Monday, August 31, 2009

Wuthering Heights

Anyone who has read this blog for a while will probably be aware of the fact that I have a long term connection with, almost an obsession with, the lives and books of the Bronte sisters. I grew up near Halifax, just a few miles away from Haworth where Charlotte Emily and Anne Bronte lived, I read the books from a very early age – my first reading of Wuthering Heights was around the age of 12 – and then I studied the books both for my first degree and for my MA when I wrote my thesis comparing the adult work of Charlotte and Emily and connecting it to their childhood writings when they created their own imaginary worlds of Angria and Gondal.

So last night when UK TV aired the first episode of their brand new adaptation of Wuthering Heights, of course I had to watch it. If I’m honest I didn’t hope for much. I’ve never been truly satisfied with any TV or film adaptation of one of my favourite books starting with the classic Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon ( running, as an old friend and Irish poet the late Ewart Milne once said ‘the gamut of emotions from A to B), going through the films versions such as the 1970s one with Timothy Dalton and Anna Calder –Marshall that forgot all about the second generation story and had the ghosts of Heathcliff and Cathy floating off to eternity across the moors.

I didn’t have high hopes of this newest TV version – which is perhaps just as well as I would have been deeply disappointed in it if I had. For me the whole production was a watered down, adulterated mess that would have had Emily Bronte spinning in the crypt under Haworth parsonage. I think the real problem was that – as so many others have always done and as one newspaper review put it - it tried to turn Wuthering Heights into "a real love story that a modern day audience could relate to".

WH is not and never was meant to be a romance or really a love story - it'sa story of obsession, of passion, of possession and revenge but not of any real love. Catherine - who was totally watered down in this TV version - is a selfish, demanding,often petulant even cruel girl . The real reason Heathcliff leaves is not his treatment by Hindley but the fact that he hears Cathy declare to Nelly that 'it would degrade me tomarry Heathcliff' - particularly after she has mocked him for being dirty and awkward and she laughs at him with Edgar. This important scene was badly neglected with the result that it just appeared that Heathcliff decide to leave in a sulk. This was one of failings of the production - the novelist/editor part of me was wanting so muchmore of an answer *why* he decided to leave at that moment - all of which hadbeen edited out of the drama by the script.That amazing scene where Heathcliff bangs his head against a tree on hearing of Cathy's death is one of the most powerful scenes in the book and last night itwas downgraded to a sulky lout banging his head three times against the wall of Thrushcross Grange because he's seen Cathy happy and smiling inside the house -and then he lifted his head without a mark, not even a bruise when in theoriginal Heathcliff draws blood and in fact spatters the tree with it.

This Heathcliff only rarely showed sparks of the dangerous, destructive man who was going to bring such chaos and devastation to the world of Wuthering Heights. I had a moment of hope when he first appeared and showed a mixture of charm and danger that held great potential. But sadly that didn’t continue. He moped his way through the fist episode, showed little emotion never mind hatred and seemed to be too cleaned up and politically correct to represent the real Heathcliff. I really couldn’t find any flare of pure heat and passion that could not be denied between Cathy and Heathcliff and neither of them had the harsh ambiguity that Emily Bronte gave to her very personal creations. Not for nothing did she – a woman who loved animals, especially her dogs – create a brute who could hang Isabella’s spaniel as an act of pure cruelty.

The whole point of the book is that it was never meant to be any such thing as a ‘love story’ but a study of obsession and how wild human nature left unchecked can cause destruction and misery. All of Earnshaw's children (including Heathcliff) have a terrible capacity for cruelty and selfishness and Bronte shows that it's the introduction gentler (weaker?) elements like the Lintons and Hindley's wife that creates the second generation 'love story' in the end. I doubt very much that Heathcliff was ever considered a 'hero' by either Emily orher contemporary readers but far more likely to be a villain - a cuckoo in the nest who destroys the rest of the occupants. In fact even her sister Charlotte wrote a preface that questions whether it's "right or advisable to create being such as Heathcliff" and she points out that Heathcliff's one single human feeling which is not his 'love' for Cathy which is boiling 'fierce and inhuman' but the rough regard he has for Hareton -Hindley's son.

I shall watch the second half of Wuthering Heights just to see if it gets any better - though if I’m honest it will be a struggle to do so. I half expected some newspaper review today to describe it as ‘a Mills & Boon version of Wuthering Heights.’ But the truth is that at several points in the production I could imagine my editor’s red pen coming out, marking the manuscript with ‘cut for pace’ and the all important question ‘why’. And as it was played out last night I really felt that the response would be ‘Dear Ms Bronte we enjoyed reading your manuscript but we felt that the story does not have the emotional punch we are looking for and that it fails to reach the sort of emotional climax that our readers are looking for. ‘

We’ll see if tonight restores the balance at all.

