Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Writing and Teaching

It's funny, I was always determined that I never wanted to be a teacher. My Mother was a teacher and everyone assumed that because I shared so many interests with her - books in particular - that I would be a teacher too.
No. That was the last thing I wanted. I had no interest at all in training to be a teacher . It was not the job I wanted to do. So I became a librarian. But I married a teacher ( okay - a lecturer - but he's a born and bred teacher - an excellent teacher in the truest sense of the word). My friends - count them 9 - no 11 of them - are teachers. Now my son is a teacher and so is his partner . . .

And suddenly I find I've become a teacher too - I teach Writing Romance - and I love it. Perhaps in the past I never found a subject that absorbed me so much or one that I wanted to teach. But now I love teaching writing and the new horizons and new friends it has brought me.

I have to be careful that my teaching time doesn't eat into my writing time so I try not to take on too much. So weeks- months- can go by without a mention of teaching and then suddenly it all piles in at once.

And this last week or so has been a 'teaching' time.

As you probably know, I've written two How To Write Romance books. The first one - A Straightforward Guide to Writing Romance - is being revamped to go into its 3rd edition this spring and I got the new cover design to put up on my web site. The new edition will probably appear in March or April

Then the lovely and hugely successful Penny Jordan, who has already recommend my 12 Point Guide and given it to her writers' group, asked for some more copies - which meant I had to get in touch with the publisher. I was thrilled to learn that the book has just about sold out - and they too are looking at a new edition. First we have to see if there are any returns from Waterstones etc who stock it.

And at the same time two web sites that I'm actively involved in - the Pink Heart Society and My Tote Bag both want me to work with them on writing projects - and to talk about the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance.

The PHS is running a special FinDaBoo (Finish the Damn Book) course over on their blog with lots of advice, inspiration and support on offer through the coming year. And in February they've asked me to contribute an article.

Then over on My Tote Bag Leena Hyat is planning articles on writing, workshops etc and again she's asked me to contribute . Of course, I'm happy to. We're already working on a couple of things together.

And then in November I'll be running the course in Writing Contemporary Romance at Fishguard with the wonderful Anne and Gerry from Writers' Holidays. I'll probably be doing something for them in the week at Caerleon too but not a full course - not this year.

And then of course as the year progresses there will be critiques to write for the RNA's New Writer's Scheme . . .

But another couple of things that have happened this week to link me to the 'teaching ' side of me and to make me feel how worthwhile it is to do this.
One is that up on Amazon now is the very first book by Natalie Rivers - The Kristallis Baby. I worked on this book with Natalie through the NWS and now, after editorial input and revisions, it's being published.

Another NWS protegée of mine - Natasha Oakley has been shortlisted for the RNA Romance Novel Prize and she and two other shortlisted authors have all said on this blog that they found my 12 Point Guide a big help in their progress to being published writers.

Finally only this morning I heard from a student who attended a workshop I gave in Kent last May. I was thrilled to learn that
thanks to your inspiration and advice that day, I have finished my book, sent
the first 3 chapters and synopsis in and just had a request for the completed

Congratulations, Linda - I have my fingers crossed for you.

She added that:

What I forgot to mention was how helpful your book, Kate Walker's 12-Point Guide to Writing Romance has been in the whole process, and especially invaluable at the submission stage. It covered every detail and query I had so that I
felt I was sending off something that was as professional as I could make it.

With comments like that and results like these listed above, I'm feeling pretty happy about the teaching side of my career - even if I never planned on doing it!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Which Bride is Which?

I had a comment on the last post (Thank you Maria and Rach for cheering with me!) In that, Rach asked this:
Just one thing though Kate: My local WH Smith had the other two 'brides'
(Santorini and Valentine) on the shelves today but I couldn't find yours. Sold
out already? Surely not?!!!

