Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blogging about . . .

Still busy with these revisons but if you're interested in Harlequin Presents and maybe hoping to write them. I have a post over on We Write Romance Blog about what is most important in writing for this very special line.

You'll have a chance to win a signed copy of my 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance too. Just post in the comments and you're in the contest.
The post is part of the month-long Harlequin Presents special blog with lots of other interesting posts and new ones being added until the end of October.

Meanwhile, the contest to celebrate the publication of Bedded By The Greek Billionaire is still open - see yesterday's post. Just tell me what you're reading to be in with a chance to win.

Talking of the publication of my new book - I want to send a big thank you to all the wonderful American readers who have already bought a copy and so put Bedded By The Greek Billionaire on to the Waldenbooks list.

Thank you! If there was anything guaranteed to help me with my revisons - it was that!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Reading - not!

I'm deep in revisions for my latest book. They're the sort of revisions where it seemed simple to combine my own vision of the story with the comments my editor made.

But then those revisions often mean that touch one scene and the knock on effect from that changes the next scene and the knock on effect from that . . .

So I'm busy - and concentrating . And when I'm concentrating like this, I don't read. It distracts my focus and the focus needs to be on the two characters I'm working with.

But while I'm focusing I'm also aware of the fact that this week my newest Presents title - Bedded By The Greek Billionaire is published. And I want to celebrate that. So, as I mentioned, I'm going to run a small celebratory contest to share the excitement of this new release with you. And of course, as I've said I'm also celebrating that this book in a November Romantic Times Top Pick!

As you know, I was in Guildford lately where everyone who was at the workshop was given a Mills & Boon goody bag, kindly donated by Harlequin Mills & Boon as part of their 100th birthday celebrations. I still have one or two of the goodies left over - so I'm making up two packages of special M&B gifts for each winner of this contest to celebrate my new book.

What do you have to do?

Well I may not be reading but that doesn't mean that you're not. And if you let me know what you're reading then I might want to add it to my own TBR for when I have this book tweaked and back on my editor's desk. So all you have to do to enter this contest is to post a comment telling me what you're reading right now and what you think of it. And in a couple of days time I'll get Sid to pick out the winners.

And I'll put a signed copy of my own Centenary Special novella The Duke's Secret Wife into the goody bag as well.
PS Just to remind you - you can enter my contests from anywhere in the world. I don't restrict entries ot the UK, or USA - if I can post a prize to you, you can enter!
So anyone from all of the 143 countries listed on my Neo Counter can have a go at winning.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Better late than never . . .

I could have sworn that when I last looked it was - well, my blog tells me that I last posted on Wednesday, but really I thought I'd only just come back from Guildford. And I'm not quite sure what I did since then . . . Accountants, bank manager, cats to the vet, washing, cleaning, shoppping. . . you know - the glamorous life of a writer!

I never really talked much about Guildford - though if you checked out my post on workshops on the Pink Heart Society blog you'll have an idea of what the workshop on Friday afternoon was like. I know I enjoyed the event and I hope everyone else in the group did. I've had lots of emails from people who were there so I think they did. Thank you to everyone who joined in and helped to make the afternoon the fun, productive event it was. I even had one member of the group who came to me at the half time break and said that she had to go home because her mind was so buzzing with ideas she couldn't wait to write them all down!
As you'll see from this photo, the age of the group ranged from mid twenties to 79! Which just goes to show that you never stop learning - and a wide range like that makes for a fantastic mix and lots of differnt points of view in the discussions.

Oh yes, and for anyone from the workshop group - or just anyone who is interested in the workshops/course on writing that I do - just a reminder that I'm not running any more workshops for a while but I will be teaching Writing the Novel at Fishguard in February or the five session course on the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance at the wonderful Writers' Holidays at Caerleon in July. Details can be found here. If I do get asked to run any more workshops in the future, I will of course announce them here or you can check out my Events page to see what's coming up.

Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to get any photos of the evening event in Guildford. But I had a lot of fun there too - and I think the audience enjoyed the first part of Girls' Night. But then, being on a panel with wonderful Katie Fforde (her web site describes her books as 'witty and generous romance' - they could be talking about Katie herself) and Matt Dunn (who is much more smiley and friendly than his picture makes him appear) can't really go wrong. And of course there was a great contribution from the other M&B author - Gill (aka Roger) Sanderson and a sparkling performance as compere by Jane Wenham-Jones. A combination that really couldn't fail. I came home with both Katie and Matt's latest books - just need a little free time to sit down and read them!

The Saturday in Guildford was spent in the delightful company of my dear friend Julie Cohen and her gorgeous not-quite-two-year-old son. (He and the Babe Magnet got on particularly well!) The October weather was unexpectedly kind to us - it was warmer than many days in August! - and we had a fabulous time wandering around the city, exploring the castle grounds and discovering the connectionsto Lewis Carroll in Guildford . Including the Alice Garden which is close to the Castle and which has this intriguing stature of Alice Through the Looking Glass on display there.

I could quite happily have spent more time finding out a lot more but time was something we didn't have. Maybe there will be a next time.

Since I came home I've had some more foreign editions arrive - a Japanese and an Afrikaans edition of The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife - and I've been thrilled to see Bedded By The Greek Billionaire featuring highly in the ebook sales charts on eHarlequin.

Oh - and if you're into ebooks, the Mills & Boon UK website now features sales of ebooks of many of the recent publications there.

I heard back from my editor about Ricardo. She likes the book - she really loves Ricardo himself - but as always there are tweaks she wants me to look at so guess what I'll be doing over the next couple of days.

But next week, Bedded By The Greek Billionaire will be published in Harlequin Presents and as I'm already thrilled by the reaction and the reviews this book has been getting - the thought of that RT Top Pick still makes me want to do the Snoopy Dance - I think I'll be running a small celebratory contest to mark the event. So watch out for that.
And don;t forget that the Presents Month blog focus is still going on over on We Write Romance. There have been lots of great blogs already, with more still to come this week.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What day is it?

Just to say that I really shouldn't go away - there is always too much to catch up on afterwards.

So while I'm getting documents to the accountant, the cat to the vet (routine injections) meeting someone in the bank, doing all the washing and putting away the unpacking . .

I do have a blog over on the Pink Heart Society where I'm talking about workshops as inspired by my visit to Guildford.

And I hope to be back soon!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hello from Guildford

So here I am in sunny Guildford, getting ready to start a hectic day.

I have a radio interview, a workshop, and then the 'Girl's Night' discussion panel this evening. All in different parts of the town!

First thing is the interview so if you are in theGuildford area, I'm on BBC Southern Counties Radio on the Afternoon Show at about 1.15. Not sure if the web site has a listen again for this but it might be available. Just checked and yes it does.)

If you're coming to the workshop or the Girls' Night then I'll see you there.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Cover

I'm feeling rather torn between heroes at the moment. Ricardo has left the building and gone to stay with my editor. And with him no longer here I start to worry - to see things - or, rather, seem to remember things that might be a problem - or the problem might be in how I remember it.

Then everyone's talking about the Black Angel - Angelos the hero of Bedded by The Greek Billionaire. He seems to be going down a storm and readers are writing to me telling me how much they love the book. I always did like Angelos and now it seems everyone else does.

And then at the weekened I discovered that the USA Presents cover of the next book - Cordero's Forced Bride, with its hero Santos is up on Not the UK edition yet, just the USA one.

What do you think? Nice enough cover - but he's not my idea of Santos who, you'll remember, looked like this -->

And now I'm planning to set out for Guildford and the workshop etc tomorrow and I need to find a new hero with a story to tell for the next book. Maybe I'll meet him along the road. If I do, I'll let you know

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

For fans of the Hecks . . .

We have a brand-new baby hedgehog who came out on his/her own yesterday night. The pix are not the best as I was working in the dark but he/she is very cute and I thought you'd like to see the new generation.

