Dialogue — Keeping it Real

by Trish Wylie, author of Her Bedroom Surrender

My name is Trish Wylie and I’m an –

Ooops wrong place…Let’s start again. Hello from a rather rain soaked Emerald Isle! So Modern Heat’s Irish girl is here to talk to you about dialogue. There’s probably a good reason for that. We Irish have been known to talk from time to time. Though obviously if you’ve met me in person you’ll know how shy and retiring I am…

I LOVE writing for this line. Seriously! The very fact I can write a book in anything from three to eight weeks is testimony to that I think and a big part of that ‘fit’ is the dialogue.

Now you’d think that dialogue would be one of the easiest things in the world but some people find it tough, despite the fact we all use it every single day of our lives. We use dialogue from first thing in the morning to kick the kids out of bed for school (in my house that mostly involved my mother yelling at us from the foot of the stairs at ten minute intervals until someone eventually appeared). We talk over the breakfast table (or of you’re a teenager you mumble and grunt in the general direction of the cereal box and the grown ups are supposed to translate). There’s chatting on the phone, gossiping with the girls over coffee, getting the latest about So-And-So and the hot new guy she met (with appropriate gasps and ‘lucky girl!’ type phrases).

But what does it mean in a Modern Heat?

Well as I’m sure you all probably know by now the books are fun, sassy, sexy, contemporary reads. The dialogue will reflect this and will move your story forwards with the same flow as any conversation you might engage in or overhear in real life. Except of course when your characters are hurt, or arguing, or… well you get what I’m saying here, right? Dialogue is the cornerstone of any story told in any medium. Inner POV, physical movement, plot, descriptions that key into the five senses; they’re all layers around the dialogue. And the real test with dialogue is if you remove all those other elements and still have a clear idea of who the people are and what’s going on…

—————————————————————————————-

“You?”

“You’re Merrow O’Connell?”

“And you’re Alexander Fitzgerald? Well, well, isn’t this interesting?”

“You can’t be Merrow O’Connell.”

“And why can’t I?”

“Because I’m not spending the next nine months working with you after-“

“One night of incredibly hot, uncomplicated sex? And anyway, I haven’t said I’d work with you yet. Are you always this presumptuous? Is the famous Fitzgerald name supposed to be enough to persuade me on its own? I should be on my knees in front of you about now I suppose…”

“Are you making fun of me?”

“Me? O-ooh, as if I’d dare…I told you on the phone I’d have to see the project before I agreed to anything.”

“You said you had a short window in your schedule. And you won’t turn it down when you see it.”

“You don’t know I won’t.”

“Yes, I do, ‘cos any designer who loves what they do would be seriously turned on by a project this size.”

“Didn’t anyone ever tell you size doesn’t matter?”

“Well how about you try looking at it before you make your mind up? My client is very keen on your work…The Pavenham’ could be the kind of project to launch you into the big time…”

“The Pavenham Hotel? The one that Apocalypse just bought?”

“That’s the one. And they have deep pockets. You’d be very well paid for your work.”

“Chamomile tea?”

“Hell no.”

“It might help you with all that tension.”

“What tension?”

“Mickey D must be giving you hell.”

“You think I can’t handle an aging rocker like Mickey D?”

“I think you wouldn’t have chased halfway across Dublin looking for me if he wasn’t digging his heels in. He’s famous for being a bit of a Prima Dona…I was conceived to one of his songs you know.”

“Actually, I’m not sure I needed to know that. But I’m sure he’ll love it when you tell him.”

“Seriously, chamomile is great stuff – and completely natural.”

“I’m good, thanks.”

“So what happened to your last interior designer?”

“Which one?”

“How many have there been?”

“Four. Mickey D is quite particular.”

“So I’m a last resort am I?”

“Actually you’re the first one that he’s been determined he has to have.”

“Mmm. I doubt I’m really the first.”

“That kind of recruiting he can do on his own. I’m his architect, not his pimp.”

“Seriously, there’s more tea in the flask.”

—————————————————————————————-

This excerpt of dialogue from the first chapter of my next Presents/Modern Heat release His Mistress: His Terms shows how the dialogue reads with all the other layers removed. So do we have an idea of who the characters are? Of their personalities? Of what they do for a living? Of their relationship at the start of the book? Does it have a natural flow? Are they reacting to what the other one says? If you read it out loud would you find yourself changing the tone of your voice to suit each character?

If the answer to all those is no then I’d just like to say I’ve loved my career while I had one.

Through dialogue your characters get to know each other in the same way couples all over the world do. It doesn’t happen all at once – things are gradually revealed (otherwise it would be a pretty darn short story!). Sometimes they’ll be evasive or make witty come-backs to avoid a subject they don’t want to discuss. Their speech pattern will reflect a cornucopia of things from their education level to their social position to their location on the planet to whether they’re male or female. But basically, like everything else in the books; it all comes down to character.

