Archive for Paula Roe

It’s A Wrap!

Posted in general post with tags , , , , , , on July 20, 2008 by Paula

Well, the champagne’s been drunk, the party poppers exploded and we’ve all been well and truly danced off our feet.  Yes, it’s that time where we bid a fond adieu to all our characters from the Diamonds Down Under continuity and thank you, readers, for making it such a wonderful success.    And from our authors…

Yvonne says: When we embarked on the Diamonds Down Under continuity I had no idea how far reaching the involvement would be or how many wonderful readers we’d be privileged enough to get to know through our blog. It’s been a delight to meet so many new people and to learn how our stories have provided enjoyment and entertainment. For myself, and especially since I’ve been writing fulltime, I tend to get very insular with my writing. In fact my mind boggles when I think about the people ‘out there’ reading my stories, so the blog has been a great experience in taking a step closer to others. In fact the whole continuity has been a gift in human relations and I think our interrelations between one another as authors has created a new sisterhood. I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone involved, from my fellow authors, to our guest bloggers to our wonderful wonderful readers. You’ve made this journey an experience to remember.  Remember to drop me a line via my website, and come visit to keep up to date on my latest news and releases.

Maxine says:Well, it’s here. It’s time to turn off the lights and close the door behind us as we leave and move onto new ventures. But first, let’s open the bubbly and drink to a fantastic series. It’s been wonderful from beginning to end, with terrific support from MJ, Diana and Matrice at the Harlequin editorial side of things, and support and enthusiasm from agent, Jennifer Schober. And what about our fabulous guest bloggers – Fiona Brand, Nalini Singh and Robyn Grady. Everyone did a great job, not the least the other Diamonds Down Under authors who have given so much of their time to blog about the series over the last eight months, and to showcase so much of our own countries to the world. And finally, there are all you marvelous readers who have bought our books and helped to make the series such a success. Thank you one and all. Cheers!

Paula says: From the newest chick on the block, the series was an awesome experience: from the million emails, the collaboration to the actual writing, there’s been the highest of highs to the now-pretty-much-forgotten lows 🙂  And through it all, I’ve learned heaps, both personally and professionally.  Thanks girls, you are true diamonds.  And thank you, everyone who read Jake and Holly’s story and loved it, thank you for holding all our hands throughout the crazy, wild ride of the trials and tribulations of the Blackstones and Hammonds.  And in another first (hey, we Down Underers like to blaze a trail!) check out our brand-spanking new Down Under Desirabelles blog, which goes live next week during RWA Nationals.  Bookmark us and visit regularly because we have an awesome lineup of weekly posts on life, love, reading and writing for everyone who loves romantic fiction.  

Bronwyn says: When we decided to host this blog it was with some trepidation. We weren’t sure we had enough to talk about for six or seven months or if what we had to say would draw and keep an audience. You know that old fear: what if we threw a party and no one turned up?  Turns out that we had little to worry about on either front.  When we brainstormed possible topics the list grew and grew…much the same as when we brainstormed possible conflicts and complications for our series.  And as for the other fear: turns out there are folk all over the world who love to chat as much as we do.  It has been a complete delight to see the familiar names returning week after week, and to hear your viewpoints on reading, writing and romance.  Thanks so much to everyone who visited and to all our special guest bloggers who helped enrich our blog. Although this is the end of Diamonds Down Under, I know I’ll see you around the blogworld, including (I hope) at Bronz Blog.

Jan says: I have so enjoyed your company over the last six months, sharing snippets of your lives, responding to our posts and showing your appreciation for our stories. It’s fantastic to have been part of such a diverse group of readers (and writers) from all over the world. There have been so many highlights. Huge thanks to our commendable guests and congratulations to our many winners, but I would like to mention a few special people. First up (since she wouldn’t have it any other way) please come on down, AviJ – and Limecello and LJ (I think) and accept my best wishes for your scholastic endeavors. I look forward to one day visiting one of your fine establishments, Avi, in your lovely part of the world. To those most voracious of readers, esp Pat and Christa, keep on reading! Azteclady, I hope you and your mum have many more years ‘laughing your heads off’ at each other. As well as the above-mentioned, would the following people please COME UP ONTO THE STAGE: Jane, Ellie and Ellen, Anne and Annie, Crystal B, JSL, Lois, Chelle, Pearl, Ruth, Mona, Waitingforthecall, Kim H, Minna, RobynL, Alissa, EvaS, Nathalie, Virginia H, Rebekah, Karen King and Serena. Come on, bunch up! Cyber chocs and flowers and heartfelt thanks to you all for checking in week after week, month after month. We have most enjoyed your company and hope you all keep in touch. And as the ancient philosophers used to say – and if they didn’t, they should have – BRING ON THE BLING!!! Good luck for the big Treasure Hunt draw.

