Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Looking Back

Well that was quite a year. It had to be really, when it was the year that Mills & Boon celebrated their centenary, with all the fuss and interest that came with it.The celebrations started off in February and from then onwards things didn't seem to slow down much for the rest of the year.

Interviews, TV programmes (about the company, not me)Book Festivals, Library events . .. and that was before we hit the conference season. I seem to have been here there and everywhere this year, snatching a breath as and when I can, and really there was just a bit too much crammed in there.

London, Lincoln, Manchester, Hale, Chichester, San Francisco, Guildford, London again . . . I'm not sure I want to reckon up how many miles I travelled to do workshops. give talks. It was great fun, but I wouldn't want to do it all again - not all in one year anyway! The best part of the public appearences was the oppportunity they gave me to meet people - readers and would-be writers who came to the workshops. That's always a delight and to everyone who came to one of these and stayed to chat or wrote to me afterwards - my thanks. It's always so special to meet readers face to face - and that includes the readers who say that my 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance has helped them.

Because of course 2008 was also the year in which the 2nd (revised and expanded) edition of the 12 Point Guide was published and I was really thrilled about that. I've been delighted and honoured by the way that I keep meeting people - or getting emails from readsers - or reading reviews on Amazon - that have nothing but praise for this book. Not being a teacher, I'm thrilled to find that I can communicate my love of the romance genre and the skills needed to write it - and that those of you who have bought this guide find it helps. And when those people end up with their very first published books in their hands and my 12 Point Guide has played apart in it, that's an even deeper sense of satisfaction for me.

Of course, the travelling of 2008 was also wonderful for the way that it gave me extra opportunities to meet up with friends from the writing world - and I do mean the world. Being in London and San Francisco meant that I could spend time with Michelle Reid, Anne McAllister (who later came to stay her and visit Sid of course) Trish Morey, Abby Green, Sandra Marton, Holly Jacobs, Susan Stephens, India Grey . . . So many friends from eHarlequin too. I also got to meet new authors Jennie Lucas and Sabrina Philips and - new to me anyway - Ellen Hartman. And in a 'before she was famous' moment there was also the Instant Seduction winner Lynn Raye Harris. The RNA Conference gave me a bit more time to catch up with wonderful writers I don't see enough of - and some lovely friends grabbed at the opportunities of the workshops etc when they brought me nearer to them. None of it was ever quite long enough but it was so valuable.

2008 was The Year of Flora - as I've already noted. At first I think Sidney the Cat of Superior Breeding felt that his handsome nose was a little put out - but how could I let that happen? And his fans are still there, ardent as ever (he thanks the two beautiful ladies Josephina and Theodora for their messages on my last post and of course as he helps himself to Greenies from his Christmas package, his dear Lady Across the Pond, Anne McAllister is in his mind too) Of course, there is one important job that Sid has always carried out and that is picking the winners of my contests - Flora is way too flighty to handle anything so important. And while there is a a crunchie that needs choosing, then Sid will always have the Upper Paw.

There were also a few books published in 2008 - some new and some reprints. Two of which I'm particularly pleased about - the publication of The Duke's Secret Wife as part of the special Centenary Collection of shorter novellas - and the reprinting of The Alcolar Family trilogy as a complete collection in book form in the UK and then as an ebook Bundle available on eHarlequin. And thinking about these other forms of publishing that seemed to take such a leap forward in 2008 - there was the use of my Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife as the free book to launch and highlight Harlequin's links with Daily Lit's publication of books in instalments by email.

There were the new books too - that Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife and then Bedded By The Greek Billionaire which gave me my first Romantic Times Top Pick - with 4.5 stars too. This book has also ended my year of a real thrill because it has been shortlisted for the Best Presents of 2008 by Romantic Times too. I've been smiling and Snoopy dancing quite a bit over that particular book!

