Archive for April, 2008

6 things that make Desire desirable!

Posted in general post with tags , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2008 by yvonnelindsay

What are the six things that make Desire so desirable to readers? Is it the men? Is it the setting? Is it the seduction of the reader’s senses? Is it the conflict between the characters and what they need to overcome to find that true happy ending? Or maybe it’s the romance – that slow, beguiling dance that woos your mind? Or even how it pulls on your emotions. Here’s our take on what makes a Desire so desirable and why we love to write them.

is for DANGEROUS.  Yvonne says: He’s dangerous and he’s dramatic. He’s the Desire alpha male. Not one to simply sit back and observe, he’s the take-charge kind of man- and when it comes to our heroine you can rest assured he’ll be taking charge of her. Powerful and wealthy, the Desire hero is a man of conviction with the drive and means to make things happen yet, despite all that he has his own vulnerabilities, his softer side. He does nothing without good reason and is man enough to admit when he’s made a mistake. Lana Turner once said “A gentleman is a patient wolf” and this encapsulates the Desire hero perfectly. He’s strong, intelligent, eminently desirable and dangerous to the heart, and it takes a special kind of woman to tame the wolf inside the man.

is for EXOTIC. Bronwyn says: One of the most fun things about Desire is the EXOTIC world created within the 180 pages. Whether a book is set in outback Australia, on a Caribbean island, beside the Mediterranean, or in a Park Avenue penthouse, it is a world apart from real life for most (dare I say all?) readers.  The settings and all the trappings that go with – the fabulous homes, beautiful clothes, stunning jewels, the parties, the champagne, the starred restaurants – are foreign, lavish, sophisticated, and help create a fantasy world where anything is possible. The Cinderella housekeeper will win her prince. The Plain Jane secretary will have her tycoon boss. The everyday woman will triumph over the beautiful sophisticate. The deserving heroine can have anything and everything her heart desires, although she (and we, the readers) know that what matters isn’t the window-dressing but what’s inside. 

is for SEDUCTIVE.  Maxine says: The hallmark of a Silhouette Desire is the promise of passion and sensuality. From the moment the Desire hero and heroine lay eyes on each other their seduction of the senses begin. A look… a touch… the very scent of the other person… their voice… seeps through every pore and makes their hearts beat faster. They may fight their emotions but they can’t fight their intense attraction. Desires are provocative and passionate, seducing not only the hero and heroine but the reader as well. Dare to be seduced.

is for INTENSE. Paula says: Amongst other things, Merriam Websters dictionary defines intense as “exhibiting strong feeling” and “deeply felt”.  In Desire, the ride is emotional, fast-paced, intense.  In particular, intensity comes from the situation the hero/heroine find themselves in: two people thrown together, each wanting something but with one major problem standing in the way.  Intensity reveals through their emotions, their struggles and how they deal with those conflicts. The best part about writing a Desire is the characters, especially the conflict that makes them multi-faceted people who jump out on the page. Because for me, it’s that push-pull factor happening to your hero and heroine that keeps me reading.   Deeply felt?  For Desire, nothing could be closer to the truth. 

is for ROMANTIC. Jan says: A Silhouette Desire engages all of our senses. Romantic love is a blend of courtly love – the idealistic, chivalrous relationship between a feudal knight and his liege-lord’s lady – and urgent, mutual physical desire. Our Senior Editor, Melissa Jeglinski, likens it to a guilty pleasure. You know you shouldn’t, you try your best not to, but something compels you to take that enormous risk. It’s a recipe for disaster, but when you get it right and overcome the obstacles, it’s the most fulfilling meal you can eat. Take one dangerous alpha male, add a pinch of glamour, a large scoop of desire, sprinkle in some conflict and knead with emotion. Mix together the mind, the body, the soul and the heart, and there you have it. In Desire, there is no doubt that the two characters you read about should back off quick before they perish in an inferno. But no one else in the world can give them what this one person can, no matter how hard they try to block them. Remember, you may be only one person to the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

is for EMOTIONAL. Tessa says: One of the best things about reading romance is that emotional hit that comes when a story REALLY twists your heart. Know that feeling? It’s that magic moment when everything in the book comes together and you’re left reeling by the sheer power of the story…of the romance…of the emotions that the characters are experiencing. You become the heroine, you feel her pain, you see the beauty, you enter her world…you experience everything she does. You fall in love…with her world, with the hero, her emotions become yours. That intertwining of the hero and the heroine, of the reader and the story, reaches a moment of perfect emotional pitch. And that exquisite instant of emotional impact is the reason I’ve always read Desire…and romance. It’s something very special.