A gorgeous, yummy alpha male hero in a Modern Heat is gonna have confidence to burn. Not only drop dead sexy in the looks department – ‘cos let’s be honest here, sexy is more than just eye candy, isn’t it? Smart is sexy. Confident is sexy. A sense of humour – well, it does it for me 😉 Put all of those things into his dialogue to add to that eye candy wrapping and you know your reader is completely gonna understand why your heroine has problems staying vertical for long – even if there’s a long list of reasons why he’s completely the wrong guy for her in so many other ways…

Is this the kind of guy who is likely to apologize much? Admit he’s wrong? Say please? Probably not. Nor is he likely to open up and have a long discussion about his feelings. Most men don’t even understand why women feel the need to do that. A Modern Heat hero is the man who thinks in straight lines – it’s the heroine who tends to knock him off track (don’t you LOVE IT when that happens?!). But regardless of what she does this guy sees what he wants and doesn’t stop till he gets it! And this will show in the way he talks.

The sassy, confident heroine in a Modern Heat is gonna be able to hold her own against this guy when it comes to dialogue. When it comes to resisting him in other ways obviously she’s gonna have problems… but hey, who can blame her? There will be times when she’s sarcastic to balance his over-confidence/arrogance. There may be times when she says one thing and contradicts it with inner POV – we women tend to do that (and are frequently amazed when we’re misunderstood because of it!) Is she likely to confess how attracted she is to the hero from the get-go? To let him know how she feels when she’s still battling with herself over the long list of things that make him the wrong guy for her? What are the chances she’ll tell a bad boy that she wants him to settle down with her and give up his playboy lifestyle? Yuh-huh. See? Now you’re with me.

Last but not least remember that contemporary feel. In a Modern Heat you may well see slang in the dialogue, pop-culture references, conversations by text or email, friends of the heroine chatting over cappuccinos while they discuss sex in a public place… It’s a reflection of modern day relationships and life. I’m not suggesting you apply to major companies for deals on product placement but we should really feel that these people are out there in the real world. They just happen to be having a romantic adventure that taps into the kind of fantasies women all over the world can appreciate.

Half their luck I say!

Trish’s last Modern Heat in Presents was Her Bedroom Surrender in May (nominated for the Booksellers Best Award as Breathless!) and His Mistress: His Terms will be released in Presents in December.

http://www.trishwylie.com

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Comments ( 191 )
  1. wanton woman
    September 28, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Hi Robyn,

    So glad to hear from you even if I am jealous re 28 degrees in Spring. I’d gladly pass on some of my rain clouds here if only I knew how. One thing I know for sure is I’ll never have to worry about drought and that’s a fact!

    No, can’t hear my phone from my sisters at all but I’m having a ‘get real’ week so I won’t be expecing an email either. Nevertheless, we’ve all met here because of the competition so for that I’ll be eternally grateful.

    Jilly is probably up to her eyeballs trying to reign control over that extra staff you mentioned and I don’t even want to know what Maisey does on a Sunday to pass the time….
    Barbara is most likely kicking her way around for not having sighted any of those Slovakian boarders.

    Must admit that I can’t wait for Tuesday, I’m sooooo curious to see who wins! I have a feeling we’ll all learn something to apply to our writing before the week is out.

    Enjoy school holidays and sunshine,
    Aideen.

  2. emerald
    September 28, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Me again,

    I’m honestly not expecting a call either. I ditched the perfectly acceptable chapter I’d intended to submit because some other fools (sorry, lovable characters) that’d been annoying me for a while insisted they’d be more suitable. I took their word for it and whilst I love them, I’m thinking they’re a bit “left of centre,” not quite ideal. But still, entering was fun and it has thrown us all together.

    Robyn

  3. bburnham
    September 28, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Aideen and Robyn,

    Hey, I’m here!

    And, yes, I am still kicking myself about the Slovakians I never met, but I have been trying to keep myself busy.

    The Golden Hearts are just around the corner here in the US, so I am continuing to work on my manuscript.

    I hate to say this, but it was in the 70s here yesterday, so I spent alot of time outside with the boys. And, I can’t stop toying with the Kindle I got this past week as an early birthday gift.

    Jilly, where are you?

    Aideen, how can you live without phone or Internet? Okay, the better question, how could I live without it?

    Maisey is on the Mavens site. Robyn, I sent you an invite. Let me know if you didn’t get it.

