Some Write It Hot

December 24, 2010

An Aussie Christmas by Lillian Grant

Filed under: Who we are — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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As the only blog contributor not freezing my way through a winter ice age, I thought it would be interesting to share what it’s like to have Christmas in the summer.

Until the age of 22 I lived in the UK so Christmas was a major event that broke up the seemingly endless months of cold, rain, ice, fog and misery that is a British winter. The long dark evenings were brightened by the Christmas tree lights twinkling in the corner of the room and the big heavy Christmas meal sat well in a body rigid with cold.

Even though I have lived in Oz for many years I still hold on to the traditions of an English Christmas. I am not alone. The rest of the world may think, compliments of Paul Hogan, that the day is spent tossing another shrimp on the barbie or surfing at the beach but in reality, for most people, the day is spent at home sharing the traditions of your ancestors, where ever they came from. You will find many revelers on Bondi beach but they are mostly European backpackers living the Aussie dream.

For those of us with a British heritage the meal is traditionally turkey with way too many roast potatoes and vegetables, followed up with a heavy Christmas pudding made with brandy and lots of dried fruit served with brandy butter and custard then to top it off sweet mince pies. If the day is hot, which looks not to be the case this year, then the house becomes unbearable and your appetite wanes as you lose your body weigh in sweat, but still you stuff yourself to blotation before declaring next year you’ll do something different.

When we lived in Melbourne we would spend the day with an Aunt and Uncle. After dinner we would play volleyball in their swimming pool to work off the calories. This being the only concession to the fact it was summer.

Even though we celebrate a traditional English Christmas it never has the magic it did in winter. The sun sets far too late for the tree to ever truly look good and it doesn’t hold the excitement of a mid winter celebration heralding the turn toward spring and summer.

For me Christmas is a stark reminder of my status as an immigrant transplanted in a foreign land where the seasons are turned on their head.

Find out what else Lillian is up to at her website

November 23, 2010

What, no conflict? by Lillian Grant

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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I was working on an idea for NaNo the other day. (NaNo is a special kind of torture where writers go insane and sign up to write fifty thousand words in thirty days.) Anyway, I was working on plot ideas and my eldest wandered into my office and asked what I’m doing.

“Plotting,” says I, “My story needs conflict.”

His response. “Is it a war novel?”

Nooo, it’s romance of course!

So, why do you need conflict? Poor delusion child. I explained how it goes. Girl meets boy, or vise versa, they feel attracted, fall in love, something happens to pull them apart (conflict), they overcome the obstacle and live happily ever after.

He grins at me. “I’ve got a conflict for you. How about your hero is abducted by aliens. They probe him and when he returns to earth he’s gay. Now the heroine has to either get herself changed into a man or find the aliens to reverse the procedure if she wants to save their relationship.”

I do apologize for him. I gave birth to him and after that I have no idea what went wrong.

Funnily enough, around the same time as my son was regaling me with even more ridiculous ideas, a whole discussion opened up on Romance Divas about novels being contracted with no conflict in the plot and didn’t readers want conflict anymore.

I myself have a novella that has been tossed back at me by a publisher because it has no conflict. But I actually don’t mind stories without conflict. Hell, my favorite book of all time doesn’t even have a plot. I defy anyone to read Hunter S. Thompson’s Rum Diary and find the purpose of the book. Just when you think it’s about to get to the reason, the bit that ties it all together, it ends. Despite Hunter’s massive oversight in writing a book that has no real point, other than to meander through the life of journalist Paul Kemp as he lurches from drink to drink and from one apparent disaster to another, it’s a brilliant book.

Let’s be honest, most people don’t have romances with conflict, most relationships are not all Romeo and Juliet with calamity around every corner. Unfortunately my own romantic history has been full of conflict and hand wringing. Maybe that’s why I can accept a story where it’s all love and laughter because it’s not my experience of real life. How about you? Do you want conflict in your romance?

