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Thursday, 29 April 2021
I'd love to know what you think of my books - find me on Facebook.
Sunday, 14 February 2021
Valentine's Day is a big day for me this year - even if I can't claim a secret admirer. A bunch of expensive red roses won't arrive at my door in locked-down Melbourne, but I had fun describing such an event when writing 'Trading Secrets', released today. Come to think of it, I didn't need too much imagination, as red roses have arrived several times in the past - back in the good old days. I can still recall the pleasure it gave me.
'Trading Secrets' is my second novel, written as Louisa Valentine. Yes, I was once a Mrs Valentine, so what other nom-de-plume could I possibly choose when writing women's fiction?
By focusing on a good, believable story line I aim to provide reading enjoyment for people in my own age group and my daughter's age group. We've had enough life experience to know that a Happy-Ever-After relationship is based on much more than jumping into bed five minutes after you meet someone. I generally keep the bedroom door shut in my stories. As one friend and beta reader said to me, 'I was glad to see you managed to avoid all the soppinesss'.
I prefer the 'getting to know him' type of story - with the addition of a few surprises and a few social issues. Another beta reader said to me 'I didn't see that coming'. It's why I've kept a lot of the story line.
Nicola Pearson is a new recruit to the Federal Bank in Sydney, hired to devise a new system to manage the trading risks of the bank. It is the mid-90s and she has to prove herself professionally and intellectually to win over the dealers, especially their boss Tom Forrester. He has recently returned from a three-year stint in London to run the Federal Bank’s financial trading operations.
Nicola has been left in the lurch by her ex-husband and does not trust men, lacking confidence in her judgment of them although she is confident of her workforce skills. She lives quietly, keeping her private life to herself and worrying over a secret.
Tom is also divorced, following a marriage experience which left him very disillusioned. The world sees him as living in the fast lane and Nicola is not his usual ‘type’ but something about her calls to him.
He gradually recognises she is bottling up a secret. Does he hold the key to relieving her worries and changing her life?
As Louise Wilson I've written many family histories, from which it's clear that love really does make the world go round. Ignoring the unpleasant exceptions, none of us would be here without the benefit of some love along the way. Listening to songs like 'Hello Young Lovers', 'Love is in the Air' and 'As Time Goes By' reminds me that I may be a 'golden oldie' now, but at least I'm still young at heart! (Sorry about all those over-used phrases - they're clichés because they're true.)
'Trading Secrets' is available as an e-book and as a paperback through this link. Please enjoy it. All feedback is welcome.
Tuesday, 19 January 2021
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
In the past I've been a member of the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild and of Romance Writers of Australia. More recently I've attended two biennial weekend conferences of the Historical Novel Society of Australasia.
This year I gave myself a figurative rap over the knuckles and decided to 'do something'. I entered a short story competition for historic novelists, where the story length could not exceed 3,000 words. By converting a factual story of my forebears Stephen and Sarah Flockton I ventured into writing creative non-fiction. They married twice in 1827, the first time at Melbourn, Cambridgeshire and the second time at All Hallows Lombard Street, London, when the groom adopted his wife's surname.
P.S. I invite you to 'Like' my Louisa Valentine Facebook page.
Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Some of us wrote from the feminist perspective - 'How dare he?’ ‘I'd smack his face.’ ‘He's manhandling her.' Others said 'No, he's holding her carefully.’ ‘If she didn't like it, she'd be pushing him away.' Others saw it from the sailor's viewpoint - he was celebrating LIFE, having survived the war.
Being immersed in the analysis of family history photos, I think I was the only one in our group who picked up on the word 'Bond' on the hoarding, and the woman's attire, as the guide for my little story. Just for fun, here’s my take on the image:
That bond of joie-de-vivre in the crowd … she shared it too. She had no objection to a sexy sailor demonstrating it on her. Tired of war she was. Yesterday she’d been nursing a guy like this, wondering when it would all end. Today she felt free. She’d be smiling too, like all those around her, if her mouth hadn’t been claimed by this stranger. She hoped he wouldn’t stay a stranger … his kiss stirred feelings that she’d like to feel again. Soon.
We were told afterwards that the couple appeared to have been unconnected before the moment of 'The Kiss'. As the photo gained fame, efforts were made to identify its subjects, and many individuals came forward, claiming to have been its unforgettable stars. However, kissing random strangers was popular that day and giving names to the 'faceless' sailor and the 'faceless' woman in white proved impossible.
Thank you Elvina Payet, of MRWG, for giving us this great writing exercise.
Saturday, 8 June 2013
Now - 30,000 words, more or less.
Thank you, Romance Writers of Australia, for organising this annual event - writing 50,000 words in the 30 days of June. And thank you, Sarah Brabazon, for co-ordinating it. For me, having a goal, a deadline, is a great benefit of 50ks30days, as I'm a 'last-minute-Louie', inspired by the adrenaline rush of meeting a 'due date' but not so cavalier with the creation of fresh words at my leisure.
It's amazing what a difference this week's increased word count makes, psychologically. Suddenly I feel as if I've reached the half-way point. The daunting word mountain which must be climbed to reach the top (those magic words, 'The End') is now achievable.
True, I did cheat a bit. I grabbed bits of relevant descriptive writing from other places - my blogs, some old letters of mine, some paragraphs from my other ideas for books - and dumped them at the end of my current w.i.p. All contain useful scenes and ideas which can be worked into my story.
And that is precisely what I've done over the past week, although it's a case of two steps forward and one step back because the count of 'new words' created, as conversation and action are added, is almost negated as I delete the superfluous imported words.
One day I may be able to conceive a fiction book in its entirety and write it from scratch. I've heard one prolific category romance writer admit that she sat down and wrote her entire story in ten days. Others with full-time work and busy lives say that they take their annual holidays specifically for the purpose of generating the first draft of their next m/s.
Romance writers often categorise themselves as 'pantsers' or 'plotters'. That 'book in ten days' writer I just mentioned is a self-confessed pantser. The opposite is a plotter who, in extreme form, conceives and plans out the whole book before the first word of the main text is ever committed to the page.
I'm neither a pantser nor a plotter, although my long-ago university-level training in maths suggests that I should be a plotter. For now, I'm a victim of my years as a non-fiction writer. In a family history, in particular, you don't know what the story is when you start. Years are spent progressively building up a story from snippets of information. It often doesn't become clear to you until you've completed a great deal of exhaustive and exhausting research. That's when you try to shape and rearrange your words into a coherent and flowing story.
When I do write by the seat of my pants it's an exhilarating experience, generating a marvellous sense of freedom. I discovered that feeling when writing my first 'romance', currently under consideration by a publisher. Over the past week I've had flashes of flying high with this second draft. By the time I reach 'Draft No 3', in the future, I might have learned enough new tricks as a novelist to free myself completely as a writer.
For now, this old dog is sticking with her old tricks by fixing blocks of words and shaping them into a story. I have a clear view of the hero and heroine and their internal and external conflicts, and of the feeling I wish to convey from this draft, but although technically I'm half way through, I haven't yet finalised the plot line. By the time I reach The End' of 50ks30days, my objective is to bring everything together into a completed first draft of a satisfying 'sweet' romance.