So I thought I'd better clear up the confuzzlement.
Okay - so Anne McAllister's The Santorini Bride and Liz Fielding's The Valentine Bride and my The Italian's Forced Bride - are all out in February in America. So they are the books that we're running the HERE COME THE BRIDES contest on,

The first two of these - Anne's book and Liz's book - are also out in the M&B Modern editionn in the UK and so on sale at the moment. But The Italian's Forced Bride has already been on sale in a M&B Modern edition in the UK.

So my next UK book is actually the one at the top of the sidebar - that's Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride. And that will be out in March.
Sp Rach - thats the book of mine you need to look for - but not till next month.

And then that book will be out in Presents - and in Australia - in April.
They make these things complicated sometimes!
But I hope that's clear now

Take that X!

Well they say that living well is the best revenge.

And selling well must be a pretty good revenge too - specially a revenge on people who tell me I need to write better books!!

Today the Waldenbooks listing for the Top 10 best selling series romances has been announced and The Italian's Forced Bride is at #2 on the list.

And at the same time a friend sent me a copy of the eHarlequin Newsletter and there's a listing of the Top 10 Staff Picks. And guess what's at #2 on that list as well!

So having deleted X's snipy letter and put it right put of my mind, I'm sitting here with a smile on my face that even a nasty virus with a headache/earache and sore throat can't drive away. Thousands of other readers obviously have a very different opinion.

A great big thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of the book to create this great result.

Of course it's not even February yet . And Alice, the Bride from The Italian's Forced Bride, would like me to remind you that the HERE COME THE BRIDES contest has just 1 more day to run. The contest closes on February 1st. All the details you need for this are here.

And the HERE COME THE GROOMS contest is still open until February 10th. The details for entry and the questions to answer to win what Domenico and his fellow grooms will point out is the bigger prize can be found here. And the answers to all the questions can be found by checking out the blogs - mine, Anne McAllister's and Liz Fielding's - over the past couple of weeks.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Can I pick them?

< - Remember this? The bag that held the Bag of Books for my Summer Reading Contest?

And this ->
The Christmas Stocking stuffed with books?

So now take a look on the Romantic Novelists' Association web site where the short list for this year's RNA Romance Prize is announced.

What's the connection?

Well that short list contains

The Gladiator's Honour by Michelle Styles
which was in the Bag of Books prize selection in June last year

Also on the list are Lord Greville's Captive by Nicola Cornick

and Accepting the Boss's Proposal

by Natasha Oakley

Both of which were in the Christmas Stocking stuffed with books that I gave away in December.

Congratulations to Michelle, Nicola and Natasha - what a pity you can't all win!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Seeds of a book - from life

Over on her brand new Writing Diary on her fabulous new revamped web site, my friend and fellow Presents writer Susan Stephens is talking about the 'where do you get your ideas from' question and the way that sometimes real incidents in an author's life is a way of starting off a story - a launching pont.

Not that the book then becomes about that real icident because that just wouldn't work - the incident is real - it happened to a real person - to Susan or to me or whoever. It's not a story. It's just the beginning of one. It's a seed.

I talked about this back in March 2006 when I was talking about Growing a Book. Funnily enough, the book I was talking about then was the one that's out this week in America - The Italian's Forced Bride. And I remember very, very clearly just when the 'seed' for this book was planted in my mind.

There I was, getting dressed one morning. When I get dressed I always have the radio on – BBC Radio 4 - there’s always someone talking about something on there. Sometimes I listen with a lot of attention, mostly I wander in and out and pick up bits here and there, snatches of conversation. And that’s how I heard my ‘seed’.

A man was being interviewed. He was an athlete (I think!) You see I missed the beginning of the interview and if I heard who he was I’ve forgotten (my apologies to him – it’s not that he wasn’t memorable, but once I’d heard this line, I wasn’t listening any more, I was planning, thinking, dreaming.)

He was talking about his baby son. And he said: “I looked at him and I thought – that child is the one and only person in this whole world who has my blood in his veins.”

Which is what set me off – the questions just kept coming:
Why would that be the case that the baby was his only family?
How could that have happened?
When had it happened – that he had lost the rest of his family?
How would it make him feel?
How would he react?
How would he behave towards women?. . .etc . . .etc . . .

