Sunday, September 30, 2007

Working Weekend

I'm busy wrestling a Greek hero into submission so he's taking up all of my attention but I just wanted to remind you that today is the very last day of September and that means two things.

September was the birthday celebration month for the Lil Pink Dancing Guy and the whole of the brilliant Pink Heart Society. If you've missed any of the celebrations they're still up over on the PHS blog so why not take a look. If you don't then you'll miss out because they're giving away a huge selection of books as part of the Treasure Hunt that has been going all this month.

Head on over to the blog this weekend to find out how you can win yourself more books and than you ever imaginedsome other gifts as well - the list is long and it includes so many stars of the romance writing world that it reads like a Who's Who in Romance.

Even if you haven't started yet, you still have today to collect up all the birthday gifts in the special Birthday Treasure Hunt and then answer a simple question - how do you like to celebrate your birthday - and you'll be in with a chance. There's even a second, smaller hamper to win in the usual end of the month prize draw.

The prizes are open to anyone with an email, so go on and give it a go! You have to be in it to win it!

Secondly - and keeping on the pink theme- tomorrow is the first day of October and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so can I remind you that there is a logo for the Breast Cancer Site in the sidebar of this blog - just over there --->
All you have to do is to click on that and then click on the site just once and you can help fund mammograms for women who need them. Two clicks - that's all it takes. Please help.

And now I'm going back to my Greek Dark Angel (that's what his heroine calls him) and at sometime today I have to photograph a certain feline superstar ready for the October Cat Calendar tomorrow. Sid in the pink anyone?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Nice surprises

Well after some of yesterday's less than gracious (and less than informed) comments on romance novels of the BBC programme, it was good to find some more pleasant news this morning.

First there was a rather belated review for The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge. Sadly, this didn't get up on the reviewer's web site Writers Unlimited because of personal problems for the site owners. But although it's late I'd like to post it here for a couple of reasons - one because it's a damn good review -and never mind what book it's about the review shows wonderfully how carefully and critically a reader approaches a romance book and so is obviously not just the poor creature without two neurons to rub together in her brain as dismissed by those critics yesterday.

Secondly, in the opening paragraph, this reviewer describes one of the reasons why people read romance - or any other 'escapist' books. I'll come back to that later in this post.

And thirdly, this review is wonderfully written to give the reader the atmosphere and the emotion contained in the plot without giving away a 'spoiler' of the main point of conflict. And that takes some doing - so thank you Kim. It's a great review.

Have you ever felt the need to escape it all? I know I have. Kate Walker explores this need with her characters in The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge. Emotional and physical escape mesh together, forming a blistering hot situation which is aching to achieve the ultimate goal, true love. But once reality rears its fierce head, heartbreak and disappointment can be the only result to the ill-timed escape of Ms. Walker’s heroine. The ups and downs of life unfold violently throughout her story.

Life seems to have thrown one curve ball after another at Emily Lawton. Nothing has turned out like she envisioned. Just when she was going to regain control of her life, tragedy strikes and she had to relinquish her happiness again. Needing to escape on the one day she believed would change her life but did not, Emily ran to the beach. Surely there she could find some inner peace and strength to carry on. During a moment of crazy abandon fate steps in and changes everything once again. Emily’s blissful day turns her into a damsel in distress, screaming for help. Along comes her knight in shining armor, Vito Corsentino.

Vito was enchanted the moment he spotted the beautiful woman on the beach. His artist eye appreciates her form but there is something else about her that calls to him on a more personal level. When she needs his help, he races to her side. Once Emily is safe, the attraction he, they, feel takes complete control. Both discover a sizzling happiness together. When reality intrudes, the “truth” comes out and shatters their relationship before it barely began. Vito feels betrayed and harshly sends her away. He never wants to see Emily again. However, he cannot get her out of his mind and his body definitely remembers hers. He will find her again, only this time he will be the one in control. She will be the one left wanting him.

The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge is Kate Walker’s fiftieth release and her skill as a story teller continues to impress her fans. You are bound to find something that calls to you within its pages. Emily and Vito are perfect for each other but Ms.Walker gives them many hurdles and mistakes to overcome. As they struggle to find happiness, her tale will keep you enthralled. You may recognize Vito’s name from his brother, Guido’s book, Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride, another excellent read. Do not miss out on adding Ms. Walker’s books to your collection.

Kim Swiderski
Writers Unlimited Reviewer

Another nice bit of news was to find that over on as I was browsing through the ebook boutique I spotted a familiar title and cover. My next Presents/M&B Modern title The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife which is a November release, was already there at #5 in the bsetsellers chart. Officially, it's not actually even on ebook release until Monday. So that brightened my day - a lot.

Finally, again on the eharlequin message boards, a reader was talking about the sad time she'd had recently - losing people she knew, one in awful circumstances. So she'd curled up with a great Presents book (my friend Anne McAllister's The Boss's Wife For A Week to be precise) and had become absorbed in the fictional world that story created.
Now I'll suppose that if Mary Evans Professor of Women's Studies at the University Of Kent who said that romances were books that are "a classic literature for - you know - rather miserable, rather disappointed, rather jaundiced people..." had meant this sort of unhappiness then she might have had a small point - but in completely the opposite was she actually used it. What she said was that romance reinforced the misery, the disappointment - what the real reader - this reader said was she was thankful for the good books that Presents issues. "They always take me away for a while, which seems then to make reality a little better to deal with. "
And all I can add to that is that if one of my books makes one person feel better in that way during a tough time in their life then I'm happy - and proud.

Finally, while checking out the other major critic of romance on the BBC programme - Celia Brayfield - on Amazon I found that she was a book coming out in 2008 called Arts Reviews: And How To Write Them. The synopsis for this book includes the line:
"This book explains how to seize your readers' attention and how to be witty always, fascinating most of the time and bitchy when you need to be."
Yes - well, she should be good at teaching that part of things.

For me, I'll stick with the readers and writers who are 'radiators' I remember as defined in an article by Maureen Lipman where she classified people as either radiators (warm, giving, welcoming) or drains (cold miserable 'draining') . And I'll leave the 'drains' well alone.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Guilty Pleasures?

Well, I listened to it . . . and I did as I promised. I gave the Radio 4 Guilty Pleasures 100 years of Mills & Boon the courtesy of listening with an open mind. I didn't skim it or read the opinions of anyone else on it it.

