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  1. Can't begin to express how excited I am for you Helen. "The Call" is peak moment, and I'm so glad you've got the perspective to realise what it means and enjoy it to the max!

    Looking forward to cracking some champers when we're next together and "wetting the baby's head", so to speak.

    Love

    Louise Cusack

  2. Congratulations, Helen. Your success is well deserved. I'm so excited for you. Champagne for when we next meet. I'm so happy for you.

  3. Wohoo Helen – absolutely AWESOME news! Can't wait to follow your progress in the next steps and then buy and read your book.
    πŸ™‚
    Rach!

  4. Hi Helen, totally agree about having support from CPs and groups. It can take a while though finding the right fit. But when you do – yahoo. It's wonderful that you've all been together for so long. That in itself is something to celebrate.
    Merry Christmas
    Jane Beckenham

  5. Sounds like you've developed a great network of support. People on one's side are so valuable in those hard moments that happen in writing and fun in the celebrating ones. Of course, Cp's are also worth their weight in gold. Particularly when they happily read something they've read a million times before (by the way, thanks *grin*).

  6. Helen, having trusted critique partners is an important part of the writing process. I agree. Without honest feedback there is no room for improvement.

  7. Support and motivation are key, together with the valued input from critique partners. The network of the writing community is an incredible bonus.

  8. Your new idea sounds really intriguing! I agree about starting new things. Am so over the revs I'm doing at the moment and can't wait to throw myself into something fresh.
    Interesting that you've become a plotter too – do you think that's one of the things that made the final difference for you!?
    x
    Rach!

  9. Yay for a new, fresh shiny idea! Must be nice to have that outline and know some potential pitfalls have been headed off before you start.
    You aren't scared it will take away some of the excitememnt? I guess 5 pages leaves you a fair bit of how they get there room!!
    Good luck!!

  10. Plotter v's panster . . . I certainly think it's helped me become more productive Rach. The book that was accepted by Special Edition was done without any plotting at all, though, and wrote itself in a couple of months. In saying that, it's since had many, many revisions/edits/re-writes etc, including the last lot of revisions for my editor. The biggest difference I see now in myself as a writer to where I was a couple of years ago is approach – I mean, I made a commitment to think of it as a business and read every SSE I could to understand what the editors were buying. I knew the line I wanted and entered RWA chapter contests where the final judge was the SSE editor I was aiming for. After a few finals I got the request for the full MS. After that it was a round of revisions and then acceptance. From the time I first wrote the book to the call from my agent it was two years. Now I'm discovering that plotting is helping me stay on track and keep up my productivity. H πŸ™‚

  11. I think as we grow as writers, we learn that there is a need for at least some specific plotting otherwise we get ourselves in a 'fix' with our story and chracters tearing off doing stuff we have to haul them back from. But then, of course that could be a good thing too!
    Good on you Helen for developing your plotting skills. (Am envious!) Plotting for me is hard graft, i love writing the characters' backstory, but the actual plot/GMC of the book can be a struggle. Oh, well, i'll keep on ploding and plotting. What's that saying about the snail – getting there in the end!

    Jane

  12. It's so great to hear that reaching the first stage of your dream (cos I'm sure there are even bigger things ahead) is all you hoped. Happiness is to be treasured.
    Yay you!!
    =)

  13. Good on you Helen, what a fabulous dream. Having spent the last month or so in deep edits, and the last 12 of those days working 15 hour days to get it back to the editor, i'm now dreaming of sleeping LOL
    Jane

  14. Interesting post!
    It's hard not to get caught up in numbers… and I guess that won't stop on the other side of the publishing divide. But it's simply a fact that writing/reading is subjective and not fair.
    Life isn't fair either, why should writing be different?

  15. Great comments Helen! You are certainly someone that has figured out the contest business but I do have to say, you are also thinking like a professional writer. Comments we get in contests are certainly the same thing as the reviews we get as published authors. We have to learn to work with the good and the bad. Yes, there will be bad reviews. Does this mean you writing isn't good? Not necessarily. It might simply mean you had a judge that just didn't connect with the writing. Dust your self off and move on. Still, you don't want to ignore those comments. There might be a nugget of truth hidden in those words of doom.

