Friday, November 30, 2007


Hang on a minute, it was only yesterday that it was Monday . . .

Wasn't it?

OK. perhaps not. It's been a hectic week. For a start there was a change of editor - my 14th!! Or perhaps this doesn't count as I'm moving back to an editor I worked with previously . . .

And I spent a fun time creating a special Christmas present for my MIL - scanning old, fragile photographs and having them copied into a lovely bound album so that she can look at them without damaging the precious old ones. I hope she loves it.

Then I have visitors coming this weekend - 3 friends and an almost one year old! The cats are going to love this! So that means I've been cleaning and shopping and organising. We have had our early Christmas this weekend for about four years now so it's a real tradition that I love and I'm so looking forward to it.

And that's why I've been so busy and being a bad blogger.

Oh, and I've also been asked to put up a post from Harlequin for all those would-be writers amongst you - and I know there are plenty of you.

This comes from Executive Editor Tessa Shapcott and it's all about the special contest that Presents (M&B Modern) is running for not yet published writers. Here's what Tessa has to say:


A brand new writing competition from the world’s best-selling romance series is about to hit the blogosphere!

It’s an exciting time for Harlequin Presents: from January 2008, there will be 12 of our intensely passionate romances available every month. And with this increase of titles comes a great opportunity for aspiring authors – we will be looking to buy more books for publication!

The old saying goes that first impressions are lasting impressions – and when it comes to reading a Harlequin Presents, that certainly holds true. If the first chapter doesn’t immediately grip the reader with its pace, passion and intensity, then she won’t continue to turn the pages.

So Presents is inviting unpublished writers to show us how they can grab the attention of our readership with first chapters that really sizzle. The INSTANT SEDUCTION competition offers prizes that are chances of a lifetime for the lucky winner and runners-up:
*First prize – win yourself an editor for a year!
*Two runners-up will be given editorial critiques of their first chapter entries and also a personal telephone consultation about their writing!

Visit the blogsite for full details of the competition – and the chance to prepare for publication with an exclusive series of writing tutorials prepared by the editorial team at Harlequin Presents, including advice on First Chapters, How to Write a Synopsis, Loving the Alpha Male and Generating Emotional Conflict.

Entries for the competition will be accepted as on-line submissions only from 1st January until 14th February 2008.
Entries should comprise of the first chapter and a synopsis of a previously unpublished/unsubmitted novel aimed at Harlequin Presents.
Address for entries:

Any further details, and lots of helpful hints on how to write for Harlequin Presents?M&B Modern can be found over on the I heart Presents blog. So why not take a look?

And good luck if you decide to enter.
And I'll go and make up the beds!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Winners and nightmares

Well,actually there are two winners, because Sid being Sid, he snaffled two crunchies at once and I couldn't decide which one was first.

So the winners are -
Ayla Fenton
Danielle Peck

Ayla and Danielle both win signed copies of Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance and a signed copy of the Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife.

Congratulations to both of you. Can you please email me with your postal details and I'll send on the prize to you.

The answer to the question - Apart from the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance, I've written 2 other books on creative writing (one with my husband) What are the titles of the other two books? - is:

A Straightforward Guide to Writing Romantic Fiction and
Being a Professional Writer (with my husband Stephen Wade)

I meant to post the results yesterday but the BM and I had a crazily busy day trying to get the house a little more organised. Knowing that you have 4 visitors coming to stay for the weekend can do that to you. So we scrubbed and sorted and organised the kitchen cupboards in a way that they really needed after a hectic year when 'spring cleaning' was the last thing on our lists.

Then we collapsed with a welcome glass of wine.

All of which should have insured that I slept like a log and never stirred. Instead of which I had a nightmare that I was planning a dinner party with various writers and friends in a big old house that I've never seen before. Some of the writers I'd never seen before either! And the 'friends' were people I know but wouldn't call friends. Everyone was sitting around talking, enjoying each others company but then after a time when I went to fetch the meal I discovered that I had never turned the oven on and the roast chicken and roast potatoes were still totally raw and cold.

What is wierd about this dream, apart from the guests who were people I can't imagine ever inviting, or even understand why they were in my thoughts, is the fact that as a veggie I would never be cooking a chicken anyway.

Luckily the guests we having coming next weekend are the sort of people who, if the meal was ruined, would say 'Never mind. . .' and order in pizzas. They probably wouldn't give a damn about my clean kitchen cupoboards either - but I know they're done - and looking so much better.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

12 Point Guide Contest

Just to remind you that you have one more day in which to enter the contest to win a signed copy of Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance

If you've forgotten the details or didn't see them on November 18th when I posted them, here they are again.