Friday, August 28, 2009

If you like ebooks . . .

I've just discovered that Kept For Her Baby is already on sale in this format on You can find the ebook version of this October Presents EXTRA release here.

I wasn't expecting it to be available in the Presents format yet, so it was a surprise to see it there.

It has been on sale on the Mills & Boon web site for a while, as have all the September Modern Romance, whether they appear in the shops on August 21st of September 4th. Kept For Her Baby will, of course, be in the bookshops in the UK from next Friday - September 4th. And you can read an excerpt from it here or using the link in the sidebar.

And don't forget that my Summer Sizzler contest which I'm running jointly with Michelle Reid is still open - nut the closing date is the end of this month Monday 31st September. So get your entries in for that- the details are:

We are giving you the chance to win a signed copy of each of the two great books we have out in September - my Kept For Her Baby and Michelle's Marchese's Forgotten Bride.

All you have to do is: Name the Hero and Heroine in both of the above titles!

(you can find the information on my web site - and of course on Michelle's)

Send your answers to me and to Michelle
Please put September Sizzler Contest in the subject line.

The closing date is the last day of August 2009 after which Michelle and I will pick out the winners and send them signed copies of our books.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Review

The Romantic Times reviews for the October books aren't up on the web site for a month or so but my lovely friend Holly Jacobs (thatk you Holly!) has sent me an early copy of their rebiew of Kept For Her Baby which I'm delighted to say has been given 4 stars.

And here's the review:

KEPT FOR HER BABY (4) by Kate Walker: Lucy did the unthinkable when she deserted her 2-month-old son and husband Ricardo seven months ago. Sneaking back to the island where her husband lives, Lucy just hopes for glimpse of her precious son. Instead she's confronted by her furious husband, who fumes that she trapped him into marriage by the oldest trick in the book and is a money-hungry, irresponsible mother. But will Ricardo continue with his plan to divorce Lucy, or will he want her again as his son's mother and his wife? Dramatic and emotional conflicts are the backdrop as Ricardo learns to trust his wife and Lucy learns to trust herself.
That's made my day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Sunday afternoon and yesterday, a migraine kept me away from the keyboard so I had a rare opportunity/excuse for some concentrated reading. For the first time in ages I worked my way through three of the recently published Modern Romance titles, one after the other and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

What I loved about the experience was the way that each of these three titles was so typically a Modern Romance with the passion, sensuality, sophistication and emotional intensity that the line demands, and yet they were very clearly individual works by very different authors each with their own special voice and unique approach to the demands of the line.
First was Abby Green's Ruthlessly Bedded, Forcibly Wedded - with a vulnerable but spirited heroine and a hero who started out cold-bloodedly determined on revenge but then had to learn how wrong he was and gradually change his mind. Cara's confrontation with Vincenzo at the very public setting of the ballroom shows she's no pushover and his the journey of growth from avenger to lover was so clearly marked out - no miraculous 'conversion' at the end which made this so satisfying.
India Grey is still a 'newbie' author in the numbers of her books but with her RNA Romance Prize win she's already marked herself out as an author to watch and her latest release Spanish Aristocrat, Forced Bride will continue that reputation. Personally I've always loved a wounded and tormented hero and Tristan is certainly that. His icy cold facade is so obviously (to the reader) a shield put up to protect his more vulnerable self that the reader can't wait to see it shatter into a thousand pieces - which it does of course! And Lily's warmth and giving is a natural foil to Tristan's brutal control so that you just know she will eventually break through to him and teach him how to love.

Finally, a book that I'd been keeping for a personal treat and when I finally got to read it, it didn't disappoint. But then a romance by Michelle Reid never does. Marchese's Forgotten Bride is a reunion story with a twist - As the title reveals, the hero - Sandro - has lost all memory of his time with Cassie six years before. And so when they meet up again the past reaches out to grab him with a violence and shock that devastates him. I totally believed in Sandro's reasons for the way guilt had wiped the vital 6 weeks from his mind and taken all memory of Cassie with itWhat I loved about this book was the way that the feelings each had had for the other in the past were revealed as swiftly and urgently as they had done when they had first met so that the passionate relationship was once more - seemingly - back on track very fast. But there was one vital element of Sandro's past that hadn't yet been revealed and to have that brought to light just when it seemed that everything was going to fell into place had an impact that was all the more potent because of the reconciliation that had already been growing.
So if I couldn't work on my own book I had a lovely time reading these three great stories - books that reminded me yet again that no matter how many ill informed critics sneer and declare that romances are all the same, there are plenty of very distinct and individual and talented voices in the line-up. Voices that brought me to romance over 25 years ago and still keep me interested now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Amazon (and Barnes & Noble) Grrrr!