By this time, my mind was buzzing with ideas. The what ifs were coming thick and fast – what if he found out that an ex-lover was pregnant with his child? How would he behave then?And what if . . .

Ah, but that’s the bit I’m not saying because it gives away too much of my plot. But it’s where my own life experiences came into the book and I wrote about something that made me feel very emotionally involved with what I was writing. I must have put that emotion into the book as well because as soon as she'd read the book another friend and fellow romance writer, Michelle Reid sent me a note that said ‘You made me cry in the middle’. And since then so many other readers have written to say that I made them cry too.

So that’s how this book got started – that serendipity factor. If I hadn’t switched the radio on that morning, or if I’d got up half an hour earlier – or later – or I’d walked out of the room to get something from the bathroom and I hadn’t heard that line, maybe this book would never ever have happened. Which is quite a scary thought. Because as I write this, it’s sitting on my desk, 53,000 words of a story I’m proud to have written. People are always asking me that question – the ‘Where do you get your ideas from’ one. Most of the time I just have to reply ‘life’ because it’s life and people and their stories that inspire me. But this book, I could very definitely date from the moment of its conception and the second that that ‘seed’ was planted in my brain.

But the other bit was the personal experience that I brought into it.

It's as Susan says in her blog

Sometimes . . . I’m taking something from my own experience and making it much much bigger- the tragedy greater, the likely consequences far more dire- and then I base a story around it.

I think that taking a plot point that has its seed in reality can give it an edge, a sharpness that comes from the reality of the emotions behind that point. It adds depth and dimension, a truth that readers can recognise even if they don't know for definite that it really happened. As writers we're used to using our imaginations, to putting ourselves into the places of our characters, thinking of their responses, imagining their feelings. Other times we go deep into ourselves and draw out what's actually there - and then we fictionalise it.

Some books are overloaded with trama and darkness so much so that they read as melodrama, with characters given way too much to cope with - the sort of things that you feel they'd never come out of whole in the end. Sensation and trauma isn't emotion. And emotional intensity is the true trademark of a Presents novel.

I think it's fascinating that both Susan and I have books out together that spring from personal experience - and that, perhaps inevitably, we've both been thinking about the way each book grew from a simple seed into something that has now taken on a life of its own. I think I've mentioned before how often my fellow writers and I end up working along the same lines of thought - it happens all the time - and here's another example of it.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Write better books!

I had an email this morning. Nothing unusual in that – I get a lot of emails. This one was from a reader. Again, not unusual. But the truth is that I didn’t realise it was a message from a reader at first.

You see, it was headed, like this posting ‘Write better books!’ To be honest, at not quite 7am I looked at the heading and I thought it was some sort of advert – use this programme/follow this course/read this book – and write better books!

It wasn’t. It was - well I can only call it a complaint – a complaint and an exhortation all in one. I was being told, by a reader – we’ll call her X - to write better books. X doesn’t like the ones I’m writing. My stories never go anywhere. She keeps hoping I will improve but I never do.

Well X is entitled to her opinion. You can’t, as they say, please all of the people all of the time. I don’t expect to. Naturally I’m sorry that my books don’t speak to this particular reader, especially as she is, she says, a regular Harlequin Presents reader. So am I. I'm a regular reader of all the HMB lines - and I’d be lying if I said that every single book by every single author in any line speaks to me and I love every last word they publish. Some authors really hit the spot with me as a reader – some miss it by inches, metres – miles . . .

And the ones who miss by miles, I don’t buy. End of story. Their stories are not for me so I don’t read them.

I don’t write to them and tell them to buck their ideas up, change their style of writing for me, and write what I want them to write. Choice. That’s what the world of publishing is based on. Choice. Horses for courses. Different strokes for different folks. If you don’t like my books – don’t read them - buy them - I can live with that. There are plenty of people who love what I write – thousands - hundreds of thousands. If they stopped buying I might worry.

