Saturday, February 27, 2010

Here Come The Grooms


Nikos here. Nikos Konstantos. I am Kate's groom. No - correction. I am Sadie's groom. I could only ever be Sadie's groom as she is the one woman for me. In spite of everything. But as Kate wrote our story in The Konstantos Marriage Demand then in that way - and that way only - I am also Kate's Groom for the purposes of this contest.

I must ask your forgiveness for my late arrival on this blog. I had other things on my mind. A honeymoon with Sadie being one of them. The most important one. And then there was the week that Kate was away in Wales. The computer was never switched on , the blog never opened up. So I could not come and talk to you then.

No matter, I am here now. Kate says I should tell you something of our story - mine and Sadie's. That you will want to know our story - about that 'marriage demand, ' I am supposed to have made.

But between you and me, I take objection to that 'marriage demand' - I mean - Well, look, read for yourself. Here is what I really said:

'You have my heart, Sadie,' . . .. ‘You have my heart and my love – they are yours forever, no matter what you answer you give. I am yours; there is no other woman in the world for me. What I’m asking is will you be mine. Will you be my wife and help me to put this dreadful feud far behind us, to heal the hurts that it brought, and create a future that is so different, so loving, that there will be nothing but bright days ahead of us.'

Now, I ask you - does that sound like a demand? Oh there might have been other words, other demands before that because our story, Sadie's and mine, goes way back, to a time before our families intervened and things got complicated. Families are complicated and ours more than most. If they had just kept out of things then Sadie and I would have married years ago and those long years of distance and bitterness would never have been, But for me the most important words in our story - the story in our book - are the ones I spoke to Sadie before I could ever ask her to marry me:

‘One thing,’ . . . ‘This feud stops now. Here. It’s over.’

I should have said them before, long before. But I was deceived, ruined and - hell - yes - I was hurting.

And so was Sadie.

We had a lot to get over. A lot of hurts to heal. A lot of lies, deceits and misunderstandings to clear up. There was a time when I thought we'd never make it. But we did. And we had a wonderful wedding on Icaros island to celebrate that fact.

It is no wonder that Romantic Times described our story in this way:

THE KONSTANTOS MARRIAGE DEMAND (4.5) by Kate Walker: As far as Nikos Konstantos is concerned, Sadie used him, humiliated him and then walked out on him -- on what was to be their wedding day no less. Five years later, the tables have been turned. A penniless Sadie has her work cut out for when she approaches Nikos to save her family home. Nikos intends to exact retribution against the woman he still lusts after, but where does his mysterious new bride fit into his plans? Misunderstandings and family betrayals propel this terrifically well-paced and fiery romance to its very rewarding conclusion.

But you can read all about that in the book. It all came out right in the end. As it will for the next guy - some Sicilian called Pietro D'Inzeo that Kate is working with now. He's just at the same stage that I was. Convinced that everything that could go wrong had done. That there is no hope that he and his Marina will be together. Just wait, I've told him. Things will work out. They did for us. I waited far longer than he's having to - but my Sadie was worth it.

Kate tells me she wants to get back to sorting out Pietro (and he needs some sorting out - a man to man talk might help. I may have to offer to give him some advice.) but before I go she say I need to remind you of the whole point of why I'm here - and that is the Here Come the Grooms Contest. The one that features my book, Kal's story and of course Christo's. Because we are the Grooms.
So -
You have three chances to win - one entry at each author's site.

And the prizes? There are three sets of books on offer. Each set contains:

Liz's prize - sorry Kal's prize (this is the Grooms' contest after all!) which is the RNA Anthology LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT (for details see Liz's blog

Anne's - that is, Christo's prize which is ONE-NIGHT MISTRESS...CONVENIENT WIFE

My prize - ie Nikos' prize is THE KONSTANTOS MARRIAGE DEMAND. What else?

To be in the draw you have to send the answers the 3 questions on this and on Anne and Liz's site in an email to all three of them with Here Come the Grooms in the subject line.
And three lucky winners will be drawn to receive a copy of THE KONSTANTOS MARRIAGE DEMAND as well as Liz and Anne's books, The draw will take place on March 1st so you have just a few more days to get your entries in.

