THE END

close up of typewriter vintage retro styled

Every single book I have written has a special place in my heart. I love them all. And yet… there are some, certain books, certain characters, that go into a whole other place. The book I’m writing now (my second for Harlequin’s new DARE line) – and will finish today – is one such book.

It has been an immersive experience to write. My every waking thought has been consumed by Ally and Ethan, and their story. I have resented every minute not spent at the keyboard (sorry, real world). It’s as though the ocean has grabbed me by the ankles and sucked me under; I am being rolled by every current and wave in their narrative. It’s exhausting and emotional but a rare and beautiful feeling, all at the same time.

This is a book about two people who’ve had their hearts broken in love before, and about the way those experiences have shaped them. Having been wrong before, he’s quick to spot the ‘real deal’ but Ally won’t let herself trust again.

Rockman Guitar PlayerI can’t define what, in particular, it is that makes some books like this. The characters, definitely. Ethan Ash is only my second rock star hero (the other is yet to be published), and I have buried myself in the world of beautiful musicians in order to research this book. I’ve listened to Ed Sheeran, in particular, on repeat, watched his concerts on youtube (like this one!) and Ethan Ash has become a real-life person in my mind. And I love him! As for Ally, the thing I love about her is that she’s someone we’d be friends with. She’s funny, smart, motivated, interesting and her vulnerabilities are completely understandable. In fact, the more she falls in love with Ethan, the more I find myself wanting to tell her to be careful, because we know how badly she was hurt last time.

And today, I will finish their story, and type ‘THE END’. And while it will be a relief – much like coming up for air, and being ‘myself’ again, I am going to be bereft. These people have been living inside of me and suddenly they’re gone… it’s a strange void to have to deal with.

I can’t wait to share it with you (in the first half of 2018).

CC.x

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I’m sorry for what happened at #Lovegonewild.

Following is a long, but not exhaustive, list of all that I’m sorry for at RWAus17.

First and foremost, I’m sorry to the presenters at the various sessions I attended. I’m sorry I didn’t smile and meet your eyes as you spoke – especially Marion Lennox. The thing is, when you’re busy scribbling notes so that you don’t forget a kernel of their wisdom (and WHAT wisdom was shared!), it’s hard to remember the social pleasantries.

I’m sorry to the organizers, who spent so much of the weekend with their heads down, running around behind the scenes making sure everything ran smoothly that they didn’t get to pause for breath, much less food. I’m sorry you probably didn’t get to experience chilled out afternoons at Sixteen Antlers, lazy breakfasts in the café, coffee overlooking King George Square, or really see how awesome the conference was like we outsiders did – it’s hard to do when running at a million miles an hour but rest assured, your hard work paid off!

I’m sorry to the people who pitched and did manuscript assessments. Whether you think you were successful or not, you were. Putting yourself out there like that is an achievement in and of itself. To those who received requests, I’m sorry for the months of nail-biting you have ahead (but how exciting!).

I’m profoundly sorry to those who bore witness to Ally Blake and my interpretive dance of THE LOVE SHACK.*

I’m sorry to all the word count warriors I roared at face to face! And even more sorry to any I missed. Our Facebook group has been an incredible source of motivation to me in the last few months and I love our camaraderie.

I’m sorry to the recipients of the RuBY, and all the award recipients of the night, who will be weighed down by their super-spectacular awesomeness forever more.  And I’m sorry to all the nominees who saw their names in lights and were commended on awesome work with admiration from the romance writing community, for the exact same reason.

I’m sorry to all the amazing authors (but most notably Annie West, Valerie Parv and Marion Lennox) who were subjected to my particular brand of enthusiastic fangirling. But how often are you in the same room with legends of their stature? My not-so-inner romance-reader apparently would not be silenced. I’m sorry. Especially to Valerie who I seem to vaguely remember tackling off the elevator on our way to the awards dinner. Please don’t let a restraining order come between good friends at next year’s conference.

I’m sorry to anyone who was bored with photos of my children, and stories about them. What can I say? #proudmum

I’m sorry to Maisey Yates and Jackie Ashenden for monopolising the last day of your holiday but how wonderful it was to shoot the breeze as much as we did – and to find you both so utterly delightful!

I’m sorry to Amy Andrews for the demands for late-night cups of tea, the failure to convert you to a die-hard Austen fan, and the wine. All the wine. I’m also sorry we didn’t get more time.

I’m particularly sorry to Kate Cuthbert for all the stalking – though I can’t really take the blame. You are particularly stalkable. Perhaps the midnight champagne in your room took the friendship too far though.

I’m sorry to Rachel Bailey for the persistent lobbying to name me an honorary Minion. But seriously. What are the chances?

I’m sorry to anyone I spoke to after that deadly Dare cocktail. Perhaps the most delicious thing I’ve ever drunk… and also the most potent.

I’m sorry to Daniel de Lorne (more specifically, Daniel De Lorne’s suit) for the melted Lindt chocolate bar, and to Michelle Douglas for things I don’t yet know to apologise for.

I’m sorry to Ainslie Paton for my undeniably-awesome bobby-pin wielding.

I’m sorry to Savannah Blaize that our coffee-catch-up was necessarily cut-short. Next time, we’ll have lunch! And, along the same lines, I’m sorry to Haylee Nash that despite organizing several glasses of wine, we didn’t quite manage to get it together.

In fact, I’m sorry to any friends I didn’t get to spend as much time with as I would have liked. While we’ll always have The Pullman and RWAus17, I’m thrilled we’ll also have RWAus18 to try again.

I’m sorry to everyone who attended the Indie panel I was a part of, alongside Chris Taylor and Rachel Amphlett, organized by RuBy award winner Amy Andrews, for all the questions we didn’t get to answer! We ran so short of time – please remember to email any of us any queries you didn’t feel we covered.

And I’m very, very sorry to those of you who could not attend RWAus17. I know your FOMO must have been in overdrive over the weekend, as social media was flooded with visual proof of our every delight. What can I say? It was AH-mazing! But there’s always next year…

Finally, I’m sorry to my liver, but the glasses of wine shared with dear friends (old and new) at Sixteen Antlers were all worth it. I am also sorry to my tummy for all those truffle fries but seriously… truffle fries.

*I cannot promise it will not be repeated next year. You have been warned.