But I don’t think I could write in any very different way. I wouldn't want to. I write as I do - that’s me. That’s Kate Walker.

So I thought, fine. X doesn’t like my books. She’s one of those ‘not for me’ readers. Like I said, I can live with that. Well, I could if I thought she had really had a problem with my books. You see, the next line, after telling me that of all the Presents authors I’m the one who needs to have better stories, tells me that: “Your hero is always rich, and you think you should pair him off with a cry baby who does nothing but whine and cry about something all through the book.”

Excuse me? I know it’s early in the morning. I’ve only started my first cup of coffee and the brain cell isn’t totally awake yet but . . .

Let me re-read that.

Your hero is always rich . . .

Er – I thought you said you read all the Presents every month, X? The Presents hero is always rich – it’s a fact – it’s one of the premises on which the series is built. Name me a Presents book in which the hero isn’t affluent. What about the mini series – Mistress to a Millionaire – The Greek Tycoons – are these guys scrabbling around for a penny or two?

That’s what Presents sells on – it’s what the editors openly declare the line is all about: ‘Meet sophisticated men of the world and captivating women in glamorous, international settings.
When did you last read a Presents novel that didn’t have a rich hero?

But it was the last bit that got me -
. . . and you think you should pair him off with a cry baby who does nothing but whine and cry about something all through the book.

Okay, now I admit I’m confused. I’m trying to think of ‘cry babies I have written.’ To be honest, I’m struggling. I’m not a fan of reading about cry babies myself. I don’t enjoy stories in which the heroine is defeated before she starts, who gives in to everything the hero demands, telling herself she has no choice when it’s blatantly obvious that she does have a choice. A heroine I can’t believe in in the 21st century. I certainly don’t set out to write them. What would be the point of creating a heroine I don’t like? A heroine I can’t think of as just that – a heroine – someone worth writing about.

But then if I find an author who writes those sorts of books then I don’t buy them. I just leave them on the shelves for other people to read them.

Well X is entitled to her opinions. And she’s taken great pains to let me know what they are. I have always said that I reply to every reader’s letter I receive so I shall write back to her. Politely. (Which she was not) I shall tell her that I’m sorry my books don’t appeal to her but that this is how I write. And that actually X, yours is the first and only letter like this I’ve received. And I’m going to continue to write for the hundreds of thousands who are buying my books because they like what they find in them.

And I should warn you all – if you don’t like tears in a romance then the truth is that there’s a moment in The Italian’s Forced Bride when Alice, the heroine does dissolve into tears. Where:

Hot tears flooded her eyes, and spilled out down her cheeks and soaked into the white cotton of the pillow cases.

But there’s a damn good reason why she does break down at this point. I think she’s entitled to her tears. And from all the other letters I’ve had about this book, many of my readers are in tears, or at least blinking hard at that point too.

I write for them. And I’ll continue to do so. Readers who don't like my books can just leave them on the shelves - That suits me fine.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Never mind the Sicilians . . . what about THE GROOMS?

Domenico has insisted that I remind you that the HERE COME THE GROOMS CONTEST is still running.

Don't forget that there are three prizes on offer - and each prize is nine signed books:

From Anne McAllister each winner gets:
A three-in-one book containing three complete novels: The Cowboy's Code, containing Cowboys Don't Quit, Cowboys Don't Stay and The Cowboy and the Kid (Romantic Times's Best Series Novel of the Year) PLUS a copy of Theo Savakis's book by the author whose name you have to figure out.

From Kate Walker each winner gets:
Her best-selling Alcolar Family trilogy: The Twelve-Month Mistress, The Spaniard's Inconvenient Wife and Bound by Blackmail.

And From Liz Fielding each winner gets:
Copies of her terrific book all about GROOMS: The Corporate Bridegroom, A Suitable Groom and Her Wish-List Bridegroom

HERE COME THE GROOM'S CONTEST has much the same rules as the brides' contest.

