Archive for writing

Diamonds Down Under Revisited…

Posted in general post with tags , , on December 1, 2010 by Maxine Sullivan


It’s hard to believe that three years have passed since the Diamonds Down Under series began. Even now we get a lot of visitors to this blog, and from time to time we’re still asked about the series. It’s exciting for us that people are so interested in it all, now more than ever with the availability of ebooks giving our series eternal life. 🙂 So, is love still in the air at DDU central? You bet! Let’s ask the Diamonds Down Under authors what they’ve been doing during this time, and see if they still have that sparkle in their eyes.

Paula says: Three years since Diamonds Down Under? Wow! Such a lot has happened in my world since then! For a start, Jake and Holly’s story was shortlisted in Romance Writers of Australia‘s prestigious Romantic Book of the Year award for 2008 (go, Diamonds!) and won Houston Bay areas’ Judge a Book By Its Cover contest.  I’ve also written three more books, and my fifth Desire, Promoted to Wife?, is due out in March 2011.  My third, The Magnate’s Baby Promise, was voted best Short Category Romance of 2009 by the Australian Romance Readers Association.  And all my releases have reached the Borders Books bestseller list – thank you, wonderful readers!  Oh, and my gorgeous baby boy turned 10 in 2010!

Bron says: During the past two years, I took a break from writing for personal reasons. Recently I finished the long-awaited Billionaire’s Inconvenient Bride, the follow-up to Magnate’s Make-Believe Mistress, which is scheduled for December 2011. Follow up books are planned for 2012.

Tessa says: I spotted an Argyle Diamonds advertisement for pink diamonds in an in-flight magazine recently…and it brought all the memories of Diamonds Down Under flooding back! The stories were fabulous and I loved all the family links in them. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past three years with my family, both older and younger generations, and it’s been time well spent. In 2010 I celebrated a couple of successes, The Billion-Dollar Baby Bargain finaled in the Romance Writers of Australia’s RBY Award AND Falling For His Proper Mistress hit the USA Today Bestseller list – thank you readers for making that possible! My next book, The Boss’s Baby Affair, is part of the Billionaires & Babies series and will be out in February 2011. And don’t forget to visit the Desire Authors Blog at eHarlequin for more news about the authors who write for Desire.

Maxine says: The last three years have been really good to me.  At the time the series began, Mistress & a Million Dollars was only my 4th book for Silhouette Desire, and now I’ve had 11 Desires published, with a new contract to write another four books.  Amazing!  Even more amazing to me is that some of my books reached #1 on the Borders Bestseller List, and this year His Ring, Her Baby and High-Society Secret Baby reached the USA TODAY Bestseller List. I’m definitely living my dream. 🙂

Jan says: 2010 has been a most eventful – even momentous – year for me. Study (Information and Library Studies); a month on the jury of a murder trial, the biggest fright of my life when a 7.1 earthquake hit my poor home town, gratitude that although there was a lot of damage, no lives were lost, and great sorrow last week when 29 miners were confirmed dead over on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, a couple hundred kilometres from here. Phew! Don’t know about the other Diamonds authors, but I could really use a little less excitement in 2011!!!

Yvonne says: In the three years since we all worked together on the Diamond Down Under series I’ve been trying to quell my desire for a large pink diamond! To keep myself distracted I’ve since released nine more Silhouette Desire books (including a continuity novella, set during polo season in the Hamptons) and one online title and in April 2011 I will have another continuity book out as part of The Takeover continuity, set in San Diego. Of all the things I enjoy about working on a continuity, research would have to be one of the things I enjoy most. Learning about new places and the sights and things to do and enjoy there is almost as good as being there! And almost as good as having a large pink diamond. 😀

As you can see, we’ve each been very busy with varying interests, but we’ve never forgotten how much the Diamonds Down Under series means to us. We’re very proud of it.

If you’d like to read the series, Harlequin has them all available in ebooks – just go here and type in “Diamonds Down Under” in the search facility.  Or you can get them  from Amazon here. 


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!

Q & A with Melissa Jeglinski, Silhouette Books Senior Editor

Posted in guest blogger with tags , , , , , on December 16, 2007 by jan colley

Here it is! What all you aspiring authors have been waiting for: the real oil from Melissa Jeglinski, Senior Editor of Silhouette Books in New York. When someone suggested that as Desire authors from Australia and New Zealand had doubled in the last couple of years and maybe we should get together and write a continuity, Melissa did not flinch. She supported, encouraged and brainstormed and the Diamonds Downunder series was born. She even offered to critique some lucky winner’s manuscript as one of our major prizes to promote the series. Naturally, we weren’t going to turn that down! To kick this series off and lead up to this fantastic prize, we asked Melissa a few questions, just to whet your appetites!