And now we're into the last hours of 2008. It's time to stop looking back and start looking forward. I'm not one for resolutions, certainly not for great assessments of what I did right or wrong achived or didn't achieve last year. To me that seems to have too much of 'shoulds' and 'musts' that end up being just more sticks to beat ourselves when the inevitable realisation that being human means not being perfect kicks in. As the Jewish proverb says - only God ever created perfection. So I'm not listing any 'I resolve to . . . ' here.

Instead I'm looking forward to plenty in 2009 and hoping to make it an emotionally satisfying, personally satisfying, career-wise satisfying year with lots going on ( that's pretty much certain already) but also lots of balance and quality - because quantity, in achievements, in experiences, in love - is NOT the same thing as quality - not at all.

And I'll be back to tell you more about what's coming up but first I just want to say before midnight sounds anywhere in the world of my readers -

HAPPY NEW YEAR and I hope that 2009 and is a very special time for you. One that leaves you with some wonderful memories - of all sorts of things - when it comes to an end and you're looking back on it on December 31st next year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

. . .and Sid

Sid the Cat is a little peeved.
A year of Flora, he says. A year of The Floozie. Yes, she's the new girl on the block, but what about Old Faithful (not that he's old of course! Just mature. In his Prime.) What about A Cat of Superior Breeding?

And I can hear his many fans (specially Anne McAlllister) endorsing his question and saying 'hear, hear' - and what about Sid?

I did have to point out that in 2006 (was it really that long ago?) we had a full Year of Sid - all year long - once every month with the Cat Calendar. And Anne McA has a full year of Sid this year - for the second time - in the shape of the special calendar he made for her for the whole of 2008. It has all her family on it too - well, almost all - he didn't reckon on the two extra grandchildren in production - predicted for April and July. And his dear friend Gunnar the Great is on there too even though, sadly, Gunnar left for the Rainbow Bridge in December.

So Anne has a Sid Calendar to look at any time she wants. And it's her fault that Sid was away eating Greenies - Greenies she sent him - when I was writing about Flora.

But yesterday my head started to clear. My Christmas gift this year was a stinking chest infection that descended on Christmas Eve and had flattened me ever since. Today I can actually breathe just about normally - and my head had started to loose the fog that clouded it for the last few days. And so yesterday, I was able to help Sid with his other Christmas present. (I'm not keen on Greenies so I leave those to him)

Because Anne wasn't the only person to send Sid a Christmas Gift. Lovely Heather from We Write Romance who maintains my web site for me included a little something in her Christmas Greetings to me - something she hoped Sid would enjoy wearing. Sid isn't all that keen on wearing things. The time I tried to get him to wear a Santa Hat for Christmas photos is a case in point - lots of pix of A Santa Hat falling to the ground as Sid disappeared FAST.

But he took one look at Heather's gift, and reconsidered. The red velvet was very fine - and festive - the gold on the fastening and the attachment was striking too. And if no one whispered that the crystals in the little gold heart might look a little - er - feminine? - then he was prepared to give it a go. It did, after all, come from a real fan of his.

And if I offered some more Greenies, then that was OK with him.

So - here is Sid the Cat's Official Christmas/New Year portrait. With many thanks to Heather. And I hope all his fanas are happy now.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A year of Flora

Twelve months ago today I went to Braemar Breeding Cattery to collect my very special Christmas present from the Magnet . A couple of weeks before, I had met this small, fluffy, tortoiseshell creature who had taken one look at me and decided I was hers and now she was coming home to live with us.

27th December 2007 was the day that Flora the Floozie came into our lives. (Her parents were Annie and the gorgeous - enormous - Barney if you're interested). She had some big gaps to fill - just three months before I had lost beautiful Bob Redford, the ginger and white alpha male, and I didn't know that soft and sweet black and white Spiffy was in his last month too. But Madame Flora aka Princess Flora Flooziebelle was made to help with that.