KAL'S QUESTION (from Her Desert Dream by Liz Fielding)
Of which literary character did Kal remind Lydia? (apart from Prince Charming!)

CRISTO'S QUESTION (From One-Night Mistress, Convenient Wife by Anne McAllister)
Why is Natalie staying at her mother's house?

NIKOS'S QUESTION (From The Konstantos Marriage Demand by Kate Walker)
What name did Sadie use so that Nikos would not know his 10 o'clock appointment was her?

The answers to the questions can be found either on the web sites, blogs, or in the first chapter of the books using the 'Browse the Book' feature on these sites and the Mills Boon and eHarlequin sites too.
Send entries - answering all three questions - to each author with Here Come the Grooms in the subject line.
Send Kate an email using this address
Closing Date: March 1st
And good luck
Now I have a honeymoon to get back to.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Publicity seeking . . .

I recently had an interview with the Hull Daily Mail, following on from the workshop I did in the Central Library in Hull.

As a result of that, I had to have some photos taken so on Tuesday Richard the Picture Editor came to do that. Not my favourite experience - point a camera at me and I usually freeze like a rabbit in the headlights. But this time I did get a photo I don't mind using as my publicity pic for the future.Will upload that onto my web site etc as soon as I get a moment.

But guess who had to get in on the act as well . . .

PS for Joanne - the interview should be in the paper on March 1st.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm back . . .

. . . at least I think I am. I know my body is here, bum in chair, hands on keyboard, but I feel as if other parts of me - and most importantly my brain - are still trying to catch up from the trip to Wales.

But I am back here in Lincolnshire, alternately happy and sad to be back home and to have left Wales, Fishguard and the sea behind me.

And of course the wonderful class I had on the Writing Romance course. What a great bunch they all were -11 (should have been 12 but one couldn't make it) women of different ages, life experiences and from homes all across the country, brought together by a love of romance books and a desire to learn how to write them. I've taught quite a few classes but this group really seemed to 'gell' brilliantly and I had a lot of fun as well as doing a lot of talking (yes, Brenda, my voice is back to normal now!) and hopefully passing on a lot of ideas on writing.

I did take photos, but sadly my camera is refusing to speak to my computer this morning so I can't post them as yet. I hope I might manage it later. But for now - Rachael, Brenda, Jo, Caroline, Lorraine, Sultan, Sarah Jane, Ruth, Anne, Lorna, Karen thank you all for your company, your enthusiasm, your questions - it was fun!

And the good news is that we can hope to do it all again next year when the new 'advanced' course - Romance Writing 2 will run at Fishguard in February 2011. (Friday 18th - Sunday 20th Feb, I think, but don't quote me on that until I get confirmation.) So many of this group have already booked so it looks like it will be a class reunion next year.

Anyone else who is interested - I will be running 'Romance Writing 1' the original, basic course on writing romance at Caerleon in the summer (July 25th - 30th) and this will then continue into the further study in February 2011 at Fishguard. Numbers will be limited so that we can really work intensively. Now I just have to plan the course!

This trip to Wales, I actually managed to visit Fishguard - the first time ever in three visits, and as someone who used to do a lot of embroidery - when I had free time for hobbies - I was thrilled to be able to see the wonderful Fishguard Tapestry, a local copy of the Bayeux Tapestry, which was stitched by local women to mark the 200th anniversary of the last invasion of Britain by the French in 1797. I loved the fabulous stitchery on this l-o-n-g tapestry, particularly with its story of Jemima Fawr" (Jemima the Great). The 47-year-old Jemima Nicholas was the wife of a Fishguard cobbler. When she heard of the invasion, she marched out to Llanwnda, pitchfork in hand and rounded up 12 Frenchmen. (see the picture )She brought them into town and promptly left to look for some more.

One rather spooky coincidence that I discovered when I was talking to one of my class - Anne, like me, had studied English at University College of Wales Aberystwyth. When we were talking I learned that she had been there the year before me. Then I found out that she had lived in the same small annexe of the main hall where I had lived for my first year - again a year before me. Further investigation meant that I learned she had actually had exactly the same room as me and had only moved out when I had moved in. We had been so close all those years ago and yet never met until this course had finally brought us together! Strange . . .