We'll need to feed up this little one so that it grows big enough to hibernate safely. But it's good to know we have another new member of the family down at the bottom of the garden.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chasing my tail . . .again

There are times, usually just after I've finished one book and before I'm totally launched on ahother, that I wonder how I find the time to write at all. That's because I'm catching up (or trying to) with all the things that have been pushed to one side and left there while I was absorbed in the story I was writing. This is what happened while I was wrestling with Ricardo. Now he's gone to delight (I hope) my editor I'm busy clearing the decks ready for the next period of concentration, probably on revisions, or maybe the next story.

And there's plenty to catch up with. Add into the mix the visitors over the past couple of weeks - Anne McAllister is now back home in America and MIL's back in her home too - and there's not been much time to spare.

And of course there are extras. The workshop in Guildford for example. I have to prepare for that and print the handouts etc. If you're one of the group who have already booked - I'll look forward to meeting you on Friday. If you are still thinking about it, then there are a few places left but not too many so if you want to be sure of a place, get your booking in now.

But I did promise to talk about a historical mystery that had intrigued me and that I've been investigating since Anne McAllister and I visited Michelle Reid in her home in Cumbria.

If you missed my mention of this in my Pink Heart Society Blog, then here's what I said there:

Because Anne had never been in that part of the country before, we visited Cartmel and wandered round the beautiful Priory there. To Michelle, this was familiar territory, and I’d been there once or twice before.

One of the things that had always intrigued me – and sparked off my novelist’s curiosity – was a particular memorial set on the church wall. A sad, poignant memorial that brought tears to my eyes in the same moment as it made my writer's curiosity itch to find out more.

The inscription reads:

‘In memory of Charles the only and beloved child of James and Sarah Goring whose opening life of bright promise was suddenly closed by a most lamentable occurrence on 11th May 1843 in the 9th year of his age.’

It can’t stop there, I’ve always thought. A most lamentable occurrence – What? How? I’ve been intrigued by this for so long – but this time Anne showed me a ways to discover more about it. Her fascination with genealogy gives her knowledge of census records, death certificates etc. So before I knew it we were investigating what the records of the past showed us, and learning more. I don’t yet know what happened to poor little Charles – I’m waiting for his death certificate to find out that. But I learned so much more about him – where he lived, who with . . . a whole new dimension to this intriguing story.

With Anne's help, I found the census for 1841 and in that Charles Goring (then aged 7) is shown as living in Cartmel with Eleanor Gardener who is 70 and Mary and another Eleanor (presumably her daughters). I'm not quite sure where his mother and father were on census night. James is described as a 'gentleman' of Grange in Cartmel'.

A bit more investigation meant that I could get hold of a copy of poor little Charles' death certificate. And this explains that 'most lamentable occurence'. The cause of death is given as :

'Accidental overturning of a Car on the Queen's common highway in the township of Haverthwaite of which he languished about 45 minutes and then died.'

It's heartbreaking to think of a little boy of 9 'languishing' for those 45 minutes and then dying. I'm assuming that the 'car' would have been some sort of carriage that he was travelling in.

My next step will be to hunt down the coroner's court records - and possibly the local papers to see if I can find further reports of this. But that will probably have to wait. My novelist's curiosity had been aroused but I have so many other things to do that I'll probably need to wait for another gap between books before I can investigate further.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where was I?

So how did it get to Saturday?

I could swear that the last time I looked it was only Monday - or maybe Tuesday. But then that was before the mad rush that usually marks the end of a book hit (Why can't my characters tell me all this at the beginning? Then life would be a lot easier and the bok written a lot quicker.)

