Monday, March 30, 2009

New Name for SiTi Group

As Mon said on Saturday the Bootcampers have divided into smaller groups and as of today the Single Title girls will be known as the 'Bootcamp Betties' with our mascot as none other than Betty Boo herself. Now doesn't she look like a butt kicking chick? With the delightful and talented Elizabeth Rolls as one of our mentors the Betties seems very fitting indeed (as Jenn pointed out today). Along with Rachel Bailey and Dana Fletcher-Scully we are armed and ready.
So we will take no prisoners, leave no page unturned, no editor, agent or publisher shall be off limits as we fight for our goal of being published authors. Look out world the Betties are coming.
Happy writing.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dividing into groups...

The 109 Bootcampers are currently in the process of dividing into mentoring groups based on what we write, so it's a tad quiet here on the Western Front.

Four members are now in a Category group (known at the BootCats *miaow*), four members are in a Single Title group (BootSTars???), and the last two members have been 'adopted' by the 101 Bootcampers (see

We're all very excited about what's in stall for us, and will keep you posted on any interesting news. Speaking of news, congrats goes out to Anita/Ellanora Joy for coming 10th in the RWA's First Kiss competition. Yay, Anita!!
Lastly, a very special thanks goes out to the Bootcamp coordinators for taking the time and making the effort to extend our Bootcamp experience! You're all gems, ladies! We really appreciate everything you've done for us *wink*.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Congratulation Christine Wells

Yes folks the very talented Ms Christine Wells has been nominated from the RITAs with her novel 'The Dangerous Duke'. Let's keep out finger crossed (well unless we are typing) that Christine brings the RITA home.

If you would like to pop over to her blog A Dangerous Diary Christine has a very witty post and clip on this outstanding novel.

Congratulations Christine and all the best of luck.

Happy writing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Power to romance writers everywhere

For the first time in my life I experienced the true meaning of being ‘powerless’. It devastated me.

I wish I had the writing skills to convey the pain and despair I felt when it happened at 9am today.

You have to agree with me – as writers of romantic fiction — that words like desperation and despair almost type themselves on the page without any help from us (and how many times have we described our hero or heroine as ‘powerless’). But do we really now what it means?

Have we, as writers, ever truly experienced a sense of powerlessness that is so overwhelming it makes us want to scream? Do we really know what it feels like to have our last breath siphoned from our lungs, or wonder if our hearts could ever exploded from beating too hard?

Today I experienced all that. It was so unbelievably terrifying and — yes — I was absolutely powerless. I could do nothing — wield no sword against this invisible enemy.

You see, at 9am this morning, in my home town of Coffs Harbour, Country Energy turned off my power and I had no computer.

I realised then how empty my life would be without my word processor and without my writing.

When they finally switched me back on at 2pm (two lovely new power poles in my street) I promised I would never take electricity and what it provides us everyday, for granted.
So I say - (uninterrupted) power to writers everywhere and thank goodness for the good old fashioned pen and paper.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The wit 'n' wisdom of Valerie Parv

‘Who needs a workshop, all we need are pix of Hugh, stripped down to bare essentials.’
Valerie Parv, Bootcamp 109 story structure workshop

The above quote gives some indication of the preoccupation of the 109 Bootcampers and of the wonderfully irreverent and wicked sense of humour of guest presenter Valerie Parv.

The acknowledged queen of romance writing in Australia, Valerie ran two sessions on story structure over the two bootcamp weekends. I mean, how lucky can you get?

There was lots of online chortling, snorting and ROFLs. But, when we weren’t having our way with ‘Huge Ackman’, Valerie pulled us into line and took us on a magical mystery tour of the ABC and D of story structure.

And what a trip it was, leading us to many lightbulb moments. In Valerie’s words ‘structure is not a prison or a formula. It’s more a roadmap to let readers explore the issues you’re developing in your story.’

We had to work hard for Valerie (and Huge). She gave us a challenging homework assignment and provided invaluable feedback in the second session.

That she gave every bootcamper her full attention is a testament to this amazing woman’s talents as a writer, teacher and mentor. She is an inspiration.

Thank you Valerie Parv.