It's been a hectic and wonderful year of watching her grow, letting her learn our ways and adjust to living with the more sedate gentlemen Sid and Dylan - and for us to adjust to being pounced on in the early hours of the morning, having our ears chewed because we're not awake and we should be awake because Flora wanted breakfast/to play/ to go outside/just to join us.

From the start she has loved watching the horseracing - she is convinced that is she just pounces quickly enough she will be able to catch one of them and pull if off the screen. She hasn;t quite managed it yet but one day . . .
She has fitted in to the household as if it was made for her - and taken over to make sure that things are run her way because she knows she's beautiful - everyone says so!
She has converted Sid - who wasn't too sure to start with )and still isn't too keen on being pounced on when he come s in the door or tries to sleep in the biggest bed.
She has explored the land Beyond thw Door and discovered that the garden is a wonderful place filled with intriguing creatures like the Heck family of hedghogs.

She didn't enjoy the rainy summer we had and got very very wet
when it poured down - as it often did.

The snow was another fascination - she was not too sure about that - it was fun to play in but very cold on the paws.

She's grown - LOTS - as you should be able to tell from these picture. She's a big girl now, with a long body, elegant very pale grey ruff of fur about her face and a wonderful long, plumed tail that she carries fantastically high when she's happy - which is most of the time. She understand quite a vocabulary - Teatime being the obvious word but she also knows 'stick' (her favourite treats - trout and salmon sticks - and 'go and wake Daddy' which gives her permission to run upstairs, jump on the Babe Magent and chew his ears. She loves baskets/bags/carriers/boxes - anything she can climb into and play inside.

And she's enjoyed her first Christmas - the games that provided include: chewing her way through the Christmas tree branches, stealing baubles from the tree and batting them about the room, pouncing on ribbons, tinsel and wrapping paper, chasing the dice while we were playing board games, leaping over a coffee table and sending several glasses of lemonade and cola flying with one kick of her back legs/ stealing the scarf and gloved set I was given and hiding them in her bed for later.
She's provided laughter and delight. She's always there to welcome me with her special 'chirrup' and that tail waviung high just as soon as I come in through the door. And she has helped to ease the sadness of those empty spaces. She doesn't replace Bob and Spiff because they were irreplacable - as Flora is now because she is very special and very much herself.
It's been a great year Flora- I'm really looking forward to the next 12 months.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I just wanted to wish you all a truly happy Christmas with peace, joy and love to share with those who are dear to you.

Have a wonderful time.
From Kate
And from Dylan

From Sid
And from Flora

Contest Winners and More on Covers

I have winners!

Sid The Cat had to be distracted from inspecting Christmas parcels under the tree - he knows there is one that is full of greenies from his favourite LATP (Lady Across the Pond) Anne McAllister - in order to get him to attend to the serious business of picking a winner or two. But at last he came up with a result and that result is:
Christmas Stocking Stuffed With Books
the two winners are:
Trenda P from Mississippi
Colleen C from Arizona

Trenda and Colleen your prizes will be in the mail today.

The 12 Days of Christmas Contest on AuthorSoundRelations still has one day to go and Lee will be sending out prizes from there too.
And the special winners from my newsletter group are:
Zara H from Alabama
Dena W from Washington

Alicia L from Trinidad and Tobago

I hope the winners enjoy their prizes and thank you to everyone who entered.

Now more about covers. If you read the comments on my earlier post A Question of Covers, you will have seen that I had a special visitor who is deeply involved in the revamp of the Mills & Boon covers that's coming up.

Kathryn from St Luke's the agency which is working on the redesign left a message there - she said:

Hi there I work at St Luke's and we're so excited to be working on the covers. It's really useful to hear your comments (Kate and Liz, thanks so much for visiting the whole buffalo!).

It would be great to hear your thoughts on how you think the covers should reflect the differences in each genre?

Happy Christmas to you all and feel free to visit us at our agency blog, the whole buffalo.

So you could have a chance to influence the way that the thinking of this redesign will go. If you have any ideas, thoughts, things you want to comment on strongly about the covers, then post them here and I'll make sure that Kathryn sees them.