I listened - and I ended up wondering just why they bothered. It didn't say anything new - in fact it didn't really say anything. It was a bit of a rehash of most of what has gone before. And what's that saying about the 'parson's egg' - that it was good in parts?

It gave some interviews with editors Tessa Shapcott, Joanne Carr and Meg Sleightholme who came across as the intelligent and modern women they are. It had interviews with Sharon Kendrick and Roger (Gill) Sanderson as authors. And while I suppose that Roger as the much trumpeted 'M&B's only male author' is interesting for that point, I would have thought that an author like Penny Jordan or Carole Mortimer who have both been writing for year s and years and have over 300 novels between them - and who have survived many changes in the times during which they have been writing would have been a more enlightening and in depth approach.

But then, well 'in depth' was not what this programme was aiming for - how could they when they were dealing with 100 years in barely 30 minutes? So we had two minutes on the history of M&B , 2 minutes on Alan Boon, two minutes on . . .well you get the idea.

Oh yes, and more than two minutes on the regulation academics and 'good' writers who were wheeled out to tell the world that we write formulaic clichéd stories that are only about heroines 'waiting' for man to come along and sweep them off their feet - a man who, by the way doesn't notice them until they buy a nice dress and appear looking attractive, so that then he sweeps in and carries her off in his strong manly arms!

Nothing else happens apparently - no bankruptcies, no miscarriages, no infertility, no fears of unfaithfulness, no hunts for long lost sisters, no heroines finding the child they gave up for adoption . . . I could go on but it's so boring, so predictable - if you want direct quotes then head over to Trish Wylie's blog. because
a. I have a book to write - one of those clichéd formulaic ones where the heroine needs to buy a new dress
b. These words are so condescending, so stupid and so appallingly insulting to any women who want to read a romance that they're not worth repeating twice and so giving more emphasis to.
c. To be honest, Trish has done such a good job in transcribing the actual idiotic or outrageously condescending and snobbish quotes that I feel she desrves the credit for struggling through them

Other opinions? Well, I was left wondering how old the comedian presenter was. I suspect she was trying to get a rise out of the editors by (oooh giggle giggle ) talking about the "twitching in her hero's pants " as he looked at the heroine and taking literally the 'no deformity' rule ("you can;t have a heoine with one leg . . ." - whaaat?!) by coming up with a plot where the heroine had plastic surgery that went terribly wrong - and your point is? One of the best bits was the editor's incisive comment on her opening having no dialogue etc when I'm sure she was supposed to recoil and twitter faintly 'Oh no - no deformity!!'

Ah yes, the deformity problem - we come back to Mr J McAleer and his history of M&B again. History - a word that means dealing with the past. Past.

So what was the point of quoting Violet Winspear speaking in the 1960s - or the guide to writing for Mills & Boon for the same period? Their opinions were interesting as historical facts, no more. Violet Winspear has been dead for nearly 20 years. Her words are totally irrelevant to the books written today and the women reading them - though interestingly enough, current bestselling author Sandra Marton is talking about her over on the Pink Heart Society blog today.

A comparison of the type of book VW wrote with the ones being written today - or a comparison of the How To Guide with - say - the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance would have been more interesting - and might have said so much more about the way that the company and the books have progressed since 1960. But that's where this programme really fell down - they didn't discuss or compare anything - just gave snippets of things that were interesting trivia and were analysed or debated in any real way. It was the sort of approach that I might have expected from a schoolgirl Media Studies essay rather than any sort of in depth look at a cultural phenomenon that is 100 years old next year.

Like I said, same old, same old.

What astonishes me though is the capacity for sneering, pulling to pieces and downright condescending approach to their fellow women some females have. If the 'academics' on this programme really are so arrogant and mean minded and downright condescending towards the members of their own sex as they sounded then give me a good old-fashioned bit of gender prejudice from a man any day. There's that well known saying about 'friends like that. . . ' And here's for the woman who rousingly refuted the 'only for saddoes' comment with the fact that women totally understand that the books are fiction and not a guidebook for life.

I expect - and hope - that there will be other comments on other blogs about this programme. They'll be worth reading. Sadly many people won't read our replies - and even more sadly there will be plenty who will take this shallow - and in some places hopelessly outdated - skim over the subject as gospel. As I said - same old, same old.

So now I'm going back to write one of my clichéd books - no, sorry, it won't be so clichéd when it comes out as apparently they take the clichés out but you can see the holes where they were removed. Funny that as every time I get my proofs every single word I wrote is in the manuscript. And I'm proud of all of them. I'm proud of the fact that I write books that so many women read with enjoyment no matter where they live or how old they are or whatever their educational backgrounds. In some places literary snobbery is alive and well - but in others there are those 50 million readers - plus about 2000 authors - who are going to go right ahead and ignore it. And continue writing and reading for pleasure.

If you haven't heard Guilty Pleasures and wanted to listen to it, you can find it on the Listen Again page on the BBC Radio 4 website.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Not at all Guilty Pleasures

More on that radio programme.

No, I haven't heard it yet - it isn't broadcast until tomorrow so, unlike so many journalists I've met or read, I am actually going to wait to hear what is said before I comment, criticise or cheer. But I was pointed in the direction of a press release for it here and in that I found these paragraphs -

The company has remained essentially conservative with no sex before marriage, no inter-racial relationships and, especially, no heroines with deformities allowed. One of Mills and Boon's most prolific writers in the Sixties, Violet Winspear, caused controversy in 1970 when she claimed her heroes had to be "capable of rape".

Lucy examines why Mills and Boon still doesn't deal directly with some elements of modern society, such as same-sex and inter-racial relationships.

No sex before marriage? - No - I'm sorry - doesn't that just date their opinions so so badly? I mean when was the last time you read a Modern/Presents novel - and even some Romances - when there was no sex before marriage? I'll be honest and say that I don't think I've ever written one.

No inter-racial marriages. Has anyone read Melissa James Aboriginal heroes? And just what is a sheikh book - hundreds and hundreds of sheikh books - if not 'inter-racial'? I've read several books too with Japanese or part Japanese heroines - and those part Japanese heroines must have been the product of an inter-racial relationship.

No heroines with deformities? Depends what you call deformities I suppose - and I for one wouldn't write a heroine with serious physical problems unless I could do it really really well. Same goes for inter-racial relationships. But I've read heroines with scars - heroines who have had breasts removed because of cancer. And what about Liz Fielding's feisty heroine Matty in The Marriage Miracle? The whole point about that book is that Matty is in a wheelchair. 'Deformity' no - but disability very definitely.