You get three chances to win -- one on each of the blogs: mine Liz Fielding's and and Anne McAllister's You have to answer the following nine questions - three on each blog. That’s just one for each book you can win. Some of them have two parts, so make sure you’ve got all the answers before you send them in.

The answers can all be found on the blogs– or by using the sidebar links. Now I’m sure you’re longing to know how you can win these great prizes – well, like I said, all you have to do is answer these nine questions - each of our heroes has set three of them and you can find the answers on their author’s blog.

1) Which book, also being published in February has a hero called Theo Savakis (who is NOT ME because he is going to marry Miranda Weston and I am going to marry MARTHA!) and who is the author of that book?
2) My (Theo's) sister was the heroine of an earlier McAllister book. What's the name of the book -- and the full name of my sister?
3) McAllister says there is "another hero" in The Santorini Bride (which isn't true, by the way). What breed of dog is Ted?

1) St Valentine’s Day is a worldwide phenomenon, but Liz (my author) lives in Wales and they have their own special day for lovers in January. What’s the date? And what is the name of the saint involved?
2) The Valentine Bride (the book that Louise and I share), is the last one in a mini series. What was the series called? Name another author who wrote a book in that series.

3) Liz wrote a special online story The Cinderella Valentine to set up this series. What are the full names of the two characters who met and fell in love in my Chelsea restaurant?


1 Where did Kate celebrate a book launch party this month and which famous novelist did she meet there?
2. What award did Kate's February release - The Italian's Forced Bride win?

3. If the winner of The Brides Contest has already read The Italian's Forced Bride, Kate will give away a copy of her March M&B Modern release which also had Bride in the title. What is the name of this book – and what is the name of its hero? (If you need as clue he’s one of those sexy Sicilian guys . .)

When you’ve got all the answers, send a copy of all of them to each of the authors. You can contact them through their websites (there’s a sidebar link on the blog) or, in the case of Anne you can just click on the "Contact Anne" tab and then send the email from there.

Don’t forget to put GROOMS CONTEST in the subject.The contest is running now and ends February 10th, 2007

So, that’s it – You have three chances to win a pile of great books. All you have to do is a little hunting

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tall Dark and Handsome - 2

My editor just sent me a copy of the cover artwork for my next but one book.
The next book out is Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride, out in the UK in March - and you can see the UK cover in the sidebar. The USA (Presents) cover looks like this:

Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride is the first part of the Sicilan Brothers duo - Guido's Story. The next book after that is the second part of this series - Vito's story and its title is The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge.

It's also my 50th title for Harlequin. So I was thrilled to see what a great cover this very special book has and I thought I'd share it with you.

I hope you like it as much as I do. I can't wait to see it on an actual book!

Tall dark and handsome . ..

No - not Raul, my hero - though he is of course - but Uffa.

Remember Uffa? I blogged about him back in September. Uffa is the Guide dog puppy I'm sponsoring. This picture of him is when he was a small puppy, just 6 weeks old.(He was born in June)

Today I got my first Pupdate on Uffa's progress. And obviously he's grown. He's now just over 6 mopnths old and he's at that leggy, big-footed stage just before he matures into a fullly grown dog.

His puppy walker, Carol, describes him as a big softy. I think he looks gorgeous. I'd like to say a special thank you to Caril and all other puppy walkers like our own Historical Romance writer Nicola Cornick who do such a wonderful job looking after these fabulous and invaluable dogs.

And a special Hi! to Mags who used to have Lucas as her sponsored puppy but he has now grown up and is fully trained. So now Mags shares sponsorship of Uffa with me. We are both romance novelists and joint foster mums of this lovely creatue. So how appropriate that he is so tall dark and handsome.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Never mind the Spaniard . . .

Domenico here again. I suppose I have to take charge, seeing as Kate is busy with some Spaniard who is occupying her thoughts!

I thought that, as mia bella Alicia has reminded our author that she should be talking about our book - and Kate is somewhat preoccupied - I would tell you a little about our story - mine and Alicia's.
(And now that you have seen her do you wonder that I lost my heart to her? She turned my life upside down, made me rethink so many assumptions. She even . . .But no, you will have to read the book to find out.)