Or head over to St Luke's blog The Whole Buffalo and post a comment there. As they say in the wedding ceremony - speak now or forever hold your peace!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Looking for writers from India

I know that I get a lot of visitors to this blog from India, specially since HMB started publishing regularly in that country. So I thought that some of you might be interested in this article that appeared in The Times yesterday.

Mills & Boon's steamy passage to India to woo authors

Prepare to be romanced as never before: the women of India – the land that brought you the Kama Sutra and countless Bollywood depictions of all-conquering love – are being wooed to write for Mills & Boon.

The world’s most prolific romance publisher, which sells four books a second, has just begun its largest search for fresh literary talent, and has chosen to hunt in the subcontinent for the first time. It is the climax of one of the longest and most breathless unions in publishing.

Starry-eyed Indian readers have sighed over imported Mills & Boon books since the days of the Raj. Indian bookshop shelves groan under the weight of titles such as the recent Virgin Slave, Barbarian King. The 100-year-old British company began printing in the country this year to fill the growing demand.

“Look at the basic Bollywood plot,” Andrew Go, the head of the publisher’s Indian operations, said. “Boy meets girl, obstacle, happy ending. It’s incredibly emotionally charged, with lots of conflict. Who can possibly be better equipped to write Mills & Boon than the Indians?”

As if to prove that the course of true love really never does run smoothly, there have been concerns that Mills & Boon’s raunchier offerings are too steamy for a conservative country where the expression of sexual intimacy remains taboo.

Novels in its racy Blaze series, which promises readers “sexual adventures and fantasy journeys” and includes titles such as Just a Little Sex and The Last Virgin, have been held back from Indian audiences.

To unearth more suitable fare, Mills & Boon has established the Passions Writing Contest. The aim, the company says, is to “discover the world’s next big romance author” – an Indian writer who can hit the amorous heights achieved by the Mills & Boon legend Debbie Macomber, the dyslexic American whose 150 stories have sold more than 60 million copies.

Entrants must write a 2,000-word short story. The winning tale will be published and its author coached for a year to produce a novel. She – Mills & Boon assumes that the victor will be a woman – will also receive a laptop computer and diamond jewellery.

“This is the land that built the Taj Mahal, the greatest-ever monument to love. There are lovers everywhere in India. It represents a massively exciting pool of fresh talent,” Mr Go said.
India could also prove extremely lucrative. Literacy rates are rising and an increase in disposable income in recent years, particularly among women, mean that more people are buying books. Mills & Boon, whose books cost 99 rupees (about £1.40), also believes that it will profit from the global economic downturn as readers search for cheap escapism.

The company, which sells more than 200 million books a year, offers aspiring writers a plotting rulebook. The guidelines for its India competition follow the same pattern and suggest that although the publisher is searching for new talent it is not keen to break new literary ground.

The short stories may be set anywhere – “Rome, Paris, Mumbai, London or any other romantic location” – the rubric states, “but should have the capacity to capture the hearts and minds of readers across the world”. It adds: “All entries must have an Indian element to the story, either through the location, character or other devices. As with all Mills & Boon novels, all submissions should have a happy ending.”

If you're interested, you can also find more details with rules for entry and some tips on writing on the Mills & Boon India site

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just two more days to enter . . .

Just to remind you that you have two days left to entermy annual Christmas Stocking Stuffed with Books contest when you can win a Christmas Stocking full of really great reading.
This time, the books on offer in the 2008 Christmas stocking are:

Dangerous Mr Ryder


The Shocking Lord Standon by Louise Allen

Appointment at The Altar by Jessica Hart

His Secret Past by Ellen Hartman

Antonides Forbidden Bride by Anne McAllister

His Cavalry Lady by Joanna Maitland

Valenti’s One-Month Mistress by Sabrina Philips

And a signed copy of my special Centenary publication The Duke’s Secret Wife

How to enter:

To enter the contest you need to answer the four questions which can be found on the Contests Page of my web site

Closing date is 21st December

And the 12 Days of Christmas contest continues to run over on Author Sound Relations until Christmas Eve

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Question of Covers

On Wednesday, the UK newspaper The Guardian ran this article:

Ad agency St Luke's is set to redesign Mills & Boon covers. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/Guardian
Romantic fiction publisher Mills & Boon is planning its first new
advertising campaign in six years to "ignite passion" in younger readers.
The publisher, which celebrated its 100th birthday this year
, has appointed ad agency St Luke's to develop a new campaign for its novels.
St Luke's, which won a pitch for the account against two other unnamed agencies, will launch the campaign next summer, and will also redesign the covers of Mills & Boon's books.
Mills & Boon said the aim of the ad campaign is to "ignite a passion for the brand among a new target audience of younger readers while continuing to fuel love and loyalty among its very sizeable fanbase".
The company said that more than 7 million Mills & Boon books are sold in the UK each year.
"It is not every day that you get to work with a client listed in the Oxford English Dictionary," said the St Luke's business development director, Liz Little.

Now this intrigued me. In the almost 25 years I've been writing for Mills & Boon, I, and my books, have been through heavens knows how many changes in the design of the covers. There were the original covers with different coloured bands at the top. (The bands were supposed to be dark or pastel depending on the sensuality of the covers, but in my own books it seemed more that they picked up colours in the actual cover art work)

Then there were the 'half a heart'covers. Covers where the different halves of a heart, one facing right, one facing left, were meant to be displayed so that on the shelves they made up one whole heart. They never were displayed that way - at least, I never saw them.

Then the lines were split into Romance and - then it was Mills & Boon Presents - and there was the solid band of blue. The band of blue became a blue swirl with - oh dear - photographs that so often made the heroes look about 3 years old and often very gay. The heroines were too frequently emaciated too.

The photographs disappeared. We went back to art work. But it was still a matter of luck if you got a good cover or not. You could describe your hero and heroine till you were blu in the face, send in magazine pictures that were meant to show what your characters looked like. Sometimes it seemed that the artwork department listened - sometimes . . . NOT! I once foolishly said that my hero was an actor, a film star - Robert Redford type.

What I got was this. RR's older, fatter, less handsome cousin maybe - but Redford himself??
I'm intrigued by this Guardian article in two ways.
One is that the covers tend to be matters of fashion. And luck. Sometimes you get a great one. Other times you get ones that have you wincing and crying 'No!'

Who could forget the glory of 'The Blob' that was the cover of Desert Affair - though you had to see it in the pink hardback library version to see it in it's true horror.

And my other point is that 'younger readers' bit. How young? I've met readers of romances who range in age from 16 to 86 . And none of them buys the book solely because of the cover.

If we design covers for younger readers do we need to use - say Zac Efron - as a cover model as opposed to H-I-A-T?

Well, Zac's pretty but he's not my Greek Billionaire or my hard-bitten, brooding Santos Cordero in my next book.

And what do you want on a cover? The hero and heroine? A clinch? Flowers? Hearts and flowers? It seems to me that you can't please all of the people all of the time - and unless we go down the Harry Potter route, with one cover for the adult version and one for the younger market, we will struggle to create a cover image that appeals to everyone.

So what do you think? Are you a 'younger reader'? Do you think romance appeals to you and your age group? Is it anything to do with the covers that appeals/puts you off? Would a change in covers make you want to pick up a book or would one of those The Amnesiac Greek Billionaire's Secret Mistress's Secret Baby titles make you put it straight back down again?

And what does everyone think? No matter what your age or how long you've been reading romance. Do you buy because of the appeal of a cover image? Or is it the title (is it really??) or the author's name . . .

I'm interested - and I'm pretty sure St Luke's ad agency is too.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Stocking Stuffed with books - and finally . . .

So I've told you all about the books donated by friends and fellow authors to be part of the Christmas, but of course there is one final title in this special Christmas Collection and that's the one that I've put in this time.