As a special prize this week we have a copy of Robyn Grady’s The Magnate’s Marriage Demand and as a little something extra, a copy of Anne Gracie’s A Perfect Rake. Both very desirable books to have in your collection!

Q & A with Diana Ventimiglia, Associate Editor with Silhouette Desire

Posted in guest blogger with tags , , , , , , , on April 22, 2008 by jan colley

Please accept my apologies for posting late, but I’m sure you are all going to love hearing what this lady has to say. We are so excited to bring you the following Q&A by Diana Ventimiglia, Associate Editor for Silhouette Desire. Many published and aspiring authors already know Diana as Melissa Jeglinski’s Editorial Assistant until her promotion last year. Diana kindly agreed to answer the questions we dreamed up for her, but even more fantastic, she has offered to critique a full or partial manuscript from a randomly-chosen winner who comments on this week’s blog. If you are not in a position to take advantage of this prize there will be a parcel of books from our Downunder authors. Feel free to comment on the blog anyway, just stipulate whether or not you want to go in the draw for Diana’s critique or the book prize. We will draw the winner on Sunday 27th April.

Don’t be confused with the critique offered by Melissa Jeglinski, which will be drawn in June and is still open for comments. Check out Melissa’s Q&A in December to enter. 

1/ The Desire line is home to many different voices, settings and tones – perhaps now more than ever! What do think epitomizes a great Desire?

I think a great Desire is sexy and packed with lots of conflict. If an author can give me passion, scandal, and an alpha hero I’d love to date myself I think they’ve nailed Desire. I also think Desire has very strong heroines. They are nurturing and sensitive, yet can stand up for themselves.

2/ Your podcast with MJ last month on eHarlequin generated a lot of interest. I was interested to hear you would like authors to push the envelope, go deeper or more over the top. Can you expand on that a little?

By pushing the envelope I mean moving out of ones comfort zone. If an author had an idea and thought, ‘hmm this might be a little too dramatic’; I say go for it. Don’t be afraid to add different elements. For example, the hero gets into a car accident and is left with amnesia. He returns home and marries the wrong twin sister he slept with months ago. Then it turns out she’s pregnant with his brother’s child. OK maybe not exactly the above, but just that idea of not being afraid to be a little too dramatic. It’s always easier to cut down than to tack on at the end.

3/Can you give us your take on the differences between the Presents and the Desire Alpha Hero?

I think the biggest difference between the Presents hero and the Desire hero is that the Desire hero shows his feelings more. The readers have a better idea of where he came from and his transformation in the end.  For example, although he is out for revenge, readers still see his sensitive side as he feels for the heroine throughout the manuscript. 

4/Can you give us a brief idea of the path of a contracted manuscript after it lands on your desk?

Once a contracted manuscript lands on my desk, I first give it a read through to make sure it follows the proposal and has all the elements of a Desire. Once I complete this, I then begin the line edit. After this stage, the manuscript is sent out for copyediting, and I contact my authors with any important questions the copy editors may have. The author also receives a copy of the line edit, so she can get back to me with any changes she may have

5/What’s your personal favourite storyline – MOC, secret baby, seductive revenge etc? And do you have an all-time favourite romance?

I love secret baby stories. I just think they can be so juicy. I also think it makes for a great connection between the hero and heroine. I love seeing the hero taking on a more fatherly role. He really appeals to me in those scenes. So I’m very excited about the Billionaires & Babies series that starts in August 2008 with Maureen Child’s Baby Bonanza.

