Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dashing in . . .

 . . .while I still have electricity and a chance to blog to remind you that the Here Come The Grooms Contest is still open untiol Sadie Hawkins Day - ie tomorrow Leap Year Day 29th February.   When February ends I will be getting  Charlie on to the job of picking my winner and Anne McAllister and Liz Fielding will be choosing their winners too. Then three of you will win copies of
The Devil and Miss Jones  by Kate Walker

Savas's Wildcat by Anne McAllister

Flirting With Italian by Liz Fielding

All details are on this blog  - or over on the Contest page of my web site

Talking of The Devil and Miss Jones, I'm thrilled to see that over on the Mills & Boon web site there is a banner  that says that my newbook is ' Top rated this month' -  with five rating roses too!  The reviews on the site are great. It's at #3 in the top ten bestsellers too!

I spotted this one, but missed the really great news that in a previous list of Top Rated for 2011, my previous title The Return of The Stranger  was also listed on there. My thanks to Fiona who spotted this when I missed it and let me know.

The official publication date for The Devil and Miss Jones is March 2nd but I was in town yesterday and spotted that copies were already available in the shops so it's out there now.  And the ebook version is already available for sale  over on the eHarlequin site.

Coming up - I've been discussing and planning more workshops/talks and so I'll be posting the details of those soon. The good news is that I will be teaching Writing Romance at Caerleon Writers' Holiday  again this summer - more details to follow - and of all the other courses coming up, including that very special one at The Watermill in Italy.   There are some details on my Events page if you can't wait for the blogs.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Where was I?

Or perhaps that should be where am I?  All I know is that I'm trying to catch up - again!
I had a great time at the workshop in Brigg - many thanks to everyone who came  there. It was a fun afternoon.

Then I had a long journey to Wales - made even longer by a 2 hour delay as a result of some road works that meant we crawled through the later stage of our journey at Monmouth.   But it was worth it when we finally reached Fishguard, and had some time to enjoy being by the sea  - and in the sunshine!  - as we settled in.  The sunshine didn't last but the enjoyment did - as it always does  - with great friends Anne and Gerry at the Fishguard Bay hotel.

We were also joined by  the other tutosr  - Alison Chisolm (Poetry) Della Galton (short stories) and Elizabtehr Hawksley (novels)

I had a wonderful time in the workshop sessions for my course.  I've always enjoyed the intense and focussed way that the Writing Weekend runs and this time  there was a really great group who all gelled together so well that we shared  a lot of learning, had a lot of fun, drank a little wine . . . and I hope everyone learned a lot too. I know   I found that some of the discussions  and topics revitalised my own thinking,   made me look at things afresh and sparked off new ideas - so it was great for me too!

Thank you to Rachael, Marie, Jo , Jenny, Judy, Susan, Karen, Ann  for making it all so much fun.

Oh  - and for those of you who have asked about my treaching in Wales in the summer - , I also had a talk with Gerry about the upcoming Caerleon  in July - the programme on the web site hasn't included Writing Romance  as yet, but  we've discussed it and  by popular demand I will be running a  course in July.

Details to follow.

And I'll be back in Fishguard in February 2013

Since we got home, life has been - well, chaotic -  I think I mentioned that we've been having some  building work done  on the house - improvements - well, they will be improvements when they're finished. Right now, they're a mess.  

We came back to no heating,  no water at one point . . .muddle, confusion, dirt . . . It's been hard to get to my computer because of a. the obstacle course to reach it, b. the lack of electricity at times, c. the mess . ..

Well, they say  a picture is better than a thousand words - so  try these. . . .

Charlie has been  busy inspecting everything and making sure it all works to his satisfaction .  

Hopefully I'll manage to get back and chat with you  at some point next week!

But don't forget the Here Come The Grooms contest is still running - you have until February 29th to get your entries in and be in with a chance of winning 3 great books.  So don't forget to send in your answers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Here Come the Grooms

It's that time of year again -  time for the 5th annual  Here Come the Grooms  Contest.