    Scott

  16. This is great advice, and I think once the shock wears off about getting such horrible feedback, the writer will take something positive out of the process, realizing that the journey is like a steep mountain to climb, but once you get to the top of the mountain it would have all been worth it. And as the clichΓ© goes, what doesn’t break us can only make us stronger, and I think this is a great philosophy.

  17. I’m hearing ya. The story I just sold was rewritten completely for M&B and then rewritten again for Carina. I was sick of it by the time I subbed it but now that I’ve had some distance, I do think it’s stronger for all the revisions. Like you, I’m hoping to go back to an old romance and rewrite it soon.

  18. Good attitude! It’s hard to change stuff that feels DONE. But usually it turns out better for the blood spilt getting it that way.

    This business isn’t for sissies…

  19. Thanks you Rach. It’s certainly a good feeling. And congrat’s to you on getting a release date. Exciting times ahead for you.

  20. Yay on a date! And congrats again Helen. Is awesome to hear your passion for your book – am sure that will come across on the page. I for one, can’t wait to read it πŸ™‚

  21. Thanks Rachael – I look forward to hearing what you think of Made For Marriage when it is released. and congratulations on your debut release from Carina Press this December . . . it will be a great read I’m sure πŸ™‚

  22. Thanks Jane – I must admit to having a soft spot for the title . . . When I won the Emerald in 2009 my DH gave me a carriage clock with a lovely inscription to celebrate the win . . . so the title has a lot of memories attached to it. Hope you enjoy the book when it comes out. πŸ™‚

  23. Hi Helen, I start out with a working title and it can change up to ten times throughout the writing of the book. A list of a hundred titles is very impressive. You’re going to be a busy lady writing all those books. What fun!

  24. What a lovely route to inspiration for your book. I have had a great deal to do with Russian orphans/adoption and can relate to what we see out in this world. Such hardship. At 16 the Russian orphans are tossed out into the wild world, with no where to go, and no family to fall back on. Many don’t make it.
    Congratulations on your debut novel, i wish you luck for the future.
    Regards
    Jane Beckenham

    • Thanks for your congrats, Jane, and thanks for telling me about the Russian orphans. I didn’t know about them being out in the world after they turned sixteen. I’m not surprised some of them don’t make it.

  25. So lovely to hear the background behind Laura’s book. I’ve read “African Hearts” and loved it. Kam was a gorgeous hero! Great interview Helen.

  26. Helen I read a fabulous blog about titles recently and how to go about creating that perfect title….now I have find it again and jot out the main ideas so I can put them into practice. Blogs can be so useful and so very helpful to other writers. In my years within this interest….more than I care to reveal…. can honestly say writers are some of the most caring and sharing people I’ve ever met.

  27. Finally, a very special thank you, Helen for interviewing me. I’m looking forward to the release of your debut novel in January, 2012. Thanks so much for being part of my journey. πŸ™‚

  28. Sounds like everyone had a fabulous time at the conference. There’s nothing as good as spending time with like minded souls. Glad everyone enjoyed it.

  29. Fab wrap of the conference, Helen. I’m yet to type my notes, but have a head swimming full of great one liners like “Luck comes to the person who tries harder,” by Bob Mayer. So pleased to see you get your ribbon!

  30. Helen you always continue to inspire me! Fantastic article. Loved meeting you at the conference and only wish I got to spend more time with you. And getting your first sale ribbon is only the start of great things for you. I can imagine you in the future as being one of those fantastic guest speakers at an RWA conference!! x

  31. Hi Helen. What a fantastic subject, I so enjoyed reading it. As far as my favourite cowboy goes it would have to be Kevin Costner in the movie Dancing with Wolves. I never tire of watching him and he was definitely a man of integrity.

    • I love Dances with Wolves Lee – it’s one of my favorite movies. I had a mad crush on Kevin K in the nineties. Remember him in Prince of theives telling Marion he’d die for her? Ah . . . swoon.