    Take care and keep writing,
    Barbara

  4. wanton woman
    September 28, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Robyn,

    That is too freaky because I abandoned a story I had been working on for weeks to start fresh with a spanking new entry for the comp. I believed I needed a change of character in order to produce a more suitable Mod Heat couple. Now I’m wondering if I would have been better off sticking with my original? Ugh, hate when stuff like this happens.

    Barbara, clearly you’re planning to submit to the Golden Hearts? I probably shouldn’t admit to this but I know very little of the competitions held for unpubbed writers. There is no actual Romance Writers of any sort here in Ireland which I think is unfortunate because I would love to at least have the option to submit to different contests throughout the year.

    And my little bit of knowledge tells me you have to become a member of such organisations before you can start entering your work.
    Robyn, you mentioned something about another comp too lately, how is that working out for you?

    Aideen.

  5. wanton woman
    September 28, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Maisey,

    Talented husband, talented writers eh??? Not a bad title for our blog if you think about it.
    Talented Husbands = Talented Writers. It would certainly grab attention.

    And my husband would love me for it!!!

    Aideen.

  6. Jilly C
    September 28, 2008 at 11:50 am

    What happened just then? Did I inadvertently slip back into my coma? Is it now a month later? Who won the competition? And will you please all stop talking about me as if I wasn’t here?

    Excuse me a moment …. “A little lower please, Andreos. And Michel, get that whisk on fast-speed. Maisey said ‘blende’ and that’s just half-baked. If you can’t hit the button, you’re no use to me. I’ll have to demote you to grape-peeling duties.”

    Sorry about that. It’s this credit-crunch thing. One simply can’t get the staff anymore. My secret is obviously out, thanks to Maisey – just how does she do it, for goodness sake? First she succeeds in hacking my computer, now she’s managed to bug the mansion. I’ll have to get a man in. An expert on devices. Someone who knows how to sweep a girl’s interior.

    I don’t wish to quash your fantasy, Aideen, but I’ve heard a rumour that Simon Cowell possesses a fetish for prawn-cocktail crisps. In my humble opinion, on the whole tit-bit’s scale, that’s only one up from pork scratchings. But hey, whatever floats your boat there, Aideen …

    And Barbara, this blog – I’m truly in awe here. You actually sound like you know what you’re doing. I forgive you unconditionally for the whole Slovakian fiasco. You’ve definitely earned your Sisterhood Stripes. A couple of questions, however … E-mail? Is that some kind of an exclamation for when the post drops through the letterbox? And google groups? This sounds like it could be an organisation that offers support to incurable voyeurs. Am I right? Am I even in the ball-park? I could do with a little guidance on this – preferably more than you managed on the ‘O’ subject.

    And titles aren’t really my strong point, I’m afraid, especially now when I’m a little distracted. Michel has just swapped the whisk for a dough-hook. Looks like he’s finally got the message. But true to the Slogan and in spite of my current position – which would, I might add, have had Houdini grovelling at my feet – an idea HAS occurred, enabling me somewhat belatedly to throw my hat into the ring (just one of the hats, obviously). How are we feeling on ‘Orgasms-R-Us’? Too tacky? Too predictable? Too racy? Yeah, you’re probably right, and I really don’t fancy spending Christmas in the slammer. I imagine the caviar would be SO second-rate.

    Apologies for this, but I really must go. The butler’s just informed me the security expert’s arrived, armed with all kinds of interesting tools and equipment. Looking at the size of that probe he’s holding, Maisey just did me a favour.

    TTFN

    Jilly

    BTW I’ve been trying to post this blog since Saturday (or Friday if, like Robyn, you’re in the Antipodes). Is Maisey at it again? Is she now attempng to block my entry? No. Of course not. I think I’d have noticed.

  7. bburnham
    September 28, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Aideen,

    Actually, the Golden Heart is open to members and non-members. Non-members have to pay a higher fee to enter.

    Have you looked into the Romance Novelists’ Association in the UK? (At least, I think it is based in the UK.) They have something called The New Writers’ Scheme where I think you get actual feedback on a manuscript.

    Barbara

  8. Jilly C
    September 28, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    What happened just then? Did I inadvertently slip back into my coma? Is it now a month later? Who won the competition? And will you please all stop talking about me as if I wasn’t here?

    Excuse me a moment …. “A little lower please, Andreos. And Michel, get that whisk on fast-speed. Maisey said ‘blended’ and that’s just half-baked. If you can’t hit the button, you’re no use to me. I’ll have to demote you to grape-peeling duties.”

    Sorry about that. It’s this credit-crunch thing. One simply can’t get the staff anymore. My secret is obviously out, thanks to Maisey – just how does she do it, for goodness sake? First she succeeds in hacking my computer, now she’s managed to bug the mansion. I’ll have to get a man in. An expert on devices. Someone who knows how to sweep a girl’s interior.

