Coming, Going …

Corporate jet

My house is right under a flight path. I live in a small enough city that technically most people live under the flight path, actually, but I mean I live UNDER it. When the big birds come in, several of our windows shake. There are lots of compensating factors: a great street, beautiful gardens, proximity to schools, golf course and the beach… and, truth be told, I’m not one of those people that sees being airport-adjacent as a downer.

In London, we lived in a little hook of the river, and we were train-adjacent, airport-adjacent, and blues pub adjacent. We were also above a fish and chip shop and the malodour of rancid deep fryer oil was, perhaps, the only criticism I can issue of that tiny little apartment.

The comings and goings of people are endlessly interesting to me. Those I can see and hear, such as conversations in cafes and pubs, or on the peak hour trains into the city. I often get to school early to sit in my car with a coffee and just observe. I think because I’m a writer I can pass this off as inspirational, rather than outright voyeurism.

I walk most mornings, and I listen to those first flights of the day clearing the tarmac and lifting into the sky and I wonder: Where are they going? My husband rather unromantically points out that there is an app I can use to actually find this out for certain, but I like to imagine. Are the passengers going home? Or going on holiday? Are they flying somewhere for a wedding? Or even a funeral? A long-awaited holiday? Or a chore – a work trip or worse, to deliver bad news. I imagine the attendants going through the safety routines, and spare a sympathetic thought for anyone on board who suffers from the same crippling flying anxiety as I do.

So many of my stories come about this way, from the kernel of an idea that lodges while I’m musing on this kind of thing. The glimpse of someone hurrying into the post office – what are they doing? Why are they rushing? Are they expecting a parcel which contains bad news? Or to pay a bill they simply don’t have the money for? And why? Who is the parcel from? Why are their finances stretched? On it goes, until my mind is so full of what I imagine to be this other person’s life that, regardless of the fact it bears little relation to the truth, I have my story.

We probably won’t ever move from this flight path. Just as well I like the shaking windows.

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🎁 B O O K G I V E A W A Y 💋

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THANKS to those awesome 👸 q u e e n s 👸 of Romance at LoveCats Down Under, I’ve got a 🎄 festive anthology 📚to G I V E A W A Y on their blog. Read a snippet from one of my favourite Christmas love stories and share your family Christmas traditions for a chance to win.

Happy Reading. CC xx

In search of a deliriously happy ending…

 

img_1531Aren’t we all? I’ve never seen the point of reading a book or watching a film that has an unfulfilling (read emotionally traumatic) conclusion. I like my stories with a lovely little red bow ending – baddies need their comeuppance (ideally publically). The heroes need to get everything they could ever want in life. And I need to have been given enough breadcrumbs of hope throughout the narrative to be left with absolutely no doubt that the happily ever after really is – forever ever.

I understand the creative integrity of stories that challenge you. I just don’t like them.

A good friend of mine, though how our friendship survived this is beyond me, once recommended I read this book, and for the life of me I can’t recall the title… It’s a classic. Someone remind me. But you know the story? A guy goes on holiday with his friend, becomes increasingly mentally unstable, decides he wants to murder the friend. To know what it feels like? It’s a brilliantly told story, fast-paced, edge of your seat stuff.
He covers the murder up, pretends to be the friend, sends letters from him to his parents, even meets with the parents… really clever and disturbing. But I finished it and felt a little like I’d been mugged.

All icky and depressed, I began to see people for their inherent evil, not good.

Now, more than ever, with the sadness and cruelty we are told about on a daily basis, I want to escape all that. I want to read a book that takes me on an awesome journey. I want to meet people through the book that I think I’d be friends with. I want to smile when they banter and I want to swoon when they kiss. I want to feel goosebumps and get giddy, and a few hours later, when I put it down, I want to go back to my normal life feeling as refreshed as if I’d gone on holiday.

The inclusion of a Happily Ever can be derided by some but I for one am a devout, avid subscriber to this convention of the genre. All of my books feature mega HEAs, but I’ve put together an anthology (hint, it’s called HAPPILY EVER AFTER) that brings together some of my gooiest, happiest stories. The ones that I grin just remembering.