So a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog with good news for American readers - and American writers who wanted to buy a copy of the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance.

In that I was able to tell you that the publishers had reduced the cost of this book from $27.50 - which was the cost of the imported edition, together with shipping - to $19.99 which is what the new USA edition has been priced at. And I was really pleased to be able to say that Amazon had the book in stock at this price. I even put up a link to that page on Amazon so that you could find it easily if you wanted to buy the book.

That was the link that I put I the sidebar.

But I checked on this again over the weekend and infuriatingly I found that has put the price up to the former $27.50 but is now offering the book at a 'reduction' of $24.75 - which is $5 more than the price the publisher is asking. And it seems that Barnes & Noble has done the same.

Now Amazon and B&N are entitled to charge what they want on their sites but it's annying me becuase I've been trying to get this book made easily available to USA writers ever since it first came out in the UK.

And it it's a crazy situation because if you order it from a Barnes and Noble shop, you should be able to get it from the Chicago distributors at the cheaper price of $19.99

So I just wanted to remind you that you don't have to order it on line and pay that extra $5 - what you can do is take the details to any B&N shop or Borders - any bookshop in fact - and you'll be able to order the book at this great price. And you shuldn't have to wait the 2-4 weeks listed by Amazon either - the book is right there in Chicago, ready to be shipped to any bookstore that orders it!

Here are the details you need - just cut and paste them and print them out and take them to your local bookshop and they should do the rest

Please order:
Author: Kate Walker

ISBN: 978-1842851319

Price : $19.99
Studymates Publishing

Chicago Distribution Center

11030 S. Langley Ave.

Chicago, IL 60628

Phone: 773-702-7000

Fax 773-702-721212

You can even phone the Distribution Centre yourself and they will supply the book and post it too you.

But you don't have to do that - that's what bookshops are for - to sell books!

For those of you who don't know, this is the Second Edition. And the new edition is not only revised and updated, it also has this 40+ pages extra with advice and tips from 21 currently published authors. Authors like Michelle Reid, Anne McAllister, Sandra Marton in Presents, Liz Fielding, Natasha Oakley, in Romance, Trish Wylie and Julie Cohen in Modern Heat (Trish in Romance too!) - and Kate Hardy in Mod Heat and Medicals - along with Gill Sanderson and Margaret McDonagh. And in Historicals there's Nicola Cornick and Michelle Styles . . . and that's only as a taster. There's also Holly Jacobs from Harlequin Everlasting - er - Superromance and Yvonne Lindsay from Desire.

Hopefully, whatever line you're aiming for you'll find something to help you there.

Personally, I'm wondering what Amazon will do about the people who ordered the book two weeks ago when they had the price at $19.99. Anyway, I'm taking down the link to Amazon until they offer it at that price again.

PS have the book at CDN$15.87 and it's in stock! and The Book has it at $16.39

Friday, August 21, 2009

Critter Catch Up - Cats and Hecks

It's been a while since I posted any new photos of the cats and as people have been asking about them - and about the Hecks (It's not just you who's been wondering, Ilona!) I thought that I'd just do a quick round up of what they're all up to today - or last night in the case of the Hecks as they were out and about then.

The problems I had with my camera are solved - it was a case of a missing charger which meant that the battery died on me in Caerleon - so I can show up to date pics of everyone you've been asking about.

So - the Hecks are fine and eating lots of cat crunchies to stoke up body fat ready to hibernate later in the year. The most frequent visitors are definitely the pair who always came together last year - they're usually both together this year as well, and one of them has a distinctive very black face so we recognise them. I did have a picture of them cleaning up the dead bird on the lawn but that's a bit gruesome so I've settled for the more civilised eacting cat crunchies image.

Princess Flora Flooziebelle spends most of her time in the garden while the sun shines. She has a new friend in a young tabby and cream cat who often comes to visit and they play together when she's not posing for photographs under the fuschia or other places that make her look glamorous.

Dylan is a nocturnal cat so he's out and about in the night time when we rarely see him. And in the daytime he ends up in here - but stay fast asleep and doesn't want to be disturbed - not even for photgraphs. Specially not for photographs.

And Sir Sidney - when he's not picking winners for the contests loves to sit on his cushion on my office windowsill and watch the world go by - while inspiring me to write the story of my latest Greek hero of course!
Don't forget to get your entries in for the Summer Sizzler contest so he can have plenty of crunchies to choose from! He's looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Presents and Presents Extra

When I asked abut the new covers and scheduling, Jill made what I think is a very good and interesting point in her comment. She said:

I also think that Harlequin could do a lot more to distinguish Presents and
Presents Extra in North America. They have very different "feels" and that is
not reflected in the covers or the titles.