    I don’t wish to ruin your fantasy, Aideen, but I’ve heard a rumour that Simon Cowell possesses a fetish for prawn-cocktail crisps. In my humble opinion, on the whole tit-bit’s scale, that’s only one up from pork scratchings. But hey, whatever floats your boat there, Aideen …

    And Barbara, this blog – I’m truly in awe here. You actually sound like you know what you’re doing. I forgive you unconditionally for the whole Slovakian fiasco. You’ve definitely earned your Sisterhood Stripes. A couple of questions, however …. E-mail? Is that some kind of an exclamation for when the post drops through the letterbox? And google groups? This sounds like it could be an organisation that offers support to incurable voyeurs. Am I right? Am I even in the ball-park? I could do with a little guidance on this – preferably more than you managed on the ‘O’ subject.

    And titles aren’t really my strong point, I’m afraid, especially just now when I’m getting distracted. Michel has just swapped the whisk for a dough-hook. Looks like he’s finally getting the message. But true to the Slogan and in spite of my current position – which would, I might add, have had Houdini grovelling at my feet – an idea HAS occurred, enabling me to somewhat belatedly throw my hat into the ring (just the one hat there, obviously). How are we feeling on ‘Orgasms-R-Us’? Too tacky? Too racy? Too predictable? Yeah, you’re probably right, and I don’t really fancy spending Christmas in the slammer. I imagine the caviar would be SO second-rate.

    Apologies for this, but I really must go. The butler’s just told me the security expert’s arrived, armed with all kinds of interesting tools and equipment. Looking at the size of that probe he’s holding, I think Maisey’s finally done me a favour.

    T.T.F.N.

    Jilly (HRH)

    BTW, like Aideen, I’ve been experiencing some technical blog problems. I’ve been trying to post this entry since Saturday (or Friday if, like Robyn, you’re in the Antipodes). Is Maisey at it again? Is she now attempting to block my entry? Actually, I doubt it. I think I’d have noticed.

  9. Myates
    September 28, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Aideen,

    It’s always good the keep the husbands buttered up. That way when I want to take off the Starbucks for a latte and some alone writing time I can say, “Remember, darling, you are my inspiration. Says so on my blog.”

    As for what I do on Sundays, I was at church of course! (No, really. I was in the nursery today wrangling ten little boys. Apparently this all boy thing is widespread!)

    I’m not exactly expecting an email myself, although emails telling my I’m a wonderful winner are starting feature in my fantasies, I think I might have called out “Feel the heat!” last night during a key moment. (I was eating chocolate, of course!)

    I’ve spent the last week wishing I would have entered a different first chapter because I have two heroines who were a bit sassier than the one from my entry, but the chapters exceeded the word count by a few thousand words and I couldn’t find a good cut off point or figure out what I wanted to remove to make them fit.

    Well, I’m going to try and force some more story out of Mallory and Dante (my h and H in the book I’m working on) I’m thinking they might just have to go have a fight in bed. Not a bad idea…

    Maisey

  10. wanton woman
    September 28, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Yes, little boys do seem to be taking over our world, don’t they?
    But I for one don’t mind a bit. In fact I’ve always been very happy to be handed boy after boy after boy after boy after each delivery.
    I grew up the youngest of six girls and let me tell you I’ve seen violence in all it’s forms over clothes, shoes, make up, you name it.
    Nail files have been used in self defence, tufts of missing hair remain visible after all these years and my mother turned positively grey overnight playing referee on a full time basis.
    Those cats in the jungle have nothing on my sisters. I was a little younger than the rest so I really only observed from the sidelines (usually wearing protective clothing and blocking my ears from the blood curdling cries).

    So bring on the boys, the more the merrier.

    Aideen.

  11. Amy
    September 28, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    BTW, I just approved some comments that got stuck in moderation over the weekend — appologies for any duplicates.
    ~Amy (from Harlequin)

  12. bburnham
    September 28, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Thanks, Amy!

    I am trying to get the gang moved over to googlegroups. Hope to have that accomplished soon . . .

    Barbara 🙂

  13. emerald
    September 28, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    I was thinking maybe the reason we don’t have any daughters is so that our romance writing voices aren’t passed on to the next generation. You know, it’s the fail safe thing… only so much havoc can be tolerated and then it must stop!

    Barbara, I didn’t get an invite, 🙁 will it come as an email?