Now, of course, that’s not to say there isn’t angst and pain. The paths are paved with difficult decisions, hard conversations, the kind of conflict that makes you wonder how on earth they’re ever going to get through it.

But when they do, you know it’s for keeps.

Here’s my guarantee to you that you can read Happily Ever After knowing you’ll come out of it uplifted and loved up.

Hoorah! Happy reading, CC.x

On Getting Started

Hey, lovelies.
I recently attended a conference in Adelaide – the Romance Writers of Australia ‘Ain’t Love Grand’ annual event. It was flipping brilliant. The course content superb, the social events glamorous and beautiful, beachside venue glorious, and some awesome editors and agents came along to be pitched to over and over and over again.

One of the biggest silver linings for me was meeting other romance writers. For the last couple of years I’ve been ‘head down, bum up’, dipping into each story knowing that I’m finding a readership but feeling strangely isolated from others who do what I do.

BAM! Not anymore. It’s fascinating listening to the different events that led to people becoming writers, and especially romance writers. Amy Andrews asked me to pop by and post a guest blog on LoveCats DownUnder – a site run by a truly awesome collection of romance writers.

It went live this morning; I’m thrilled to share it with you: HERE it is!

Happy reading, CC.x

Comings and Goings

I have written 42,000 words of a book this week.

42,000 words.

I’m compulsive when it comes to my writing. It is not that I find it ‘easy’, because I don’t. But when I get the kernel of a story in my mind, I write as I read: obsessively. To the point of potential marital-failure, I write in every spare moment I have. I prop my laptop on the kitchen bench, risking certain disaster, as I stir the kids’ pasta sauce. I write while I blow-dry my hair -it’s a sort of one handed chicken pecking technique I’ve perfected over the years, leaving me free to run the dryer with my left hand. I even write in my sleep – sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, idea fully formed, and blurt out a thousand quick words before drifting off again.

Ergo: I write fast.

But when it comes to blogging, I’m lucky to put a paragraph together every month or two.

So here is a bit of a phoning-it-in picture blog of the last few weeks – specifically, the Romance Writers of Australia 2016 conference, Aint Love Grand.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR
At the conference venue. Can you feel the LOVE tonight?

My dear friend Ellie Ashley (herself a romance writer on the brink of releasing her first novel) came from Sydney. We hadn’t seen each other in five years, but like the very best friendships, the threads were easy to pick up where we had left off.

London Friends
With Ellie Ashely

We first met when both stationed in London — two Aussies couldn’t help but find their way together.

It was a chance to enjoy some seriously yummy food together:

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Before getting frocked up for the Aint Love Grand cocktail party on Friday night. I wore a 1920s shawl that my mother bought in the seventies and then embellished, an art deco necklace and a clutch purse that was my grandma’s. What can I say? I’m a sucker for history and stories.

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This waiter, bless him, was a very willing participant in our plans for over-consumption. Here he is topping us up at last call to make sure we don’t miss out. I cursed him good and proper the next morning, when my joyous champagne sipping led to a world of pain.

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We definitely left the party a little less-fresh faced than the manner in which we arrived … but isn’t that a pre-requisite of a great party?

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A definite highlight of not just the cocktail party but the whole weekend was meeting Amy Andrews, Harlequin Author and all-round lovely lady.

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The morning after the night before. Let me tell you — those shades of mine are hiding a plethora of pain. It almost makes me wish I had Ellie’s alcohol allergy (true story) as she’s fresh as a daisy.

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When I say this coffee was medicinal, I mean it with no word of a lie.

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Another highlight – meeting and speaking to Jim and Nikoo McGoldrick (writing as May McGoldrick). They spoke so beautifully and humorously; their tips and insight were a fresh take on the vitals.

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Enlightening to watch this panel of Harlequin writers (the supremely talented Carol Marinelli, Rachel Bailey and Angela Bissell) and Joanne Grant (Harlequin editor) discuss their varying editorial processes.

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Back to conference on Sunday.

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I’ll try to get back soon with a wordier post. For now, happy reading, as always. CC.x