You can find Valerie's website at

Thursday, March 19, 2009

To Marion Lennox - From the heart

Just when you thought writing a great romance novel was simply about what’s written on the pages of the book, along comes Marion Lennox.

Sure... conflict is key to a romance. So is tugging on the heartstrings and battles of conscience with the hero and the heroine. And, hey, isn’t finding your own, distinct voice what makes a writer stand out?

Marion will say ‘sure that’s all important.’ But she’ll also tell you it’s about attitude.
I now realise that the 'write attitude' means tugging on your own heartstrings, battling your own conscience and writing what’s right for you, and when you find your voice – make sure you listen to it and stay true to it. (Leave the conflict in the pages - not in you.)

Marion Lennox’s Bootcamp 109 presentation had a delightfully unexpected impact on me (and the troops). I expected to learn about craft and technique. But I loved what Marion had to say about having attitude, staying true to yourself and writing the book of your heart.
So...from everyone at Bootcamp 109...thanks for the inspiration. You’ve touched some of us more than you know!

PS I was extra lucky – I got to choose Marion’s collection of romance and recipes (Sizzle, Seduce & Simmer – a sinful sweet selection by Australia’s favouite romance authors.) I’m eager to tuck in and hungry to learn from these great authors. Delicious!

Check out this A-M-A-Z-I-N-G author for yourself

Jennjmcleod – Bootcamper 109

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mucking around with PhotoFunia

I'm still on holidays, and shouldn't even be posting messages, but just had to post about this.

My writing pal Diane Curran found this great site which allows you to play around with photos. I wasted a bit of time (i.e. TOO much time) playing around with the site, and came up with the fun pics above using moi as the subject.

My fave would have to be the magazine cover. Here's the link if you want to have a try. Have fun, and make sure you blog about the results!

Bootcampers Rock the Little Gems

What can I say but 'Huge Hugh Congratulations' to two of our bootcampers who are finalist in the Little Gem contest for RWAustralia. Fiona Gregory and Monique Wood will both have their short stories published in this years Little Gems Anthology. Fiona's short story is called 'A Happy New Year', while Monique's is 'The Boss's Wife'. Now don't they both sound interesting?

I know all Bootcampers will join me in raising their glasses to these two cleaver women. WOOHOO, Bootcampers ROCK.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thank You Anne Gracie

The wonderful Anne Gracie was brave enough to take us on for the two Saturdays with her Conflict workshop. Anne’s approach to helping us understand the concept of internal and external conflict was very helpful. You know how it is, you think you have a handle of this conflict thing, than someone walks in and turns the light on and you think, “Crap I was doing this all wrong.” LOL. Well that is how I was feeling. Now I have it, re-writes are underway; conflict is tighter this time (I hope).

Anne write Regency Romance novels that take you back to England and a time I’m sure I should have lived. Take some time and visit Anne’s Website or the Word Wenches Blog, were Anne and the other ladies will keep you entertained with blogs on writing and life.

These are the two latest novels by Anne:

His Captive Lady

England 1818. Harry Morant's tough exterior hides a badly scarred heart. Home after eight years at war, Harry is planning a practical, unemotional marriage. But his careful plans are threatened by an unexpected passion for an unknown lady. A lifetime of lies has brought Lady Helen (Nell) Freymore to the brink of ruin. Forced into a marriage she never thought to have, she soon finds herself powerfully drawn to this deceptively gentle soldier... and increasingly worried about his reaction once he discovers her secret.

The Stolen Princess

The first in a new series about four soldiers back from war, and forced to adapt to a new world

The estranged youngest son of an earl, Gabriel Renfrew earned glory and honor on the battlefield, but now, without purpose, he finds himself deliberately courting danger. One night he races his horse along a death-defying moonlit cliff—and stumbles upon a beautiful woman obviously in need of saving…

A princess on the run, Callie has disguised herself and her son, the Crown Prince, as commoners, hoping to protect him from those intent on stealing the throne. She has no choice but to trust the handsome ex-officer who’s come to her rescue, even when he insists that only a marriage of convenience will provide her the ultimate protection. Can
her new husband keep Callie and her son safe from assassins? And what will he do to her heart?

Also by Anne Gracie:

The Perfect Kiss

To rescue her friend . . .