And excuse me, where is it written that every single book published must be made to deal with every single 'element of modern society such as same-sex and inter-racial relationships'? And why should the light romances of the Mills & Boon authors be singled out for criticism of that? I have written gay characters - so have many other romance writers. I haven't written romances with gay couples at the centre of the book because that is not what my audience is looking for. And again I couldn;t write them well enough because I don't have the knowledge. What about so many other popular novelists? Should I not read - say Robert Goddard because he writes about heterosexual men and women? Should I not read Barbara Erskine because her heroes and heroines are not of different races?

And what about the very successful Kimani Romance imprint?
Who did their research for this? They should be shot.

But then, in a paragraph above the one I've quoted, I read:
Lucy speaks to editors and executives, exploring their huge archives. She meets Julian Boon, the son of Alan Boon – himself son of one of the company's co-founders and widely credited as the genius behind the brand – and historian Joseph McAleer, who divulge the company's history.

Joseph McAleer wrote Passion's Fortune The Story of Mills & Boon. It's quite an interesting books as far as it goes. I was sent acopy to review when it originally came out. If you want to know the facts about how the company was started, how it grew and grew, what the early authors were like, the early books, it will give you those.

But Passion's Fortune was published in 1999 - which means it's very nearly 10 years old now. And when it was published it only went as far as the 1960s in dealing with the way the books were written and the types of stories, the attitudes of the authors - and the readers. That is, this 'history' stops way back in history. My son was taught about the 60s in history lessons when he was at secondary school and he's been a teacher himself for over five years now. I may have lived through the 60s as a child but I don't live in the way I used to do then - it's a long time ago.
The 60s were when all the changes happened all over the country - when attitudes to premarital sex and babies born 'out of wedlock' etc etc had a bomb put under them and new attitudes started to prevail - thank heaven! M&B books started to reflect that too - way back in the same decade. And that's where McAleer's book STOPS. It was already 30 years out of date when it was published - now it's almost 50 years behind the times. If it's Passion's Fortune that they're using as their bible for what M&B want from their authors, then they're w-a-y behind the times.

And why choose this book above The Romance Fictionof Mills & Boon 1909-1990s by jay Dixon, who's also written a history of M&B (but much more focussed on trends within the novels rather than the economics of sales), is a feminist and actually worked at M&B in the 1980s. Even this book, which was also published in 1999, is now lagging behind the times but she does recognise the changes that have happened since the 1960s - and in the popular culture of the UK those 30 years were a very long time.

Of course, it's still possible that the programme itself could turn out to be a well balanced, carefully researched, enlightening commentary on Mills & Boon as it actually is today but I'll admit that from their press release I'm not feeling that hopeful. I would love to be happily surprised - I really would.

What intrigues me though, as someone who is fascinated by popular culture and the way the media works, is that the press release for this brand new programme persists in dragging out the tired old clichés, the old-fashioned image, the supposed 'conservative' approach of Mills & Boon books and authors. I have read/seen/listened to so many same old same old reports on the company like that that if I was just a general radio listener then I wouldn't even want to turn on another programme that, accordingto the press release, is going to tellme exactly the same old, same old stuff.

But if they'd advertised the programme as being ready to demonstrate how hugely the books had changed, how widespread their readership is, how many nationalities of women are buying them - and the reasons why - the exciting, vibrant, hugely successful company that has developed from that original 1908 publisher - the many many women of all ages, races and backgrounds who are now working in the company - as authors or editors or in marketing or design - or heading the company as Donna Hayes does as opposed to the rather paternalistic management style of the Mr Boons . . .
That would be a programme that as a student of popular culture I'd want to listen to.
Well, we can always hope that the mistakes of the press release are not reflected in the actual content of the progamme. Unlike so many commentators who aren't prepared to give me, my books, my fellow authors and the company I work for the courtesy of doing so - I'm going to get my facts about it before I say anything.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Centenaries and Birthdays

Yesterday I mentioned the important anniversary coming up for Harlequin Mills and Boon - the centenary of the founding of the company in 1908 by Gerald Mills and Charles Boon. They started it with just £1,000 capital.

It's come a long way since then. Though if you read some press or other media reports you'll be convinced that things haven't changed a bit since that long ago day when Mr M and Mr B got together and decided to publish some books! Take a look at some of the facts about the sheer amount of sales and distribution that the company now achieves:

50 million readers worldwide

200 million books sold per annum worldwide = 6.6 books per second

3.2 million regular readers in the UK, 13 million books sold per annum in the UK

UK Market leader with a 74% share of the paperback romantic fiction market, which in total is worth more than £54M each year

Romantic fiction accounts for 20.5% (vol) of all fiction books purchased at retail in UK

95% awareness of Mills & Boon brand in the UK

Over 3 million women in the UK regularly read a Harlequin Mills & Boon book.

57% of buyers spend 3 hours or more reading during the week

1500 authors worldwide; 200 authors living in the UK, 600 new titles per annum; 50 per month

If you stacked every book sold in a single day on top of each other, the pile would be 35 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower.

If you set out to read all the Harlequin books sold over the past ten years, averaging a little over two hours per book, you would be reading for the next quarter of a million years.

The weight of all Harlequin books sold last year would equal the maximum carrying capacity of more than 169 Boeing 747 cargo planes.

Over the last forty years, Harlequin characters have kissed each other over 20,000 times, shared about 30,000 hugs and headed for the altar at least 7,000 times.

(Figures taken from the Mills & Boon website.)

Media interest in the company has already started and I'm sure all the UK authors and anyone else who has access to BBC Radio 4 at 11.30am UK time on Thursday ( will be listening to this: Guilty Pleasure: a Hundred Years of Mills and Boon.

And I have to admit that they have caught me on the raw already, with that one word in the title - Guilty. I've never felt guilty reading, writing or talking about - or, damn it, enjoying a Mills and Boon or Harlequin category romance. And I don't believe that any woman should .

After all, those figures quoted above speak for themselves - all those readers - all those (mostly) women - they haven't been forced into reading and buying these books. All that enjoyment (they have to have enjoyed them or they wouldn't be back for more) all that relaxation - 'me time' - as busy women everywhere read books that they had chosen, that they wanted to read. How can that be a bad thing?