Now I'm deep in dreadline hell and really must concentrate - but don't forget that the Here Come The Grooms Contest is still running - all details on the Contest page. I will try to get Nikos, the Groom from The Konstantos Marriage Demand to come along and talk to you as soon as I get a chance. Incidentally, I was thrilled to get back home and find that The Konstantos Marriage Demand was at #4 on the Top 10 Bestsellers over on eHarlequin. And that's before it's officially released on March 16th .

And the details of the Romance 2 course at Fishguard will go on the Events page just as soona s I confirm the dates.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Favourite Kate Walker - Anna Adams

I still have some friends and fellow authors who wanted to tell me their first and Top Five Kate Walker novels, so while I'm away teaching in Wales, here's one more of my friends' posts for the blog in case I don't have time to log on today.

Anna Adams is another author I 'met' on eHarlequin. Sadly, we've never yet met in person - we were supposed to meet at RWA in Denver and Anna broke her ankle. Then we were both at RWA Washington . . .and kept missing ieach other. One day we will have coffee/lunch/dinner together, Anna - New York 2011?

Anna writes for SuperRomance and I just love the emotion she gets into her books. She has one out in the UK right now - Her Reason To Stay. This is packed for my trip to Wales incase I get a moment or two to myself to read. (Judging from past courses, that's probably not that likely but well, I can hope.

Here's Anna:

Hmmmmm. I can’t remember which book was the first Kate Walker I read,
and which is my favorite Kate Walker? That’s a tough question!

There’s Fiancee by Mistake, in which poor Sean tries to prove lovely,
but misjudged Leah was a bit of a bad girl--but finds he likes when
she’s bad with him. (I love heroes coming upon snow-stuck cars). And then,
The Hostage Bride, which involved a lovely bit of romantic kidnapping.
A wounded man’s got issues to resolve!

My next two are favorites for special reasons. This past summer, my
girls were in a wedding in Kerrville, Texas. Not exactly a teeming
metropolis. While the girls were getting hair and makeup done, I ran
into a used book store across the way to see if they had copies of
some of my own first books. While browsing, I discovered they had
shelves of older Harlequin Romances and Presents, and as I was
scooping armloads, I ran into a friend’s name. I don’t think I knew
Kate had ever written for Romance, but I latched onto The Golden
, a beautiful story of trust, and honor.

Next is Rafael’s Love Child. Serena wakes up, not knowing she’s the
mother of the baby she soon falls in love with, and Rafael was a hero
I thought could never be equaled. (Kate writes a hero, pushed to his
limits, who may make human choices, but always makes an honorable
decision.) I read Rafael and Serena’s story during the early days of and posted about how much I’d enjoyed it, just in
passing. To my surprise, Kate responded to my post, and our
friendship, which I treasure, was born. So, Rafael, was for years, my
favorite, and he would have been even if he didn’t hold a special
place in my heart for also introducing me to Kate.

Then, Andreas Petrakos truly didn’t want to love The Greek Tycoon’s
Unwilling Wife
, and I truly loved him. He took wounded hero to lengths
I hadn’t imagined. He could be harsh, but Kate is such a magical
writer, I never forgot the true-to-life, empathetic reasons for his
emotions. I’m a sucker for an amnesia story (Hello, Rafael’s Serena),
and I ached for Andreas--and for his love, Becca, who has a heart that
keeps stretching for those who need her.

I was supposed to choose five, and maybe you’ve noticed I haven’t said
“my favorite is.” That’s because I read Kept for Her Baby, and I’m
torn between these last two books. Kept for Her Baby was Kate’s recent
Presents Extra, which must mean extra amazing, special, emotional
story. I was hooked from the moment Lucy climbed out of that boat on
Ricardo’s island. Kate writes a book that’s layered with emotion and
drama, and always filled with heroes and heroines you cannot help
loving. That’s why I have a hard time choosing a favorite, and when I
try, I think, but the next one might be...

Thanks, Kate, for all those great books. You’re writing the next one
right now, aren’t you?

Of course I am Anna - when I'm not teaching/travelling! And I think you'll enjoy The Konstantos Marriage Demand next month.

You can find out more about Anna and her books on her web site and blog

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blogging about

I was really sad to learn of the death of successful jockey thriller writer Dick Francis. I've read a lot of his books and really enjoyed them. The Babe Magnet too used to love them. RIP Dick Francis.