I love sharing this special contest with my greast friends - and great writers Anne McAllister and Liz Fielding. And I know that regular blog readers enjoy it too. You get to meet 3 great heroes from three great books - and get a chance to win a set of those three books for yourself.

Stop by any or all of our websites to get the contest information, but basically, if you were around last year or the year before or . . . you know the drill.
Each of our heroes asks one question. You can find the answers on our blog or in the excerpt to each hero’s particular book (on our websites). Send all three answers to each of us for THREE chances to win a copy of each other our books.
That means  that there will be three winners, each of whom will get three books.
So while I'm running workshops and travelling to Wales -  I'll introduce you to this year's Grooms.    I hope that when I  get a moment to ask him, Carlos - or  Diablo as he's  known - will come along and blog as well but - well, he's busy planning his wedding and changing  his Miss Jones' name to Mrs Ortega.

So - Carlos Diablo  is the Groom in my March release (April in Presents Extra and M&B Sexy in Australia)


Carlos Diablo Ortega -  who, ask he tells Martha - made his  fortune in 'horses and wine' -  he's a championship polo player and owns a hugely successful vineyard. He's also just discovered that he's not actually the son of the man he thought was his father - or the grandson of Javier Ortega.  And that has turned his life upside down.

Martha's rather different -  but her life has just been turned upside down too.

Martha Jones has never taken a risk in her whole life. Until the day she runs out on her wedding and succumbs to the magnetism of a man she has only just met! A man she knows only as Diablo.

Lone wolf Carlos Ortega won't promise Miss Jones more than one searing-hot night. Yet Carlos is shocked by Martha's sweet innocence. This runaway bride is a virgin, and it seems the repercussions of their sizzling encounter could last forever . . .

So what is  Carlos' question?
What is Martha wearing – and holding when he first sees her?

You'll find the answer in the extract on my web site.


Flirting With Italian US coverThat's the title of Liz's book  – which has just been short-listed for the Romance Novelists’ Association’s RoNA award this year!

Her Groom is Conte Matteo di Serrone, the owner of a great vineyard, a plant breeder who is working with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Office.

The lady in Matteo’s life is Sarah Gratton, a history teacher, who is picking up her life after her fiance falls for someone new and she finds herself working in an international school in Rome.

The blurb for Liz’s book says:
MatteoBag: packed. Flight: booked. Soon I’ll be in Rome and experiencing life in a foreign language! Watch this space…
Newly single Sarah Gratton is about to jump start her life and a just-for-fun romance with dark-eyed Matteo di Serrone could be just what the doctor ordered! This Italian count is ideal flirting material—if Sarah’s brave enough to make a move!
Well, she might not be—but luckily Matteo is! Matteo decides to keep this mysterious woman close—no hardship at all, given their spine-tingling awareness of each other and for a while it’s like something out of a fairy tale—until Sarah realizes she’s made the most rookie mistake of all: falling in love with her holiday fling….

Matteo’s question is:
 I asked Sarah if she’d found someone. Who was it?
Finally there is Anne McAllister's brand new novel - out at the same time as  The Devil and MIss Jones - that's March (UK) and April (USA  - Presents Extra)

Anne's Groom is Yiannis, the youngest of the Savas brothers and his heroine, Catriona MacLean. Yiannis and Cat have a bit of a history – or a lot of history, depending on which of them you ask.

According to the back cover:
YiannisYiannis Savas, the irresistible playboy of the Savas dynasty, was every girl’s dream. But he quickly turned into Cat’s nightmare when his idea of a relationship was no more than a fiery affair.
Now Cat MacLean has grown up and out of her girlish fantasies. Determined not to fall prey to smooth talk and fast charm again, she’d engaged to someone sensible.
Then she’s forced to spend a week with the one man she’s never been able to forget . . .

Yiannis's question is quite simple -  he wants to know
 Who’s Harry?
Yiannis, Carlos and Matteo would like you to check out their books. You can access them by clicking on the books tab at the top of each of our web pages and then find the individual book pages.