Anyway, the book is done - Ricardo, bless his little brooding heart, has gone from my desk to my editor's so now I can wait and chew my nails in worry. (Repeat after me - no - the worry never ever goes away not after 5 books nor after 55. Somebody give me a crow scaring device. - well I have one of those at the moment - see below)

So as well as finishing the book I've also
a. Fallen asleep a lot - this tends to happen after living eating, breathing and not really sleeping the end of a book

b. Had my MIL visiting - she's still here so today we will be going out and about

c. Been trying to clean/sort/tidy my office - the emphasis here is on trying but a and b kept interfering.

d. Been visiting the We Write Romance special Presents Month blog. If you haven't been over there, you've missed some great posts and it's on for the rest of the month so why not visit. WWR are responsible for my crow scaring boost today so I'm very very grateful to them.

e. Been sorting out the details and events that I'm involved in for the Guildford Book Festival. The time table for that has just got a bit more hectic so now on Friday October 17th I'm committed to :
1. An interview on BBC Southern Counties Radio at 1.15

2. Workshop 3- 5pm – Writing Romantic Fiction

Guildford Institute (Old Billiard Room), Ward Street
3. The panel in the evening :
Girls' Night Hosted by Jane Wenham-Jones
19:00 Electric Theatre

So that's going to be a slightly busy day!
Luckily I'll be staying overnight in Guildforf with a chance to recover - though, knowing that Katie Ffforde and Roger (Gill) Sanderson are also going to be on the panel - with Jane W-H of course, I expect it will be the evening after the event that I'll need to recover from.

Finally, I've been making a contribution to the Romance Junkies traditional Halloween Contest. As always, this fantastic contest features many great prizes - so take a wander through the Haunted House, the Caverns or the Graveyard and see what you can find.
The contest is open until November 15th

Oh yes - and I found the answer to a mystery that I mentioned on the Pink Heart Society's blog on September 30th. But I'll come back to that as I can hear the Magnet and MIL stirring so I need to go and sort out breakfast.

But I'll leave you with the wonderful Crow Scaring Device in the shape of a review for Bedded By The Greek Billionaire from Alyson J on We Write Romance

Looking for that book that can make your heart bump up to your throat with emotion...and stay there throughout the entire book? Well, then look no farther. Kate Walker's Bedded by the Greek Billionaire is just that emotional thrill ride you've been looking for in your next read.

Naive teen, Jessica Marshall was just trying to find her place her stepfather's household when she made the worst mistake of her life. Caught in a compromising position with stable hand Angelos Rousakis after he'd only minutes before scorned her naive attempts at seduction, Jessica felt she had no choice but to claim Angelos had forced her into the position. Though she had acted out of hurt, fear and a bit of selfishness, she hadn't thought Angelos would be harmed. Much to her dismay, her stepfather had used the incident to force the boy to leave the Manorfield estates.

Greek Billionaire, Angelos Rousakis hadn't needed the money when he'd taken on the position of stable hand at Manorfield. He'd been searching for a link between him and the father he'd never known. One that even when confronted hadn't believed he'd was Angelos' father. All had been going well until the "princess" of the house had tempted him, forced herself on him, and blown the chance he'd had to get to know the man who'd bedded and then left his mother in Greece years before.

Now, Seven years later, Jessica's stepfather is dead and Angelos has returned to Manorfield to claim what's rightfully his. And not just the home he's spent the last couple years financially supporting after Jessica's stepfather had developed a serious gambling problem!

Jessica and Angelos' story is one full of emotional twists and turns. And though Jessica is not as emotionally mature as I would have liked, Angelos more than makes up for it. The two together are wonderful. This book was truly inspiring. It shows that as a teen we often make mistakes that can hurt others, but there are second chances in life that make it possible to make up for those mistakes. I would definitely recommend this book, but I would warn you not to start it unless you can stay up all night finishing it!
Alyson J - reviewer We Write

Thank you Alyson ! You made my day with this.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Coming in November

And a reminder:
GUILDFORD BOOK FESTIVAL 16 - 25th October 2008

Workshop places are limited, so please book early!

Festival Box Offices: 01483 444789 / 01483 444334


Kate Walker – Writing Romantic Fiction

Guildford Institute (Old Billiard Room), Ward Street • 3pm-5pm • £8
Romantic fiction writing is big business, making up almost half the paperback fiction sold and generating billions in sales worldwide. This workshop is intended to provide information and advice for anyone who wants to learn how to write romantic fiction. It gives an introduction to all the skills needed for success, from creating realistic characters, sustaining pace and conflict, packing emotional punch, writing sex scenes and crafting a satisfying ending. If you’re just starting out writing romance, or you’ve written a manuscript or two but are not yet published and are interested in honing your skills, this workshop is for you.