So - the contest. I've mentioned the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance and as I haven't run any contests for writers in a while, I thought I'd offer a signed copy of this book as a prize today. I've also heard from the publisher that this book is now almost totally sold out - the last I heard there were less than 10 copies left - so if you want a chance to win a copy here's what you do:

Answer this question -

Apart from the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance, I've written 2 other books on creative writing (one with my husband)

What are the titles of the other two books?

Send your answers to me

by email with BLOG CONTEST in the title line of the message and next weekend ( November 25th) I'll get Sid on the job of picking a winner and a signed copy of the 12 Point Guide will be on its way to the winner. If you're lucky, I'll stick in a copy of The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife as well.

And as a PS to a couple of people who entered and told me that the book was always out of stock if they tried to order it - a quick survey tells me that claims to have 4 copies, says it's in stock (no idea how many copies) , so does and somewhere I would never have thought of looking until the Offspring told me it was there - says it has it in stock.

So if you don't win you could find it there.

I'll be back with the results tomorrow - Sid is eyeing the cat crunchies hopefully but I've told him he has to wait until the 25th.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Coming soon . . .

The Christmas Stocking Stuffed with Books contest is back and just to whet your appetites . . . .

And there are probably a couple more donations yet to come.
To the lovely writer friends who have offered books and I haven't had a moment to get back to you - I will I promise! I've just been so buried in work.

To all other author friends who were thinking of donating - I'm afraid the stockings are now full (to overflowing!) But the Tote Bag of Books for the summer will be open next year . . . .

Details of the Contest coming soon.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

You saw them here first . . .

So now that the new book is contracted I can let you all know that Angelos, the Black Angel, will be published as Bedded By The Greek Billionaire in September 2008 in M&B Modern Romance. As soon as I have any news of a USA release date, then I'll let you know.
Yesterday's shopping expedition proved very successful - so I now have just one Christmas present to buy which is unexpectedly efficient for me.

And when I got home I found a parcel of books waiting for me with the first hardback editions of the next book coming out. That's Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife and it's due out in March 2008.
You can get a first look at the cover of this book here. I like it a lot. What do you think?
Also in the package of books were the advance copies of the 3 in 1 By request collection that's coming out in January wher I have one of my earlier titles reprinted. This collection is called Just the Three of Us and the title of mine that's included in it is His Miracle Baby which was first
published in 2001.
And of course these books are being published in 2008 which is the centenary year for Mills & Boon. I'm thrilled to have my books published in this important year, and to have the first one published right at the start of this special time. There will be lots of other events and publishing plans to mark 2008 and as soon as I can I'll bring you news of those. I've already been asked to be involved in an event coming up.
Finally today is Thanksgiving for those who celebrate it - so HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my friends who are celebrating with their families today. I hope you have a wonderful time.

And even if you're not actually celebrating today, why not take time to think of everything you should be thankful for - I know I have lots of wonderful things in my life that I should just take a moment to consider and acknowledge. We don't do that often enough - so today, why not write your own list of things to be thankful for - I'll bet you'll find more than you ever thought you would.
PS I just heard that Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife will be published in Presents in June 2008

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Busy day

I'm dashing in quickly because I'm supposed to be talking contracts with my editor this morning (the tweaks on the Greek Black Angel book were fine and that has now been accepted) and then we're supposed to go and - hopefully - complete the Christmas shopping.

Yes, maybe I am early with this but with friends and family in Australia and America, their gifts need to go in the mail, and the BM starts his new job on Monday which will mean there'll be very little to no time free to browse the shops. Tomorrow is the delightful combination of hairdresser and dentist (not both at the same time and the latter, thankfully, just for a check-up) and on Friday I'm meeting a friend for lunch. Saturday the BM and the Offspring are going to a football match together so if we want to choose any gifts together then it has to be today.

So if I don't get back in here today, then here's something for you to read while I'm gone -

The lovely Julie Bonello did and interview with me for CataRomance and she emailed me this morning to let me know that the result is posted on the site now.

I'm talking about my writing, The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife and my plans and publishing schedule for next year. So if you're interested, you can read the interview here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Still celebrating

Remember this?

Just when you thought all the celebrations for the 50th title had died away, there's one last party to visit.