    Aideen, the comp I just entered here is one that takes only the first five pages of a ms (in times new roman, so you can fit a bit more in.) It’s a good way to see how the very beginning comes across, although not all stories have enough ‘grit’ right up front to be suitable. Sometimes (yeah right, all the time) it’s hard to get everything you need to about conflict etc into the first chapter, so managing the same in a quarter of that space can be sanity zapping. On the plus side, it’s an email submisssion process so postage wouldn’t be a problem although to enter you would need to join the RWA(Oz)

    It’s funny how we’ve passed over other stories to enter the ones we have into Feel the Heat. I guess there’s nothing to be gained by wondering about the others now. And that’s what the regular submission route is there for. 🙂

    Oh, so much actual writing talk this morning. I must sign off and go finish Anne Oliver’s book that Jilly did such a good job of recommending.

    Robyn

  14. Jilly C
    September 29, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    What a relief! Back in touch with the sisters, and just in time with The Big Day approaching. I’m sure I just wouldn’t get through it without you guys. I was already experiencing premature withdrawal (and just when I thought Michel had finally got the hang of it).

    Maisey, I apologise unreservedly for accusing you of blocking my entry. I realise now that you wouldn’t stoop so low. And all the time it was Amy, of course, acting in the interests of moderation (I’d take my hat off to you at this point, Amy, but I’m now only left with the one).

    Which gives rise to an interesting thought ….. Does this imply that our comments are moderate? Does that mean the sisters can get even racier? I can hardly wait for the next discussion.

    Robyn, so glad you’re enjoying the Anne Oliver book – see what I mean about the sex-scenes??!! I think it mentions it at the front of the book but in case you missed it, ‘Business In The Bedroom’ is Abby’s story and it’s every bit as good as the one you’re reading. I can’t guarantee it’ll set fire to your attic – we’ll have to wait for Aideen’s for that one – but I think I can say without fear of contradiction it should get a nice blaze going down in the basement.

    And Aideen, so glad you spotted my message on Kimberely’s blog. I was so relieved when I saw your reply. Didn’t want anyone thinking I’d deserted the Sisterhood now my true status has finally been exposed. And apologies for the duplicate posting, guys. I appreciate that Jilly-in-stereo is probably a touch much to bear.

    Still no news, then. I must confess I clicked onto the website with trembling hands which unfortunately had nothing to with that probe. What do you reckon? Have they reached a decision? Is someone right now receiving the call to tell them they’ve just hit the jackpot? Oh God, I can’t stand it. I’ll have to lie down. And Michel, get a hold of that security guy. I think I’m in need of a second sweep …..

    HRH Jilly

  15. wanton woman
    September 29, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    HRH,

    No news is good news. Or so my mother says but really, I stopped paying attention to her when I was…younger. I’m certain they have reached their decision as we speak and one lucky gal is nearing tears I’d imagine. But’s lets be honest, it is rather exciting, isn’t it?

    I’m jealous of your true status, but how do you keep up with so many shift changes??? I’m starting to suspect that Michel is your favourite, am I right?

    You must come on over to the group Barbara has created, fun and frolics are guaranteed. And I’m sure we can find plenty of topics to get us through the dreary months ahead. I say dreary because the rain has started here in Ireland and I know for sure it’s not going to let up until at least next March. If we’re lucky.

    Can’t wait for Wednesday, I so want the winner to be someone we know. I’d feel such an important part in her journey!!!!

    Aideen.

  16. wanton woman
    September 29, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    But Robyn,

    Perhaps one of our many boys will take after their mother’s and write the most wonderfully sassy romance stories known to mankind???
    It’s a possibility, don’t you think?

    I love that the regular submission route is there for us, it’s good to know we can keep at it until somebody finally connects with our ‘voice’. That’s my current plan of action at the moment anyway.

    We can only learn on this bumpy road to publication.

    Aideen.

  17. Myates
    September 29, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Jilly,

    I shudder to think how the dough hook scenario turned out…and you really should join up over at the google group, you too Robyn, we’re all talking to ourselves and getting maudlin about our chances of winning so we could use a pick-me-up.

    I couldn’t possibly have bugged your house, I’m much to electronics illiterate for that, and I don’t know how you got my stripper-gram confused with a PI…

    Anyway, all of you stop chewing your fingernails! A woman needs her fingernails! We’ll all find out soon enough…in the mean time, I’m going to go eat chocolate and drink lattes…forget girlish figures, I’m working on my panda bear figure!

    Maisey

  18. bburnham
    September 29, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Jilllllllly, Calling J-I-L-L-Y!

    Jilly, please go to my blog (http://missionpublication.blogspot.com/) and leave a comment with your e-mail address or e-mail me through my blog with your e-mail address so I can get you on the group forum. (You can get to my direct e-mail on the profile page.)

    We need your expertise! Won’t you join us, please, please, please?

    Barbara 🙂

  19. Jilly C
    September 30, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Barbara, I’ve done it – or at least I THINK that I’ve done it. I’ve sent you an e-mail. That’s all I could manage. Is that enough to be going on with?

