Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nearly November . . .

So that means that it's the last days to enter the 25th Anniversary Celebration Contest and put yourself in with a chance to win a signed copy of one of my backlist books, and a Kate Walker tote bag.

The contest will close at midnight, October 31st wherever the last second of this month ticks away. So get your entries in today.

Full details are on my Contest Page and please don't just send in your name - entries without the answers to the questions will not be included in the draw - ahem - cat choosing.

Sid the Cat is going to be very busy tomorrow - and very happy when he has 25 + cat treats to munch his way through

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Edition of 12 Point Guide

I promised you a giveaway today - but it sort of got taken over . . .

Amy who organises the posts for I Heart Presents learned that I have a new edition of the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance out today and she asked if I would post about it over on that site.

So today's big announcement about the third reprint of the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance has moved over there today! And so has the giveaway of the copy of the brand new third edition. (But I will still get Sid to pick the winner)

Amy also asked me to share my Top Five hints about writing romance. Sorry they - and the 3rd edition - are all a bit late for this year's New Voices contest. But as Mills & Boon are planning another contest for next year the book is out in great time for you to study it and really start working on your entry for New Voices 2011 - nothing like being prepared and starting early!

Now that 2nd edition has sold out and I’ve been working on a 3rd. The third reprint of the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance will be published today October 30th, with copies in America for November. There’s also exciting news of a possible Kindle edition coming up so watch this space. For details of the new edition (now published by Aber Publishing) watch the Writers page on my web site. This one has just been brought up to date with the new names for the lines in the UK – nothing stays the same for very long in the romance writing world!

I've been told by my publisher that the books will arrive today and that there should be copies in America for November 30th.

Any other news you'll read it here first (unless Amy asks me to post on I Heart Presents!)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pivotal Moments

The New Voices contest has entered its final stage with the posting of the last piece of writing from the final four entrants. They have written their 'pivotal moments' and these are now posted on the web site, ready for your votes. I've been intrigued to see exactly what the authors and their mentors defined as a 'pivotal' moment - never having actually thought of a point in my stories as being 'pivotal' - I now see that it's a very good term for a particular moment. (Kate stores away the term 'pivotal moment' for future reference in writing classes and workshops. )

It's always interesting to see how editors talk about writing in a way that is very slightly different from the authors. Even when we are analysing our work. I'm always slightly wary that writing 'towards a pivotal moment' or planning around one might work against some writers by making them write too much to a plan and so not working with the characters to progress naturally to such a point because it's inevitable because of who they are and what is happening to them. I suppose I have always only ever really known for sure that a certain moment is 'pivotal' when I look at its place in my story and seen the Before and After effect. The way things are leading up to that moment and the way they are changed for ever after it.

I'm a great believer in the importance of Before and After

In other news, the Mills and Boon web site has just had a great new makeover in line with the new look covers that are now firmly established on the shelves - it's still in the development stage so not all the links are working fully yet, but it's a fresh new look.
(Sorry but theThe Good Greek Wife? is still sold out on there! So if you're looking for a copy you'll have to try Amazon or The Book Depository. Of course, in America it's still out in the shops.)

And this is the last week to enter my great big 25th Anniversary Celebration Contest with your chance to win one of 25 prizes of a signed copy of one of my backlist books and a special Kate Walker tote bag. (I use mine all the time - it just folds up inside my handbag for those unexpected bits of shopping so that you don't have to have a nasty plastic bag.)

Full details are on the Contest page.

Closing date is October 31st. And Sid the Cat is gearing up to help me pick the winners - he's licking his lips in anticipation of the 25 cat treats he has to pick. He'll be one very happy cat on Monday.
And probably on Friday too when I shall have some good news for want-to-be wrtiters. I'll have a blog giveaway then so Sid will be needed to help me pick. So don't forget to come by on Friday to hear all about it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Backlist Titles

I've just learned that a couple more of my backlist titles are going to be rereleased in eHarlequin's ebook programme. It's great to see the books being given a new lease of life in this way.