Well, basically, Jill, my response is ‘Me too’ - but it’s the main Presents schedule that I wish Marketing would get to grips with and make a lot clearer. I understand that some sort of changes are in the pipeline. And not before time in my opinion – there are a lot of readers out there who have been confused and puzzled by the way some books have been published in Presents over the past year or so. It’s a situation that has had meant that some people have bought books they weren’t truly happy with. Books that didn’t give them what they wanted. And has left others not really know which books to buy to get the sort of read they’re looking for.

It’s also sometimes meant that some people have found new authors they’ve fallen in love with, authors they want to read more of – which is the good side of this and I suspect that might have been the original plan behind the new way of publishing Presents Extra. But it’s a bit more complicated than the thought that the main Presents run at the beginning of the month have stayed exactly the same, while the Presents Extra are the ‘different’ ones. And as I have a book coming out in Presents Extra in October I’ll take this opportunity to explain things as they stand now. And thank you Jill for asking the question to lead me to doing this.

OK, so all the Presents/Presents Extra books are originally bought by the London UK editorial offices – that is, they are read, edited and acquired by Harlequin Mills & Boon UK. They are published in the UK first and then, either the same month, or later in the year, they are published in America. The books that are published in the Presents line-up in USA used to be acquired solely from one line in the UK - the Modern Romance line. (The books with the blue covers that you see in my sidebar etc.) But these days, the books that are put out with a Presents cover are acquired from two different lines. (With some exceptions but I’ll come to that in a minute.) So now the Presents/Extra books are acquired from the Modern Romance Line and the Modern Heat line.

And the first complication starts to come in because the Modern Heat used to be called the Modern Extra and the name of the line was changed in 2008.

So in the UK and in Australia, these books are brought out under a separate line title – in Australia they are sold as Sexy Sensation, with a distinctly different cover design. In the UK you have to look a little harder for that ‘Heat’ addition to the cover but it’s there. Personally, I think this is a very good – and necessary distinction. Because the editorial content of these books is very different in tone and in execution from the classic Modern/Presents style editorial. You’ve only got to look at the writing guidelines for each line – specially the checklists for the type of alpha hero they are looking for - to see this:

Mills & Boon Modern Romance®
Commanding: he’s always in control and calling the shots – except when the heroine finally tames him…
Demanding: he’s come a long way since his emotionally or financially impoverished childhood; he wants it done, and he wants it done now!
Arrogant: he believes in himself and the reach of his influence, totally – until the battle with his feelings for the heroine begins…
Passionate: sensual and sexy, he uses his charm and power to get what he wants, though his need for the heroine may ultimately prove stronger
Status: impossibly wealthy, probably self-made; often has celebrity status in the media. The ruler of all he surveys, be it a company or a country
Mills & Boon Modern Heat®
Young: he’s aged between 25 and 35 and has yet to settle down
Confident: he knows what he wants and has a good idea of how he’ll get it; he knows he’s attractive and relishes challenges – he might have a extreme hobby
Easy-going: he plays as hard as he works, knowing how and when to have a good time. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff…
Accessible: he’s very approachable, but his physical presence and his confidence and charm make him stand out from the crowd
Status: he hails from all walks of life and can have any level of success and wealth

For me the difference between the two is more than this - it’s a difference of mood and intensity – and very definitely of conflict. To me the hallmark of the classic Presents is that high-octane, white heat of emotional intensity that some people love and others hate and its one of the reasons why Modern/Presents has been so successful and why the line often sparks off so many debates about the books and the heroes. If you want to know more about what I think are the differences between these two lines, I wrote about it here:

So, to my way of thinking, it’s important to indicate which type of read a book is. This has been done in the UK and in Australia. In America, the Modern Heat editorial was originally published in the Presents Extra line-up, which marked them out as slightly different and so readers knew what they were getting – but all that has been changed. Just when everyone thought they knew that Extras were different, they aren’t any more! The Modern Heat books have been put in with the main run of the Presents titles at the beginning of the month, and the Presents Extras are precisely that –extra Presents out in the middle of the month. Presents/Modern-style stories written by Presents authors and put together in themed collections. (My Kept For Her Baby is out under the heading ‘Dark Nights with the Billionaire’ which, I’ll be honest, I don’t quite understand – but that’s marketing for you!)

The exception to this is when the Presents Extra line up is used to bring out some Medical titles and then the name of the series – Posh Docs, Mediterranean Doctors etc - will usually reveal that this is what has happened.