  32. Really interesting post. i love reading about cowboys but am struggling to pick a fave…. hmmm… maybe it’s those pics that are distracting me.
    =)

  33. Yes, there’s something interesting and intriguing about a cowboy. The way he sits in the saddle, his back straight, his hat pulled low over his eyes, his strong hands holding the reins in the same way he’d hold the love of his life: more than enough to get a girl’s blood racing.

    I don’t have a favourite, Helen. I’m drawn to all cowboys.

  34. How delicious to be reminded that cowboys not only look and smell good, they are good for you! Great post Helen. I’ll be revisiting my “Thelma and Louise” fantasy with Brad Pitt in a cowboy hat (in my dreams).

  35. Hi Helen, I don’t know about women in general but I was swooning over some of your descriptions. Oh to be that temperamental filly! I live in a rural area and have no shame in looking over my shoulder to watch a Wrangler clad butt saunter by! love it, and loved your blog.

  36. We have a huge shed and I am allowed my corner for my treadmill but that is about it. Hubby likes to disappear in there to get and do ‘stuff’… mysterious indeed.

    Love a fixer hero too!

  37. Hi Helen,

    OOh, I do like a “fixer-upperer”! What man doesn’t look hot with a tool belt on and grease on his cheeks πŸ™‚ My DH is handy with the tools too and as a family of Revheads, it’s just as well! Add that to us being BIG Holden/GM fans and you have a shed full of car bits and a garage full of toys. Love the Torana. I’m still looking for my FJ Ute … scarce as hen’s teeth πŸ™‚

    Loved this post, Helen. Thanks

    Regards, Juanita

  38. Oh Helen
    Sigh… how true….

    We have a shed for the boat and the fishing rods and the tinkering with all things marine. We have a massive workshop full of benches, lathes, vices and many things powerful yet unknown to me. Do you know how many varieties of power saws there are…..
    However, there are still many hours in the day for the continuous fishing shows on Foxtel!

    We have a son in law who works at Bunnings and often has a “run out fantastic not to be missed” deal on the last of something powered!

    We have a son who has a 1964 Mercedes in thousands of pieces who is talking about moving home to the coast again and could he and his wife live with us for a while as they search for a house….

    And then… I get the’ look’ if I spend several consecutive hours at the computer.

    Men and their sheds… a worthwhile subject for a whole sociological study!

  39. Ah the shed. Being a single girl I don’t have one, but I do remember the man cave well: source of mysterious clunking sounds, the odd curse, and cricket on the radio in summer time. Smelt like grease and was inhabited by huge huntsman spiders and the odd carpet snake. Definitely not a female domain!

  40. The smell of grease is something we never forget even through the passage of time. The spiders are a nice touch too. As for the snakes . . . shudder. I’ll happily stay indoors πŸ™‚

  41. No, I’m not a great one for diamonds. I’ll take dogs. Although a lot of the dogs in Hollywood wear diamonds around their necks. But that’s another planet.
    Lesley

  42. Definitely not a dog person, but while I can get excited about shiny red shoes, if you show me a kitten I’m a pushover. Not sure where I fit, but it’s nice to dabble in both worlds. Great post Helen!

  43. Interesting question… i have diamonds but don’t wear them often and bought my first dog so i could pick it up the day i moved into my first house (i wasn’t allowed pets at home)… and then rescued my second dog cos I thought the first might be lonely.
    Either would work for me as a gift.
    But dogs win, I think.

  44. Congratulations helen πŸ™‚ can’t wait to read your book, good to hear Dad helped with inspiring you to get your book completed and finished. I hope you get great feedback too. Lots of love from us all xo

  45. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! How exciting that must have been, Helen. Did you wave it under everyone’s noses – family, horses, dogs, cats, cow? I bet Zeb loved the cover πŸ™‚

    Huge hugs,
    Cath

  46. Congratulations!!!!!
    Really happy for you πŸ™‚
    Make sure you save a copy for me as we shall be visiting in February (tickets booked), cant wait to see you guys and the horses πŸ™‚ xxx

  47. OMG – somehow your blog is not updating on my blog list anymore. Lucky I came to investigate. HUGE congrats on getting your first book in your hands. REckon that must be one of THE most exciting feelings EVER!!