1/How many author-led continuities have you been involved with?

MJ: Not sure if by Author-led you meant the authors came up with the concept – if so, Diamonds is just my second. Millionaire of the Month in Desire was my first.

If you meant the broader concept, here’s my response: At least a dozen, if not more. I’ve been working on them since I was an editorial assistant. My first author-led continuity was Montana Mavericks and I was very hands-on in that concept brainstorming. Since then I’ve worked on numerous continuities for multiple lines and I currently deal with two Desire continuities per year.

2/Why do you think continuities hold such great appeal for readers? Is it the whole ‘collectable mentality’ or that we still love and miss the great dramas of the ‘80’s, the snapshot view into the lives of the rich and famous and all their skeletons in the closet, like Dallas, Dynasty, and Sons and Daughters?

MJ: Readers tell me that they love to find out what happened to characters from prior books, so continuities give them a glance beyond happily ever after. It also creates a ‘family’ for the readers to become connected to…much like the nighttime soap operas of the past and those that are seemingly making a return nowadays. I think readers like the connection they feel to the characters, the stories. They enjoy discovering what’s coming next, maybe trying to uncover the secrets before the characters themselves do.

3/What intrigued you about the Diamonds Downunder premise?

MJ: I loved the machinations the authors created…the juicy factor of the feuding families and missing heir and scandalous plane crash. There was a lot to the concept…more than just several siblings in a cool location. The fact that the family were diamond dealers was also very compelling…what woman doesn’t love jewelry? I could see the covers from the moment the idea was formed and that usually means it’s a concept readers will enjoy as well. And, Desire had never done a continuity set in either Australia or New Zealand, much less both. The locations were so exotic, I just had to do it!

4/We know you’re busy but do you have any plans to visit your downunder authors anytime soon – say, if you received an invitation to a conference down here?

MJ: It is my deepest desire to visit Australia and New Zealand. Of course, a business trip would be great, but that’s not always up to me. I’d say yes in a heartbeat if the company offered to send me. Otherwise, I’m saving my frequent flyer miles and my pennies for a trip on my own. 🙂

5/Australian and New Zealand authors seem to be popular with Harlequin and Silhouette lately. Given that the market is so much smaller than the US, do you see this trend continuing, and why do you think so many have been bought recently?

MJ: I know, I can’t believe how large a pool Desire has of downunder authors. I think it’s just great because they all offer such unique voices and such different story locations. Although I will admit, as an editor, I’m always confused about your warm Christmases and chilly July’s. 🙂 I think I’m finally getting the hang of it, now.

I know I bought both Tessa and Maxine from the online story pitch. I was already working with Bronwyn and Jan. And then suddenly other downunder authors were getting agents and those projects were being sold to Desire. It was like a new door opened and I was so excited to see all the talent. With Desire’s editorial guidelines changing, I think it also made the fit easier. My downunder authors have NO problem doing the alpha male dead on! I am totally open to more downunder talent and do see this trend continuing as veteran authors share their knowledge and mentor new writers.

6/Are there any storylines you are seeing too many of – or not enough of – at the moment (talking specifically Desire here)?

MJ: I’m seeing a lot of revenge plots without a lot of emotion behind them. I love a good revenge plot, don’t get me wrong. But there needs to be something behind the characters’ motivations besides “you destroyed my father.” I need it to go a step deeper. I’m also looking for books with western setting or western heroes – not the “aw shucks, mam” guys, but really rugged alpha men… who are also quite successful. And I always love a good boss/secretary story.

7/Do you have the time to read for pleasure, and if so, what do you like to read?

MJ: I love to read romance in my spare time, really! I actually read a lot of historical romance, specifically European settings. Regency is my favorite. I do like some contemporary romances and I love J.R.Ward’s vampire books, although I haven’t gotten very involved in other paranormal stories, except for Stephanie Meyer – I love her series.

8/Are you a diamond girl yourself or does something else push your buttons romantically?

MJ: I love anything with bling! The more sparkles the better. I just bought myself a pair of diamond stud earrings while I was in St. Thomas this past May. I love them. And I have tons of costume jewelry that I enjoy wearing. Jewels just make you feel so happy, you know?

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There you have it! We thank MJ for her valuable support. Please post your comments here. One lucky person’s post will be randomly chosen toward the end of the series. The winner will receive a critique of a partial or full manuscript by the Senior Editor of Silhouette Books in New York, OR a twenty-minute phone call at MJ’s expense, to chat about anything to do with writing, submitting and publishing romance. Details will be posted on the Contest page of our DDU website soon. Good luck to all, and remember, you’ve gotta be in to win!