And there's that 'all the same' argument , the tired old 'formulaic' dismissal of the books. Well yes, they are all a love story - the story of the development of an emotional relationship between a man and a woman. And what's wrong with that? Love is somethng every person in the world can - or should - be able to relate to - love is something we all hope for, a satisfying emotional relationship is part of what makes life worth living. It's not advocating a sexist, paternalistic society to claim that a woman - no - scratch that -

. . . to claim that we all - woman or man - can be happier, more confident, more able to fulfil our potential and just damn well enjoy life more in a secure and loving emotional relationship.

I know I am. Like most women, I don't need a man to make me whole, to make my life worth living and most definitely not to provide for me - but life is definitely enhanced by having a co-pilot.

I was supposed to have been part of the Radio 4 programme. The recent Write Away course Beyond the Hearts and Flowers that I taught with Julie Cohen in Leicester was originally planned to have been included in the topics, but the timing wasn't right. Pity - I think that the producers might have had a few surprises at some of the topics we taught. Julie's Writing the Sexy Bits definitiely comes to mind here as I still meet people who think that the books are mired in the 1950s and never dare to open a bedroom door, preferring instead those three little dots. You know the ones . ..

"He swept her up into his manly arms and carried her towards his bedroom. Kicking open the door, her planted a punishing kiss on her willing lips as he took her inside . . . "

And of course I know many of the contributors, authors, probably editors and executives - and a good few of the readers they have interviewed.

But still, like Natasha Oakley, I'm braced for the snide comments, the 'badly -written' accusations, I'm expecting the 'formula' to be trotted out - and I'm definitely expecting the passages from individual books to be read in that wierd, breathless 'romance' voice that actors always feel they have to use to convey emotion. Or maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. Maybe for once there will be a balanced report on just how popular the books are, why they're so successful (start with good basic storytelling for one thing), why women want to read about emotional relationships so much, and why - the question no one every really looks at - they are so hugely international.

Because one of the problems in the UK is that they will insist on focusing only on the Mills& Boon brand in the UK and not seeing the international company that Harlequin is.

Look at those figures above again - 50 million readers worldwide - my own Neo counter has clocked up visitors from 113 different countries. What other publishing company has such a huge international appeal to women in all walks of life, all creeds, colours, ages . . . Are we seriously meant to consider that all those women are totally brainwashed into reading our books just because they're unhappy in their own relationships?

And what other company, what other books are a household word, a brand with 95% instant recognition? Does anyone read ' a Hodder Headline' or a 'Piatkus' or even 'a Penguin'. But they do enjy reading 'A Mills and Boon.'

To quote PHS founder Trish Wylie on her blog this morning -

Isn't it about time interviewers and the press did their research properly and realized that the Category Romances we all love so much have come a long way since the Seventies and Eighties?????????? I mean - sheesh! And who really has the right to tell fully grown women what they can and can't read?

And talking about the PHS gives me a nice segue into my other topic this morning - the other important celebration that's going on right through this month - the Pink Heart Society 1st birthday celebrations.

If you've visited the Pink Heart Blog then you'll know that the Birthday Treasure Hunt is running through September - just follow the trail to all the blogs to find the Treasure Hunt icon and see what gift the owner of each site has offered to the Little Dancing Guy on his special day.

Today it's my turn to give the Little Guy a gift and I think I've found the perfect one for him - it was a little expensive, but I reckon he's worth it. In fact, I'd say he was a little diamond - so L P D Guy - here's my present to you a perfect heart shaped pink diamond. I just hope it's not so big that it's going to weigh you down and restrict all that dancing you keep doing.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PINK HEART SOCIETY - here's to many, many more!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I'm back.

I've been back for a day really but I had so much catching up to do - plus unpacking, washing . . . and I needed to catch up on some sleep as I didn't do much of that while I was away

There are other reports on other blogs - Michelle Styles, Kate Hardy, and I'm sure Trish Wylie and Donna Alward will report back as soon as they catch up too. I'll just be able to touch on some personal highlights.
Thursday night was the Presents Authors dinner which Michelle Reid and I hosted the night before the AMBA lunch. There was a mixture of the older authors - myself, Michelle, Jacqueline Baird - and some of the newest signings - Abby Green, Christina Hollis, India Grey and Natalie Rivers. And as always once a bunch of authors get together then the conversation flows - and the wine does just a little bit. (So yes, lara a 'round' of romance novelists might well be a good title for a group of us.)

But Friday was the big day when the Association of Mills & Boon Authors met at the RAF Club Piccadily for lunch. The lunch is always well attended so I was looking forward to meeting so many friends. The first half an hour is always a flurry of hugs and welcomes and greetings meeting - in no particular order - Michelle Styles (who organised the whole thing superbly with Jessica Hart and who was wearing a stunning red and black vintage jacket that had belonged to her Grandmother), Fiona Harper, Nicola Cornick, Roger (Gill) Sanderson, special friends Kate Hardy and Trish Wylie, Christina, Jacqui, Abby, India and Natalie again, Jenny Haddon (in her Sophie Weston personna), Joanna Maitland, Catherine George, Carole Mortimer, Heidi Rice, Sharon Kendrick . . . I will just leave that as a selection as there were so many authors there and I'm bound to forget someone.

Michelle Styles making announcements at the AMBA lunch

I was thrilled to see everyone and specially snatch a few moments to chat with PHS creator and wonderwoman Trish Wylie - to congratulate her on finally getting the dreaded Gabe revised and bought - and to hear news of her plans for the PHS - some of which involve me personally - believe me, there are some good things coming up.

But this year I was looking for a special guest who had flown over from Canada for her very first AMBA lunch - Romance author Donna Alward.

With Scary Kate (Hardy) and Fiona Harper

You'll remember Donna from her appearance at my Great Big Blog Party back in June. I had 'met' Donna on the eHarlequin message boards but this was to be my firts opportunity to meet her in persona and as soon as I saw a beautiful, glamorous lady standing in the middle of the room I knew this had to be her. One of the great things about making friends on the internet is that you get to know them in a relaxed and open way and people I have really enjoyed chatting to that way have rarely been a disappointment in real life. Donna was no exception - she is warm, open and totally delightful. Meeting her made so so glad that there is the internet to keep us in contact - but so sad that wonderful friends like her actually live so very far away. Safe journey home tomorrow Donna and I hope that it won't be too long before we meet again.