When I actually celebrated the publication of The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge in July and ran the Great Big Blog Party here in the summer, things were so hectic and life was so busy that I didn;t manage to celebrate with a special site and a bunch of people who have been so much a part of my life - writing and personal - for over seven years.

I'm talking about the eHarlequin site and specially the Community and the message boards there where I have 'met' so many of the writers I now call my friends, many of the wonderful readers who have helped my career by buying and reading my books and discussing them there - and I must specially mention the hosties(some of whom you met here in the summer) Dee, Rae, Danica and of course Boss Lady Jayne who runs the show.

As I said, I didn't get time to celebrate with my friends on eHarlequin before, so when Jayne discovered that I have the newest title -The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife - out now, she suggested that we celebrate both that and the 50th in a special party thread on the Simply Series section of the message boards.

So today - and the rest of this week - that's where you'll find me - I'm hosting a special celebration party thread and I hope you'll drop by. If you havr any questions about writing for Presents or just about my books, then ask away - I'll have a few random 'door prizes' to give away too so if you post a message you'll be in with a chance to win too.

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Writing and a contest

It's been a while since I blogged on anything about the craft of writing. Most of the time I'm too busy with my own books - or teaching as I was doing last weekend.

But I spent yesterday reading and assessing some entries for a contest for a chapter of the Romance Writers of America for which I'm a judge, and there was one thing about them that struck me pretty forcefully right from the start.

The hero or heroine - often both - just didn't exist.

Oh, each book had a hero and a heroine, most of them (one of them at least) appearing right there on the first page, but they were just a name, and usually a job - I couldn't actually 'see' them in my mind as I read the openings that were what I have to judge. six opening chapters, an average of fifteen or more pages each, and so little description of the central characters in all of them that I have to struggle to remember any.

OK, one heroine fastened back her waist-length hair, a hero wore mirrored sunglasses . .. There was one rare entry where the hero observed the woman who was obviously going to be the heroine from a distance and it was such a relief to have a description - a sense of physical reality for someone in the story that I immediately gave the author an extra mark in her score.

When I read a book I want to know something about the characters whose story I'm going to follow throught a few hundred pages, days, weeks, years of their lives, several hours of mine. I don't want just names, or occasionally occupations, I want some idea of their ages, their height and build, their colouring. I want to be able to visualise them in my mind as I read their story, picture them on a beach, in an airport, even, if the story is Science Fiction and they are aliens living below the surface of a burning planet, with their silvery eyes and lizard like skin and six webbed feet.

I want to know who I'm reading about. I want to sympathise with them - or hate them - I want to have my life - my mental life at least - peopled by them for as long as I read the book.

And so when I'm writing I try to describe my characters as soon as I can, to 'bring them on stage' as forcefully, as visibly as I can so that my readers can identify with them right from the start. There are books where this doesn't happen and I've still enjoyed the, Day Leclaire has a great one - and darn it I can't remember the title right now - where the hero and heroine are in a lift, neither has seen each other because he was behind his newspaper or some such as she got in and the lift breaks down, the lights fail . . . It takes a rare sort of writer to pull off an instant attraction without the usual clues of colouring, size, facial features, but Day manages it.

But such books are rare. And of course once the lift is repaired and the lights go on then the conventional descriptive words appear at last.

But they were not in these contest entries. Every single one of those characters - apart from the heroine described at a distance - were invisible, not at all real in my mind - and so they were just words on a page, part of a book, not coming alive or mattering to me at all. I'll be honest and say that it shocked me that all of them missed out on this vital (to me) part of creating a character, making them real, making the reader care about them.

To me it's so important that when I was compiling a Character Questionnaire for my 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance, the description of a person is one of the first things I ask for:

What is this person's name?
Why was s/he named that?
What does s/he call herself?
Is there a nickname or a variation on the name that’s/he uses for some people and not others?
(As an example - Think about the different variations of Elizabeth that are possible – Liz, Lizzy, Bet, Liza, Beth . . . Would these make you think of different characters?)
Age? Birthday?
What does s/he look like?
Colouring– eyes – hair (what length? Curly or straight)

A book is something very different from a film or a TV drama or a stage play - then you can see what a person looks like as soon as they appear and you relate to them as a character from then on - that is what Peter or Mary or Aristotle or Frederica looks like and you recognise them and relate to them every time. But in a book, the character is just words on a page unless the writer makes them come alive and for me that physical description is a vital part of it.