And if you want to read a story that speaks of love and loss and - if you're like me - will really choke you up then this poignant story of a couple who really couldn't be parted after 70 years will tug at your heart strings.

For the rest of my blog today - well, it's February 15th so today is my day for writing Kate's Corner over on We Write Romance. Today I'm answering some questions that I've been asked - about the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance and about publishing. See you over there?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Here Come The Grooms Part 4

Valentine's Day seems like a very good day to announce the start of my brand new contest - so here goes -

It's back! For the fourth year running! (Can you believe this has been a tradition now for four years?)

It's February so that means it must be the traditional Here Come the Grooms Contest that I share with fabulous friends and writers Liz Fielding and Anne McAllister.

As always, we have the three grooms from 3 of our recent books to introduce to you (or re-introduce in the case of some of them) You'll hear about them and their love stories, maybe meet their heroines, find excerpts of their stories to read . . .

And then there will be the questions for you to answer. These will be found on each author's site/blog. Find the questions, discover the answers then send those answers to each author and you're in with a chance of winning

You have three chances to win - one entry at each author's site And the prizes? There are three sets of books on offer.

Each set contains:

1. Liz's prize - sorry Kal's prize (this is the Grooms' contest after all!) which is the RNA Anthology LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT (for details see Liz's blog)

2. Anne's - that is, Christo's prize which is ONE-NIGHT MISTRESS. . . CONVENIENT WIFE

3. My prize - ie Nikos' prize is THE KONSTANTOS MARRIAGE DEMAND

To be in the draw you have to send the answers to this, and the questions on Anne and Liz's blog in an email to all three of us with Here Come the Grooms in the subject line. And three lucky winners will be drawn to receive a copy of THE KONSTANTOS MARRIAGE DEMAND as well as Liz and Anne's books.

The draw will take place on March 31st so you have two weeks to get your entries in.

And the questions are:

KAL'S QUESTION (from Her Desert Dream by Liz Fielding)

What literary character did Kal remind Lydia of?

CHRISTO'S QUESTION (From One-Night Mistress. . .Convenient Wife by Anne McAllister)

Why is Natalie staying at her mother's house?

NIKOS'S QUESTION (From The Konstantos Marriage Demand by Kate Walker)

What name did Sadie use so that Nikos would not know his 10 o'clock appointment was her?

The answers to the questions can be found either on the web sites, blogs, or in the first chapter of the books using the 'Browse the Book' feature on these site and the Mills Boon and eHarlequin sites too.

Entries to each author with Here Come the Grooms in the subject line

Closing Date March 1st

After that Sid the Cat, Anne's Mitch and Micah - and whoever Liz gets to help her choose(possibly that gorgeous new granddaughter of hers) will pick out the winners and 3 of you will receive copies of these three great books.

So what are you waitng for? Get those entries in now.

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope you are all having a lovely day, with or without romantic cards, red roses, or chocolate.

So how does a romance writer celebrate Valentine's Day - well, actually, with none of the above!
No - you don't need to be shocked because, as I've said - quite often I believe - I'm not a fan of the commercialised 'romance' that comes into the shops on Valentine's Day. I don't actually like red roses - much prefer the golden ones I had in my wedding bouquet. And, besides, we're heading for Wales next week so any expensive flowers would be wasted as I wouldn't be here to see them.I'm not a huge fan of chocolate either and as I struggle with my weight it's the last thing I need.

But I do have a beautiful pair of rose quartz heart-shaped earrings. And,as I said, when we head for Wales and the Fishguard Writing Weekend, the Babe Magnet will do all of the driving so that I can arrive there rested and ready to teach (and talk . . .and drink a little wine . . .Did I mention that we rarely sleep on these weekends?) And the one thing I do believe is that true romance means thinking about the person and finding what they would like. Not just handing over cash for some mass-produced gift like the ones I saw piled up in the shops yesterday.