Read more from Lillian Grant at her website

November 8, 2010

The Rewriting Merry-Go-Round by Lillian Grant

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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I have been on the same ride for weeks. There are no pretty ponies or scary tigers, no flashing lights or cheerful music. My writing world is full of silence, darkness and pain.

Stories you have written are more than just words on a page. They’re friends, good friends. Some days your characters won’t behave and you hate them, some days the words all but type themselves and you love them, but no matter what kind of day it is they’re yours. Kind of like children really.

Remember your child’s first day at school? How proud you felt. How you had this fear in your gut they would come home at the end of the day crying or they would cling to you so hard they would never even make it through the school gate? Submitting your manuscript to a publisher feels a lot like that.

You follow their guidelines, press send and then you wait, and wait, and wait. – You get the picture – Eventually you get a response. Of late, mine have all been the same. We like it …but. They want changes. A full explanation follows of what it is about your story that doesn’t work for them. Not enough sex, the sex isn’t hot enough, too many coincidences to make the plot work, etc etc. After you take it all in you need to decide to either move on and submit somewhere else or make the changes they want. The decision in some cases is easier than others. If it’s just a tweak that you know will make your story better then you leap at it. If it’s more severe and threatens the whole structure of your plot you may dither and go either way.

I decided to go with making the changes on two different manuscripts. That is when my carousel ride began. I wrote and rewrote and resubmitted…now I am back to waiting.

After three weeks I am getting dizzy. In the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Raoul Duke and his Samoan Lawyer visit a circus themed casino when they are high on more than just life. They ride the merry-go-round drinking at the bar in the middle but when they want to get off the Lawyer, played by Benicio Del Toro, can’t do it. It takes a boot up the backside from Johnny Depp to get him off the ride. I know how the lawyer was feeling and just hope my Raoul Duke wanders along to boot me off the rewriting merry-go-round sometime soon before I start asking people if they were the ones fucking polar bears.

Read more from Lillian Grant at her website

October 11, 2010

What English? Or should that be, Which English? By Lillian Grant

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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When I wrote my first novel, I wrote it in English. At least I thought I did. Turns out, nothing is quite that simple.

Story complete, critiqued, polished, rewritten, re-critiqued, whisked into outer space by aliens, prodded, probed, formatted and good to go, I sent a sample on its merry way to my publisher of choice. Okay, okay, I may have submitted it to more than one publisher but that is not the point. Happy with the final copy, I sat back and waited, and waited, and waited, until at last I got a nibble. Could I send the whole manuscript? Mai oui, of course. Then, would I rewrite the sex scenes to make it hotter? Well, in for a penny in for a pound. Finally, an offer to publish my baby, in English.

BUT, hmm, whose English? The contract said I had to use US spelling. So, who cares? What are a few lost U’s and the occasional S morphing into a Z between friends? If it got my book into the public domain and made women weep with unrequited lust for my hero, I could sacrifice the odd letter here and there. Although, I was very concerned about giving up my arse.

Contract signed, I waited for my first round edits. They arrived and I opened the file. What eternal hell was this? My editor had interpreted, use US spelling, for make it a US novel…NOOOOOO!! Thankfully, she is an angel and when I emailed my horror at having my gorgeous Aussie hunk, that would have the ladies panting with pent up frustration, changed to a down home American boy, she spoke to ‘management.’

Oh, what sweet joy it was when the answer came back, lose the Aussie spelling, keep the Aussie slang. However, this came with a caveat. Keep the Aussie slang that made sense. So began a period of tense editing where words like ‘lounge’ were tossed aside to be replaced with ‘living room.’ Would American readers understand the word ‘git’ if read in context. I even got complemented on how clever I was to know when it was appropriate for my hero to use the word ‘bugger’ in a sentence. After much deliberation, the process was complete. My hero and heroine are still Aussie’s living in Australia and most of my slang survived. I was thankful I hadn’t used some of our more colourful expressions, such as ‘he’s hung like a drover’s dog,’ because nothing could have saved them, and it seems the names of more intimate body parts are universal. Best of all though, she agreed I could keep my arse.

