating a webhost server on your home computer that is not connected to the internet so that you can test ideas in a risk-free environment. The class will last four weeks.

Instructor: Chris Redding
Dates: January 15 – 29, 2012
Course Description: How to start with a page of dialogue and build a scene, adding setting, emotion, action. In this 2-week class, you will start with two pages of dialogue and transform it into a fully functioning scene. By adding each element of what needs to go into a story individually, you will see how it all makes the whole. You will also be able to add all the elements seamlessly, including description and character emotions. Instead of deconstructing a scene, you will be constructing a scene from the ground up.

Instructor: Mima
Dates: January 16 – 22, 2012
Course Description: This workshop is a 3-day brainstorming and how-to guide on interactive fiction. This genre was made famous by the Choose Your Own Adventure series in the 80's and is enjoying a renaissance, including an open call at Carina. Plotting tips, discussion of choice types, and working with multiple endings will be shared on Day 1. Pitfalls and organizational nitty gritty will be covered on Day 2. Day 3 is a shared brainstorming session where you can begin analyzing your story thread ideas to balance the plot and clarify the main character. All sub-genre writers welcome including non-romance. Not recommended for novice writers or those ardently opposed to plotting.

Dates: January 16 – 29, 2012
Course Description: At the end of this workshop, you will be meditating and moving your way to a healthier muse, body, and mind. The audience for this workshop are writers who want to improve mind, body, and muse without breaking a leg, breaking a sweat, or breaking the bank. There is no pre-requisite for this workshop except a desire to become more creative and healthy.

Instructor: Theresa Meyers
Dates: January 16 – 29, 2012
Course Description: We work so hard to make our characters three dimensional, but what without giving in to the temptation to do huge amounts of backstory dumping into our stories, how do we get it across? In this course you’ll:
• Discover when and how to use backstory to improve pacing
• Learn techniques for interweaving backstory with action, inner thought and dialog
• Find ways to make your characters actions and reactions match with backstory
• Learn why backstory is better in small bits and how to pick out what matters and what doesn't in your character's backstory

Instructor: Kitty Bucholtz
Dates: January 16 – February 12, 2012
Course Description: Wherever you are in your career, time management is often one of the biggest challenges. Every New Year’s Eve, as the fireworks explode, we try to figure out how to make our goals into our reality. But what will work for you?

In this class, you will be presented with a variety of ways to look at goal setting and time management specifically designed for the writer. Whether you are a plotter or a pantster, this interactive course will help you design a game plan that will work for you.

Instructor: Suzanne Rock
Dates: January 16 – February 12, 2012
Course Description: Writing a good sex scene takes hard work. If an author isn’t careful, he or she can be caught up in clichés and euphemisms, both of which can detach the reader from the story. By contrast, a great sex scene can give the reader new insight into the characters and their relationship, as well as further the plot or expand a theme. In this course we will focus on the key elements that make a sex scene memorable and learn how to use writing tools such as prose, scenery, dialogue, and point-of-view to create scenes that both you and your readers will love.

Instructor: Beth Daniels
Dates: January 23 – February 9, 2012
Course Description: Does the magic in a modern story need to be the same that was practiced by Merlin or Dumbledore, by Morgan Le Fay or Lord Voldemort?

If you answered yes, it simply means you haven’t encountered the urban magic of Kate Griffin’s world in her Matthew Swift series. Here magic no longer comes from the Earth, from growing things, animals, stones, and weather – it comes from the evolved world, from telephones, trains, cars, rubbish, graffiti, and electricity.

That’s not all this workshop focuses on though. Though we’ll look at how intricately woven and well constructed Griffin has made Swift’s world over four weeks time, using each of the first three Matthew Swift books, the second goal is to study Griffin’s work for craft clues.

Instructor: Jodi Henley
Dates: January 30 – February 5, 2012
Course Description: Do you write stories people want to read? Join Jodi Henley in an intensive 14 day workshop designed to get you from concept to download in a supportive, feedback heavy format.

Instructor: Beth Daniels
Dates: January 30 – February 26, 2012
Course Description: To paraphrase Cole Porter, advanced speech geeks do it, presidents and lawyer type creeps do it, Aristole and the Greeks do’d it, let’s do it, let’s…well, Cole says “let’s fall in love” but we’ll change that to “let’s write with flare.”

In other words, let’s use the same compositional and speech tactics that have been getting results for over a thousand years. The things I term compositional flourishes.  Some of them we’re all probably familiar with…onomatopoeia, alliteration, repetition, metaphor, simile, and of course the romance writer’s constant companion, euphemism. But how can we direct these specifically toward writing scenes fraught with sexual tension, love scenes, and erotica?