Kate Walker has been writing for Harlequin Mills & Boon Modern Romance since 1984. Her novels have been published in over thirty-five countries and approximately twenty different languages worldwide

Kate Walker is also the author of the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance which gives an introduction to the essential skills needed to succeed as a writer of romance

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Presents Month

Do you love reading Harlequin Presents ?

Well, I assume you do because you're visiting my blog - so you'll probably be interested in this month's special Harlequin Presents Month over on We Write Romance. All this month Harlequin Presents writers will be dropping in and blogging over there - there's a great line up already and more will be joining if they can.

So why not take a look? That's where I'm blogging today .

Take a look at We Write Romance blog and see.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hello Houston or one of the reasons why I love my job

I admit that for the past couple of weeks I haven't enjoyed being a writer. Well, no, that's perhaps not exactly accurate.

For the past month or so I've found it difficult being a writer. There have been too many other demands on my time. too many pressures from here there and everywhere. These wouldn't matter if they hadn't combined with the dreaded crows of doubt pecking away at me. Probably because of those time pressures and other things - and as a result, this book hasn't been the easiest to write.

But I'm always very aware of the fact that for the past few weeks have been much harder in many ways - and an email I received this morning reminded me of that.

Remember the Super September Contest? The one where Michelle Reid and I celebrated having books out together in September? The prize was signed copies of our books - and by coincidence, both winners lived in Texas. The name of my winner was Gladys.

I packed up the prize books and posted them. I always love doing that. It gives me a thrill to think of the parcel travelling all the way the Wherever and brightening the day of the person who receives it. But a couple of days later I was starting to wonder about this parcel. Would it reach Gladys? And, more important, would she be there to receive it.

And that was because of Ike.

Remember Ike? Hurricane Ike who hit Texas around September 13th - with Houston, where Gladys lives, right in its path.

It's the sort of thing that brings it home to you. Knowing that Gladys, one of my readers was in Houston when Ike hit, makes it more personal, more immediate. Here in the UK we had some nasty weather but we got on with life and Ike is just a memory - something we heard on the news. A hurricane that is now over with. Not for Houston and everywhere else affected.

A couple of days ago, I got an email from Gladys - she had been without water, phone, electricity - without eletricity for two weeks. And once she had power again and could, plug her computer in she wrote to let me know the prize books had arrived. She also told me about life with Ike

- 7 to 10 inches of rain in a night, roofs torn off, 2,500,000 homes without power. If she went to the store - once they opened - there was just enough generators to run cash registers (but not enough for lights), so they had to wait in line at the door and store clerks would take them in one or two at a time and walk them around to shop with their flashlights.

Gladys said "you can't imagine the debris still waiting to be picked up in Houston. It seems that every yard has a mountain of stuff out by the curb. We lost thousands of trees, wooden fences, roofs, etc. "

But - and here's the bit that really made me smile. In the middle of all this, with no power even for a cup of coffee, no lighting, in the middle of all that chaos and mess - Gladys told me that she read Bedded By The Greek Billionaire by flashlight and loved it.

And that's the bit the makes me love this job, even when its tough going and the words won't come and the Crows of Doubt are pecking away at my confidence. It's the thought of one of my books going into the hands of someone who's having it pretty tough, at a moment of crisis, and providing a bright spot in the middle of all the nasties, a small retreat from the hardships and discomforts. The thought of Gladys in the devastation of Houston being able to find some relaxation and enjoyment in the words I'd written really made my day.
When I create a story here at my desk I never know where or when someone might pick it up under difficult circumstances and find in it a respite from what life is throwing at them right then. But it's a wonderful thought to think it can happen. I may never know about any others, in places or at times that I'll never learn about. But I do know about Gladys and she's the sort of person I'm writing about. The ones who make me smile - and when the critics and the sneerers scorn light romance and its readers, I'll think of Gladys and be even more proud of what I do.

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