In three years on the marriage mart Grace Merridew has never met a man whose kiss stirred her senses. So she makes plans for a life of adventure instead — to see the moon rise over the pyramids of Egypt and dance amid the marble ruins of Greece. But first she has to help a friend...

. . . she must enter the lair of the Wolfe.

Grace’s timid friend is being forced to marry Dominic Wolfe, who stands to inherit a huge estate when he weds her. The Wolfes have a terrible reputation, and if there's one thing Grace cannot stand, it's a girl being bullied. When her friend begs for help to escape the marriage, Grace agrees to act the plain and mousy chaperone on their visit to the groom-to-be. But when they arrive nothing is as they expect, and Grace soon finds herself being pursued by a big bad Wolfe — with strictly dishonourable intentions...

The Perfect Stranger

They vow to love, honor and cherish ... and then get to know one other...

With her signature spirit, Faith Merridew has left everything she’s ever known for the man she thought was the love of her life. Instead he leaves her name—and dreams—in the dust. That is, until she crosses paths with Nicholas Blacklock, a Waterloo veteran, who offers to save her reputation with a marriage of convenience.

A hardened soldier, Nick hides a deadly secret—and tries to keep Faith at arm’s length. But even though Nick can command legions of men with a word, his orders go sweetly ignored by his convenient bride. And as they come to know one another more deeply, she brings out in him things he thought dead: gentleness, laughter…and love…

The Perfect Waltz

Hope Merridew dreamed of dancing the perfect waltz with the perfect man — and he's not the tough, dark stranger who has come to London to court another woman. Only how can she resist him? Sebastian has his own demons: a dark past to come to terms with and two desperately needy little sisters to care for. For their sake he must resist Miss Hope Merridew — but can he?

The Perfect Rake
She ran from a brute...

Fleeing the harsh guardianship of her grandfather, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters' chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke... But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster....

into the arms of a rake

Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence's game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry...

Gallant Waif

Kate Farleigh was absolutely stunned when her refusal to accept Lady Cahill's offer of "charity" resulted in her being swept away in her sumptuous carriage. But the real reason behind the older woman's antics became stunningly clear upon meeting Lady Cahill's enigmatic grandson, Jack Carstairs.

Wounded in the Peninsular War, disowned by his father and dumped by his fiancée, Jack had shut himself up in his country estate, but Kate had no patience with such behaviour. Suddenly Jack found himself with a purpose, trying to steer clear of Miss Farleigh's attempts to interfere with his chosen lifestyle. Why, if he wasn't careful, Kate just might succeed in her attempts to make him want to rejoin the human race!

Tallie's Knight
Miss Thalia Robinson, a destitute orphan, was fortunate that cousin Laetitia allowed Tallie to look after her adorable three children. Life was bearable because Tallie lost herself in daydreams, but the arrival of a house party to aid Magnus, Earl of D'Arenville, to find a wife, turned her world upside-down.

Magnus's cold facade had been pierced by a delightful small girls, and he'd decided he wanted children. For that, he needed a wife. But things didn't go according to plan, for Magnus was so taken with Tallie's loving treatment of the children in her charge he ignored the debutantes and decided she was the one he would marry...

An Honorable Thief
When Miss Kit Singleton's arrival in London coincided with a spate of robberies from members of the ton, Hugo Devenish couldn't explain why he suspected the innocent-looking beauty. But when the clues added up, Hugo knew his instincts had been right all along. Kit had to cease this dangerous game immediately!

Only for Kit, it wasn't a game; she'd made a sacred promise to avenge her papa's honour. Surely Hugo could understand that she mustn't break her word - even to please the man she was falling in love with.

A Virtuous Widow
It is almost Christmas, 1816, but there will be no feasting and family celebration for Ellie Carmichael, an isolated young widow, left destitute when her husband committed suicide to avoid his debts. All she has is her beloved small daughter, four year old Amy, who has never accepted her father's death, and puts a candle in the window "to guide my papa home".

One bitterly cold night, a stranger collapses on Ellie's doorstep, a man with no boots, no memories and no name, a man who swiftly enchants Ellie and her daughter alike.
Now Ellie must protect her daughter, her virtue and her heart from the stranger, for who knows what his secrets may be...