That’s what this workshop is all about.

Instructor: Shannon Donnelly
Dates: January 30 – February 26, 2012
Course Description: "Show, don't Tell" is a cliché that has almost lost its meaning. But both showing and telling are valuable tools for any writer--writers need both narrative passages as well as dramatic scenes, so each has its own place within any writer's skill set. In this workshop, we'll use writing examples to figure out the truth hidden in this tired phrase. And how "show, don't tell" really means "show more with dramatic scenes, and tell only when you need to move the story along".
 
Instructor: Louisa Bacio
Dates: January 30 – February 26, 2012
Course Description: Let’s talk about sex. Whether you’re writing a short story, novella or a full-length novel, an erotic thriller, paranormal or historical romance, the basics of the Erotic Romance remain the same: it’s all about plot and keeping it hot.

The workshop will cover the basics of characterization and motivation, and then delve into the heart: The sex scene(s). When writing about the physical aspects of love, it takes more than the cliché of “putting tab A into slot B.” The love scenes need to come organically from the work that’s being created, and the reader needs to believe in the connection.
Instructor: Kat Duncan
Dates: January 30 – February 26, 2012
Course Description: You've heard the old adage "write what you know". But what if you're a housewife with no work experience and your most recent hobby is folding laundry? You know more than you think. You may know how to solve tricky problems, soothe ruffled feathers, keep law and order, monitor sick kids, sympathize over the loss of a pet, or organize a mob of unruly kids at a party. You have goals and aspirations, even if they are just to get through the next holiday dinner. Kat will help you dig deep into your personal skills and pull out every tool you have that can be used in your writing. Not only that, but Kat will help you see how those skills could be applied to every fiction genre from sweet inspirationals to erotic sci-fi. Published examples, plus short exercises and templates support your writing goals for the future.

Instructor: Karina Fabian
Dates: January 30 – February 26, 2012
Course Description: **NOTE** Need to have taken Worldbuilding 101 or have an established world!

Let’s take it up a notch! This forum class will help you apply your world to your story, explore it in more depth. We’ll create some simple supporting documents, play with scenes, and take your world to the next story.

Instructor: Pam McCutcheon
Dates: January 30 – February 26, 2012
Course Description: Most writers hate writing synopses, and no wonder. After you've agonized over several hundred pages to make your prose absolutely perfect, how could you possibly distill that down to a measly ten or twenty pages? Or, worse yet, one or two? By the time you've written the book, everything seems important, and it's difficult to know what to put in and what to leave out. To help with that problem, Pam McCutcheon will show you the step by step approach she developed, which is also detailed in her popular book, WRITING THE FICTION SYNOPSIS, from Gryphon Books for Writers. Classes will include instruction, homework assignments, and some review of homework.


Happy Writing!


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Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas


May you eat too much and laugh until your stomach aches.

Merry Christmas! 

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

One Perfect Night with Rachael Johns



Today is launch day for Rachael John's debut novel, One Perfect Night. Join Peppa Grant and super sexy CEO, Cameron McCormac, for a whole lot of holiday fun. Don't you just love that cover? Plus she'll tell you how you can win a copy! 

Here's the blurb:
Peppa Grant's fellow employees may call their new CEO Mr. McSexy, but she's also heard that he's aloof and distant. Cameron McCormac certainly seems cold toward Christmas when she meets him at the company's annual party...but he's also the sexiest man Peppa has ever seen. And when he offers to forgive the damage she accidentally caused to his expensive car in exchange for accompanying him to his family's holiday get-together, she agrees.

Cameron needs a date to the family party to get his matchmaking relatives off his back. Their chemistry is instant and undeniable, leading to an incredible one-night stand. But Peppa wants love and family, while Cameron's only interested in temporary pleasure. When their relationship takes an unexpectedly serious turn, will he run the other way—or will he give love a second chance?
“Don’t look now, but Mr. McSexy just entered the building.”


And here's a sneak peek at One Perfect Night:
“Blast.” Peppa Grant spun round and did exactly what her best friend and colleague Izzy had ordered her not to. Her breathing faltered at the sight of six foot plus of unadulterated male who now towered at the entrance to the company’s function room. An anxious hush fell over the previously buzzing room. As all eyes snapped to him, she tried not to quake in her costume’s fairy shoes.