With Donna outside the RAF Club
The lunch was fun and business with information about the company's pans for the Centenary Celebrations for 2008 - more on that later - and some new developments that are coming up for the Presents line in the near future too. More on that when it can be announced. And there was the great news that Mills & Boon are moving into India. Now I know that there are plenty of readers of romances in India - I have had many email messages from readers there and some of you have won my contests. But I know that actually getting hold of the books can be difficult. Hopefully this will now be easier. At the reception later on Friday I met the charming and enthusiastic man who will be in charge of this new venture and he is very keen to make it work. The launch of the first books will be, if I remember rightly, in November this year and there will be six Mills & Boon Modern novels in the first books released out there.

Between the lunch and the reception Michelle and I had been invited to afternoon tea but a nagging migraine meant that I needed a break if I was to enjoy the evening but at 5.30, together with Marion's husband and the Babe Magnet, we made our way to the Oriental Club off Oxford Street where all the editors from Richmond had gathered and there was champagne on offer and even more talking. The Reception was held in the beautiful library there, a fabulously ornately decorated room where of course the BM had to investigate all the wall to wall bookcases.

Being a Babe Magnet of course, he had also to live up to his reputation - which he did. He can be seen here with his - er - his Babes, all suitably magnetised!

The babes are Trish Wylie (with blonde hair) PHS Supremo and Romance and Modern Extra (now Modern Heat) author
India Grey new Presents/Modern Author
and the irrepressible Abby Green another new Presents author.

Other authors who are special friends joined us at the Oriental club including the lovely Julie Cohen and Natasha Oakley, and I managed to have time to snatch a chat with my editor (who looked even more glamorous than usual after a wonderful holiday and a promotion) and many of the other eds there including Executive Editor Tessa Shapcott who is here with Michelle Reid .

At the reception several awards were handed out by Editorial Director Karin Stoecker. Mary Nichols and my dear friend Scary Kate - aka Kate Hardy - both receieved their silver pins for their 25th novels (and I'm not even going to think of the short space of time in which Kate H has made this achievement). I was so delighted to be able to cheer and appplaud her as she received her pin.

And then it was my turn. I'll be honest and admit that really until this moment it hadn't actually really sunk in that I had had 50 titles published so when Karin announced it, I found that I was shaking and nervous. I barely registered the introduction - though I was stunned to hear myself called 'a force' on eHarlequin and now apparently on the I heart Presents blog. Apparently it has been spotted that a lot of the visitors to the blog come via this blog/website - so thank you all for going across and reading - it's been noticed!

Kate Hardy and her special award

Soon, like The Other Kate, I was clutching a turquoise box and a special letter from Donna Hayes, Harlequin's CEO. And then was amongst all my wonderful friends and fellow authors who wanted to congratulate me - and everyone wanted to see just what the 50th title pin looks like! What I wanted was to find the Babe Magnet and share it with him. He had promised he would take photos too and I could only hope that this time he had the camera the right way

round - last time he had to take important photos he ended up with a fabulous image of his own right eye!

But this time he managed to get things right as this picture of me with Karin Stoecker shows.

Soon the Reception was over - but not the evening. More friends arrived - Anna Louise Lucia who was looking very beautiful - as was Biddy Coady who is, I very much hope, is now getting very close to being yet another of my wonderfully 'deflowered' and about to be published ex-RNA-virgins. (Fingers tightly crossed Biddy).

Biddy had organised a dinner for many of us at Browns and so we all staggered there (staggered because of being unused to spending so long in elegant high heels, I assure you - not because we had had too much champagne!). It was a wonderful meal with lots of laughter and - guess what - lots of talking. During this part of the evening we finally decided what the group name for a bunch of romance Novelists must be - so, courtesy of Trish, Fiona, Donna et al - I can announce that the correct term is in fact -
A CLEAVAGE of romance novelists.

I do have a photograph to prove this perfectly but I am not displaying it here to protect the innocent - and no, the novelists in question were not - definitely not - the innocents - but I think I shall keep that photo to blackmail anyone I might need to have in my power later. The BM is still recovering from the sight of it!!

Anna Louise Lucia, Biddy Coady and Julie Cohen

Eventually, and very very reluctantly, I had to tear myself away and the BM and I headed back to our hotel. I have to send a very special thank you to Biddy for orgainsing a fabulous end to a wonderful day. It was a gorgeous way to celebrate once more that 50th title - what better way than to celebrate with friends and fellow writers who have come to mean so much to me as a result of this writing career of mine. I had a truly fantastic time.

And I think that's me caught up - except for one thing - I know that like everyone at the Reception, you'll all want to know what that special pin looks like - so here it is - and I have to add to this a special thank you to each and every one of my readers out there because without you reading my books and buying the next one - and the next - I would never have been able to keep writing, keep selling- and so reach ths special celebration and achievement. So here's the gold pin that I'm sharing with you all because you helped me to achieve it - Thank you so much

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Busy - Back Soon

I'm dashing in and dashing out again this morning. Writing this while the kettle boils and then - well, pretty soon after that - I'm on my way out the door.

I'm off to London to play the Lady Novelist for a couple of day. Tonight I'm meeting with a bunch of Modern/Presents novelists for dinner. And then tomorrow there as a l-o-n-g day of meeting, eating, talking, drinking a little wine (just a little) and talking - and talking . . .

First and most important I'm meeting my very special friend Michelle Reid and her husband - we always book the same hotel. The as I said tonight will be the Presenst dinner. I'm thinking that there really shoud be a good name for a gang of romantic novelists getting together - a passion of novelists? A hug (we certainly do plenty of that) ? A chatter? (We do plenty of that too) Ideas, anyone? Anyway, the dinner will bring together some of the most established stars of the Presents line - and some of the very newest authors to be published. And it's going to be great fun.

Friday will be the annual Association of Mills & Boon Authors lunch. That's in the RAF Club Piccadily. Luckily this is where we always hold it, so they're used to the volume of noise that can be produced by a bunch - a gaggle - a passion . . . of M&B Novelists. Yhis time many of the editorial and Marketing team are joining us and we'll hear about the plans for the coming yers - that important Mills & Boon Centenary year. I'm intrigued to know what they have planned.

From the lunch, we'll probably head for afternoon tea - more eating/talking then HMB are holding a reception which usually involves drinking a little champagne. And then we're meeeting some other friends - writers but not for HMB and we're all going out to dinner and that could go on for a l-o-n-g time . . .

After which we will probably stagger back to out hotel in a state of collapse.