With 2008 being the 100th birthday of Harlequin Mills & Boon, I thought that the most appropriate book I could donate this year is the special novella from the Centenary Collection - The Duke's Secret Wife.

Isabelle's secret marriage to Don Luis de Silva seems to be over. But the heir to the dukedom of Madriagalo demands that she return to Spain with him and pretend to be his fiancée - and then his wife! What does Luis have to gain from this reunion - except Isabelle?

This came out along with 23 other short stories in the special Centenary Collection. I'm not sure how long all the stories will be available but if you did want to make sure you have the whole collection, then you can take advantage of the speciall offer available on the Mills & Boon Website where you can buy all 24 titles for just £23. That's less than £1 a book.

And talking about sexy Spanish heroes, I just discovered the cover of the UK edition of my next book, coming in March 2009. It's now up on for pre-order. My lucky American readers can get their hands on a copy before then because Cordero's Forced Bride is published in February 2009 in USA.

If you want to enter the Christmas Stocking Contest, then get your entries in soon. The closing date is 20th December. And then Sid will get to work, picking winners. (If you want to offer brides, he's very fond of tuna.)

The 12 Days of Christmas Contest will run for a few more days - right up until Christmas Eve.

Details of both my contests can be found on my Contests Page and over on Author Sound Relations for the 12 Days of Christmas Contest.

Good luck!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Stocking Stuffed with Books 6 - Sabrina Philips

I' ve finally managed to sit down at my desk and write this blog after a hectic day posting yet more parcels - if you're expecting a prize from me, it's on its way! - getting the car serviced - washing sheets - the exciting and glamorous life of a romance novelist! So now I can finally talk to you about another of the books in the Christmas Stocking.

I'm really happy to be able to introduce my readers to the final author who has donated her book to the Christmas Stocking Stuffed with Books. As everyone knows, this year has been the 100th birthday of Harlequin Mills and Boon and to reach that amazing milestone - and go on into the future, they need new and up and coming writers for all the lines. This year, several new authors have been signed to write for Presents and you'll be seeing their books coming out in 2009.

The first of these is my guest author today and she is brand-new Presents author Sabrina Philips. Sabrina has her very first book, Valenti's One-Month Mistress out in the UK in February 2009 and then it will be published in America in Presents in March.

But Sabrina has very kindly given me two signed copies of her first release so that I can offer them to you as part of the prize in this special Christmas Contest. This is your chance to be one of the first to read this special book by the newest Modern/Presents author. Sabrina also has her second book already bought and scheduled and that will be out in July in the UK.

Here's a bit more about Valenti's One-Month Mistress

Faye Matteson cannot believe the nerve of Dante Valenti! The arrogant Italian expects her to become his mistress in exchange for his help with her failing business.

She fell for him when she was just an innocent – but he took her virginity and left her heartbroken. She’d sworn, Never again!

But no one should ever underestimate the power of Dante Valenti’s sensuality. If he wants her, he will have her.

And here's a special message to you all from Sabrina herself.

My next book, 'The Desert King's Bejewelled Bride' is out in the UK in July. (I haven't got a US date yet). I love all Presents men but I think Sheikhs have to be my favourite to read, so it was an absolute joy to write my own - and a non-nonsense heroine to match! I am currently working on my third book about a drop-dead gorgeous French Prince called Leon and a feisty, red-haired art-restorer called Cally. They both appear as secondary characters in 'The Desert King's Bejewelled Bride', and I am really enjoying giving them a story of their own. Hopefully they'll have their happy ever after and be winging their way to my editor's desk in January. That, of course, is if I find time to put fingers to keyboard inbetween all the card-writing, present-buying and festive cooking!