My all time favorite romance is when Harry Met Sally. I could watch that movie everyday for the rest of the year and be just as sappy.

6/I think you have a couple of Downunderers  in your growing stable of authors. Is it a hassle dealing with time differences, international postage, contracts whizzing here, there and everywhere, or not much different to dealing with American authors?

Well I love my down under authors and dealing with them is never a hassle. Really, it’s pretty much the same with American authors. The only difference being the time delay via telephone. I feel like those cell phone commercials where someone says something and the other responds but doesn’t hear anything and then thinks they said something horrible!  Haha so this sometimes can be tough, but other than that proposals and other materials are sent just as regularly as the American authors

7/Did you collaborate on the Diamonds Downunder series at all or was that down to MJ and the continuity editors?

Yes, that was all MJ.

There you have it. I will attempt to load the gorgeous pic Diana sent me but as my technical ability is now legendary on this blog, don’t hold your breath. Sorry again about the delay. What an interesting lady Diana is. Get polishing those secret baby stories, I say! And don’t forget, the winner for her critique or the books prize – you stipulate which when you post – will be drawn on Sunday 27th April. Best of luck, everyone!

6 Things I Never Knew About Diamonds

Posted in general post with tags on April 15, 2008 by tessaradley

Diamonds in the rough may appear dull and lifeless. But once cut they come alive and scintillate. In so many ways they characterise the Desire world and the characters that people it: brilliance, constancy, dominancy, excellence, indestructibility, love, glamour, wealth and immortality.

1. The Fascination of Pinks – Pink diamonds might not be a myth. But they are rare. What I didn’t know when we started writing is that Australia is the only place on earth that produces pink diamonds in any significant number. The Argyle mine in Western Australia’s Kimberley region produces over 90% of the world’s pink diamonds. For some idea of how rare these stones are, pink diamonds make up less than 1% of the diamonds mined at the Argyle mine. 

All of the Diamonds Down Under authors were fascinated by these rare and valuable stones. We even became absorbed in the precise shade of pink that coloured the Heart of the Outback. If you’ve read Mistress & A Million Dollars you’ll know that pink diamonds cause Briana quite a lot of grief.

2. Ancient Gems – The Argyle diamonds are ancient stones—over a billion years old. That fact nearly blew me away!

3. A Diamond is Forever – So we’re romance readers…and writers. We believe in finding that special unique love that endures forever. So it’s hardly surprising that the De Beer’s slogan A Diamond Is Forever works for me. What I didn’t know before writing Pride & A Pregnancy Secret was the tale behind the story which, like so many diamond stories, is utterly fascinating!

After surveying more than 5 000 young adult Americans in about 1946 from the target consumer group, De Beers must have been horrified to learn that there was little association between diamonds and engagement rings. Instead, after lean war years, people wanted the best and brightest in life. Cars. Holidays. Homes. Luxurious fashion. And brightly coloured jewellery.

So De Beers retained N.W. Ayer, a New York advertising agency, to put together an advertising campaign around copy that reflected magic moments a woman would want to remember her whole life…against a background of French paintings of romantic settings. But the campaign didn’t take off until 1947. The story goes that copywriter Frances Gerety, desperately tired late one April evening, was searching for that perfect combination of words that writers so often find elusive. Frustrated, she put her head down and prayed, “Please God, send me a line”.

Frances was blessed. It came. A Diamond is Forever. Four words conveying eternity, keepsakes, a legacy of love that would last into immortality. The link between diamonds and love had been made forever.

4. How Hard is a Diamond? – Unlike other stones, diamonds are not formed at the earth’s crust. They are created deep underground in a volcanic crucible of heat and pressure. So it shouldn’t surprise that diamonds emerge a “perfect 10” on the Mohs scale – defining the top of the hardness scale.

It’s the hardest substance found in nature making it as highly desirable to industry as it is to women. Diamonds are four times harder than the next hardest natural mineral corundum – yes, those pretty blue sapphires and red rubies. Being so superior means that diamonds are of course going to be compared to our alpha heroes who can have diamantine qualities – a hard diamond-like stare that glitters with menace!