    Sorry about the delay, but there was an unfortunate incident involving Andreos and a pair of particularly strong handcuffs (well two pairs, actually) and a new attachment for the blender. Anyway, the nice young doctor at Accident and Emergency was very understanding. He said that it happens all the time. I’m sure he was saying it to make me feel better, but I got his number just as a precaution.

    How are all of the sisters coping? Has anyone received a call? An e-mail? Heck, I’d settle for a homing-pigeon right now. I can’t believe there’s nothing on the blog. I went on tonight convinced I’d see an announcement saying they’d finally picked the winners and they’d all been contacted ahead of tomorrow. I’d got the tissues and the cliches at the ready, prepared to indulge in a little Sisterhood Support. Do you think there’s still hope, or is that down the pan with the dead skin and butterflies?

    I think I might just ring that doctor. I could do with him upping my prozac.

    Jilly

  20. Myates
    September 30, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    You should pop over to the blog, Jilly. My theory was that you had won and were even now off with your new editor (Who turned out to be an Australian shipping magnate of Italian and Irish parentage) buying hats and drinking tequila. I hope for your sake that it’s true.

    I think my email might have gotten lost amidst dead skin, butterflies and kitchenaid mixer attachments, but I can’t be sure.

    Maisey

  21. Amy
    September 30, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    The winners will be announced here tomorrow, I promise! I’d give you a time, but with all the time zones… math off the top of my head is not my thing! So tomorrow morning sometime, EST.

    If everything works out right, the winners will have been notified in advance as well (but that’s Joanne’s territory).
    ~Amy (from Harlequin Digital)

  22. wanton woman
    September 30, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks for the update Amy.

    I think we all knew that the winners would be notified in advance but I guess hope is just something that doesn’t give up as easily as our brains!!

    What can I say? All the best to everyone and here’s to the normal submission route. Apparently that still works!!! Must get back to writing, I’m sure submitting blank pages is a no-no.

    Irish Luck Everyone,
    Aideen.

  23. Madeline
    September 30, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks Amy!

    It’s 10:30 in the morning here, but I suppose I’m going to have to wait another nine or so hours until it’s morning for the editors in England!

    Oh the angst of an Australian.

    All the best to everyone at getting a follow up letter – it’s the next hope to cling to. Now, I’m off to write while I wait for the announcement. Hope you’re all sleeping soundly and angst-free 🙂

    Madeline

  24. mulberry
    October 1, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Oh please please please let it be one of you guys that win!
    First second and third places to the Sisterhood of the Blended Orgasm would be so cool!
    I’ve been MIA in day job hell the lst few days, and IKEA hell on the weekend. We’re refurnishing the sitting room and unaccountably the hunky Swedish handymen I’d expected were mising from the flatpacks- think Maisey must have stolen them to staff her mansion.
    Also that mention of Gerard Butler sent me into a fantasy that lasted three days!
    I am sooooo glad I didn’t enter this time around. And also gald to read on other blogs here that a couple of the current MH writers were found in the slush pile. Now I must just write the b***dy thing! How do you lot manage to do it with small kids? I just have the day job from hell, dh, and me, no kids, yet I never seem to manage to make any time to write.

  25. mulberry
    October 1, 2008 at 9:19 am

    They posted the winners while I was here reading what you guys had been up to.
    Boy, those gals who won must have been good, because you lot are fabulous!

  26. Jilly C
    October 1, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Hi guys,

    I’m posting here ‘cos my brain is now currently mush and I don’t think it’s up to navigating cyberspace to find its way into Barbara’s blog. I’ll attempt it tomorrow and hopefully, in the meantime, you’re all still dropping by here.

    How are you feeling? Can I be honest? I feel like absolute sh**!! Don’t get me wrong. I’m truly delighted for all of the winners (though it isn’t doing much to improve my condition!!) but all the same I can’t shake off the queasy sensation that someone’s just kicked me in the tenderest of nether regions. Which is totally crazy when your true expectation was that you weren’t going to win in the first place. It’s that little seed of hope. That tiny little flame which, against all the odds, refuses to die. Thank goodness we’ve all got each other. Michel and his blender can go hang. I know who I’d sooner have with me right now.

    One more thing I’d just like to say: Mulberry, I love you, and I want to have your babies.

    And, sisters, remember. Like a phoenix we will rise, brighter and stronger, from this old heap of ashes that was once our dream.

    Onwards, and upwards,

    Jilly

  27. Myates
    October 1, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Jilly,

    All I can say is the winners must have been amazing, because you are fabulous! You always make me laugh, and I always want to read what you write.

    Try and make it over to the blog, we posted out chapters over there and it would be great if you could stop by and offer some witty, searing critique as we roast marshmallows over the open flame that once was our dreams…

    Only joking, things aren’t as bad as all that! You could still get contacted about your entry!