    • Thanks for dropping by Patti. And thank you for thinking Sharnah is beautiful. She is a darling and very much loved by my hubby and me and all the local kids. I have a fifteen year break before getting back into the saddle five years ago – and it truly is like riding a bike – you never forget πŸ™‚

  48. Lovely post, Helen. I can relate very much to your love of horses. Looking forward to the next one about Zeb. 17.3 hands is a whole lot of gee-gee!

    My favourite horse book would have to be Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion….and all the books that followed in the series. I couldn’t read enough of those babies when I was a wee lassie. They were so fantastically romantic. Perfect for a dreamy-eyed horse mad girl.

    • Cathryn, I love The Black Stallion. Can’t believe I forget to add it to the list. And you’re right, 17.3 hands is one big steed (But there’s no shame in using a ladder to get up!) Thanks so much for dropping by. πŸ™‚

  49. Sharnah is gorgeous (and she does look like a Barbie horse!). So glad you enjoyed War Horse. And I’m looking forward to reading more about horses on your blog. I love the idea of Horse Tails blogs!

  50. She’s so lovely. I was that little girl who dreamed of her too! You’ve reminded me of some of the books i need to get for my princess.

  51. Beautiful horse Helen! I was very horsey as a teenager but grew out of it. I still like going for a ride though. She looks very gentle. Good luck with the Horse Tails Blog. Great name.

  52. Hi Lee – thanks for dropping by. And yes, Sharnah is a gentle girl. She has a few bad habits though – like getting her on a horse trailer is a nightmare. But to ride she is a dream. Great to see you here and hope you can come back for more Horse Tails!

  53. Hi Helen, I rode a horse once and nearly fell off and have been a little hesitant ever since. I love stories about horses though. πŸ™‚ Sharnah is a beautiful horse. Love her colour. Looking forward to more horse tales.

  54. Hi Laura – thanks for stopping by. I have fallen off a few times – not so bad on Sharnah because she;s short – on Zeb though, who;s 17.3hh – a different story πŸ™‚ Just have to hand on tighter!

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  56. Your horse is beautiful!! When I was a little girl, I kind of got into horses mostly because most of my fellow little girls at school loved them. haha. But of course I think they’re beautiful creatures too. I was looking back on a diary entry I wrote when I was 10, where I mentioned driving down south of where I live and seeing little lambs and “Caliminos” in the fields (by Caliminos I actually meant Palominos. ;)).

    Anyway, I actually stopped by to say I just finished your book, MADE FOR MARRIAGE, and I really enjoyed the read!! Noah was a totally swoon-worthy hero, so thank you for giving him to me for a little while at least. haha. I will say you sure know how to write a sexy man!!

  57. Hey Helen

    I loved War Horse, but sobbed through it. I will buy it – and put it alongside the Note Book in the watch only when needing a good cry pile….

    War horse reminded me about a book I read as a kid Thunderhead, by Mary O’Hara ( rather it was read to me as I didn’t read well at that age…) the follow on from My Friend Flicka. Where the horse triumphs, no matter what the odds are.

    You take care – 17.3 is a long fall down… but enjoy that gallop along the beach!

    Bye 4 now
    Tina

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  60. What a lovely story. I’ll never forget my first horse, I had to wait until I was 30 before I got her, but she was perfect. She always looked after me, and as soon as my son was old enough (3) he used to ride on her back clutching her rug when we brought her in from the muddy field. But if any other experienced rider tried to boss her around she’d soon sort them out. She’s now living out a happy retirement πŸ™‚
    I think what you say is so true, timing can be everything. Things happen when they’re supposed to!

    • Hi Susie – always great to meet another horsey gal πŸ™‚ I had a fifteen year gap in between owning my first two horses and getting Sharnah and Jack five years ago. Churchill once said that the best thing for the inside of a man or a woman, was the outside of a horse – I so agree. Thanks for stopping by.