Queen Elizabeth I was rumoured to have been used the hardness of diamond rings for scribbling messages to her favoured crushes on glass window panes. In ancient Rome Pliny was disturbed by the notion of the time that diamonds were so hard that they could be melted only by the blood of a newborn lamb.

But while diamonds are hard, they can be brittle. Hitting a diamond with a hammer is no test to discover whether it is real-or not. Those shattered shards might well have belonged to a flawless diamond. A diamond has perfect cleavage in four directions. Hit it along one of those and it will split. It’s this that gives me so much admiration for diamond cutters – not only do those guys have skill, they must have nerves of steel too. True hero material.

5. Diamonds in a Pack – Diamonds are the only gem that have a shape of the same name.

In a pack of playing cards diamonds represent the merchant classes, diamonds being significant coinage in commerce. Practical spades are for peasants, clubs, being blunt fighting weapons, are for warriors soldiers while romantic hearts are for the upper classes who had the means and . The King of Diamonds is supposed to represent Julius Caesar and the Knave of Diamonds is heroic Hector.

6. Diamond Anniversaries – On a list created in 1927 by American etiquette writer Emily Post, diamonds were deemed a suitable gift for that 60th or 75th anniversary. But a more up-to-date suggests that the 10th wedding anniversary is a good time to bestow a diamond on a loved one.

It’s not unheard of for the eternity ring to be presented on the first anniversary. Full eternity rings (where diamonds fill the entire circumference) are expensive and usually custom made. More popular are designs with a half arch of diamonds in a channel.

Eternity rings have become a popular way to celebrate the birth of a first child (a reward for childbirth?:) ) and are often worn on the same finger as the engagement ring and wedding ring – in any order that the wearer finds most comfortable. I love the trend that is growing where Eternity rings are becoming popular for renewals of vows ceremonies too – a reminder of that forever pledge. Love – and diamonds – are forever.

I’ve spent months reading about diamonds – and some of the above was simply absorbed in the jump from website to website. Some fragment would catch my fancy…then Google would do the rest… but Buried Treasure by Victoria Finlay  is a fascinating source of facts and legends about diamonds—the source of some of the above tales.

Share your most fascinating or unusual fact about diamond and win a copy of Tessa’s first Desire, BLACK WIDOW BRIDE and a copy of TYCOON’S VALENTINE VENDETTA, Yvonne’s February release.

Diamonds Treasure Hunt: April Clues

Posted in Treasure Hunt with tags , on April 14, 2008 by Bronwyn Jameson

Hi! It’s time for the Diamonds Down Under Treasure Hunt again. Each month, to coincide with the release of each book, two clues will be posted here at the DDU blog. Collect all the clues, submit your entry per the instructions on our website contest page, and some lucky, lucky person will win this stunning diamond-set pendant valued at US$350.Pendant

April Clues:
1/What annual event was the Australian Governor General in Port Douglas to commemorate? (From Satin and a Scandalous Affair by Jan Colley.)
2/What is the name of Jan’s favorite team of alpha heroes? (Hint – look on her website, hint hint: they play rugby!)

Remember, don’t post the answers here. Save all twelve answers and then at the conclusion of the contest in July, email your answers to the contest email address on our contest page.
Good luck, everyone!

Six Things About Satin & a Scandalous Affair

Posted in general post with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2008 by Bronwyn Jameson

The Hero: Quinn Everard

I originally thought of Quinn as Irish American, mainly because I thought we might like an American Hero amongst the Aussies and Kiwis to appease our beloved American readers. But he got lost somewhere along the way. As soon as I saw this guy’s face with his dark eyes and broken nose, I was on my way to falling in love. The juxtaposition of ruggedness versus his suave, man-of-the-world mannerisms excited me, although ‘my’ Quinn is a few years younger and has dark hair.

“Dani stared boldly back, seeing in her mind’s eye his tall broad form as he’d scrutinized her display window. How she’d admired what looked like an Armani suit – a rarity in the tropics – and his smooth, rolling gait as he’d straightened and moved inside. He moved like a fighter, and who’s to say he wasn’t? There was a definite break in his nose, the telltale bump high on the bridge, and a scar, smooth and pale, traced the corner of his mouth.”