But first I have to catch the train - so I'm off to make the pot of tea and then get on my way. I'll report back when I'm home again - late Saturday or Sunday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

. . . and Caerleon

And to answer Ayla's question in the comments section. . .

Hey kate!Where would i go to sign up for next years caerleon writers holiday (if indeed a non writer can go?)Thanks!

Ayla - check out the Writers' Holiday web site here and you'll get all the information you need.

Anyone can go - whatever level of writing you're at, beginners to multi published. Sadly, I won't be able to make it next year, but I'll be teaching there in 2009

Fishguard Novel Writing Weekend

I had a letter yesterday from Fiona who was interested in the Novel Writing Weekend in Fishguard. She started off brilliantly - telling me she'd bought the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance - and even better, she'd followed the advice!

But then she had a question. As this is a question that I've been asked several time about the course I run, either at Fishguard or anywhere else, I thought it wold be helpful to answer it on my blog so that anyone who needs to can read the answer.

Fiona gave me permission to quote from her letter here: (Thanks again Fiona)

Having read your 12-point guide to writing romance and taken your advice to read before you start writing. I read and read and in the end decided that my heart wanted to write paranomal romance.
So, having seen the next course is on contemporary romance would it still be suitable for me? I have started character building and writing the first chaper for a paranomal romance set in a contempory setting.

Thanks for your advice, Fiona.
And here's my answer:
Well - you're off to a great start! Thank you for reading the 12 Point Guide - and for taking my advice! I meet so many people who want to write romance but have never looked at the publishers' contemporary output and I have seem some truly old-fashioned - not to say prehistoric - attempts at writing romance

OK, so - I'm assuming that you mean my next course in Fishguard in November? Well,I think my answer to you wold be a resounding yes - it should definitely be suitable and hopefully helpful to you

You see, the title Contemporary Romance is in the details for the course largely to differentiate it from the Historical Novel which is a completely different topic and taught very differently. I'll go back to my first paragraph - I teach what contemporary publishers are looking for.

I teach the Romantic Fiction course really - romance in all its forms (some of which would cross over into the Historical Novel topic) You see, if you are writing romance then the growth of the emotional relationship is what is central to the book - and that's wht my course is about - creating characters, adding emotion, working on emotional intensity. After that the idividual author adds the elements they most want to concentrate on - intrigue, paranormal, medical . . .whatever.

On my courses I have had would-be historical writers. medical romance writers, thriller writers who want to add that emotional content, MA students who simply want to learn popular storytelling techniques, inspirational romance writers, chicklit writers . . .

So yes, I would think that the course would be suitable and hopefully very helpful for you - and if it's as much fun as it was last year then very enjoyable too

If you do decide to come along please let me know and I'll look forward to meeting you
The point I'm making is that my courses - and the 12 Point Guide - are not just narrowly aimed at wrould-be category romance writers. The book and the courses are designed to help anyone who wants to write a novel in which the emotional relationship is central to the development - which is Romantic Fiction in its broadest definition. The books I write have the concentrated focus and intensity on the contemporary romance in a style and approach that fits the Modern Romance/Presents lines - but what I teach can be applied to every line, indeed every type of romance/romantic fiction published.

In fact, the lovely Karen Maitland who as well as being a Creative Writing tutor
has two great historical novels - Company of Liars and The Owl Killers coming out in 2008 and 2009 - said of the 12 Point Guide:
I genuinely think the book deserves as wide a publicity as possible. There are a lot of writing books out there and some, it has to be said, are less than helpful, but I think writers from beginners to experienced writers get solid practical advice from your book which is both clear, logical and jargon-free and as one of my more down-to-earth male students said, 'makes you actually get on and write rather than sit there meditating on your inner child for three months before you can get started.'
Title - in this capacity, Dr. Karen Maitland, Creative Writing Tutor, Adult Education.
Though I must add that in my other role as a writer myself I have also found it really useful.
So if it's considerations like Fiona's that has you wondering if the course can help you, then please don't worry. The weekend should have something for everyone - just ask the students on the Write Away Beyond The Hearts and Flowers course in Leicester last month.

We had all ages, all interests all styles and levels of writing on that course and from everyone's comments and the feedback sheets everyone got a lot out of it.

So if you're wondering about the Fishguard Course - or any others that I might run in the future - I hope you'll decide to come along and I can meet you and hopefully help you take your writing a stage further.

Maybe I'll see you there?
PS Don't forget that it you are a member of the RNA, then you will get a discount on your booking - check out the back page of this month's Romance Matters for details.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

H-I-A-T or That Man Again

OK so here's a day when I expect my blog hits counter to spike wonderfully. A day like the Pink Heart Society Hugh Jackman Tour day. A day when women of taste all over the world come to visit my blog - and my friends' - because of the legend that is


Over on the PHS blog, Anne McAllister has written a post about the Legend of Hugh in A Towel, recalling the days when she and I used underhand means to win the largest possible audiences for our talks at the Australian and New Zealand Romance Writers' Conferences.

Our secret weapon was Hugh-in-a-towel projected life-size - on occasions more than lifesize (some of the audience are still recovering) on a screen at the front of the room. Since then the legend of H-I-A-T has grown and is now known worldwide, for reasons Anne has explained brilliantly.

There were other pics of Mr Jackman on display, at least at the RW NZ conference where I was talking about Alpha Heroes. I needed illustrations for the Alpha (guess who - or should that be Guess Hugh?) but I also needed, for comparison, the Beta Hero - ->

And I needed an example of the Gamma Hero


But H-I-A-T was the one that everyone talked about afterwards.

Well, perhaps not everyone. I do remember one lady coming to me after my talk (I think this was the one on the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance - see, H-I-A-T is adaptable, he can be used to illustrate any point and I believe he was - all 12 of them. Well, maybe not the Heroine one . . .) Anyway, this lady came up to me afterwards and gave me a little note. It read 'I don't like your round-shouldered hero. He looks as if he has psychological problems'
Ah well, you can't please everyone - even with H-I-A-T.

On her blog, Anne remembers the Journalist from Christchurch (the one who, for the record, described me as having a barmaid's bosom! I have given it back to the barmaid since then). This man was so sure he had unearthed a cynical conspiracy to brainwash and delude poor gullible women (barmaid's bosoms - gullible women - can you see the level at which this guy saw the female sex?) Why was he so sure that we intelligent - he allowed that we were intelligent - cynical types were out to delude these women out of their money?