Remember, post a comment for your last chance to win a cool book prize and cute Aussie keyring!

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A reader’s view of the Diamonds Down Under series with Christa Runge

Posted in guest blogger with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2008 by yvonnelindsay

We figured that by now you’d probably all need a wee break from hearing about us and from us so we decided to invite one of our regular visitors to blog with a reader’s perspective on the Diamonds Down Under continuity. So let’s put together a very warm welcome for CHRISTA!

 

 

I felt privileged to have been asked to blog on this series. Each author did an exceptional job on her story. Readers were left to ponder various questions for the next 6 months. Readers were left wondering if son James, who was kidnapped at age 3, is still alive. What sort of relationship did Marise and Howard have? Who fathered Blake, Matt or Howard? Where are the diamonds from the Blackstone Rose? Will Matt be successful in his takedown of Blackstones?

Then in each story there are even more secrets.

In VOWS & A VENGEFUL GROOM we are left wondering if Howard really wrote his daughter, Kimberley, out of his will when she went to work for House of Hammond? Also, the CEO position at Blackstones has not been decided–who will it be, Howard’s right hand man, Ric Perrini, or Howard’s own son, Ryan? Would a union with Kimberley better Ric’s chances?

In Tessa’s PRIDE & PREGNANCY SECRET we are again bombarded with questions. Why does Jessica feel she has to end things with Ryan? Why did Jessica change her mind at the last minute about taking the flight that ended up killing Howard and Marise?

In Maxine’s MISTRESS & A MILLION DOLLARS we are left to figure out why Briana needed $1million dollars? How is it that Marise came into possession of stones from the Blackstone Rose?

Rumour had it that Howard was Danielle Hammond’s father and if not Howard then who was her father? This question is brought to the forefront in Jan’s SATIN & A SCANDALOUS AFFAIR. I know with me, I wondered how Quinn fit into the feud between the Hammonds and the Blackstones.

Another character throughout the series was Jake Vance. How did he fit? Was he a threat to Blackstones? Someone is blackmailing Holly to spy on Jake. Who? These issues Paula tackles in BOARDROOMS & A BILLIONAIRE HEIR.

Yvonne rounds out the series with JEALOUSY & A JEWELLED PROPOSITION. Here, Yvonne answers the question readers have been speculating for the last 5 months. She had the daunting task of answering all the previous questions but also giving Matt a story. She did this beautifully by having Matt subconsciously not give Blake as much attention because he wasn’t sure if he was his son and providing him with a heroine to match him.

In my opinion the books read as though the authors communicated quite a bit. I don’t think I came across any discrepancies in the books, so it would seem these authors had a great rapport and paid close attention to details. I found each story linked together marvellously. During the release of these six books the authors had other books released, so I’m sure a little time was taken from loved ones. I, for one, thank you. From what I’ve seen, this series has quite a following. As individuals, or a group, I love reading books from this group of authors. I live in Canada and each month these authors showed me parts of Australia and New Zealand.

 

Yvonne: Christa, thank you so much for blogging with us on the DDU blog. Your support and input on various discussion boards for the continuity has been much appreciated.

 

This leaves me with a question for the rest of our readers, what did you love the most about the series? Was it discovering the answer to a particular mystery, or even that you were right about ‘the truth’ of a mystery in the continuity. Or maybe it was a specific setting, or a set of characters that you just fell completely in love with? We’d love to hear from you. All blog comments will go into a draw where the winner will be randomly drawn to win a copy of Suzanne Brockmann’s EMBRACED BY LOVE, together with an exceptionally cute fluffy New Zealand sheep fridge magnet.

6 things you may not know about Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir

Posted in general post with tags , , , , , on May 4, 2008 by Paula

Only six?   errr… okay.  Not one to turn up my nose at a challenge, here goes!