And now the season to be jolly is upon us again, I can't help thinking back to Christmas last year. We have a tradition in our family that when making the Christmas puddings we have to stir them three times and make a wish, and I optimistically wished that I would be published before the year was out (for three years running as a child I wished I could find the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, and to be honest, the prospect seemed just as elusive!) So for me to be going in to 2009 with one book in print and the second on the way is literally a dream come true. I really couldn't ask for a better Christmas present! Although I still wouldn't say no to a pot of gold..... ;)

You can find out more about Sabrina and her books on her web site here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Stocking Stuffed with Books 5 - Joanna Maitland

So are you ready for Christmas?

No - me neither. Over on the Pink Heart Blog I vowed that this year would be the year I was not still wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve. Well, I still have time to manage that I suppose. I have all the presents anyway. And everything that needs to be posted overseas has gone in the mail. The next lot will be the UK packages some of which are still sitting on the dresser in my hall. The Post Office are already sick of the sight of me and my bundles of parcels.

Of course, the one thing that hasn't been posted yet is the prize from the Christmas Stocking stuffed with books. That's because the contest is still open - but only until the weekend. So get your entries in this week if you want to be in with a chance to win this great prize.

Today's Christmas Stocking author is Joanna Maitland. And the book she has kindly donated is her fabulous Historical Romance His Cavalry Lady. His Cavalry Lady is the first book in The Aikenhead Honours trilogy that tells the story of three gentlemen spies and the women who complicate their lives. Having read the first part, I'm really looking forward to parts two and three and - er - four. (Joanna explains the trilogy in four parts in a moment)

Here are the details of the books in the series:

The Aikenhead Honours
Three gentlemen spies: bound by duty,
undone by women!

The stories of three of England’s most eligible bachelors:
Dominic, Leo, and Jack,
code-named Ace, King, Knave

Together they are
The Aikenhead Honours
A government-sponsored spying ring,
they risk their lives, and hearts,
to keep Regency England safe!

Follow these three brothers on a dazzling journey
through Europe and beyond, as they
serve their country and meet their brides,
in often very surprising circumstances!

Meet the ‘Ace’, Dominic Aikenhead, Duke of Calder
His Cavalry Lady
travelling through England and to the vast expanses of Russia
(published UK September 2008, US/Canada March 2009)

Meet the ‘King’ and renowned rake, Lord Leo Aikenhead
His Reluctant Mistress
among the intrigues of the Congress of Vienna and beyond
(published US/Canada April 2009, UK June 2009)

Meet the ‘Knave’ and incorrigible playboy, Lord Jack Aikenhead
His Forbidden Liaison
braving the dangers of France after Napoleon’s return
(published US/Canada May 2009, UK July 2009)

Obvioulsy, the winner of the Christmas Stocking Contest will win the UK edition because that's the one that's already published, but I've included the USA covers that Joanna sent me because they're great covers - and so that American readers know what to look out for in March and April. For UK readers, the second part of the trilogy will be out in June 2009.

And here's what Joanna has to say about writing this series:

I’m now in the process of writing the fourth part of The Aikenhead Honours Trilogy. Yes, a trilogy in four parts!!

There are actually four members of the Aikenhead Honours spying band: the fourth is Ben Dexter, code-named ‘Ten’, and best friend of Lord Jack Aikenhead. He had to be left behind in Lyons, wounded, during Jack’s book, so it was only fair that I should tell the story of the dangers he met and how he dealt with them. He had help, of course, from a daring French royalist girl who risked her life for him and earned his undying gratitude. And more…

I had such fun writing the trilogy, and following these gorgeous heroes all over Europe, that I was delighted to have an excuse to keep writing about them. Ben’s story will be published as a e-book in Harlequin’s Undone series in the middle of 2009.

I've told you about nearly all the books in the Christmas Stocking, but I still have one special book to tell you about next. Come back tomorrow for the details on this book - the very first novel by one of Harlequin Presents brand new authors. Sabrina Phillips.

And don't forget that the Twelve Days of Christmas Contest is still running over on My Tote Bag so check out that and see if you can win a signed copy of one of my backlist books.

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