If you’d like to enter this year’s Here Come the Grooms! contest, read the blurbs/ the extracts  and/or our blogs and find the answers to the questions the grooms have asked  and send them to each of us . You send all 3 answers to each of us to complete your entry - that way you have three chnaces of be on of the three winners  of  three great books. (Let's hope your lucky number is  3!)

You can contact us via our blogs  or - for me -  using the email address at the borttom of the page. Put Here Come The Grooms in the subject line of your email so it will go into the right folder.

Don't forget that you need to collect up the answers to ALL 3 questions in order to enter

The contest is now open and it closes on Sadie Hawkins Day - or Leap Year Day - February 29th.

Good Luck!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pink Tuesday

To celebrate Valentine's Day,  the Mills and Boon web site is launching Pink Tuesday  with discounts and special deals - so why not check out the site from midnight tonight?And  while you're there you can see my newly released title The Devil and Miss Jones which, I'm thrilled to see, already has two five star (well - five roses!) reviews  -
One simply says "I couldn't put this book down, loved it"
And here's the other - 

A scintillating page-turner with the adorable Carlos one of the most appealing heroes in a long time complemented by an appealing modern day heroine in Martha and a cracking good plot and dialogue.

This is a little gem - everything a Modern M&B should be which had me wanting to cheer at the end!

Can't ask for more than that!  Thank you to those two kind readers.

Oh - and tomorrow being Valentine's Day that means that
a. The workshop in Brigg Lincolnshire is on in the afternoon - 1.30 - 4.30 at The Angel Suite - and, yes,  to those who have asked,  you can still turn up at the door if you haven't yet booked tickets. I think we'll have space for you

b. The annual Here Come the Grooms contest launches once more with Liz Fielding and Anne McAllister - so call back here for details of how to enter tomorrow.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Here Come the Grooms - and Sadie Hawkins Day

It’s Leap Year, in case you hadn’t noticed.. 
SadieAnd that  also means that Sadie Hawkins day is coming around again.

Sadie Hawkins Day? Are you familiar with it? Every self-respecting romance reader should be. Though I have to admit that I wasn't aware it had that name until Anne McAllister told me all about it - I just knew it as a Leap Year Day.  But  apparently . . .

Well,  I'll let Anne Explain it as she does it so much better than me:
 It’s the day that the women get to take things into their own hands and grab the man of their choice – if they can catch him.

It all began – well, it probably all began in the dark reaches of history – but for our intents and purposes, it began on November 15, 1937 when American cartoonist Al Capp began to write a story arc in his comic strip, Lil Abner, about Sadie Hawkins, the daughter of Hekzabiah Hawkins, Dogpatch resident.

Feb 29Sadie, reputedly “the homeliest gal in all them hills,” was growing increasingly panicky about her chances of matrimony as the years went on. And finally, when Sadie reached 35 with nary a suitor in sight, her father (also frantic at the thought of being stuck with her for the rest of his – or her – days) took matters into his own hands.

He declared it Sadie Hawkins Day, and decreed that there would be a foot race: the holler’s bachelors would run and Sadie would take off after them. And whoever she caught would find himself at the altar with Sadie as his bride.

He took out his gun and said, “"When ah fires, all o' yo' kin start a-runnin! When ah fires agin—after givin' yo' a fair start—Sadie starts a runnin'. Th' one she ketches'll be her husband."

sadie-hawkinsWell, it worked a treat.

And you’d better believe that all the other unattached women in the vicinity took note. They thought it was a fine idea and declared that there would be a “Sadie Hawkins Day” every year.

Because he got so much fan mail in favor of the idea, Capp did a variation on his Sadie Hawkins Day story every November for the next 40 or so years.

Sadie Hawkins Day got translated into once every four years when it became associated with old folk customs which claimed that on leap years women were allowed to take the initiative and propose. Combining the two seemed perfectly reasonable.

And celebrating it seems like something romance readers and writers ought to do."