So I'm afraid that all but one of those contest entries disappointed me - which was a pity because some of them had good dialogue, intriguing openings, the synopsis promised an interesting plot - but I'm a character driven author, for me the characters are what make a book and I'll be honest and say that the lack of character identification in these scripts meant that I really wasn't hooked enough to want to read on.


So - the contest. I've mentioned the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance and as I haven't run any contests for writers in a while, I thought I'd offer a signed copy of this book as a prize today. (It'll let me see if anyone's awake and reading this!). I've also heard from the publisher that this book is now almost totally sold out - the last I heard there were less than 10 copies left - so if you want a chance to win a copy here's what you do:

Answer this question -

Apart from the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance, I've written 2 other books on creative writing (one with my husband)

What are the titles of the other two books?

Send your answers to me by email with BLOG CONTEST in the title line of the message and next weekend ( November 25th) I'll get Sid on the job of picking a winner and a signed copy of the 12 Point Guide will be on its way to the winner. If you're lucky, I'll stick in a copy of The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife as well.

And talking of contests - I'm planning and organising the special Christmas contests I have coming up - so watch out for those. By popular demand the Christmas Stocking Stuffed with books will be back.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's Wednesday?

I'm not sure what happened to yesterday - catching up, I suppose you could say.

Catching up on:

Emails - and yes, I know I still owe some of you answers


On phone calls (there's a big part of the day gone)

Shopping - we had no bread, no veg and - worst of all very little cat food in the cupboard. So we had to go and get some more before the cats left home.

Cat appeasing. We've had the sulks, the 'how dare you abandon us in this way' - then they moved on to 'I wasn't fed at all while you were away, so I need a little smackeral of something on the hour, every hour until I catch up and get my body weight back to normal'. Then, in between the snacks on the hour every hour, there was the 'I want you to open this door and let me out NOW!' and as soon as they're out there's the - 'I want you to let me in NOW - just because I can demand it. And I'm going to keep on demaning it on the hour every hour - and more at 3 am!'
(Note photo of Sid obviously wasting away!)

Washing - and drying - so of course it poured with rain

I think I've got caught up now, though there are things I still have to do. It's great to go away and I really enjoyed the stay in Fishguard - and the course. the group really gelled and that helps so much - specially when you're discussing their work with them. If would-be writers can't take editing now then they'll not be able to work well with editors in the future when - hopefully if - they get accepted. This wasn't a problem with the Fishguard group. No prima donnas amongst them -they all wanted to learn.

I've had two lovely messages from members of the course since I got back and a fantastic card from Rachael who often visits this blog (Hi Rachael!) Not only that but she went to the trouble of making me a lovely Christmas cake as a way of saying thank you - that was so kind Rachael! Thank you again and I'll think of you and Fishguard when I have a taste of it on Christmas Day.

So I had a lot of fun and as always it was great to talk writing and to meet up again with lovely Anne and Gerry who run the Writers' Holidays, and the Fishguard Writing weekends. Saying goodbye was tough as we probably won't be able to make Caerleon in summer 2008 as we're planning on heading for the RWA Conference in San Francisco and I don't think there will be a Winter Novel Writing Weekend in 2008.

I'm going to miss the great atmosphere of the weekend - and I'm really going to miss the wonderful views I woke up to each morning of my stay in Fishguard so I took a few extra photos to keep some memories while I'm away from there.

But there will be the Writers' and Artists' Workshops Weekend in 2009 when I've been asked to run the Novel Workshop and Caerleon in summer 2009. There are even rumours that the BM will be teaching courses then too. So I won't be away from Wales for too long - but I am going to miss it for a while.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back . . .

I'm back . . . just!

The journey was pretty horrendous - crawling queues that meant we took hours longer to get home. But we're here now - and I need a stiff tea and a series of head butts and purrs from Sid before I feel human again.

I did have an internet connection at Fishguard - but no time to use it. I was too busy teaching or eating great food or having fun and talking, talking talking . . .

It was wonderful to see Writers' Holiday organisers lovely Anne And Gerry Hobbs again, to meet up with my great co-tutor Lesley Horton who was teaching the Crime Fiction course - and of course my students. A small but enthusiastic group who were so keen to learn and asked so many questions I could barely keep up with them. A group like that makes it fun as well as work - so, Rachael, Frances, Brenda, Kate and Nigel - thank you all for making it easy for me.