So if you missed these the first time round then these new editions will be rereleased in November 1st.
The Sicilian's Wife
He gave her marriage - but not his love!

Marriage to Cesare Santorino is all Megan has ever wanted, although never like this! She's in deep trouble and, with no other choice, agrees to Cesare's offer of a mutually beneficial. convenient marriage.

Cesare makes no secret of his desire for her. But what about love? Megan can only hope that her proud Sicilian Husband might eventually come to see his young wife with more than just passion . . .
The story of The Sicilian's Wife is linked to A Sicilian Husband which is the story of Cesare's half-brother Gio.

(Anyone who prefers their books in print - this is reprinted in the 3 in 1 Claimed by the Sicilian which is still on sale in the UK)


To hold and to have!

Fliss's father has been embezzling from Argentine billionaire Ricardo Valeron. She knows Rico is ruthless in his business dealings and will stop at nothing to ruin her father if he should uncover the truth. To save her father, Fliss agrees to marry an old friend - and in return, he'll pay her father's debt.
But before the ceremony takes place, Rico arrives and whisks Fliss away. Has he discovered the missing money. Is he out for revenge? Just what are Rico's intentions toward his hostage bride?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Voices and Editorial Week

The New Voices contest now has its Favourite Four entries listed. Many congratulations to the chosen authors - and good luck with the next stage of the contest.
The next stage is of course the 'pivotal moment' and, having been asked so many times just what a pivotal moment is, I'm going to be intrigued to see just what each writer chooses as the pivotal moment for their particular story.

New Voices 2011 is already being talked about so if you want to let the editors know more about how you'd like that to go then you can contriubute your comments here.
And if you'd like more about writing romance, want to know what the editors are looking for then mark the week of November 1 - 5 in your diary. That's when Editorial Week runs over on Here's what Harlequin have to say:
Through podcasts, blogs, and discussions with our expert editors and current authors, we’re going to help you understand the appeal of the romance genre. And there’s a special daily challenge with feedback that will give some great insights into crafting the perfect story. So for the next week, come by to hone your skills and get started on the path to publication. So you think you can write? Here’s your chance to show us!
I was delighted to be asked to contribute a blog as part of this special week - and there's a lot going on in those five days. I'm sure there's something for everyone.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pink Heart Day

Today's the day that I'm blogging with the Pink Heart Society,

So you'll find me over on their site where I'm talking about one of my long-term historical fascinations and a personal collection.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let me tell you a story

Tomorrow is a big day for aspiring romance writers. It's the day when the next stage of the New Voices contest is announced. When the ten writers whose work was selected to go into the second stage and write another chapter of their story learn which four of them will now be asked for the final entry - to write the pivotal moment between their characters.

Four entries out of 825 - it's a very small proportion of the oringinal entries who will now be seens as winners of this stage. But does that make the other 821 entrants 'losers' - not in my book. 825 people put their words and their dreams on- line and on the line. And while they all did it with varying degrees of success in editorial assessment terms - they also all succeeded in doing what writers do - they wrote.

There has been a variety of responses to the announcement of the results - but one that has saddened me by prevailing is the wash of disapointment - natural disapointment - that has tended in some cases to slide over the line into negativity. If this chapter didn't succeed as it is, then it's no good. And if it's no good then I'm no good as a writer seems to be the assumption. Or - I can't see what was wrong with my chapter - everyone on the web site loved it - they must be 'moving the goalposts' or 'changing the rules'. Neither of which is true. But it can feel that way. I know - I've been there.

As you know I'm celebrating 25 years of being published. The Chalk Line was published in December 1984 . . . but my next book wasn't out until 1986. The reason for the gap? You can call it second book blues, but the truth is that I didn't get another book right until then. I can excuse myself by saying that my mother was dying or that I was ill myself but the fact remains that the two books I wrote after The Chalk Line just did not work. Particularly not the one between The Chalk Line and Game of Hazard, which was the book I managed to revise to publication standard.