NB: No U’s or S’s were harmed during the writing or publication of this article.

You can learn more about Lillian Grant at her website.

October 2, 2010

A chance to win free e-books by Lillian Grant

My novel Happy Birthday, Nancy Tobin will be featured on the Excerpt Monday website on Monday October 4th. For your chance to win a free copy visit Excerpt Monday this Monday. Good luck!

September 28, 2010

Meet Lillian Grant by KevaD

The lady from down under with over-the-top writing skills.

Lillian’s debut novel HAPPY BIRTHDAY NANCY TOBIN is a lighthearted romp carrying the reader along on a glee-filled ride from looming middle-age depression to heart warming elation, and undoubtedly destined to be a hit.

This delightful novel serves as a signpost for things to come from this author.

Lillian diligently crafts her plots and characters, then weaves them together into a tapestry of pleasure readers of multiple genres will enjoy for hours on end. The one common thread to be found in all of her works (I have had the privilege to preview several) is love. Regardless of whether the tale is about middle age, kidnapping in Rio, blackmail, or business tycoons trying to outmaneuver each other in board rooms and bedrooms, the final outcome is happy ever after, and sure to satisfy the most discriminating reader.

Family and career woman, Australia’s Lillian Grant is sure to become a mainstay author, her books, a ‘must have’ in any library.

Learn more about Lillian Grant at her website.

If you woke up on your fortieth birthday to a half-naked twenty-six year old stud-muffin offering to light your candles, could you say no? Nancy Tobin can’t–and why would she want to?

Blurb

Suddenly single on the eve of her fortieth birthday, Nancy Tobin’s not sure turning middle-aged is worth celebrating. She’s stuck in a dead-end job as the boss’s bitch with her morose Labrador, what does she have to party about? Maybe if she ignores the whole birthday thing, it will just go away.

Hot twenty-six year old, Jake Turner has other ideas. When he bumps into Nancy at the library, he sees a woman in need of a wake-up call. Determined to find the beauty hidden beneath the sad façade, he schemes to relight her spark. He wants to give her a birthday to remember but he ends up being the one who can’t forget: a visit to his apartment becomes a weekend in his bed where he discovers an offbeat, unpredictable, sexually adventurous woman he never wants to let go.

With Jake, Nancy can do anything, can be whatever she chooses. But this new and exciting relationship teeters on the edge of destruction when her soon-to-be ex-husband reveals the reason for Jake’s initial interest in her. Can Nancy trust Jake when he finally tells her he loves her?

Excerpt

Nancy walked toward the library. What bright spark thought it was a good idea to build a university campus on the side of a hill and park the library right at the top? Thank God she was finally fit enough to climb the stairs without having to stop to catch her breath halfway up.

When she arrived at her destination, her first port of call was the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Sipping the warm liquid, feeling the caffeine invade her senses, she wondered what excitement the day held. No doubt it would begin with putting last night’s returns on the shelf. Then she’d be at Cynthia’s beck and call. She grimaced. They should just change her job title from library assistant to Cynthia’s bitch. She chuckled. Maybe she would suggest it at her next staff review.

Footsteps approached. She poured the last of her coffee into the sink, put her cup in the dishwasher, and escaped. Small talk was horrendous at the best of times; in the mornings, it was completely unbearable. No one gave a crap about the latest episode of Big Brother or what the weather was supposed to do all week. Why waste your breath on such trivial bullshit?

Nancy heard giggling as she pushed her second full cart around the corner into the row she needed. She came to a halt and stared with disgust at the aisle’s occupants. The library on a Friday morning!

“Excuse me; would you like to take this somewhere else?”

The couple pulled apart, and Nancy glared at them. The boy slowly removed his hand from inside his companion’s shirt and zipped up his pants. They didn’t even have the decency to be embarrassed about being caught.