Some news for Valentine's Day - I'm taking part in the special Romance Junkies' Valentine's Contest. This is a big contest that RJs run every year with lots of authors involved and lots of prizes to win. So why not take a look. You can find my contest in the main street (just run your cursor over the picture to find where to click). I'm giving away a copy of my March release The Konstantos Marriage Demand (Presents EXTRA)

Finally -about the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance - I said a while back that while advertised this book at the import price when in fact there is a USA edtion available much cheaper, I wasn't going to tell anyone it could be bought on their site.

Well, I've now discovered that they are actually - at last - advertising it at the USA price- in fact less. It's on offer at $ 17.95 so I'm happy to let you know that the book is available on
Come back soon for news of the next contest I'm running. It's the now-traditional one that I share with my dear friends and fabulous writers Anne McAllister and Liz Fielding every February .
So you know the one . . . Here Come the Grooms!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

RNA Awards shortlists announced

Public vote for PASSION in the RNA’s 50th anniversary year

The Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) is pleased to announce the creation of the RNA‘s Pure Passion Awards, in celebration of the Golden Anniversary of the founding of the Association.

Each year, the very finest romantic fiction has been recognised by the long-standing and hotly-contested Romantic Novel of the Year and Love Story of the Year awards. The Romantic Novelists’ Association is proud to offer more chances to salute the best writers and best stories through a number of new awards and a major national promotion in retail outlets and in libraries.

The initiative has the support of leading publishers and high street retailers and will see posters and stickered books in shops and supermarkets and coverage in the press, reinforcing the RNA Pure Passion Awards as a major industry event.

RNA Chair Katie Fforde said, “In our 50th year we are celebrating with more awards and more opportunities which provide a wonderful opportunity for readers to be introduced to writers they may not yet have heard of.

“We are proud to showcase contemporary women’s fiction, chic lit, sagas, and historical fiction. Some are written by newcomers and some by more established authors. What links them all is that they have been selected by discerning readers to be loved by everyone.”

The 50th Anniversary celebration will include the presentation of the much-loved Romantic Novel of the Year and Love Story of the Year awards. The new awards introduced this year are The People’s Choice Award, The Rom Com Award, and the Romantic Film of the Year. The RNA is pleased to include The Harry Bowling Prize for New Writing as part of its celebration. Two RNA Lifetime Achievement Awards will also be presented at the Anniversary event.

The Romantic Novel of the Year
The Romantic Novel of the Year is chosen from a shortlist of six titles which have been selected by the reading public from more than 150 nominated books. The winner is selected by three independent judges. The shortlist, in alphabetical order by author name, is:

Passion, Louise Bagshawe, Headline Review
Fairytale of New York, Miranda Dickinson, Avon (Harper Collins
Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, Lucy Dillon, Hodder & Stoughton
A Glimpse at Happiness, Jean Fullerton, Orion
The Glass Painter’s Daughter, Rachel Hore, Pocket (Simon & Schuster)
The Italian Matchmaker, Santa Montefiore, Hodder & Stoughton

The Love Story of the Year
The Love Story of the Year is for a shorter romance where there is a strong emphasis on the developing central relationship. A shortlist of six is again chosen by the reading public, with the winner selected by three judges. The shortlist is:

The Notorious Mr Hurst, Louise Allen, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Animal Instincts, Nell Dixon, Little Black Dress
Always the Bridesmaid, Nina Harrington, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Fair Deception, Jan Jones, Robert Hale
The Wedding Party, Sophie King, Hodder
Claimed for the Italian’s Revenge, Natalie Rivers, Harlequin Mills & Boon

The People’s Choice Award
To celebrate the modern nature of the Pure Passion Awards, the RNA has created a special ‘current award’ to recognise key new or developing authors in the romantic genre with paperbacks out in the spring.

In keeping with the RNA‘s desire to help good new romantic writers achieve prominence, publishers were invited to submit books by authors in whom they believe passionately and who would benefit from being part of the 50th Anniversary Awards event. Expert romantic writing buyers at key retailers were then asked to select their favourite six for the shortlist.