The one in the middle was called Chase The Dawn. And as I write this I have in front of me the revsion letters that my then editor sent me about this book - five different letters ! After each one I tried top do the revisions - and just couldn't get them right. The letters are also spread over four years because I ended up doing the sensible thing - and looking back - the best thing - and put the book away for about 18 months so that then I could look at it much ore clearly when I brought it out.
What was so wrong with the book? With the benefit of hindsight, I can now honestly say not that much. Or rather, not that many things but the fact that I hadn't done one basic thing that I now hear myself advising would-be authors to do all the time.
Keep it simple. Dig deep.

Or to quote one of the revision letters - probably the first - I didn't 'delve deeply enough into your central characters' motives and personalities to integrate their actions into the devlopment of the relationship.' But honestly, remembering back, I really thought I had done that. I remember staring at the revisions letters wondering just what it all meant. How could they say this? I was a failure - a one book wonder who would never be published again.
Today, looking at those letters, I see where so much of my teaching and commenting, the sort of things I put in the 12 Point Guide come from. And the important thing is that although those letters were written back in the 1980, by an editor who hasn't worked for M&B for - what - 20 years? - they show that the things editors have been looking for have always been the same.

Delve deeply into your characters' motives and personalities

Go all out for emotional identification with your heroine. If you live inside her head then your reader will too. (These days it would be identification with both hero and heroine - there wasn't scope for dual point of view then)

Make the reader understand that what she(they) thought and did were her (their) only possible reactions at the time

Get inside your characters' skin so that the developing relationship is no longer swamped by the convolutions of the plot.

It all seems so obvious to me now - but then I was too close to my book to see what they meant.
And the end of this story?
If you look on my backlist page, you'll see it there -

It took me four years but I got there.

And what has always intrigued me is that while I ended up feeling quite sick at the sight of that manuscript, and eventually that book, Chase the Dawn is one of the books I have written that I have had most personal mail about, that so many people have said is one of their favourites. Readers say 'Chase the Dawn - oh, I loved that book.' It might be 20 years old but people remember it.

And no one has ever said anything about being able to see all the blood sweat and tears (lots of them!) that went into that book.

So what am I saying? I'm saying that I and every author I know has been through the rejection of 'this doesn't work'. I know how it feels to think I'll never be a writer - I just can't get this. And I know how it feels to have your precious work sent back to you and to feel you have to start all over again.

I used to have a routine when I got rejections/rewrites/revisions. I used to go into the garage and scream, stamp my feet - and fling the rejected manuscript at the wall. Then when I'd calmed down, I'd pick it all up, put it back in order - and I'd reread the rejection letter to see what I could do about it. It was that 'what can I do about it' that got me into being a writer.

I learned so much from those rejections. And from reading and studying the books that did make it. There weren't contests then but I wish there had been - not from the winning point of view but from the value of the lessons in writing romance that the chosen chapters and the editors' comments on them can reveal if you just take note.

What is it they say - that success is picking yourself up one more time than you are knocked down. If you think you're a 'loser' then you will probably stay down - but if you look at what you can learn from all this and work with it, I'll be willing to bet that there will be way more than the ten winners on one list - or the 45 on the 'see again' list.

But the only person who can make that happen is you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Birthday RNA

Yesterday the Romantic Novelists' Association celebrated it's golden anniversary and the launch of the book to mark that event - Fabulous at Fifty

I couldn't be there - too busy working and putting words on the screen (can you hear my editor's sigh of relief?) but you can find some fabulous photos of the event here on the RNA blog.

And Kate Hardy has a personal report on her blog too.

Happy Birthday, RNA! Here's to fifty more glorious years!

And as it's October 15th - today my full blog is over at We Write Romance where I'm chatting in Kate's Corner about a book I discovered in the 'reading corner' at school - and that I immediately thought of when I was asked to write the book that then became The Good Greek Wife?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another contest!