Alicia says you would like to know a little more about the book - so here's what it says on the back:

"As long as I want you, you stay — and you only leave when I give you permission to go."

Alice Howard spent six passionate months as Domenico Parrisi's mistress. But she knew he would never love her back and would soon discard her — so she left him.

But now Domenico wants her back in his bed, and his terms of possession are the same as before — until he makes a discovery that changes everything: Alice is carrying his child.

OK, si I admit, I did say that. But I had never wanted her to go in the first place. And they're damn right I wanted her back; even before I knew she was gravidanza. I had my reasons . . . reasons you're going to have to read the book to find out.

This morning a new review of the book arrived for Kate so I have decided that I will post it for her:

Kate Walker is a gem to be treasured. I can always count on her books to be emotionally satisfying, no matter what mood I am in. Ms. Walker’s heart pounding delivery of her plot begins immediately. Her characters are vibrant. They invited me into their story and held me there until the very last page.

Alice was in trouble. She left Domenico for many reasons. The most important one was to protect her heart. She knew Domenico would never fall in love with her. His type never let emotions enter the relationship. Only now, she was forced to write him a letter asking him to call her. She desperately needed his help.

Domenico was furious. Alice just disappeared from his life one day. The note she left stated their relationship was not fun anymore. He disagreed. He still hungered for her. He was the one who was supposed to be in control of their liaison, not her. Failing to find where Alice fled too, he took advantage of the letter he received requesting he called her. He was able to find her now and he was getting her back in his bed.

Alice should have known Domenico would reappear in her world. Why she thought he would be happy with calling her, she did not know. All she knew was she did not want to face him again. If he touched her, would she go up in flames? Can she fight both his controlling tendencies and her all-consuming attraction to him? Domenico was going to make sure she could not. Flames ignite almost instantly between them. He is sure Alice is his again. However, after finding out why she needed him after months apart, he is not as in control as he thought.

The Italian’s Forced Bride should be on your shopping list. I found it impossible to put down. My emotions swung back and forth just like Alice’s and Domenico’s. Their story is forceful and sensational. As I write this review, trying to find the perfect words to describe this book, the ones that keep repeating themselves are heart pounding love and conflict. They seem inadequate to convey the perfection of this story but they do stand out the most in my mind. Buy the book, enjoy the book. I know you will.

Kim Swiderski
Writers Unlimited reviewer

"Heart pounding love and conflict" - I think that sums up my relationship with Alicia pretty well. If you want to know how Kate ended that conflict and brought us to a happy ending - well, the book is out next week.

Meanwhile, Max has discovered where the Brides are - in some spa in Irlanda. I think it is time that I went to fetch my Alicia so that we can start our true luna di miele

But first I should remind you that the HERE COME THE GROOMS contest is still running - you have until February 10th to enter that. You can find the details of the questions by scrolling down to here on this blog.

And - I promised my Alicia that I would also remind you that mia sposa and her friends have their own ladylike contest - HERE COME THE BRIDES Details of how to enter are on Kate's website or Anne, or Liz's websites. You have until February 1st to enter that - after which Alicia will have no time to concentrate on anything but mi!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Starting again

This morning I was unfaithful

No – not to the BM - or even to Sid! No, I was unfaithful to my hero – or heroes – to Domenico who is the man of the moment – and seems determined to prove it by taking over this blog at any opportunity – to Guido who is the new man coming up in the UK. And I’ve even moved on from Andreas the Greek Pineapple. He’s done and dusted and I need a new hero.

I have another book to write and because Domenico has been so much in my mind (and on my blog) lately, it’s his image – that nicely brooding sexy image that has been accompanying his posts – that has been coming into my thoughts instead of the image of the hero I’m creating.