1. Jake Vance – I based Jake, my hero, on David Boreanaz’s character Seeley Booth in Bones (any excuse to drool and overdose on Series 2 🙂  Same broody stare, same high intelligence, same deep-set convictions.  To get more into Jake’s character, I also read The Modern Machiavelli by Ian Demack and took copious notes. 

When his long fingers wrapped around hers, Holly’s skin heated with the contact. It wasn’t power he so clearly exuded. It was something much more seductive. Confidence? Control?

Intimacy.

The way his sharp green gaze swept her from head to toe, taking in her hair, her face, her business suit. The way those eyes probed hers until they finally came to rest on the small diamond solitaire at her throat.

It was exciting coming up with Jake’s backstory.  I was thrilled to get everyone’s “yay!” when I suggested the kidnapped baby scenario.  It gave me lots of wonderful conflict for Jake, complete with a chequered youth and that whole “I’ll never be like my father” thing, too.  

2. Holly McLeod – The picture inspiration for Holly came from an unnamed model on the Ezibuy site.  Holly was a tough one, because I obviously needed someone attractive (especially to Jake!) but not too attractive.

Jake snapped his eyes up to meet hers and it hit him again. It wasn’t the curve of her lips, nor the way her blue eyes tilted up at the corners. It was the tiny birthmark on the left side of her mouth, like some artist had painted it on to tease and tempt. To focus a man’s attention.

A prime kissing target.

My 7 yo son gave me the name of Holly’s home town – Kissy Oak. It’s his mispronunciation of the word ‘kiosk’. After we laughed ourselves silly, I told him I had to use it in a book some time.  And boy, was he tickled to see that in print!

And without Holly, there wouldn’t be Max Carlton, a guy I modeled on the gorgeous Jude Law. Same golden face, same charming smile.  But still a bastard 😉 

It was those innocent choirboy looks, complete with a mop of golden curls that made Max Carlton such a hit. The men liked him for his after-hours drinks and blokey talk about football and women. The women were flattered by his charm and good looks. And to her surprise, there’d been a spark of interest despite the unofficial gossip. He was an attractive smooth-talker and everyone knew it, especially Max Carlton.

I had a lot of fun writing Max’s scenes with Holly – I love writing dialog and the conflict it causes. And it was great to have a villian who was actually on the page and not dead LOL.

3. Nip, tuck.. cut! – BOARDROOMS was originally called Return of the Bad Boy Billionaire. In fact, every DDU story was called something different. But when Senior Editor Melissa Jeglinksi brainstormed, she came up with six gorgeous titles that tied in with the themes perfectly.

Speaking of cutting… I have a tendency to write looong, so it came as no surprise I had to cut a few things 🙂 My story originally started with an editorial-style article that appeared in a daily newspaper:

The Blackstone Baby: will we ever really know? – editorial comment by Dash Morgan

With only three months to go before Howard Blackstone’s six-month will stipulation expires, we are no closer to discovering the identity of the missing Blackstone heir.

For those who’ve been living under a rock, heir-to-be James Hammond Blackstone was just two years old when he went missing from his multi-million dollar Vaucluse home in November 1976. After both parents were cleared of foul play, the police investigation focused on their housekeeper. Of course, after the ransom note, nothing more was heard until the discovery five days later, when two bodies in a car at the bottom of Lindon River, five kilometres north of Newcastle were identified as the missing housekeeper and her convicted criminal boyfriend. The police concluded that James Blackstone’s body had floated out to sea, a finding that Howard Blackstone refused to acknowledge: after his plane crash and subsequent will reading this past February, it was revealed that the billion dollar gemstone king had been funding a thirty-two year private investigation to recover his son’s whereabouts.

Now, with MacNamara Investigations – the PI group who have apparently discovered a “promising lead” – remaining tight-lipped on the topic, I have to wonder… we will ever know what happened to the Blackstone baby?

The last tragedy to grip and polarize public opinion this tightly was Azaria Chamberlain. And we know how that ended up. Like the Chamberlains, the Blackstones have been tried by public opinion and are either baby killers or victims of tragic circumstance. It’s hard to argue what we already know – suicide, family infighting, mistresses, vendettas and boardroom battles are just another day in the life of a Blackstone. But is it a family blessed by extraordinary wealth… or cursed by it?