Thank you Anne Gracie for your time and help.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thank You Christine Wells

Another one of our presenters was the talented Christine Wells. Christine was kind enough to spend some time answering questions we had on the writing process. It was a fun filled session with lots of interesting information passed our way. Before Bootcamp started I read the short story Christine Wells entered in the RWAustralia Little Gem Contest an had published in the Little Gem Anthology 2005, it clearly show a writer with a wonderful sense of humor.

Christine writes Regency Romance Novels and at the moment she has two novels released with a third one due for release 7th July 2009.

Scandal’s Daughter:

An earl of debauchery:

Sebastian Laidley, the sixth Earl of Carleton, is solely committed to his hedonistic lifestyle, until he makes a promise to his dying godfather. He must find his childhood friend Gemma a husband in three months – or marry her himself.

A lady of dubious virtue:

The daughter of a notorious seductress, Gemma Maitland has the body of a siren but a mind for more practical matters. Snubbed by Society, she has just one ambition: to run her grandfather's estate.

A passion that begs to be unleashed...

To find Gemma a husband, Sebastian lures her to his estate under the guise of helping with his sister's wedding. During the festivities, there is no shortage of men vying for Gemma's hand, much to Sebastian's dismay. Gemma has always been in his heart, but when she turns her wiles on him, she burns her way into his soul...

Dangerous Duke:

She seeks justice. He, revenge. And they'll never guess what they'll find.

A Daring Diary:

Trapped in a loveless marriage, Lady Kate Fairchild found refuge in her diary, scene of her fantasy affair. And now, even though her husband's death has set her free, no suitor can thrill Kate quite like her phantom lover – until a duke with a murky past sears her with his gaze...

A Dangerous Duke:

Maxwell Brooke, Duke of Lyle, is hunting the arsonists who killed his family – and Kate's brother knows where they hide. But when jailing him proves futile, Max kidnaps Kate, demanding as ransom her brother's cooperation. Still, Max never counted on Kate's rapier wit and heated kisses – and soon, desire wars with duty, even as real danger stalks his captive lady...

A Delicious Deceit:

When Kate threatens to publish a tell-all diary if her brother remains imprisoned, Max hopes to protect her from the powerful men she intends to expose. Stealing the diary, he spirits her off to a country estate. But the diary is nothing like he expected – and when Max discovers Kate's sensual secrets, he can't resist exploiting them in every way...

Wicked Little Game

Release Date: Coming in July 7, 2009

He'll win her at any cost...

Available for pre-order on

Thank you Christine for an entertaining afternoon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I’m on a roll...or should I say ‘an Elizabeth Rolls’.
Yes, it is with thanks to her that I am powering with my writing at present.

Prior to Bootcamp 109 I’d heard she was a master at how an author should ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’, and as an aspiring writer in the contemporary fiction end of the market, I figured (since she was to be a presenter at Bootcamp) I’d take a look. Just a quick flick at her latest - His Lady Mistress - surely wouldn’t take too long.

The result - WOW!

Yes - for the first time ever I am reading a romance novel of the historical/regency kind and, I do declare, I was hooked from the very first page (hmm, hooked from the first page – I should write that down).

I was there, shivering with Verity, caring about the ‘bitter cold leeching into her’ and feeling her loss (hmm, emotional grab – better write that one down as well).

I sensed the tension and wept with her. I was totally engaged as a reader (hmm, engage the resder -- better write that down, too).

His Lady Mistress is an amazing read.

If you love beautiful prose you must read His Lady’s Mistress.
If you are an aspiring author, do yourself a favour and find an Elizabeth Rolls novel, buy it, download it, ask your library to order it, or go to her site now
Then just open it, sit back and prepare to fall in love.

For more information about Elizabeth Rolls, here is a link to her website.
Regency rocks!
Jennifer McLeod

Thanking our Presenters - Karin Tabke

During one of Bootcamp sessions, Karin Tabke took the time to answer some questions regarding writing. It was extremely informative, and we appreciate the time she gave us.

For those of you who don't know Karin, she writes steamy, cop-inspired romance as well as historical romance. She's also known for her wonderful 'First Line' contest (see

For more information on Karin, you can go to her website at or her blog

Thanks again for all your help, Karin!