I'll be back to chat as soon as I can but if you head over to The Pink Heart Society blog today, you'll find that in my role as a Pink Heart Columnist I'm talking about one of my favourite sources of inspiration and the man behind a couple of my own personal favourite heroes in Male on Monday.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

On the road . ...

Greetings from Malvern.

So here we are in Malvern again. The BM has raided the bookshops and I have found some Christmas presents - there some lovely gift shops here. I've also found myself a lovely patchwork bag and a gorgeous 1st birthday present for a little boy who is 1 very soon!

Then this afternoon we were driven indoors by the pouring rain - an excuse for the BM to visit more bookshops so he is now very happy with a bundle of old and musty volumes.But at least as we were driving here we could see the field this time - last time they were still covered in water from the floods.

I was happy to see that the local shop only had one copy of The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife left on the shelf so that brightened the day.

Tomorrow we head for Wales. I'm not sure if I shall have an internet connection there but if I do then I'll report in again.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

On the road again . . .

Today I'm travelling again. Heading for Wales and that weekend course at Fishguard. (Thank you Rachael for reccommending it - and for joining me for the second time! You're a glutton for punishment! I'll see you soon.)

We're following our usual route and staying over in Malvern so I hope I'll be able to call in from there. The BM will no doubt be exploring the secondhand bookshops in his research). And then on to Wales.

So if I don't manage to get back for a little while, enjoy yourselves. And if you're booked on the course then I'll see you soon.

Can't wait - I love being beside the sea - and talking writing. The food's wonderful too . . .

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bits and Pieces

I'm busy preparing the weekend course on Writing Romance that I'm teaching at Fishguard next weekend. So until I have that done, I'm just posting some bits and pieces and I'll write a proper post when I can -

Firstly, those of you who have been following the story of Abby and Eamon over on Anne McAllister's blog, the third and final part is posted today. So if you want to read that then visit Anne and see how A & E reached their happy ever after ending.

Then there are a couple of contests that you can enter and try to win prizes -

Firstly, over on My Tote Bag there is a contest to celebrate the publication of The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife where you have a chance to win a signed copy of The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge and a Kate Walker tote bag and pen.

Then Romance Junkies are holding their annual Halloween Contest. Enter the spooky house, wander through the rooms, find the Trick or Treat links and you can win all sorts of prizes. There's one from me in the Magic Shop.

Finally I have a blog post talking about amnesia stories over on I heart Presents . Obviously, this is because my November release The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife is an amnesia story - but I'm hoping that you'll come along and join in the discussion and tell me some of your favourite amnesia themed romances too. See you there?

And if you're booked on my course at Fishguard then I'll see you on Friday! There are still some places left, so if you're in the UK and you'd like to join us, it can be done even at this short notice. Just check out the Writers' Holiday website for details.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Book News

Well, this is a writer's blog, so it's time I mentioned some book news - mine and my friends'
Reading - I finally managed to find the missing copy of Anne McAllister's fabulous The Boss's Wife For a Week. Wouldn't you know it reappeared on the day that the replacement copies of the book arrived in the mail from Anne. So those spare copies will be going in my Christmas Stocking Stuffed with Books Contest, starting soon. So watch out for that.

And the winners will be in for a real treat with Anne's book - you'll love it. I know I do. This book is a classic Anne McAllister keeper - no wonder it's selling so well on the eHarlequin ebooks charts.

Those ebooks are great ways to catch up with titles you might have missed as well. I discovered this week that along with the publication of my latest title The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife in Presents in America, Harlequin are also bringing out an ebook 'bundle' - the Secret Babies Bundle - which has an ebook edition of my 2004 title, Their Secret Baby in it. So if you missed this book first time around, it's newly available again in this format. (UK readers who want a print copy can still get hold of the 3 in 1 By Request Bound By a Baby.)

And talking of By Request collections, I also learned ths week that coming in January is another By Request Collection which has an even older title of mine in it - the 2001 His Miracle Baby. This is one that I often get letters asking about so hopefully the readers who have been looking for it will now be able to grab a copy. When I get to see the cover I'll post it up here for you.