And that will not do. Because Raul is the new hero. And Raul is not Domenico. For one thing Raul is Spanish, not Italian. And Raul has a very different story from Domenico’s

So I need a Spanish hero. There is one obvious candidate – and as I was watching the film Take The Lead last week, the image of Antonio Banderas dancing the tango was very definitely one that will stay in my mind. But I needed a different mood – and different image – a new man.
It’s fascinating how some photographs of the same person can give a totally different image of the same person.

The picture of Domenico for example that has been on this blog – and Anne’s and Liz’s - lately – could have been this one.

He's the same man, a very inspirational pic – a very nice dog – but not Domenico. Too smiley. Too relaxed. Too easy going – not the brooding complex man that Domenico Parrisi is.

So it has to be this one. No other will do.

It’s the same with Raul. I knew the man who looks like Raul. I’ve seen him on TV and all over other authors’ blogs. But not quite the right picture. Not the one that inspires me. So I went on a Raul hunt – and here are some of the results –

This picture has a lot going for it - a lot! It's Raul all right -but this Raul will come into the story later on - I need an image to start off my story. And image that speaks to me of the mood that Raul is in as the book opens. And this is not it.

Nor is this one

Or this one
Same man - so it has to be Raul - but not my Raul. Not the Raul my heroine meets. Well, no - he might be the Raul she met the first time around - because these two have a past. But he's very definitely not the Raul who appears at the beginning of the book.

And then I found the picture that just fitted. The one that means I can get started

This is Raul at the opening of the book - so now he's clear in my mind
All I need now is his heroine . . .

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Whose blog is it anyway?

Can I have my blog back please?

Yes - I know that you've been doing a wonderful job of blogging, Dom (I can call him Dom because I created him) and you too, Alice - but well, this is my blog you know! And as Alice kindly reminded me - the reasons that there are these contests, Brides or Grooms, is because there is this book. My - OK - our book - the one that I wrote and that stars Domenico and Alice as its hero and heroine.

The book that makes people cry.

It's available in America in the Readers' Club now and already I'm getting messages from people who tell me I made them cry. Marilyn says that it made her cry for days! And over on My Tote Bag, Lee Hyat warns:
Just one word of advice though - keep a box of tissues handy for this one. You
may shed some tears, but you'll love every single minute of it.

And I'm a mean, mean author because I love to hear it when that happens. It's a great tribute to my writing to know that I've moved someone to tears.

Anne McAllister says that it didn't make her cry - but then she's a 'sentimental cryer' not an emotional angst cryer. Anne said that it was "a book that was like a knock-out punch".

Well, that's good for me too. I really am a mean author - I like to punch my readers and make them cry. The point is that I like to know I've moved my readers emotionally. Emotions are what romances are about for me. I want to feel what my characters - or the characters some other author has created - are feeling. I want to go through their excitement, joy, pain, disillusionment, despair, relief, happiness . . . If I don't then I can 't ultimately believe in and commit myself to the Happy Ever After ending that the author gives them. No matter how many times a hero or heroine says 'I love you', no matter how much they apologise for their mistakes, or say they forgive - if I don't feel it then it doesn't work for me.If I don't feel it then the characters don't come alive and I don't believe in them - or care about them. And emotions are what count - not melodrama or putting the characters into some terrible situation and then getting them out of it by a miracle. Not external trauma like illness or disability - or death and destruction all around them - not putting them into nasty, sordid situations and letting them come out the other side smelling of roses . These are extras, shading, the 'scenery' to a plot, the backdrop to the characters.What matters to me is what the characters feel and the way that the author convinces me that these two have really weathered the storms that life has thrown at them. The way that I believe that they are actually in love and that they are each other's 'soul mate' - the person who completes them, the 'other half' of them. All the trauma and drama and fireworks earlier in the book don't matter if I'm not convinced of that.