In honor of Sadie – and to celebrate our 5th (I think it’s 5th! Has it really been five years?) annual Here Come The Grooms! Contest,  Anne McAllister, Liz Fielding and I -- and our respective heroes (who are currently on the run with some determined heroines after them) -- are opening this year’s contest on Valentine’s Day this year and ending it on February 29th – Sadie’s day.

So please drop by each of our websites during those two weeks and answer all three of our heroes’ questions, then send us those answers. You get three chances to win three  great books. 

It might not get you the man of your choice, but Sadie still thinks that’s a pretty good deal.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Busy busy

It's going to be a crazy couple of weeks  so if my blogging is a bit intermittent, that's why
I have  the Valentine's Day workshop in Brigg Lincolnshire  on - well, obviously  on Valentine's Day next week and then straight after that I'm travelling to Wales  for the Fishguard Writers' Weekend to teach Writing Romance for the wonderful residential weekend there. I love this weekend and am so looking forward to it.  We have a lot of fun, discuss writing, do some great writing exercises, drink a little wine . . .

And of course I have the small matter of a book to write myself. Health problems and family crises have interrupted my creative process viciously so I'm fighting to get back on track. I really think that the workshops and talking about writing and discussing the process will help with this so  if I'll be seeing you there, then you'll be  helping me as well as I'll be helping you!

And  - a special message for Maria for her comment  on my Tote Bags 'N' Blogs post on Sunday - you mentioned Girl About Town as the first M&B you found down the back of a sofa in 1975 -  and said you couldn't recall the author. Could  it be this one?

Don't you just love the diesmbodied heads and the 'sophisticated' hero  Sean  lighting up a cigarette - I mentione d that smoking was so much more common in thoese earlier books - I recall one where the hero was driving his sports car along some narrow, windy moutain road in Italy or somewhere  and he lit a cigarette as he drove along. And of course no one was wearing a seat belt then! 

Anyway, Maria if this is the book you remember - there is a single copy available on Amazon right now.

Oh - and  the 'oldie' of mine you mentioned - Bedded By The Greek Billionaire, that came out in 2008 and  sold out on the M&B site but is still available in ebook. It's also being reprinted in a Greek Affairs  collection coming up in May.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Tote Bags and Blogs

Today is the first Sunday of February and that means that it's the day for my regular blogging spot over on Tote Bags 'N' Blogs   so that's where you'll find me today.

Here in the UK it's freezing cold and there's deep snowfall outside, forcing  me to keep indoors.  Which is really very appropriate weather to mark the special anniversary of an important book in my career - Game of Hazard.

Want to know more? Well that's what I'm blogging about. 

See you there!

Friday, February 03, 2012

A Date With Kate

I'll admit I almost forgot about this today -  the change from posting A Date With Kate on the third Friday of the month  to posting on the first Friday of the month caught me out. That and the  non stop row of the builders drilling through a wall!  But thanks to a timely reminder from one of the editors,  I've managed to get my post written and  up on the blog before too much of the day has gone by.

So today that's where you'll find me - over on the Pink Heart Society blog  where I'm talking about a subject dear to my heart - the romantic hero.  (And it 's a good excuse for another outing  for a that pic of Hugh in a towel!)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Radio Interview

I don't know how many of you can pick up Radio Humberside from Hull  but if you can then I'm doing an  interview with them this morning. 

This of course  is because of the workshop I'm doing on Valentines's Day - so just to remind you  . . . .

  • Dates: 14th February 2012

  • Time: 1:30pm to 4:30pm

  • Location: The Ballroom The Angel
    Brigg Lincolnshire
    Tickets cost £7 per person and are available in advance from Ashby, Brigg and Scunthorpe libraries.
    Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.
    The event is for adults aged 16 and over. To book a place contact Emma Prideaux at North Lincolnshire Central Library on 01724 860161  or email library.enquiries@northlincs.gov.uk.

  • The interview will be at about 11.10  am on the David Burns morning show - and if you can't listen this morning, then I'm sure it will be available  on their Listen Again feature

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