Because we told them the terrible lie that tall, dark, gorgeous men were devastatin
gly attractive - and we put up pics of H-I-A-T to prove it.

Shocking! You really needed to be brainwashed before you could think that - didn't you?
You poor, gullible women who enjoy category romance.

Well, deluded or not, gullible and brain-washed or whatever, the legend of H-I-A-T has grown so much that now, whenever I give a talk or a workshop - or any sort of an event - no one believes that it is a Kate Walker event without the guest appearance of H-I-A-T.

So much so that the writers' weekend at which I celebrated my 50th title had to have H-I-A-T right there too. I have illustrated this point with a photo of H-I-A-T with the lovely Julie Cohen because the truth is that I owe the original inspiration for H-I-A-T to Julie who found him as a special treat for me during her Writing The Sexy Bits talk at the RNA Conference in 2004 after which I took him off on his world tour to Australia and New Zealand.
And if you think that H-I-A-T at Auckland or Sydney was wonderful - just imagine H-I-A-T together with Julie's other aids of chocolate and strawberries.
Chocolate, strawberries - H-I-A-T. . .
And people keep asking what do women want?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Click to help

The Hunger SiteAs you probably know, October is Breast Cancer awareness month. But I wanted to get a head start on that. So if you look in the sidebar just under the PHS logo, you'll see that I've added a special link to the Breast Cancer site.
If you click on that it will take you to the site where you can help provide free mammograms by just clicking on the link - no cost to you and very little effort on your part.
The reason I've put this up early is because the site's premier sponsor Bare Necessities has promised to provide and extra 100 mammograms if they reach their target of 4,500,000 clicks this month. They have reached 71% of their goal but they still need all the clicks they can get. So why not just take a moment, make two clicks and know that you've helped?

And while you're there, add another few clicks for the other site - The Hunger Site, Child Health etc . The Literacy Site provides books to children in need and they too have a special promotion. If they can provide 20,000 books from the clicks they get then their sponsors will match this with another 20,000.
As someone who love books as I do - and if you're visiting this blog you probably do too- that seems a great aim to me.
And please, why not click through each site every time you visit here? It'll only take a few seconds. You're going to be moving on anyway - so why not go via these great sites?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Looking forward

Last week I had planned a Back To School themed post as the children from the local secondary school are once again walking past my house every morning and home again in the evenings. I've always loved the Back to School time - or, really for me it was Back to University that was best - with new plans, projects, and best of all lots of excuses for new stationery. (I've just been stocking up so I have enjoyed that bit!)

But that post - and a lot of the week - got highjacked by other events so instead of that I thought I'd just mention some of the things that I am looking forward in the rest of this year.

Starting with Thursdday this week when the BM and I will be heading for London for the annual Association of Mills & Boon Authors lunch on Friday. This will be followed by a reception give by HMB for their authors. I will have a chance to meet up with lots of friends - Michelle Reid and I always stay in the same hotel and we start talking the moment we meet and are still talking when we have to go to catch our separate trains. Luckily our husbands get on well too!

And this time I'll be meeting a new author I've 'met' on the internet but never seen in person. Donna Alward will be coming from Alberta, Canada and after some time chatting with her on the eHarlequin message boards I'll actually get to see her face to face. Along with so many other friends - can't wait!

When I get back I will be guesting on the Pink Heart Society loop for the last weekend of the month. At the moment I haven't thought of a specific topic to chat about - maybe I'll just do a Q&A. But if there are any PHS members here who'd like to suggest a topic then I'll be glad to see your ideas. And I'll be playing my part in the PHS Birthday celebration Treasure Hunt by announcing the gift I'm giving the Little Pink Dancing Guy.

Then there are a couple of books coming out - one of which is a joint project between myself and my husband. Being a Professional Writer was originally planned for July but is in fact coming out in October. This is takes the reader from the foundation of all varieties of creative writing through to finding publishers and promoting their own works. It combines a handbook concerned with the everyday realities of writing and a workbook with practical exercises.

In October too, the BM has to do research in Dublin for one of his new Grim and Gruesome books in the Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths series so I hope to go with him and this time the Offspring and his Lovely Girlfriend plan to come with us so I'll get a chance to show them one of my favourite cities - and hopefully meet up with my two favourite Irish romance writers Abby Green and Trish Wylie.

The next month of course is when my next novel is out. The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife will be published in both M&B Modern and Harlequin Presents in November. So I expect that the means it will be out in Australia in December. I love the cover on this one so I can't wait to see it on the bookshop shelves. And I expect I'll run a contest to celebrate its publication as well.

Also in November I'll also be heading for Pembrokeshire in Wales and the Fishguard Novel Writing Weekend. Anyone who's read the blogs I posted about the wonderful time I had in Caerleon this summer will know just how much I'll be looking forward to meeting up with Anne and Gerry again, and my fabulous fellow tutor Jane Jackson who runs the Historical Novel course. There's also a Crime Writing workshop with Lesley Horton. The weekend courses are intensive and concentrated but they are always a lot of fun as well. Like last year I plan on doing some one to one discussions with the students about their work - and I expect that, also like last year, we'll end up having extra sessions in the evening - either in the classroom or the bar!
If you're interested in joining us, you can find all the details here.

Which brings us to December and that C word - Christmas. As I do every year I'll be running the Christmas Stocking Stuffed With Books contest, and I'm sure that, as in past years, there will be lots of wonderful books donated as part of the prize. I had no sooner mentioned this contest in passing than a couple of wonderful writer friends emailed me and offered their Christmas books as well. (Bless you Kate Hardy and Margaret McDonagh). I haven't yet finalised just which books will be in the prize bundles this time but I already have romance titles by Holly Jacobs, Heidi Rice, Tessa Radley. Amanda Ashby's fabulous You Had Me At Halo is in there too along with books by past guest bloggers Elizabeth Oldfield and Jane Wenham-Jones.

Oh yes, and that M&B Annual with Wife For Real in print.