    Maisey

  28. bburnham
    October 1, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Jilly,

    I sent an invite to your e-mail on Monday. Let me know if you didn’t get it for some reason. Hope you got some sleep.

    Barbara

  29. Jilly C
    October 2, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Barbara, are you pulling my plonker? Is this your way of getting revenge for that whole Slovakian debacle?

    I’ve been sitting here for over an hour, typing in all of those letters and numbers off that E-mail you sent me. First, I tried the ones for creating a google account because, apparently, I have to have that before I can access the group thing. Twice. Nothing. Just didn’t recognise it. Then I tried the one for accepting the invitation. Ditto. Zilch. And I did try to warn you about my heebie-jeebies. I mean, fair’s fair – do I LOOK like Alan Turing, for heaven’s sake?

    Please help me out here. I can’t bear the thought of you sisters partying whilst I’m all alone in this stonking great mansion, drowning my sorrows in a magnum of Moet. Alone, that is, except for Andreos (I’ve forgiven him the handcuffs), Michel and that nice young doctor I mentioned. I’ve made him a permanent addition to the roster. What he can’t do with a stethoscope and scalpel really isn’t worth knowing …

    Awaiting instructions,

    Jilly

  30. wanton woman
    October 2, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Jilly!!!!

    I think I may have lost control of my bladder reading the above! Please hurry up over to the group. Get Andreos or Michel or Doc to set you up. We miss you, we need your serious attitude to direct us towards greatness.

    And I’ve just gone mental and uploaded my chapter so you’re missing out on one 24 page comedic attempt at establishing myself as a writer. Come on woman, get with it.

    Aideen.

  31. bburnham
    October 2, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Jilly,

    Man, I was just wondering where you were. I am sorry about all of the problems you were having. I am going to try to just add you myself using the e-mail address you sent me. I will let you know what happens.

    Barbara

  32. mulberry
    October 2, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Jilly, maybe we should move to your mansion instead- there are a lot more men there, plus a lot of toys with interesting possibilities too!

    But please please get the email thingy sorted- you are missing out on Aideen’s laugh out loud hot hot hot chick lit chapter, Barbara’s sizzling lift scene in the corridors of power, Maisey’s OMG he’s gorgeous but he’s a mean bastard Italian/ African American Presents hero… and we are missing you.

  33. wanton woman
    October 2, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Oh Jeez,

    Now I want to have your babies too Jane!!!

    And Jilly, you’re also missing out on Jane’s ruthless take on blackmail, deliciously carried out by 6 feet 3 inches of a thoroughbred Italian Stallion.

    Aideen.

  34. Madeline
    October 3, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Hi ladies,

    I know I’m not a part of your group, but I have to say, that each time I visit I Heart Presents, I see that this thread has been written on, and can’t resist checking. I’m endlessly amused by your banter, though you all seem to know each other beyond this site, so I’m sure I’m only catching on to half of it!

    I just wanted to say all the best with your writing: you all have personalities that spread to the page, and I have no doubt you will all succeed at publication. If your heroine’s are half as vibrant as your conversations, there’s no doubt. I just hope to be as lucky as you.

    All the best!
    Madeline 🙂

  35. Myates
    October 3, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks Madeline,

    it’s great to know that people (other than just myself) have been amused. I met everyone here on this thread. We’re all from different corners of the world, which is always interesting.

    Thanks for your best wishes! All the support on this sight means a lot. And I wish you the best of luck as well!

    Maisey

  36. Jilly C
    October 3, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Newsflash from Masochist Mansion ……

    ‘There are reports tonight that the owner of this mysterious and somewhat disreputable abode – who has, sources say, been seen in the village in recent days looking oddly green, wearing two hats and adorned with what appeared to be various components of a food-mixer – has been rescued by her faithful Slovakian chocolatier when he discovered her drowning in a sea of E-mails which had inexplicably started spewing out from her printer. Her recently-appointed medical advisor has assured us all is now well. After applying his imaginitive resuscitation technique on three separate and lengthy occasions, his grateful employer has promoted him to Chief Blender and is now lying down in the recovery-position.’

    And Barbara, it’s all thanks to you. Either you ARE really pulling my plonker or your attempt to ‘add’ me didn’t quite work. Twenty-eight – yes, you heard me, TWENTY-EIGHT – E-mails have flooded my in-box, each consisting of two or three pages. Bits of comments from each of the sisters on chapters I’ve not even seen yet. In duplicate. In triplicate. You name it, I’ve got it. Oh God, I can’t bear it. Am I destined to be apart from the Sisterhood forever, deprived of all that hot lusty writing? Please Barbara, DO something. I’m down on my knees here (well, to be honest, I already was but that, as they say, is another story).