I was thinking of this yesterday when a parcel arrived - a parcel of books. It's RITA judging time and I have a selection of 8 books to read and judge for this major Romance Writers contest. The problem with reading, and judging, is that it's a very subjective thing. One woman's wonderful, emotional, exciting meat is another woman's poison. I have trained as a critic - three years studying English Lit on a degree course does that for you. I can read as close to objectively as possible - assess things I don't personally enjoy and see if they have merit. But my premise for judging Romances is always as I've stated above. When I'm reading, I'll be looking to see if the books convince me on an emotional level - because if they don't then in my opinion they aren't romances at all. Because romances are just that - a story in which an man and a woman meet, face the problems that some form of conflict throws at them, and in the process of resolving those problems come to realise that they are made for each other - that together they have a once in a lifetime, everlasting love. It doesn't matter how much misery and hostility and conflict they endure before they get there - if the ending doesn't convince me then the book won't satisfy me.

I'd like to point out that my author - Liz - won a RITA in 2006 for The Marriage Miracle - and again for The Best Man and The Bridesmaid

And Anne's no slouch either - she won the RITA for Cowboy Pride and

The Stardust Cowboy . . .

Exactly, guys - and I'm not surprised because all of Anne's and Liz's books that I've read have met the criteria I'm talking about . They've been richly, emotionally satisfying and convincing - which is why I'm so pleased and proud to be in a joint contest with such great writers. And why you can be sure that your own Happy Ever After endings are in such good hands.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Brides do it Better!


Well look what happened while my back was turned! That sexy Domenico charmed his way on to Kate's blog and got his macho mates to help him with his Alpha posturing! Grooms give three time the pleasure! Humph! We'll see about that.

Oh - sorry - I should introduce myself. I'm Alice - Kate's heroine - and Domenico's bride - for my sins! (Well - you know I love the big idiot to pieces - just don't tell him that!)

I've been having lots of fun and girlie time with the other Brides - Martha and Louise. What? Tell you their surnames? No way! That would be giving you the answers to our contest and you know I'm not going to do that!

But that is why I'm here - to remind you that the HERE COME THE BRIDES contest - the original and best contest! - is still open. All this Alpha takeover business might have led you to think that the Brides contest was now closed. But it's not.

You have until February 1st to get your answers in for that. I know that lots of you have entered - thank you - we'll show these guys a thing or two! - but there's still plenty of time to get your entry in if you haven't already.

Details can be found on Kate's web site here, On Liz Fielding's site here, and on Anne McAllister's site here. And you can enter three times - once on each site.

Don't forget that the prize for this contest - the Brides Contest is a signed set of each of the three brand new books that started all this off - the February releases by these great authors -

Kate's The Italian's Forced Bride which is my book (well, mine and Domenico's. I have to say that - there wouldn't have been a book without him!)

Liz Fielding's The Valentine Bride which I suppose Max would say is his book, but we all know that without Louise he'd still have his head full of management and restaurants and business!

And Anne McAllister's The Santorini Bride which has
my friend Martha as its heroione - and Theo Savas - who started off all this Grooms business as its hero. (He also got Martha pregnant which perhaps explains why he' s so impatient to marry her!)

So if you want to know all our stories - enter the HERE COME THE BRIDES contest!

Talking about our books has reminded me that Kate hasn't yet told you all about mine - I mean ours - mine and Domenico's story, that is. The poor thing is having trouble with a recalcitrant Spanish hero - not to mention a certain Italian by the name of Domenico! It's no wonder she's not had time to think of telling you about the book.

But I'll remind her about that and get her to come in here and talk to you all about it.

Oh yes - and I forgot to say that if any of the prizewinners has already read The Italian's Forced Bride then Kate will give you a copy of her next great UK release - Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride instead.

I've had a sneak peak at that and the hero is a seriously sexy Sicilian named Guido Corsentino. Not to be compared with my Domenico of course - but if I was free. . . His heroine, Amber is a very lucky lady!

So remember - The Boys may have hijacked these blogs for the last few days but the original and best HERE COME THE BRIDES contest is still running - so get your entries in and let's give Dom (I can call him that !) Max and Theo a run for their money!

Home Bio Books USA Readers Writers Contests Events Blog Links

Join Kate's Newsletter

Email Kate

Modified and Maintained by HR Web Concepts