Until half an hour ago, Cameron McCormac had meant nothing more to Peppa than the new name at the very top of the office food chain. Now he was the man who owned the car she’d sideswiped in the car park tonight.

The dangerously handsome man who was making her pulse spike simply by standing in the doorway. “Oh, God.”

As Peppa pushed her barely touched glass out of reach and let her head fall onto the table in front of her, Izzy giggled.

“It’s. Not. Funny,” Peppa declared when she finally looked up. Her eyes sought the company’s new CEO again and she felt her heart collapse into her stomach.

“You’re right,” Izzy said, reaching out and stroking Peppa’s hair like a mother over a sick child. “If I’d just put a prize-winning dent in the big boss’s red, convertible pride and joy, I’d probably be at Sydney airport boarding a plane or planning to hitch a ride with Santa back to the North Pole.”


“Hilarious.” Peppa shot her friend a sarcastic smile. “Please tell me McSexy has just vanished up a chimney?”

Izzy took a sip of her chocolate mocktail, her sea-blue eyes sparking with laughter as she peered theatrically over Peppa’s head. “No can do. Looks like he’s doing the rounds, handing out candy canes or something to all the children. Molly must have put him up to it.”

Molly, although old enough to be his mother, was Mr. McCormac’s personal assistant. Rumor had it when he did anything remotely human, she’d put him up to it. She’d been with the company longer than anyone and was the brains behind this event, the annual Christmas party for children of Lyrique Recordings’ employees. Peppa had a fleeting fantasy of leaving a message with Molly about her little misdemeanor in the car park but that wouldn’t be right. And she hadn’t been brought up to take the easy option.

“I’ll do it now,” she said, resting a hand on her queasy belly as she pushed herself off the stool and onto quaky feet. Although whether her shakiness was from trepidation or her gorgeous boss’s sexy gait and air-of-confidence, she couldn’t be sure. “Confess before I’m due on stage and then, if he has any sympathetic bones in his body, he’ll let me entertain the kids before the crucifixion.”

“You’re such a drama queen,” sighed Izzy. “The top job pays well. He has enough money to line his undies drawer in gold. You apologize. You give him the details of your insurance company. You get on with your life. Simple.”

Simple. Right. But Izzy didn’t know that Peppa had just switched to a budget insurance provider. As she had never needed to claim in seven years of driving, the switch had seemed a good decision at the time. The upside was low monthly rates. The downside? A mammoth deductible on claims.

Well, that faux-pas may not only have cost Peppa her car and her job, but paying back the damage to the boss’s vintage Lamborghini would seriously endanger her ability to pay her mortgage. Not to mention she’d have to put her plans for an overseas holiday on hold—a holiday that had been all about helping her mind and emotions recover from the battering of the past few months.

“I think he’s looking at you.”

Izzy’s words broke Peppa’s reverie. And of course she looked up, across the room, only to find her gaze colliding with the Head Honcho himself. Her heart hitched a beat. Despite the distance she could see the roguish tilt of his lips, the slight frown of his distinguished black brows and that his devilish licorice eyes were trained on her. Dark-chocolate hair, speckled with naturally sun-kissed spikes, framed a face so chiseled it could have been carved from stone. A man so in-control of his world he had no reason to question it. Heat flooded her cheeks and, not wanting to draw unnecessary attention, Peppa forced herself to break her gaze.




If you’ve enjoyed this excerpt, you can read the first chapter of ONE PERFECT NIGHT at Rachel's website.


Or, you can buy the book at Amazon or Carina Press.


And to celebrate her debut release, Rachael is blogging today at the following places, giving away a copy of ONE PERFECT NIGHT at each spot:

Get Lost in a Story

Chick-lit Central


AUTHOR BIO:
Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a chronic arachnophobic, a supermarket owner by day and a writer by night. She rarely sleeps. Rachael received The Call from Angela James telling her Carina wanted to publish her book on April Fools Day and, when she told her friends, half of them wondered if it was a big joke. Luckily it wasn’t. As an active member of Romance Writers of Australia, Rachael has finaled and placed in a number of romance writing contests. Each success is uplifting and publication is her dream but even if none of this happened, she’d still write. It’s a much better option than ironing, which she refuses to partake in. Ever.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Word Meter For Your Desktop

Barbecue is a free/donation program that allows you to keep track of your writing progress without having to share it with the rest of the world. It’s great for those of us without blogs or if you just need a bit of extra motivation.

Best of all you can change the color scheme and make it pretty. See for yourself:

Image from http://skwire.dcmembers.com

Want it? You can download one here.

Happy Christmas month!

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