The blonde piece stuck her nose in the air and barged past Nancy. Her liberally pierced male companion smirked as she dragged him along behind her. No doubt they would find some other equally inappropriate place to copulate.

Not willing to go quietly, the young girl sneered at Nancy and turned to her partner in crime.

“Miserable, dried-up old bag. I bet she’s never had a man in her pants.”

Nancy shook her head. The stories she could tell would turn their hair gray, although she’d never considered screwing anyone at the library, not even in her wildest dreams. Why did youngsters assume middle-aged people had never had a life? Dear God, did that mean her parents had been like rabbits, with nothing but sex on their minds? She closed her eyes and shuddered with disgust as she deliberately pushed the thought aside and turned to racy memories of her own youth.

She’d been a typical teenage girl, her bedroom wall covered with posters of virile young men and her head full of love and sex. However, her first sexual encounter had been far from typical. Underage, she had sneaked into a club with her friend Fiona to see a local band, Freddie and the Slayers. Fiona had been madly in love with the lead guitarist, even though he had only had eyes for Nancy. A gorgeous sex god, resplendent in tight black leather pants and a loose white shirt open to the waist. His light brown hair had fallen halfway down his back in a mass of soft curls, and when he’d stared at her, his cobalt blue eyes had given the impression he could read her mind. He’d been a showman with a reputation for being a hard-drinking, hard-living whore who picked up women and discarded them wherever he went.

It seemed his reputation was well earned. Nancy still remembered the pain of losing her virginity and the humiliation when the back doors of the panel van had been flung open and the rest of the band — and Fiona — had stood staring at them. That was the last time she had ever seen Fiona.

The boys had chuckled and made some comment about the “shagging wagon” as the guitarist climbed off her, cock still semierect. At his request, she had written her number on the back of his hand, but she’d never expected Christopher to call. On reflection, it might have been better if he never had.

Lost in her memories, Nancy jumped when a hand squeezed her shoulder.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. I spoke to you twice.”

Nancy turned around. Stunned, she stared at the gorgeous specimen who had interrupted her. Had he sought her out after their impromptu skirmish in the corridor the day before? She mentally shook herself. Get a grip. Of course not. Look at him. He was only about twenty-five, if that. Yesterday she’d only seen those big smoky brown eyes ringed by long dark lashes. They gave the impression he wore eyeliner. She looked closer. Now she could see the gorgeous eyes were complemented by a square jaw, high cheekbones, and short dark hair.

She became aware she was staring at him and the fact that he was still waiting for a reply. She smiled.

“Not your fault. I was miles away. What can I do for you?”

“Were they pleasant?”

“Were what pleasant?”

“The thoughts.”

Nancy shrugged. “Not really, just memories from another life. So what can I help you with?”

“The lady at the desk told me to try looking over here for a copy of the Kama Sutra, but I can’t find it. Any ideas?”

Nancy stared at him, opening and closing her mouth a couple of times. The students game enough to check out that tome usually hid it in a pile of textbooks. They certainly didn’t accost her in the aisles and ask for help finding it. “Why would you want the Kama Sutra? What the hell are you studying?”

The young man folded his arms and chuckled. “Don’t tell me you’re a prude. Surely someone as pretty as you is a woman of the world?”

Okay, so he majored in bullshit. The reflection in this morning’s mirror pulled no punches, and pretty was stepping way beyond reality.

“Flattery will get you nowhere, young man.”

He smiled at her, his eyes seeming to twinkle with amusement. It appeared she’d become his latest plaything. The batteries in his Game Boy must have gone flat.

“Jake.”

“What?”

“My name’s Jake, Jake Turner.”

Well, Mr. Smoky Eyes had a name. It suited him. Not that she needed to know his moniker. They were ships in the night. No doubt he had some blonde bimbo tucked away somewhere, ready to scratch his itch. Nancy could see the wall clock over his shoulder. Time was marching on. Cynthia would be doing her rounds soon. Woe betide anyone caught shirking.