What else - Oh yes - writing! (Did you hear my editor come up behind me and crack her whip then?)
The other thing I have to do is to finish the current book with Angelos (The Black Angel) my sexy Greek hero - and then write another! After all, that's really what it's all about - I have to write the books to get them out onto the bookshelves otherwise no one's going to come and visit this blog or attend any courses I teach . . . I'll admit that this latest one hasn't been the easiest of books to write. Which may be some consolation - or a cause of astonishment to those who think that after 50+ titles it's all plain sailing. But I'm wrestling Angelos to the ground now (I hope!) and I have an idea for the next one that excites me so that is somethng I'm looking forward to writing. Plus I can go hunting for a brand-new hero . . . Actually, I think I've found him - but he's going to have to wait his turn until The Black Angel has his HEA ending
And then as 2008 dawns there will be all the excitement of Mills &Boon's Centenary year and the celebrations they have planned.
So that's what I'm looking forward to - what about you?
And finally, if you'll indulge me - I couldn't find this photo when I was blogging about Bob last week - but it really is my absolute favourite of him when he was a very small cat. And I did want to share it with you. Anne McAllister says that it should have the caption :
If I hold real still, maybe no one will notice I'm breathing

Bob Redford 1989 - 2007 A very fine cat indeed

Friday, September 14, 2007

This and that

Today, in my role as a Pink Heart Society Columnist , I have a post over on their blog. This one's for Film on Friday and reading through it makes me want to go and get the DVD of the film I've chosen and watch it all over again. It's an oldie but goodie.
What film have I chosen? Ah well, you'll have to go over to the PHS and see.

And while you're there, don't forget to go on the Treasure Hunt and find all the gifts being given to the Little Pink Dancing Guy for his birthday so you can be in the running for the great big prize hamper at the end of the month.

Other things - two special friends of mine are busy on the eHarlequin web site this week -
Julie Cohen is running a Q&A on Tightening up the First Page - lots of great advice so if you're wanting to learn, head over there at once!

And my lovely friend Holly Jacobs has a Weekly on -line Read - The Moments on eHarlequin too.

This is a rather special story for Holly. A mulit-award-winning author, she has always been known for her wonderful light touch in writing romance with a twist of humour in it - first for Flipside, then for Silhouette Romance - but her books have always had a poignancy about them that has never been fully developed. This is all going to change with the publication of her current book - The House on Briar Hill Road.
The House on Briar Hill Road is Holly's first title out in the Harlequin Everlasting Love line and it's a book that's very close to her heart. And it's wonderful, poignant story. A story with real heart. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it wins Holly another - well deserved - award.

Holly has sent me some books to put into the Christmas (there's that word again!) Stocking Stuffed with Books - actually they were supposed to go into the Beach Bag Full of Books prize stash but as I've already explained, that contest had to give way this year to the Great Big Blog Party. She sent me a copy of Briar Hill Road then so I got a sneak preview. But I couldn't wait until December to talk about her new book as that might mean you'd miss it because it's out in October - or if you can't wait it's up on the eHarlequin site already.
And talking of great books - I haven't had much time for reading these days - a certain combination of Greek and a deadline and a whip cracking editor - but I did read Liz Fielding's fabulous Reunited: Marriage in A Million. And all I can say is it's another Liz Fielding classic. Considering the horrible day Monday was, a book that can keep my attention and distract and comfort me at that time has to have something special about it. Lovely book, Liz - thank you so much! The only problem is that it's one of a trilogy and now I'm going to have to find out what happens to Simone and Claire . . . Just what I don't need - more books for the TBR mountain.
And talking of that mountain, the next one off it is India Grey's debut novel The Italian's Defiant Mistress which is also out in October - this time in Presents. But I also have Anne McAllister's The Boss's Wife For A Week offering me temptation, and having met Spence and Sadie through Anne's blog, that's a temptation I'm struggling to resist.
But first I have to get back to Angelos and Jessica.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

If it's September, it must be . . .Christmas?

Some days seem to take on a thme of their own. Themes that can have nothing to do with the actual date, the time of year, the things you have planned for them. But sometimes several things connect up and put a focus on the day that you weren't expecting.

So yesterday's focus became Christmas - sorry, but it did!

I suppose I started it all off. My eldest sister lives in Australia - on the beautiful island of Tasmania - and so I'm used to planning ahead when it comes to buying and sending her presents. And when the presents I'm sending are, as they are this time, big, heavy books, I try to plan ahead enough to be able to send them by sea mail and so save a lot of money. Which is why yesterday morning saw me at the Post Office with two parcels.

I'd started the morning talking with lovely Lee Hyat from My Tote Bag and we were discussin plans for the next few months, so logically we mentioned possible contests coming up - planning ahead. I'll be running my usual Christmas Stocking Stuffed with books contest - the Beach Bag full of books had to be issed this year because the Great Big Blog Party grew so huge! So look out for that.
The morning mail had just arrived before I left the house - and it consisted of nothing but a batch of charity Christmas Catalogues with cards, paper, gifts etc to order. Planning ahead again.

But then I had to go and collect a parcel that the postie had tried to deliver to me - a box of my next book, The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife. I was intrigued to see the cover. I've already had copies of the Presents edition with the great cliff at sunset cover, and I was keen to see how it looked against the blue of the UK Modern Romance design.

It looks great - but what I wasn't expecting was the festive 'gift-wrapped' design on the front and the 'Season's Greetings' message. It's out in November so I suppose once again planning ahead is the point. After all, the Christmas editions of the magazines etc will be out then.

Into town and the theme continued. As I always check out the M&B shelves in WH Smith, this time I spotted the new arrivals - the 2007 - no - sorry 2008 Mills and Boon Annual. On an Indian Summer day, when the temperatures were higher than they were in the rain deluged June, the cover models heavy coats and scarves and the snowflakes whirling around them did make it stand out a bit!

I was actually rather thrilled ot see the Annual because this edition has the first appearance in print in the UK of my internet short story Wife For Real so I was able to see it in the book for the first time. This story was the one that started off the Alcolar Family Trilogy (Twelve Month Mistress, The Spaniard's Inconvenient Wife, Bound By Blackmail) so if you collected all three of those - and I know many readers did - and wanted a print version of the very first part - Alex's story -= this is your chance to get a print copy of it.

(If you want an ebook copy of it then it's available on eHarlequin here.)
And when I do run the Christmas Stocking Stuffed With Books contest (come back in late November for that) I'll put a copy of the M&B Annual in with the books I've already collected up as prizes. Again, lots of wonderful friends have contributed to the collection for this.
So yesterday's theme was Christmas - all very nice but I'm a bit a purist and I prefer Christmas to be in December. Sometimes it seems that with all this forward planning, the excitement and glitter of it all is pretty worn by December 25th.
So now to see what today's theme might be - oh no, wait - I already know that - today's theme is work - writing and lots of it.

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