On Friday I had an email from the review coordinator at CataRomance telling me that there was a review of The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife posted on the site. As I've just had a stinking review on Amazon I was a little apprehensive when I went to look. But I needn't have worried. Luckily, this reviewer loved the book and gave it 4.5 stars out of 5. I was thrilled to read this:

When readers pick up a Kate Walker novel, they know that they are going to be reading a passionate romance that will take them on an emotional rollercoaster ride and The Greek Tycoon’s Unwilling Wife is certainly no exception! Kate Walker is a master storyteller and in her latest Modern Romance, she will tug at her readers’ heartstrings and bring a tear to their eye with this emotional tale of second chances and new beginnings that will keep them up all night eager to find out what happens next.
You can read the rest of the review here. I shall be doing an interview with CataRomance soon too - so I'll let you know when that's up.

And talking about The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife reminds me - next week - next Monday I think (November 5th) I have a post up on the IheartPresents blog where I'll be writing about the appeal of the amnesia theme in romance novels (The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife being one!) I'm asking readers to come along and tell us the titles of their favourite amnesia- themed stories, so why not come along and join in the discussion?

Which reminds me - right now on IheartPresents there is a contest for all would-be Presents authors with a prize of - believe it or not - an editor for a year! So if you want to write romance and you're aiming at Presents/Modern, why not check that out too.

Finally, back to friends' books. I had an email from Australia this morning - from Trish Morey who, together with many other fabulous Australian authors has contributed to a new book that was the brainchild of the fabulous Marion Lennox. She's sending me over my special copy that was signed by all the authors at the launch. You can see a report of the launch and a photo of all the contributing auhors on Nicola Marsh's blog

Sizzle, Seduce and Simmer is a collection of romantic recipes and short stories by your favourite down under authors!!! by many of the best Australian names in writing romance. If you're in Australia or New Zealand you can find it on the shelves there or you can buy it online here. It will make a great stocking filler. And I've heard rumours that some of the recipes are definitely seductive!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Anne Weale

I woke this morning to some sad news for the world of romance.

Anne Weale, who for fifty years wrote ground breaking romances for Mills & Boon, died on 24 October.

After selling short stories to a woman's magazine while still at school, Anne Weale became a newspaper reporter, the traditional training for a novelist. An enthusiastic traveller, she used authentic foreign backgrounds for her romances -- most famously, Antigua Kiss. She was, however, proudest of her "Longwarden" novels, Flora, All My Worldly Goods and Time & Chance which readers are still discovering in libraries and used book shops.From 1998-2004, Anne wrote a website review column, Bookworm on the Net, for The Bookseller, the UK's leading book trade press magazine.

Her first book, Winter is Past, was published in 1955, before I went to school. Her last,The Man from Madrid came out in 2002 and in between were almost 80 other titles, some short romances, some longer 'single title'fiction.

In May 2005, she started a book-blog at Her work-in-progress is an autobiography called "88 Heroes…1 Mr Right" which now sadly will not be finished.

Anne Weale was a major force in English and international romantic fiction. She has a huge amount of knowledge and the publishing industry and was one of the novelists who was hugely successful in the days when Mills & Boon was run by Mr Charles Boon. I first met her at one of the earliest AMBA lunches that I ever went to where she was warm and welcoming and interested in a newcomer to the authors' ranks.

It's fairly well known that Anne and I didn't agree over everything. We had disagreements over the way that romance writing was going, and she would never agree with my interest in and encouragement of 'new writers'. But those disagreements led to interesting debates and assessments of the world of writing and publishing that are ineveitable as times change and I am glad that I encountered her lively - and occasionally acerbic mind in both written and verbal debate. A tiny, birdlike, elegant figure at AMBA lunches and HMB receptions, she had a grasp of life and an enthusiasm for living and learning that I admired hugely. She was the only elderly writer who could get away with calling the BM 'young man' and describing me as 'this girl'.

I always said that in many ways, Anne Weale was the person I wanted to be when I grew up.

Sometimes she irritated me, often she exasperated me, but she also taught me a lot, made me look at my own opinions and stand up for them. And she was writing in the genre I love when I was a very small child, making her way in the world of journalism and publishing at a time when women had a far harder fight to do so than anything I have ever encountered.

She was a woman and a writer to admire. A major name in romance publishing.I am truly glad to have known her.
And I shall miss her very much.
Her family have asked for no letters but I hope they find some of the tributes that appear on the web like this one and the one on Liz Fielding's blog.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dublin Wednesday - or how much can you fit into a day?

Well, the Black Angel is tweaked mercilessly and sent back to my editor. And now I can back to giving the details of the Dublin trip. There has of course been a sort of secondary blog on Dublin over on Anne McAllister's blog where the story of Abby Green and Eamon has been attracting lots of attention. For those of you who have been following this serial, the third and final part will be posted just as soon as Anne can manage it.