The Heroine: Dani Hammond

I wanted someone younger than Quinn, the complete opposite of his cool sophistication. I loved this lady’s hair! I wanted her to have a colourful, zany sense of fashion, a breath of fresh air to cultured Quinn Everard. His cool against her flamboyance…

“She’d attempted to tame her wildfire hair with a scarf, but still, dark red curls sprang up in interesting dimensions. Her colour sense was outrageous, combining a red-and-pink-striped top with a captivatingly short floral skirt. She was exotic, unconventional, bubbling over with life and energy. He knew more beautiful women but none so colourful, so vibrantly original.”

The Setting: Four Mile Beach

I have visited Port Douglas five times! My very favourite part of each day is to beat DH out of bed and walk into town along this beautiful, almost deserted beach. It takes me about fifty minutes to walk into the township but I would never stay anywhere but Four Mile. Sometimes, I’ll catch the shuttle back after raisin toast and a lime thickshake. If I’m not too tired or it’s not too hot, I’ll kick off the walking shoes and splish splash back along the beach, from the view shown above right around the corner to where the white beach runs out.

The Finished Product:

This is the setting I imagined Dani came up with for the massive fancy intense yellow diamond Quinn commissioned her to design. Only you have to imagine the platinum cage is more delicate, and that there is a humungous yellow diamond in there! (I didn’t have any problems imagining that!)

“He looked first for impact, and got it in spades. A diamond inside a diamond. Mere filaments of platinum, like the gossamer wings of a dragonfly, held the huge trilliant-cut stone suspended inside a web cage.”

Nautilus Restaurant

Cemented in the history of Nautilus is the US presidential visit of Bill & Hillary Clinton in October 1996. One night at around 8:40 pm, with no prior reservation, and two small tables of “minders” already dining in the restaurant, two of the Clintons’ senior security officers entered the restaurant and spoke with Carmel. She was asked if all the guests had arrived, they had. The secret service men then proceeded to advise her that all of the restaurant’s telephones had been disconnected and that the President and First Lady would be arriving to dine in around 10 minutes. None of the other diners then present in the restaurant were allowed to leave.

Hillary had seen a feature on Nautilus in the New York Times and she had included a romantic anniversary dinner at Nautilus in their holiday plans. The restaurant was sealed off, Murphy Street was blocked at both ends and officers were stationed at all points including the kitchen. The Clintons dined alone, and enjoyed their own intimate “Nautilus Experience”. There was a small wedding party in the restaurant and Bill signed their wedding certificate and the bride presented her bouquet to Hillary for her wedding anniversary.  (from the Nautilus Restaurant’s website)

In five visits to Port, I have eaten here once as it’s pretty expensive. It was unique with the tables set amongst the trees so you hardly even realised there were other diners present. The food was beautiful and they served a very nice Nautilus wine – all the way from Marlborough, New Zealand! Quinn, Dani and Matt dined here in Satin & a Scandalous Affair.

The Dress:

Last year I was invited to my friend Deb’s wedding. She was stunning in a dress she designed herself, with a little help. It was exactly the sort of dress that Dani would wear to a posh, tropical wedding. The beautiful bride drove herself to the wedding (not by helicopter!) …

and I wish that was me with her but sadly, it was her best friend, bridesmaid, and this year’s winner of the Arnold Amateur Bodybuilding Champs in Ohio, gorgeous Jo Stewart.

Dani expected a few raised eyebrows about her dress, especially from her mother. Strapless and backless, the fabric was hummer orange but the chiffon overskirt was made up of thousands of tiny overlapping patches of deep pink blush and vivid orange. When she moved, the patches rippled with the richness of the sunset.

Rings, necklaces, pendants…pearls, platinum, diamonds…if you could be a jewellery designer for a day and the sky was the limit, what would you create? Comments to this week’s blog go in the draw to win a copy of my first book, Trophy Wives, and a little bling – can’t say too much, but it will have a pink ‘diamond’ in it!