As I may have mentioned, The Good Greek Wife? was a special project that my editor asked me to write for a mini-series based on the Greek Myths.

The Good Greek Wife? is now released in Presents Extra in the second half of this mini-series which in America is labelled The Greek Tycoons - legends are made of men like these.

I've had some enquiries about these books, wanting to know which other titles are included in this special mini-series. So I thought I'd let you know what the other three books are:
Released in June were:
The Power of The Legendary Greek by Catherine George
The Greek Tycoon's Achilles Heel by Lucy Gordon (now guess which myth that is based on!)

and this month (October - ie this week)

The Good Greek Wife? by Kate Walker
Powerful Greek, Housekeeper Wife by Robyn Donald

To mark the publication of The Good Greek Wife? I'm running a contest with Lee Hyat of Authorsound Relations through her special Newswire service to win copies of each of the books in the mini series. I have 3 sets of all four books to give away - if you answer the simple question I've asked, then you'll be in with a chance.

You can find the full details here. But be quick - you only have until October 17th to get an entry in.

My 25th anniversary contest is still open until October 31st though. Entries are coming in nicely and Sid the Cat is realy looking forward to helping me choose 25 winners. He may even have to enlist Flora to help him (though I doubt it). Entry details are on my Contest page.

But please - do answer the questions to enter! Just sending me your name and address isn't going to work. No answers, no entry - and no entry means there won't be a piece of paper with your name and a cat treat on it for Sid to choose from - and you wouldn't want to diasapoint a hungry cat - would you?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's that day again

It wouldn't be the 12th October if I didn't post the traditional -

To wish Mr Hugh (in a towel) Jackman, inspiration for so many heroes in so many books over the years, a very happy 42nd birthday.

<- This picture inspired the work on creating a hero at my workshop in Halifax at the weekend. And this --> is just . . . inspiring

I'm totally sure that Anne McAllister will also have posted a selection of inspirational images as well to mark today - after all, she is the person who stole my original version of H-I-AT when we were together in Australia.

And if it's Hugh's birthday, then I need to wish a very happy birthday to Lacey too. You're in great company Lacey!

Thank you Halifax - and New Voices 2

I had a great time in Halifax for the Calderdale Writers' Roadshow. It was a nostalgic trip as well as a work event and I had a lovely time wandering around the streets of the town that used to be home to me when I was growing up and where I had my first ever married home.

My thanks to the group who came to my workshop, joined in, asked great questions, and generally made the 2 hours slip by so fast I barely realised we'd started.

Also Jayne, Christine and Catherine who booked one to ones - it was great to meet you, to talk writing with you, and I really hope that our discussions helped you see a way forward to creating your own novels in the future. Good Luck!

And Good Luck wishes too to the ten finalists in the New Voices Contest who have worked on their entries with the advice and input of their mentoring teams and have submitted their second chapters which are up on the site now.

Anyone who entered - and even if you didn't but you're interested in the writing process - should go and take a look at how these stories have progressed. Because, as I've said before and I'm sure I'll say again, it's the potential for such progress that the editors saw in them from the start and that now, with their editorial input, is being put into place. Personally I'm finding it fascinating to see what the authors have done to move on from that first chapter, how they've put the editor's comments into their stories, and what the result is as posted on the site.

The voting of course is the subjective part. The bit where you are asked to vote for your favourite - but being honest, I wouldn't know if I was best voting as a reader or as an author or as a trained critiquer. And in the end, it's the editorial opinion that matters most. They are the ones who will be working with the writers - probably many more authors than just the one who is finally declared the winner - in the hope of developing a dynamite book out of the unpolished diamonds that were first submitted.

It's intriguing and enlightening watching the 'work in progress' - something that we rarely get to see from any author, any book. But ultimately the real prize for any of those who have submitted will be to see their name on a book on the bookshop shelves. I really hope that they achieve their dreams.