“Well, Jake, if we have a copy, it will be in the next aisle.”

“Thank you.” His lopsided grin made her heart beat faster. “Lovely to bump into you again.”

Despite her best intentions, her face broke into a smile. “You’re most welcome. Now move along.”

He leaned his shoulder against the shelf. “Not until you tell me your name.”

The familiar stomp of Cynthia’s size 10 shoes approached, but he still didn’t move.

“Nancy. Now get out of here before I get in trouble.” She waved her hands to shoo him along.

“Okay, Nancy. Thank you for your help.”

She watched him wander away. When he slid his hands into his front pockets, pulling his jeans tight, she couldn’t help but notice his firm backside. At the end of the aisle, he glanced over his shoulder and winked at her.

“Maybe I’ll bump into you again.”

Caught with her gaze drilling his backside, Nancy felt her face flush and turned the other way as she fumbled and dropped a book on the floor with a loud thud. She bent down and scooped it up just as Cynthia arrived in the aisle and glared at her.

“Nancy, get a move on. You’re not paid to socialize with the students. If that book’s damaged, the cost will be coming out of your wages.”

With great difficulty, Nancy fought the urge to flip her the bird, afraid Cynthia would look back around the corner and catch her. Alone again, she glanced down the now empty corridor toward where Jake had disappeared. What did he mean about maybe bumping into her again? Her heart skipped a beat at the thought that he might come back.

* * * * *

Nancy sat alone at the table near the student café. Despite her best intentions not to, she searched the male population for Jake. He must have been teasing. Why would a cute young guy be interested in her? She stared at the nubile female bodies as they walked past, their belly buttons proudly displaying all manner of trinkets and tattoos and yelling to the world, I’m young, supple, and the best shag you could ever have. She looked down at herself and saw the roll of flab above her waistband. Her body appeared to yell, I’m old and saggy and too fucking tired to care if I ever shag again. Why would he even give her a second thought? Perhaps it was a dare or a joke.

“Excuse me; is this seat taken?”

The voice dragged Nancy back to reality, and she looked up, surprised to see a familiar face. Her cheeks burned, and she struggled to speak.

“No, please, feel free.”

Jake slid into the seat next to her. “So, Nancy, we meet again. Are you stalking me by any chance?”

Nancy was quick to shake her head. While she had been hoping to see him again, she had no intention of revealing that to anyone. She could barely believe it herself. Was she so desperate for love she would latch on to the first male who showed a glimmer of interest? No matter why she attracted him, with her track record, she should avoid good-looking young men like the plague. “No, absolutely not. Are you sure you’re not stalking me? I was here first.”

His deep, sexy chuckle resonated through her. “Touché. You guessed it. Someone is paying me to follow you.”

“Well, they’re wasting their money, I can assure you. There is nothing to see here.”

“Let me be the judge of that. Did you miss me?”

Nancy tore her eyes away from his and tried to sound nonchalant. “I haven’t given you a moment’s thought since you left the library.”

He put his hand over hers, and she felt the blood rush to her cheeks again. When he leaned closer, she closed her eyes. The smell of his musky cologne and the feel of his breath on her face as he whispered in her ear made her stomach lurch and her heart rate lift.

“Liar, but it’s okay. I’ve been thinking about you too.”

Nancy opened her eyes and snapped her head around to glare at him. No one in their right mind would think about her. She refused to be the butt of anyone’s joke. Her hand hovered in midair as she fought the urge to slap his face. Jake leaned back and put his arm up. Deciding he wasn’t worth it, Nancy dropped her hand and snatched her empty Coke bottle off the table instead.

She clenched her teeth. “Fuck off, you git; you’re not funny,” she spat out.

Without another word, she got up and stomped back to the library, tears of frustration stinging her eyes. Stupid, stupid woman!

Want more? You can buy it here from Loose Id!

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