So it’s all a bit confusing to readers at the moment. I understand that in the near future there are plans to indicate on the covers what sort of story each book is but I don’t know quite what or when that’s going to happen. Speaking personally, it can’t come soon enough because if I was buying a Presents title I’d want to know that I was going to get the reading experience I was looking for. And if I wanted a Modern Heat style story I’d want to know where to look for that too. So I hope all this will soon be sorted out to make it clearer.

Until then, what can you do to check which sort of story a book is? Well, the obvious thing is to go by the author – authors you know have written classic Presents style books before will be the ones who will give you the same sort of read, no matter whether they come out in Presents or Presents Extra – Kept For Her Baby is a classic example. And the other titles in Extra that month are by Carole Mortimer, Lee Wilkinson and Janette Kenny – classic Presents authors.

In the main Presents line up at the beginning of the month, authors like Heidi Rice, Kate Hardy, Trish Wylie, Nicola Marsh . . .have all be published in Modern Heat first. You can check out the Modern Heat books on the Mills & Boon web site if you want to. They’re in with the Modern titles but they have that read ‘Heat’ on the front cover to indicate their style. Or putting Modern Heat into the search box on will show you the authors who write for this line. Then you can make your choice.

So does this help – or confuse you even more? I think it just goes to show that, as Jill says, it’s time there was some way of showing that a book started out as a Modern Romance or a Modern Heat because they do have that different ‘feel’ and some readers prefer one and not the other .

Of course, now that I’ve explained all this, things will probably change all over again and nothing will be clear.
But the one thing I can promise you is that Kept For Her Baby is a classic Presents story – but you need to look for it in the Presents Extra line up that’s out on October 13th.

Just look for that fabulous cover and you’ll find it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

More good news for USA writers - and readers

Thank you to everyone who commented on the new covers/new scheduling in the UK.

I tend to agree with you - Julie, Jan, Jill and Ellen - that I'm not keen on the 2 in 1 format for the Romance books - and some others. I often buy romance titles but only by very specific authors and I'm afraid that the inclusion of an author I'm not keen on in the bok - at a higher price than a single title - would make me think more than twice about buying that book. However much I wanted it. I will be considering buying the USA editions as long as they continue to offer me just the author I want to read.

And I'm not a big fan of that washed-out cover look, either Jan. To me it looks way too much the way that people used to think - and some still do - of an M&B Romance- washed out, 'pink and fluffy' and totally unrealistic. Didn't any of the designers read Liz Fielding or Marion Lennox before they planned a design? (No - don't answer that. I have a nasty feeling that the answer is they didn't read very much at all. These covers are just too insipid for me. The new design doesn't work so badly on the Intrigue books though - because the cover images aren't as insipid. I don't actually mind the new layout of the covers - just those pallid images.

Interestingly, the Modern Romance line doesn't have new covers - and as far as I know there are no plans for the new designs for this line or the Historical line either. This creates a rather strange effect on the bokshop shelves where the books now tend to look as if they are from different publishers - is that a good or a bad thing? I don't know.
Jill, you mentioned Harlequin Presents and Harlequin Presents Extra - and you've raised an interesting and rather complicated pint - so I'll talk about that in more detail in my next post tomorrow.

For a while now I've been singing the praises of The Book Depository as a place to get hold of books that are not easily available elsewhere or where postage costs are prohibitive for delivery.
Well, I just learned this morning that The Book Depository is now opening up in America, still with free delivery - and some very good prices for books that are more expensive elsewhere. I checked out the USA edition of the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance in their stock and found it here at $16.26 - and that's with free shipping. It's a great deal.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Contest entries

Apparently some of you have had some problems with the link to Michelle Reid's part of the Summer Sizzler contest - with the link I gave in the original post. Not at all sure why that link didn't work but having checked things with Michelle, I've now made sure that these links will reach here -

So you can either email Michelle Reid here or go to her web site and click on the Contact link there to send your entries. Yes, that says web mistress at michelle reid . com but that doesn't matter - it will reach Michelle just the same.

So use either of those two ways of sending your entry, with Summer Sizzler Contest in the subject line and you should be fine.

And of course for me you email me here or use one of the links on my web site pages.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Changes and a contest

So have you got the idea of the new M&B scheduling system yet?

No - me neither - but then it's only really just starting up. But I'm thinking about the new 'two tier' system as I just realised that we're now a couple of weeks into August. Which means that next Friday will be the mid month changeover point, the time when the second set of books, the new titles for 21st August should appear on the shelves.

It's going to be interesting to see if this actually happens in the shops and whether the new books will go out, and the books from mid July will come off the shelves. Everywhere I've looked, the mid July books and the beginning of August books are all shelved together, with no indication of which is which.