And talking of books on shelves, today is the actual, official publication date for the Presents EXTRA edition of The Good Greek Wife? in America. But I've been thrilled to see it riding high in the Top Ten on all weekend. Many many thnanks to everyone who's bought a copy to create this great result. As I hope the winners of New Voices and others will discover - this is a thrill that never goes away.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Blogging around

I'm heading for Halifax and the Calderdale Writers' Roadshows today and tomorrow so I've been busy preparing. But there are a couple of blogs around to keep you reading if you like -

The first was supposed to go up today but actually went up a day early over at Romance Bandits so I need to go over there and answer some of the comments. I'm talking about the final celebrations for my 25th year of publication and of course, as it's publication month in America, about my new Presents title The Good Greek Wife?

And then later today, if all goes to plan, I should have my blog up at I heart Presents - and, naturally, I'll be talking about The Good Greek Wife? over there too.

I'll be back on Sunday - and if you're going to be in Halifax please come and say hello.
PS If you want to know more about the Babe Magnet then today's your day - there's a great interview with him over on The Literary Project (Thanks Gemma!)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

And another one . . .

I'm giving away books left right and centre at the moment - that's because I'm rounding off the celebrations for my 25th year in publishing - and I'm celebrating the USA publication of The Good Greek Wife? in Presents Extra as from next week. (Or maybe the end of this week as that's sometimes how the shops stock up on the books that come out mid-month.)

So, together with lovely Lee Hyat from My Tote Bag, I'm running a contest over on her web site too - so you can find the details here

I'm thrilled to see that The Good Greek Wife? is already heading up the bestseller list on, even when it's not actually released yet. And I've had some lovely reviews for this book.
Here's a taster

On We Write Romance Heather R has given it 4 stars out of 4 and says:

Brilliantly written, Kate Walker's The Good Greek Wife? is the perfect twist on the Greek myth of Odysseus. She weaves together the lost-at-sea Greek husband, Zarek Michaellis, his nasty 'step' family, and the ever-faithful wife, Penny, together into one entertaining and hard-to-put-down tale!

Zarek's past makes him driven to succeed in the family business and to make sure he has an heir to run that business should anything happen to him. So when he met and Penny and found they both wanted children, he married her. Only when his step-family start peppering her with a bit of the truth in a twisted way does she start second guessing why Zarek married her. On the eve of his departure to test a new ship, they have words and separate without finding peace. So when Zarek is supposedly killed at sea, Penny finds it hard to let anything about him go—including his company! But after two years of fruitless searching and waiting, she finally succumbs to the incessant needling of her husbands family and decides to move on with her life by having him declared legally dead. And that's when Zarek makes his reappearance!

So don't miss picking up your copy because you'll definitely enjoy seeing how the two lost lovers come back together and fight to reclaim the love they'd only just begun before Zarek was lost.

And Sarah, the reviewer for Romance Junkies says:

Penny Michaelis has not seen her husband, Zarek, in two years. His boat was captured by pirates and he was not seen again. Penny has held out hope but with Zarek's family pressing at her to declare him dead, she finally agrees. After all, it has been two years. If he was alive, he would have made it known. Unfortunately, Penny carries a load of guilt because the last time she saw Zarek, they were fighting bitterly. But before any legal proceedings begin, Zarek steps back into her life in a big way, with no warning whatsoever.

Zarek is not going to let Penny declare him dead and see his company handed over to his deceiving stepbrothers. He had hoped Penny had waited for him but it appears she is ready to move on. Can these two ever make it past two years of hurt, anger, sadness and emptiness to rekindle their marriage?

THE GOOD GREEK WIFE? is definitely high on passion and Greek intensity! The story takes place in a very condensed time but it works well for the shock and awe that comes with seeing Zarek again after assuming he is dead. Kate Walker has these two going at each other with hurt, love and anger from the get-go, but it is in preparation for the true reveal of their feelings. The emotions are so heightened in this story that it adds a lot of intensity and spirit to Zarek's and Penny's reunion. And even with the presence of the evil family in the background, Zarek was able to show Penny that he had more in mind for their reunion than a divorce.