    And guys, I can’t tell you how good it is to hear you. And rest assured, I’ll be with you as soon as I can. Your luck can’t last forever, you know.

    And Madeline, not part of the group? Get a grip there, girl. I’m sure I’m speaking for all of the sisters when I say that EVERYONE’s welcome here! As Technical Director, it’s Barbara you need to crawl – sorry, speak to but I’m sure she’d be happy to ‘add’ you as well (I just hope you have more luck than I’M having). A word of advice. Don’t mention the Slovakians. If you’ve faithfully been following this blog, you’ll know already it’s a touchy subject.

    Sorry guys, gotta go. I’m under medical supervision here and it’s time for a change of position. This guy is heavier than he looks ….

    Jilly

  37. mulberry
    October 3, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Jilly, you gotta find your way over to us (but please bring some of the boys as well). After all, you are one of the original Sisterhood, while I’m just an interloper who happened to walk by one day….

    Madeline, I don’t have any right at all to do this at all, as previously mentioned being an interloper myself, but I second Jilly’s comment. Click on Barbara’s name on any of her posts, and then send her an email.

    But if you are invited to join, be prepared to bare your synopsis, your soul, and the secrets of your boudoir to the Sisterhood of the Blended Orgasm. Membership may cost you your sanity, plus any spare time you thought you had- but it will give you a good giggle, inspiring critiques, and a chance to see some brilliant writing (I’m already practicing the “Well of course, I knew her BEFORE she was published” speeches, for future RNA and RWA conferences).

  38. wanton woman
    October 3, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Jilly,

    In all fairness, cop on. You have a medic on board, a masseuse, a security watchman and many more I imagine to fill that masochist mansion but where in the hell is your IT man??

    Require one poste haste because we’re all partying like crazy over in the google group. Honestly, we really are. We were gonna wait for you but there’s only so much procrastinating a girl can do. We have the red carpet out and awaiting you is a Magnum of Dom Perignon, we don’t do the cheap stuff over there.

    Up your prozac if you must but figure out a way to get to us cos the group just isn’t complete without the original shrinking violet. You can even wear four hats and smoke your pipe AND cigar simultaneously.

    Aideen.

  39. Myates
    October 3, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Someone send the woman a link! Honestly, Jill darling do you write everything by hand?

    And to answer the IT question, I have a brother who works in that business. Now he’s a nice looking young man but he’s the exception to the rule. If I were Jilly I wouldn’t have one either. But then, I’ve only got the one man. Not that I’m complaining. One gorgeous African-American/Italian is all this woman can handle! However if his skill-set consisted only of some vague ritual involving pork scratchings and alcohol I might need a whole crew too….

    Maisey

  40. Jilly C
    October 4, 2008 at 9:05 am

    There’s a lot of things I do by hand, Maisey, but I’m pleased to say that writing isn’t one of them. If you’d seen my scrawl, you’d understand why.

    And Aideen, to enlighten you on the IT staffing position, I DID have one once (not in the biblical sense, I hasten to add). In fact, I’ve had several, but they each only lasted a week. Apparently, I exhausted them of all their expertise to find at the end of it I was still a lost cause. I know you’ll find that hard to believe, but that’s what they said as they ran out the door, holding their dongles and screaming hysterically.

    But now I must do what a Jilly has to do. Fully recovered from my near-death-by-E-mail experience – and in the absence of further instructions from America – I am about to step out unaided into cyberspace to try once again to connect to the Sisterhood. Forget Sydney Carton and his trip to the guillotine, this is an act of selfless courage that will pass into legend in the field of human endeavour – even if I do say so myself.

    So gird your loins (whatever that means) fellow-sisters, and send up a prayer for the safe return of your brave and unwavering shrinking violet. And if I should fail, I have one last request, simple and heartfelt and staggeringly-green. Remember me in a few fond words of dedication when your first bestseller is heading for the press. And if one of you could contact Andreos at the mansion. The key for the handcuffs is in the tool-shed, next to the blindfolds. I found it last night when I was looking for the grinder.

    Au revoir, I hope, not adieu,

    Jilly

  41. Jilly C
    October 4, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    The good news? I made it!!

    The bad news? This is now a sad moment. Over the last few weeks I’ve got so attached to this blog but now, alas, I must leave it. It’s been so much like the Presents we all love – tension and tragedy and, hopefully, a touch of humour here and there.

    But now, as for all of the H’s and H’s, it’s time to move on, to follow our hearts and our dreams. Hopefully, for everyone, the final destination will make the whole journey worthwhile.

    The best of the best to all of you out there. Hold that dream. Never relinquish it.

    Over and out,

    Jilly