You can tell the new Romance, Medical etc books though, because they have the new design covers and some of the 2 in 1 books that are a new format. Have you seen these new covers around? What do you think of them?

nd what about readers in America? You've had more time to get used to the mid month publication of the new Presents titles in the Presents Extra scheduling. How is that working for you? Can you find the Presents Extra titles easily - or are there some shops that don't yet stock all the Presents titles? Obviously I'm interested in the because my next title Kept for His Baby will be published in Presents EXTRA in October. But I'm interested anyway in what's happening in the readers' world as these changes and new developments take place.

One of the way that this has affected me is that last year , as you may remember, Michelle Reid and I both had a book out in September and we ran a small joint contest to mark the event. The Super September contest. When we discovered that we had books out in - we thought - September again this year we decided to run the contest again. But we hadn't reckoned with the new scheduling sytem.

So now we both have new titles coming up, but the books are actually published in a slightly different schedule. Michelle's book - Marchese's Forgotten Bride is out in the first run of September books which are published August 21st (are you confuzzled yet? Me too!)

And my next title - Kept for Her Baby - is out in the second run of September books - on September 4th.

So we had to do a bit of rethinking and we decided we'd still like to run the contest - but this time we're calling it the Summer Sizzler (if the summer isn't exactly sizzling where you are, then don't worry - these books will warm you up instead.)

Details - prizes first -
We're offering two prizes of a signed copy of each book - one of Marchese's Forgotten Bride and one of Kept For Her Baby for each winner.

And here's what you have to do
Just go to my website or to Michelle's - or the M&B web site - and find the answer to this very simple question:

What are the names of the hero and heroine of each book?

Put your answers on an email with the title Summer Sizzler in the subject line and send your entry to me or to Michelle by the last day of this month - that's 31st August.

Good luck!

Readers in America - don't forget to look out for the Presents EXTRA edition of Kept For Her Baby in October. The USA date for Michelle's book is yet to be announced. Australian readers are lucky, you don't have to work out any different dates or scheduling - you'll just find Kept For Her Baby and Marchese's Forgotten Bride in the normal run of Sexy Romances for October.
And I expect that we'll all get used to the new publishing schedules - eventually. If you can;t spot the titles you want in the shops - ask! Or order from the M&B website where Kept For Her Baby is already on sale now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What the Heck . . .

Today I have to be out and about as Mrs Babe Magnet while the Magnet hmself gives a talk about his historical books in Keighley. I'm looking forward to this as it means that we get to meet up again - and stay with one of our special friends from Caerleon, crime novelist Lesley Horton. So that will be fun. Though the cats might rebel at being left again. It's only for one night and their favourite cat-sitter will be in to look after them and feed them.

Also, en route to Keighley, the Magnet needs to call at Ilkley for something whihc gives the perfect excuse to visit Bettys for afternoon tea. Suits me. I expect that I will have to pick up some Fat Rascals and bring them home for various family members. I'm only sorry that I won't be able to mail any FRs to Anne McAllister in memory of several special occasions we've enjoyed sharing tea and more in Bettys in York and Ilkley in the past.

But before we leave I have to keep a promise I made to one of my students in Caerleon last month (Hi Ayla!). Ayla's mum, Ilona sent the message that she hadn't read very much about the Hecks, the family of hedgehogs that live at the bottom of the garden and she was concerned that the hedgehogs might have died out.

So to reassure you Ilona - the Hecks are still there. It's just that I've ben so busy I haven't bee out to photograph them very much this year. But I know there are at least 3 hedgehogs snuffling around and coming to the door for food. The pair who came last year are back, usually arriving together - and they were happily engaged in making baby hedgehogs to judge from the grunting and snuffling coming from beneath the magnolia bush around June.

And then one night - or, rather, morning, when I couldn't sleep, I was looking out of the window aroun d 3am and I saw a half-grown hedgehog (possibly last year's baby) scuttling across the lawn while he thought no one could see him.

I have seen all three of them since we got back from Wales - in fact they were happily scavenging the other night, cleaning up after Flora who had left a dead bird on the lawn. The noises were disgusting but they did a great clearing up job! And the plague of snails has been brought under control thanks to them - so obviously they are feeding well - and hopefully reproducing.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Good news for American writers

I've heard from so many of you in America who want to write romance and have found it difficult to get your hands on a copy of my 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance. It's not easily available in the USA and when it is, it's dreadfully - just about prohibitively expensive.

I've been working with the publisher on getting a USA version of the book into America, and while I was in Washington and at the RWA we finally succeeded. After a bit of organising and negotiating it was there in the RWA bookshop - but the publisher's price was $27.50 - way too expensive, I thought. But that was the publisher's decision.