Kate Walker ratchets up love and loss in THE GOOD GREEK WIFE?. It is a story that will put you through your paces. Zarek and Penny both feel they are the injured party in their dispute but at the same time, Kate Walker works reconciliation into the story through natural means. Penny brings him a meal after Zarek's first long day back. They still respond to each other with passion and love. But is it enough to bridge the distance between them? Homer's THE ODYESSY is cleverly worked into the story through names, places, and events but it is all given a very modern twist. Penny has put her life on hold long enough and she is ready to move on, with or without Zarek. Will that be the biggest mistake of her life? You will have to read to find out!

Thank you to both Heather and Sarah for these great reviews. They've really made my week!

I've also had some lovely emails from readers telling me how much they've enjoyed reading The Good Greek Wife? and these have meant such a lot to me. It was a real thrill to find out that this book had sold out on the MIlls & Boon site already and it's even more of a thrill to know that those of you have bought it have enjoyed it so much - that's the best news an author can have

Thank you!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Important PS to contest post!

I think I must not have explained myself clearly as I've noticed some people are spreading the word about the contest slightly differently to the way I meant it.

So - to make absolutely clear - I am still giving away 25 copies of backlist books + a tote bag

But these prizes will be given out to 25 different people! That's one book, one bag per winner.

Just so's that's clear. I don't actually have 25 different books to give to one person. But enough books to give to 25 different winners.

So if you were hoping for 25 books all your own - I'm sorry if you're disappointed. But with 25 different prizes to give away then you have to admit the odds on your winning are rather better than before!

25th Anniversary Contest

This week sees the publication in America of my latest book. The Good Greek Wife? is published in Presents Extra - officially on October 12th but it will start appearing in the shops towards the end of this week. To mark this and to round off the celebrations for my 25th year as a published writer, I’m running a final special, great big contest to thank all my readers for their support and enthusiasm for my books since The Chalk Line was first published in 1984, right through to the sell-out success of The Good Greek Wife? in 2010.

For this contest, I am giving away not one – not ten – not even twenty prizes but 25 special giveaways. One to mark each year I have been published. (Sid the Cat is so looking forward to helping me pick the prizes for this!)

What I have on offer are 25 books from my backlist, each with a special Kate Walker tote bag and special 25th anniversary pen and I’m giving them all away in this special celebratory contest
How can you be in with a chance of one of these prizes?

It’s quite simple. All you have to do is to check out my web site and find the answers to these four easy questions:

1. What is the title of the very first book I ever had published?

2. What are the names of the hero and heroine of my latest title, The Good Greek Wife?

3.What is the title of my award-winning guide to writing romance?
4.Who helps me pick all the winners of the contests I run?

Collect up all the answers and put them in an email

Send the email to me with 25th Anniversary Contest in the subject line
Closing date for this contest is:
October 31st 2010

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Blogging around

As it's the first Sunday of the month, I have my regular blog over at Tote Bags 'n' Blogs.

So that's where you'll find me today. I'm talking about why I like autumn - and of course about the publication of The Good Greek Wife? , the Presents EXTRA edition of which is out this week in America.

So why not join me over there and you could win yourself a signed copy of this already best-selling (and sold out!) book

Friday, October 01, 2010

Can you remember your first?

. . . M&B romance book, that is?

Over on the New Voices web site the editors are discussing the first ever M&B romance they read and they'd love you to join in the chat.

So can you remember the first ever M&B book you read? Who was the author? Can you still recall the title?

I talked about some of my very first romance reads by the wonderful Sara Craven yesterday and back in December 2007 I blogged about The Book That Started It All - Witchstone by Anne Mather.

What about you? Can you remember your first?

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