In the meantime, back before Abby met Eamon and was transfixed with love, she and I had arranged to meet around lunchtime on the Tuesday so that we could go off exploring together. The BM was spending the morning tramping the streets of Dublin and taking the photographs he needed for his book so I spent the morning in Grafton Street wandering around the shops. That at noon the BM joined me and Abby to go exploring further.

The rest of the day was just wonderful. Abby had remembered that I had talked of wanting to go to Sandymount, just outside Dublin. This was where I spent so many of my childhood holidays, staying with my grandfather and my aunt, my mother 's father and sister, and it was where I grew to love Ireland so much. So Abby drove us to this village that has such happy memories for me.

It had changed so very little - a few more shops, restaurants that were never there beofre, but the little village green was there, with the house where I spent many happy hours with my cousin overlooking it. I could also remember exactly where to go to find my grandfather's house which was still there. And I could find my way to the beach - 'The Strand' just as I had done all those years before. Perfect nostalgia. Such great memories

Then we needed to find a place for lunch. Abby suggested we drive to Powerscourt in Enniskerry - a beautiful great estate where there is a fantastic old house and gorgeous gardens. They had a lovely restaurant there too - in Avoc, a great shop. And She was right. Powerscourt is just beautiful. So beautiful that it has been used many times as the setting for period films. And that was what was happening when we arrived. (Yes India - this is the bit you wanted to know about!)

At the moment, Powerscourt is part of the setting for the filming of the second part of The Tudors. Part one is currently showing on BBC 2 in the UK. As you'll remember from our earlier trip to Ireland this year, Abby's 'day job was as a second assistant director on many film and TV projects. So when we arrived at Powersourt to find they were filming parts of The Tudors she was able to introduce us to many people working on the set. The stars weren't filming there that day but we were able to watch a 'royal' procession and see the filming of that before we went into the house for lunch.

It was such a gorgeous day, sunny and mild , ridiculously so for late October, so we were able to sit outside on the terrace to eat lunch and look out over the huge gradens and the wonderful waterfall in the distance, with the Sugarloaf mountain over on the horizon. And once we'd eaten then Abby and I raided the Avoca shop where it would have been popssible to spend a small fortune. Believe me, I was tempted by lots. But I contented myself by buying a black embroidered wool coat - and persuading Abby to treat herself too, to a pink jacket that looked just great on her. The BM took this photo of two happy shoppers on our way back to the car.

The next stop was at the film studios at Ardmore - where the filming of the Tudors was also going on . Again we met lots of the crew and people who Abby had worked with (which is where I fell for a very handsome Irishman - but then I always has a soft spot for Irishmen, after all my father and my uncle were both handsome 'Paddies). They had been filming Anne Boleyn's execution but we missed that! Perhaps just as well as the stories of fake blood being squirted all over the place was enough to make me feel a little queasy as it was.

But we were lucky enough to meet Irish costume designer Joan Bergin and congratulate her on her recent win of a Creative Emmy Award for the costumes on The Tudors. And we wandered round the great sets for the production, watching them set up for a banquet scene the next day - and Abby and the BM were able to sit on one of the great four-poster beds. I'm not sure if it actually was King Henry's bed or not - but it looked fine enough to be so!

I loved being able to get close to the fantasy pretence of the sets and see the makebelieve that goes to make up the wonderful images that will appear on the TV scenes. It reminded me of the bits of amateur dramatics I did at school and university and it was fascinating to see the way that the 'food' for the banquet was fake and sprayed with varnish etc to make it look as if it was freshly cooked. It was great to see the way that old and new - even a tree - was all bundled together behind the flats ready for use when needed.
Eventually we made our way back to Dublin, had a quick chance to refresh ourselves and then set out again (with Abby and I both wearing our new coats!) to head for the Shelborne Hotel on St Stephen's Green where, in real lady novelist style we drank champagne and toasted our new books - and a couple of wonderful reviews ) and one really nasty one too! But after a glass of champagne we just didn't care.)

Finally, needing something to soak up the champagne, we headed for a restaurant for dinner and sat talking late into the night again.
It was a fantastic day filled with so many wonderful moments, reliving special memories and creating new ones. And it wouldn't have been possible without lovely Abby's generosity with her time, her car, and her knowledge of Ireland.

Thank you Abby, love. It was a day I will always remember.

Cat Calendar November


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