Either way, like Azaria, too much time’s passed and the story has moved into urban legend folklore. And of course, it’s brought out the pond scum, those claiming to know the whereabouts of James Blackstone, demanding their fifteen minutes and payment before their hoax is revealed.

Let’s not forget a baby disappeared. It’s a tragedy for any parent to live through. But I’m betting that after August, the Blackstone Baby will be chalked up in Australia’s history under the heading “We’ll Just Never Know.”

I managed to do the rest of the cutting (all 30 pages of it!), keeping the important bits and sprinkling them into the rest of the story. Strangely, I have a love-hate relationship for the story at this stage 🙂 Michelangelo puts it best when he said “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

4.  The Dresses – Ahhh, dresses!  I took guilty pleasure in researching the gowns everyone wears to the Blackstone Charity Ball.  Holly’s dress is based on the glamorous print ad for Givenchy’s Organza parfum.  I’ve had the picture for years and was excited I could finally use it in a book! 

He was staring out the kitchen window, at a glittery cruise ship in the harbour when he sensed Holly behind him. Then he turned and all brooding thoughts fizzled from his brain.She was dressed in a white clingy creation, the vertical pleats emphasizing the gentle curves of her body. With her hair pulled high and back, curls cascading over her shoulders, she looked like some Egyptian goddess. The gauzy material draped across her breasts almost lovingly, and it was held up by small shoestring straps, leaving her arms bare. Beneath his unabashed staring, goosebumps spread over her skin.

“Is my dress okay?” She nervously tugged at the neckline, tweaking the fabric into place. 

“You’re more than okay.”  Amazingly, after everything they’d done together, after every body part he’d teased, kissed and caressed, she blushed. He’d never get tired of seeing her blush.

Of course, I consulted Bronwyn, Tessa, Yvonne and Maxine to find out what the other women (and men!) would wear.  Briana was sexy in red (picture found at a prom dress site), Kim elegant in a strapless black creation (this photo is from a vintage site), and Jessica pregnant and glowing in a silver halterneck.

 5. Blackstone’s Head Office – Research (aka surfing the ‘net) is the best part of a story! I used my artistic license and removed the Sydney Hilton from it’s George/Pitt Street location and plonked Blackstone’s right there in the center instead. The location is prime real estate with a squillion shops – from the Pitt Street Mall, Centrepoint Tower and Queen Victoria Building – just a stone’s throw away. My favorite is the beautiful historic Strand Arcade. Opened in 1891, it was the last Sydney arcade to open and the only one to still remain in original form. It’s full of elegant jewellery stores, milliners, one-off designer gear and coffee shops ::::sigh:::

Okay, back to Blackstone’s! Here’s a shot of the interior:

Originally, I had an interior description when Jake first fronts up in the foyer, but that was eventually cut. Here’s what didn’t make it into the book:

Jake strode across the foyer of Blackstones Diamonds, ignoring the lush, expensive fittings. He barely glanced at the Tom Bass bronze sculpture that took center place on the polished marble floor, the smooth dip and flow of modern lines doing nothing to calm his tightly wound tension.

The security desk lay dead ahead, but it wasn’t the young guy behind it who captured his attention. It was the woman.

6. Holly and Jake’s apartments – I studiously trolled many real estate sites, imagining the kind of places Holly and Jake would live.  I even went into the city and took a walk around, picturing myself in Holly’s shoes. For Jake’s place, there was no contest – Sydney Wharf is a brand-new harbourside development and an obvious choice for a man who has it all. Here’s a shot (left) of what I imagined Jake’s apartment looks like inside…

Holly is fortunate enough to have a room mate (the mysteriously exotic Miko Tarasai… I get the feeling she’ll want her own story one day!) whose parents own the apartment she lives in.  Like many people in real life (myself included!) Holly started off with one career in mind, but instead just ‘fell’ into another – in her case, she wanted to study interior design but ended up at Blackstone’s.  However, she still gets to call on her creative energies – here’s what she did with her apartment.

The whole concept of DIAMONDS DOWN UNDER was as thrilling as it was scary. But having five other authors I personally know and (still!) love working with me, the whole writing process was a lot less insular and a heap more fun. Truly, I have the best job in the world!

Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir is now available at Amazon and as an e-book from eHarlequin.  Check out Paula’s website for more behind-the-scenes info.  And remember to post a message if you want to be in the running for a gorgeous diamond keyring!