But after some more discussions and a bit more reorganisation, it was agreed to sell the book at a special promotional price of $19.99 - and the good news is that I've heard from the publisher that the prices is staying that was. So that's almost $8 less to buy it!

Great news I think! already has the USA edition at this price so you can order it from there. And I think that have the new price. The last time I looked, Barnes and Noble didn't have the new edition in stock on line but that doesn't mater - just take the details to any B&N shop or Borders - any bookshop in fact - and you'll be able to order the book at this great price.
Here are the details you need:
Author: Kate Walker
ISBN: 978-1842851319
Price : $19.99
Studymates Publishing
Chicago Distribution Center
11030 S. Langley Ave.
Chicago, IL 60628
Phone: 773-702-7000
Fax 773-702-721212
For those of you who don't know, this is the Second Edition. And the new edition is not only revised and updated, it also has this 40+ pages extra with advice and tips from 21 currently published authors. Authors like Michelle Reid, Anne McAllister, Sandra Marton in Presents, Liz Fielding, Natasha Oakley, in Romance, Trish Wylie and Julie Cohen in Modern Heat (Trish in Romance too!) - and Kate Hardy in Mod Heat and Medicals - along with Gill Sanderson and Margaret McDonagh. And in Historicals there's Nicola Cornick and Michelle Styles . . . and that's only as a taster. There's also Holly Jacobs from Harlequin Everlasting - er - Superromance (see there's another of those lines that came and went) and Yvonne Lindsay from Desire.
Hopefully, whatever line you're aiming for you'll find something to help you there.
And don't forget that if you live in any of the coutries they serve, the Book Depository will deliver for free.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Blake Snyder 1957-2009

I was shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death on August 4th of Blake Snyder, screenwriter and author of the inspiring and brilliant book on screenwriting - Save The Cat. A book that may be about films but has inspired and excited so many writers in other genres - many of my friends - Anne McAllister for example - amongst them.

I am truly sorry that a commitment to be somewhere else meant that I couldn't attend Blake Snyder's workshop at the RWA Conference in San Francisco last year. I had hoped that I would get another chance to do so - sadly this will now not be the case. I would have loved to hear him speak.

Blake was working on a book about romance that I was so looking forward to reading - as were so many other novelists in the romance genre. I can only hope that he left enough material for this much awaited book to be finalised if possible.

My deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of a talented, inspiring and hugely enthusiastic man who have lost him so suddenly and far too early.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Caerleon 25

Everyone wants to know about how I spent last week in Caerleon.

What can I say except that it was was wonderful - and WET. Last Wednesday (how has it got to be a week since then??) was definitely time to start thinking about building an ark. The rain came down in torrents and even the college buildings were starting to flood! But the warmth of the atmosphere made up for everything as it always does.

Caerleon is always wonderful but this time it was extra special. Because this time lovely Anne and Gerry Hobbs, the fabulous couple who started Writers' Holiday and who run it with no extra funding, providing the warmest of welcome to everyone who joins them, were celebrating their 25th year of these holidays. So there was an extra special buzz about the event this year.

There was also a little extra work for me and my dear friend Kathy who I have known ever since we met at my very first ever Writers' Holiday years ago. (To be honest I've forgotten quite how many) We were organising a special presentation for Anne and Gerry to mark this special occasion - a memory book with messages and cards and photos from everyone at the event this year and from past speakers, attendees and other friends. This took some doing as I had to sneak into all the classes and announce what we were doing and then make sure the book was available for everyone who wanted to sign. Then Wednesday was spent sticking cards, photo9s and written messages in as well.

So it was probably just as well that it was raining then as we never saw very much of the day other than all the time spent on the book.

I loved meeting up with old friends and of course making new ones . Back this year to run courses were Marina Oliver, Jane Jackson and Lesley Horton and I had a great time catching up with them. As well as the fourteen courses running through the week there were some great Main Lectures from wonderful authors like Katie Fforde (current chair of the Romantic Novelists' Association) , Simon Whaley, Jane Wenham-Jones and Zoe Sharp, Lucy Mangan and agent Teresa Chris. Non-writing partners of attendees could also do a course on painting and drawing with Andrew Earney who you might remember is also at Fishguard.

Unfortunately my camera died on me while I was at Caerleon this year so I haven't been able to download any new photos so I'm having to post a couple from previous years including Zoe Sharp (above) , the bookroom at Caerleon with Jane W-J in the green dress. And of course the lovely Anne Hobbs who together with husband Gerry makes everything run smoothly and that everyone has the best time possible.

And now that the secret is out I can reveal that my next book - Kept For Her Baby - which will be in the shops in the first week of September has this special dedication:

For Anne and Gerry, to celebrate this very special Caerleon Writers' Holiday.

