I’ve got my rights back!

It’s taken some time and quite a lot of emails winging to and fro across the Atlantic, but I’m delighted to say I am now the proud owner of the rights to the nine books published by Mills and Boon/Harlequin under my pen-name of Rachel Elliot.  I decided ages ago I wanted the rights back, because I want the books to be available to a new audience through the miracles of downloading and POD.

Certain conditions are attached, as you’d expect – for example I’m not allowed to use the M&B or Harlequin trademarks and I can’t use the original book covers. That’s not a bad thing – I reckon it’ll be fun to collaborate with my illustrator Wendy to come up with new ideas.

The plan isn’t to republish the stories as they are, because I want to rewrite and update them all to some extent – and I’m really looking forward to that, though it’ll be a pretty mammoth task. So for example – Song of Love centres on the story of singer Claire Silver and Scottish castle owner Roddy Mackenzie, and the conflict arises from the fact that he thinks she’s using him to further her career, because his brother just happens to be an Agent for top entertainers.  I’m toying with the notion of introducing a kind of X-Factor element to the new version of the story – what do you reckon?

I haven’t actually read the originals for ages, so revisiting them will be fascinating – I hope readers think so too!

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Puppies, parties and post-production puzzlement…

According to one blogging guru, blogs should stick to one subject. They should be consistent. Their readers should know what to expect. They shouldn’t hop about from one topic to another willy-nilly.

Oops.

Well – this blog is titled ‘Reclaim the Romance’ and I have already shared my belief that romance is far more than just hearts and flowers – and that half the fun lies in finding it in all sorts of odd and unexpected places.

That excuse carefully crafted explanation won’t butter no parsnips in this post however – because as much as I love and adore the little blighters, there doesn’t seem to be much of a link between romance – and puppies.

Me with my own dog Dixie when she was just a pup.

Then again – they are cute and cuddly. they’re endlessly playful, they make me laugh and being in the presence of a pup always makes life just that little bit brighter – and that definition pretty much sums up my husband, so maybe there is a link after all!

Anyway – pups are currently uppermost in my mind because of a certain party held at Paragon Vets.  I do PR work for Paragon on a freelance basis, which basically means compiling their regular newsletters, running their Facebook pages and looking out for good news stories to farm out to the local media.  I also film interesting cases and procedures to use as promotional material. The latest project was a puppy party.

It was fun. Boy was it fun. There was romping and rolling and pouncing and prancing and all sorts of mayhem and daftness. Pups have no truck with social niceties, so they just happily leapt all over one another without so much as a how-do-you-do.

Puppies love to party!

Of course in the process they were learning a lot as well – like how to behave around other dogs and in new situations.

The bearded lady!

The Paragon nurse who was running the party also introduced the pups to things they might find scary – like umbrellas, loud noises – and beards. As we didn’t have a bearded person at the party – she simply ditched her dignity and donned a fake one! The pups paid scant attention to that – but it certainly amused the humans.

However – fun it may have been but it was also dashed difficult to film. Pups find no difficulty whatsoever in running off in six different directions – all at the same time. Trying to keep track of them with the camera proved quite a challenge. Now I’m endeavouring to edit the piece together – hence the post-production puzzlement mentioned in this post’s strapline.  I use Adobe Premiere Pro as my editing software and it’s capable of all sorts of wizardry and fancy stuff – but even it can’t pin down quicksilver.

Just as well I enjoy a challenge really – bet Steven Spielberg never had to post-produce a puppy party!

 

 

Following in the footsteps…

I’m very proud to say that I write regularly for D&G Life – a magazine which covers beautiful Dumfries and Galloway and in 2009 won the accolade of Scottish Magazine of the Year. I do features on a variety of subjects – including a series on towns and villages in the region – and I always try to make sure any animal stories are sent my way.

I also have my own column in D&G Life and pretty much a free rein to choose my own subject which has allowed me to write about everything from climbing Skiddaw to discussing shoes with a transvestite in Sorrento.  I generally avoid writing about anything in the news because the column has to be submitted several weeks before the magazine is printed, so there’s a risk that the topic could be pretty dated by the time people get to read it.

I made an exception for the news-hacking scandal, because I wanted to say a word in defence of journalists – not the gutter-hacks who go to despicable lengths to get their exclusives – but those reporters who genuinely put themselves in danger to get to the truth no matter how unpalatable.

I also wrote a column about the riots which tore apart several cities this summer – trying and failing along with everyone else to make sense of the absolutely inexplicable.

This month though I’m back on happier and more familiar territory – namely romance and the writing thereof.  I wrote a wee bit about Reclaim The Romance – but angled the column mainly on the need for writers nowadays to get involved in marketing.  I was happy to cite the excellent example of my friend Janice Horton (from Dumfriesshire). She is a veritable pioneer in this vast uncharted territory and I’m delighted to follow along in her footsteps, benefiting from her experiences which she’s generous enough to share freely.

Janice Horton with her lovely West Highland Terriers

If you like your romance leavened with a touch of sassy humour and if you particularly enjoy a Scottish setting – then get yourself a copy of Bagpipes and Bullshot – Janice’s current bestseller.  You can find out more at www.janicehortonwriter.blogspot.com – and if you drop by, tell her I sent you!

Reclaim the Romance!

 

Hi – Welcome to my brand new blog and thank you for taking the time to stop by.

This blog is dedicated to romance. I’m calling it Reclaim the Romance – because I think people are sometimes reluctant to admit they like romance – whether it’s a romantic novel or a rom-com or a big blockbuster movie.  For some reason it seems to be acceptable to be fascinated by blood and gore and vampires and serial killers – yet if you say you prefer hearts and flowers and a happy ending – people can look at you as if you’re a little bit odd.  Well – if that’s the case – then let’s celebrate the odd!

Let me tell you straight away that I’m a romantic novelist and so I will use this blog to tell you about my latest books and audiobooks – but it won’t ever become just one big advert or shop window.  At the moment I don’t even have any books or audiobooks to sell (they’re on the way but not quite ready yet) so the first few instalments of this blog will be a chance to introduce myself – and to get to know you, so please don’t be shy – leave a comment and tell me who you are!