The winner of this award is chosen by the public. Readers are invited to read as many of the new paperbacks as possible and vote for their favourite at the poll website The shortlist is:

Missing You, Louise Douglas, Pan
Remembrance Day, Leah Fleming, Avon
I Heart Hollywood, Lindsey Kelk, Harper
Rich Girl Poor Girl, Lesley Lokko, Orion
Heiresses, Lulu Taylor, Arrow

The Romantic Comedy Award
The Rom Com Award is organised and administered in the same way as the Romantic Novel of the Year. To reach the shortlist, the books must really tickle readers’ funny-bones. The winner is chosen by a panel of writers and readers selected by the RNA. The shortlist is:

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, Jenny Colgan, Sphere
The Nearly-Weds, Jane Costello, Simon & Schuster
50 Ways to Find a Lover, Lucy-Anne Holmes, Pan
Rumour Has It, Jill Mansell, Headline Review

RNA Romantic Film of the Year
Romance is a theme that moves easily from the printed page to film. The RNA celebrates this shared love of romance by selecting the finest romantic adaptations released as a film in the UK during 2009.

Once again the public will help select their favourite adaptation on the partner website These votes will be added to the views of the RNA expert panel to select the winner. The shortlist is:

Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella, Black Swan (Transworld)
An Education, Lyn Barber, Penguin
The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger, Vintage (Random House)
Twilight: New Moon, Stephanie Meyer, Atom, Little Brown

The Harry Bowling Prize for New Writing
Awarded every two years, and now for the first time included in the RNA Awards, this prize is given to the best first chapter and synopsis submitted by an author who has not yet had an adult novel published. The setting must be urban, and the book should contain a strong romantic element. The prize, organised and administered by the MBA Literary Agency in conjunction with the RNA, offers a great opportunity for a budding writer. Please visit the Harry Bowling Prize website for more details.

Lifetime Achievement
Two awards will be presented at the Pure Passion Awards to two people who have made outstanding contributions to romantic fiction and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Awards presentation
The winners of all awards will be announced on Tuesday 16 March 2010 at the Award lunch at the Royal Garden Hotel, in Kensington, London.


Are you sure?

Is it really Thursday? I could have sworn that it was only another Thursday - the previous one - just . . . well, it feels like yesterday!

But no, life is what happens when you're busy doing other things and here it is Thursday again.

In the case of this past few days, the 'other things' have been preparing the weekend workshop for Fishguard Writing Weekend and sending out the preparatory work for it. I'm so looking forward to this and to meeting up with friends from past courses and of course making new ones. (Yes Caroline - this includes you!)

On Monday when I got home from the Hull workshop there was a note from my editor saying could I please 'just' write her a short article for M&B's Romance Magazine the goes out to all their Direct customer. This was to be about the next book I have coming up - the one based on a modernisation (or perhaps seeing as it's for Modern Romance that should be a Modernisation) of one of the Greek Myths - The Good Greek Wife? So I had that to write as an extra.

Oh, and I also got a confirmed USA publication date for that book - A Good Greek Wife will be out in one of the special Presents EXTRA collections in October 2010.

But of course before that, the next book The Konstantos Marriage Demand (the one that won a Romantic Times Top Pick) is now available on the eharlequin site as a print book or as an ebook publication.

Another thing that happened yesterday was that I received a fabulous review for it from Julie over on CataRomance:

For the past 25 years, international best-selling author Kate Walker has been entertaining audiences worldwide with her intensely passionate, highly dramatic and immensely absorbing romances for Harlequin Mills and Boon. In her latest release, The Konstantos Marriage Demand, this outstanding writer of romantic fiction has written a captivating and enthralling tale of forbidden passion, illicit secrets and powerful romance that is guaranteed to leave you breathless!

The Konstantos Marriage Demand is romantic storytelling at its most mesmerizing! Kate Walker peppers her highly emotional and fabulously dramatic tale with heart-wrenching intensity, searing passion, powerful tension and tempestuous seduction. No sooner will readers read the first page of her sensational new novel that they will find themselves unable to put down and unwilling to forget the latest gripping Modern Romance from the stupendous pen of this much-loved author of romantic novels: Kate Walker!

And Julie gave it another 4.5 stars. Thank you so much Julie - you made my (rather hectic) day!

Then there was the unexpected interview with the Hull Daily Mail (Waves to Joanne - please look out for this for me. It might be in for Valentine's Day - or some time later in the week). And Allison, if you've dropped by the web site looking for those extra details - welcome - and thank you for the great interview!