And now you all know why.

if you want to see the presentation of the special book and get a sense of the warm and friendly atmosphere of Caerleon, there is a short video on the Writers' Holiday website. (Special thanks to Simon Whaley who videoed it on his phone and to Anita Loughrey who put it up on the site.

While you're there why not take a look at the courses available for next year (25th July - 3oth 2010) - and yes, by popular demand, I'll be back teaching Writing Romantic Fiction. And the Babe Magnet will be running a course on Writing True Crime so once again you'll get two for the price of one - Crime and Passion at Caerleon.

I know it's a long time away, but lots of people were already booking for next year before they left this year and if that's not a recommendation I don't know what is. If you can't make Caerleon in the summer, then there's always the Fishguard Writing Weekend 19th - 21st February. Maybe I'll see you at one of them.
I'll end this post with a wave to anyone reading it who was at Caerleon this year - specially everyone who was on my course. You were a fantastic group and I had a lot of fun working with you. I hope you learned lots and if you get abny good news about your own writing please let me know.
And I'm already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

And the winners are . . .

It took along time for me to get Sid to cooperate in picking the winners of the Tote Bag Presents Special Contest. He was sulking because I'd abandoned him again while I was in Wales.

But the appeal of some extra crunchies always wins out and so I'm a happy to be able to announce that the winners of those wonderful tote bags stuffed with books are:

Caroline Storer from Wales


Elaine Seymour from Ontario Canada

Congratulations Caroline and Elaine - your prizes will be on their way to you just as soon as I get them packed up and in the mail

But once I got Sid started on the crunchies, there was no stopping him. And as everyone worked so hard to find the right answers for all of those 15 questions, I've added a few extra smaller prizes because after all we are celebrating wonderful Presents books and Harlequin's 60th anniversary - so a few other prizes are a great way to do that.

So Sid's Special Extra Prizes of a signed copy of one of my backlist books go to:

Lacey D


Angie T

and the winners of my special Newsletter group prizes are:

Lois M from NJ

Amanda G
Carol W also from NJ

Congratulations to all the winners. I'll be contacting you to find out which book you'd like so watch for the email.

Thank you to everyone who joined in and spent time chasing the answers all over the internet. I hope you found the other authors' sites interesting and learned lots about some great books.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I'm back . . .

Or at least I think I am. We got home yesterday evening but I've been rushing around catching up - and falling asleep! We had so many late nights (wonderful nights but l-a-t-e) that I have more car-lag today than I had jet lag after coming back from Washington.

So I'll tell you more about how fabulous Caerleon was when I've drawn breath. For today, I just want to remind you that the Tote Bag of Books Contest ends at midnight tomorrow -whenever the latest midnight for 2nd August chimes in wherever is the last time zone.

Monday 3rd August is when I get Sir Sidney to pick two winners for this contest.

So here's a final recap of what you need to know to enter:

Answer all 15 questions:

I asked - What is the title of my next book - out in September in Mills and Boon Modern and in October in Presents Extra ?

Abby Green's question - Who is the well known author running a summer competition on her blogs, giving away lots of prizes to lucky readers?

Susan Stephens' question: What is the family name of the two sheikh brothers in the duo of which Sheikh Boss, Desert Nights is the first book

Melanie Milburne's question: What was the title of Melanie's first Presents novel?

Christina Hollis's question: What is the name of my JULY release under the ‘Presents’ banner.

Sabrina Philips's question is: What is the name of the Presents Extra mini-series The Desert King’s Bejewelled Bride will be part of?

Anne McAllister asked: What is the title of PJ's book -- the one that was the RITA finalist last week?

Margaret Mayo's question was : What 'landmark' book is Margaret celebrating with her next UK release?

Natalie Rivers asked: What was the title of Natalie's previous book, published in December 2008/Presents November 2008

Lynn Raye Harris's question was: what does Rebecca Layton do that shocks Alejandro de Ramirez once he’s told her he’ll demolish her favorite hotel before ever selling it back to her ? (And don't forget that Lynn's very first book is out in the shops now!)

Jennie Lucas asked: What is the handsome stranger wearing when he surprises Lia in the garden?

Robyn Donald asked: How does Robyn describe the place where she lives?

Annie West's question was: What is the title of Annie's current UK release?

Michelle Reid asked: What is the title of the book that Michelle Reid wrote as part of the Ramirez Brides Trilogy?

And finally Trish Morey's question was: What book preceding The Ruthless Greek's Virgin Princess, introduced us to the Principality of Montvelatte?

That's all the questions - don't forget to collect up the answers, and then when you have all 15 answers, send them to me with Tote Bag Presents Special in the subject line.

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