  61. Hi Helen, lovely post, and i can relate, i’m so besotted with my dog Bingo. We adopted him after his 1st owners abused him (at only 4months old). He could have been a mean dog, but he is awesome, so loving and so very much loved in return. Neil was taking him to school (where he is the caretaker) last weekend, and Bingo started crying with excitement when Neil and he were still 2 roads away from the school! I just adore my dog. It’s really an emotion i can’t explain.

    Jane

  62. What I didn;t say in the blog is that Zeb used to be a racehorse, and when retired became a showjumper . . . but his lazy nature meant he was passed a round a bit by a few owners. Lucky me I say πŸ™‚

    • Thanks CC. Yeah, I did kinda fall in love when I first saw him. And he’s very sweet. And tall, dark and handsome. The tallness can be a bit of a worry – although there’s no shame in using a ladder. Thanks for dropping in.

  63. Hmm… The new UK cover’s gorgeous but doesn’t reveal the true extent of Noah’s SEXINESS. Your hero and heroine sizzled on your US cover – and delightfully captured Made for Marriage’s very horsey flavour. Congrats on the UK launch, Helen. A whole new kingdom to discover the magic and romance of Crystal Point…

  64. I love the pink, Helen. Just right for the UK market. I’m beginning to understand how important the cover is for each market. I can’t wait to see the Australian release. πŸ™‚

  65. That is SO EXCITING, Helen! I love Christmas stories, too, especially Christmas romances. Do you know what date Marriage Under the Mistletoe will be released in Australia? Can’t wait to return to beautiful Crystal Point!

  66. Thanks Louise. I’m pretty excited too! I loved writing about Evie in Made For Marriage and am so glad she gets her own happy ever after in Marriage Under The Mistletoe πŸ™‚

  67. Oh he’s lovely! And with a story to boot. Can i blame mishapen hooves for my body not living up to my athletic mind?
    =)
    Looking forward to seeing him in a story.

  68. I’ve been waiting to see this hero ‘in the flesh’ and he’s every bit as hot as I’d imagined he might be. Evie is going to have her hands full (sorry!) with such a hunky hero coming into her life. Can’t wait to see how he talks her around with that sexy smile!

  69. I read an advance copy of this book and I ADORED it! Scott is such a hot hero (those abs, I swear!), and the fact that he’s a few years younger than Evie (and she’s worried what her family will think) adds a delightful naughtiness to their romance. But the best part of this book is the heartfelt love story – two people who fall for each other and struggle to let go of a past that’s standing in their way.

    Can’t recommend this enough (I’ve already read it twice).

  70. Congratulations thrice… Aussie book cover, ROMANTIC TIMES NOMINATION (Yippee!) and book 4 launch date. Can’t wait to read Marriage Under the Mistletoe in paperback, Helen. #LoveChristmasRomances

  71. Congratulations on your Christmas release you’ll have to make it a tradition like Agatha Christie did.
    Somebody up there loves you, that’s a very elegant looking cover.

  72. Congratulations, Helen! The cover looks fabulous and reminds me of a few local beaches πŸ™‚ So pleased that Grace will finally have her Happy Ending. I’ve been really looking forward to her story x

  73. That’s a terrific cover, Helen, love the romantic colours. It would look good enlarged and framed to hang
    on your wall.

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  76. I was curious as to when or where we can find the second book Men of Mulhany Crossing The Child Between Them?

    Loved this first one and can’t wait for the others.

    Thank

    Stacy

    • The love the cattlements proposal, when we expect the next mulhany book 2 to be out,can wait to continue the series.

  77. Am wondering when the next book of Men of Mulhany Crossing (The Child Beyween Them) is going to be released. Wanting to follow up on Marshall Harris.

  78. I read my first harlequin at thirteen! Fifty years ago! I always thought they were fun reading! Congratulations on getting in to print! My favorites are historical fiction. My mom wrote one back in 1982. She self published.

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