Saturday, 10 October 2009

Eleni-fest: Anna Hackett - The Best of Big and Small

Today as part of Eleni-fest I have special guest, the lovely Anna Hackett, author of Nocturne Bites stories 'Savage Dragon', 'Wind Kissed, Fire Bound', and her October release 'Taken by the South Wind'.

Welcome Anna! Thanks for joining us and talking about Nocturne Bites & writing organisations.

Take it away... (I'm experiencing a slight sense of dejavu *grin*)


Big thanks to Eleni for having me here at Eleni-fest.  When I asked Eleni what she wanted me to blog about, she suggested talking about writing for Nocturne Bites and about returning to the Aussie writing community after several years in the US.

At first I thought I’d have a split personality blog with two very different subjects...until something struck me…the two subjects actually have something in common:  big versus small.

RWA – members: 10,000            
RWAus – members: hundreds but not sure of exact no. 
(EK - 710 members according to last AGM report)

Nocturne – 75K words            
Nocturne Bites – 15K words

How do the big things compare with small?  Some people think bigger is better.  I say neither is better, they’re just different and offer different experiences.

When I started writing I was living in the US, so I joined the Romance Writers of AmericaI found this fabulous organisation a great fountain of information with loads of chapters offering all kinds of writing contests, conferences and opportunities.  I also joined my local chapter in Denver and made some wonderful writing friends. 

I can say exactly the same things about the Romance Writers of Australia.  In the year I’ve been a member, I’ve found it organised and doing a great job of informing its members.  I also find the online community at RWAus extremely active and very friendly.   

So is bigger better?  Nope, they’re just different.  RWA offers a huge range of resources and yes, RWAus’ resources are a little smaller but still high quality.  I love my monthly RWR magazine and I can’t wait to read my monthly Hearts Talk.  I also went to both organisations’ conferences this year and enjoyed them both.

DC was huge, packed with authors, agents and editors and with so many workshops I didn’t know where to go first.  The Brisbane conference was smaller, more intimate and while there were less of them, there were still published authors and industry guests.  I left DC exhausted but exhilarated and I left Brisbane having made friendships and feeling welcomed to the wonderful Aussie romance writing community.  For me, being a member of both groups offers me different things—the best of big and small!

Right now I write for Silhouette Nocturne Bites.  I started out writing full books targeted for Nocturne, but when I saw the chance to pitch a paranormal short story online for Nocturne Bites, I saw it as a great opportunity to get my toe in the door at Harlequin.  What I found was that I love writing short stories as much as longer books.

Bites are intense bite-sized stories that pack a sensual paranormal punch.  I now love reading them as much as writing them. With our insanely busy lives, I find I don’t always have enough time to immerse myself properly in a longer book (especially ones with a complex paranormal world). That’s why I love reading and writing Bites—I get my taste of the paranormal and a HEA in a quick and satisfying read.

There are plenty of other great things about Nocturne Bites.  Nocturne authors use them to introduce a new world, to tell the story of secondary characters from full Nocturnes and one author even did a follow up story on the hero and heroine from a Nocturne. 

So are short stories better than big ones?  I think you’ll guess my answer!  Nope, they’re just different.  Sometimes I want a short read and sometimes I want a longer one.  Writing them is the same—sometimes the story needs more words and sometimes less.

I’ve been lucky to write a Bites-only series, the WindKeepers.  Each Bites is a standalone story but there’s an over-arching story running through all of them (about some very evil winds, the Venti Tempesta, and some sexy heroes who each control one of the cardinal winds).  I have a free download of my second WindKeeper story, TAKEN BY THE SOUTH WIND, to give to one lucky commenter.

So, do you prefer big or small—in your writing organisations and/or your stories?  Anyone been to conferences big and small and want to share which you prefer?  Anyone love their stories short and sweet or do you need a longer book to sink your teeth into?  Or like me, do you like what each has to offer?

Thanks once again Anna for joining us and thank you for your generosity!

Comments are open until the end of 14th October.

Comments Now Closed. Congratulations Joder!

Good luck!

You can see a blurb of Taken by the South Wind on Anna's site or on the right hand side column of my blog (I have a widget there).

Anna also has a competition running until the end of October for spreading the word for this title. See this blog entry for details. 

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