I've also been planning my contribution to the Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes Research. As my own father died of problems that were the result of diabetes and I'm always being tested to make sure that I haven't developed this problem, this is a cause that I believe in very much. Last year I donated a Readers and Writers' Basket and this time I'm doing the same - details to follow. But this year I'm also donating a critique aimed at would-be Modern Romance/Harlequin Presents authors. And I know that a lot of you out there fall into that category. So I'll let you know when the details go up and you can offer a bid.
Now it's Thursday again. The Babe Magnet is heading out the door to go and teach the last of his Writing Crime course in Oxford, hoping that the snow won't cause any problems - yes it's back again! - and I'm going to stay nice and warm and hopefully get to grips with my sexy - and currently un co-operative - Sicili9an hero.
Or try to because the other thing on the agenda today is that the plumber is supposed to be coming to replace the toilet and the sink in the downstairs cloakroom - and guess where that is - right beside my office door!

The life of a romance novelist is full of these little contrasts!
PS It's Scary Kate's (Kate Hardy) birthday today so why not go and wish her a very happy day. She'll probably have written another book by the time you get there!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mills and Boon Romance Workshop in Hull

The first time I ever saw the city of Hull - or, to give it its full title Kingston Upon Hull, I was there for a job interview. This was in my other life and other existence as a Children's Librarian.

More years ago than I care to remember, I travelled to Hull for an interview in the huge Central Library on Albion Street. I got the job. And I also got my first sight od a city that has since become so familiar to me as a result of many shopping trips, visits to the Radio Humberside studios for interviews of a different sort, and as the site of one of my very first Writing Romance talks, way back before the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance was even thought of.

Yesterday I went back again and held a workshop for aspiring romance writers in the wonderful old Local Studies library (now empty since the brilliant brand new History Centre opened on January 25th).

The workshop had been arranged for February because of Valentine's Day of course but even though it had only been announced in the middle of January, the workshop had quickly sold out and so the old, darkwood furnished room was crowded as everyone gathered round the long, old-fashioned library tables to learn and talk about writing romance.

I had a great time. Everyone was so enthusiastic and interested and the two hours just seemed to fly by. The working session that we did on character provoked, as always, lots of discussion, debate and laughter, sparked off by the images of one Mr H Jackman (who else?) and Alyson Hannigan as his heroine. It was wonderful to see people realise ways that they could use the quesrtions we were discussing to deepen their knowledge of their own story characters and I could swear that I could see lightbulbs going off over people's heads all through the session.

I'm only sorry that I couldn't stay any longer but the parking ticket on my car was due to run out any minute (I actually only made it back to it by the skin of my teeth) when I left 30 minutes after the workshop was officially supposed to have ended.

I owe special thanks to the librarians who helped organise this and made the afternoon so easy and enjoyable for me - for Jessica who did all the forward planning and then sadly had to be in Newcastle on the day of the actual event. Thank you too to Rebecca and Hattie who were there on the day to ensure that things run smoothly. They also provided tea and coffee and biscuits that I know were very much welcomed by everyone there. A special extra thank you to Rebecca who put all my handouts and the workshop sheets into a special bound collection that every workshop student could take home with them.

And of course a very warm thank you to everyone who came along and joined in. (If you're reading this blog after finding your way to my web site then please say Hello in the comments so I know you were here.) Your enthisiasm and interest made it a very lively afternoon and it will be remembered as one of my favourite workshops ever. I hope you all enjoyed it too - and don't forget that if you want to know about any more of the talks/workshops I do then you'll find the details over on my Events page.

Lastly, I want to mention two people who added to the pleasure of the day. First was the lovely gentleman who was part of the visually-impaired group who joined us and who came up to me at the tea break and told me that 'I came here today expecting to be bored - and I'm not! I'm loving it!'

And finally, a very special mention for Joanne Cleary who I first met at a one-to-one in one of the Calderdale Writers' Roadshow events last year. She is also one of the writers who was asked for a new submissin as a result of the Presents Writing Contest over on I Heart Presents last year.

Then Joanne had l-o-n-g hair more than halfway down her back. When she arrived at Hull she was sporting an elegant short, sleek bob that made her look wonderful and actually - as I told her - took years off her ! I'm mentioning this because Joanne's hair cut was done not for vanity but for charity. The hair she had cut (and when I mention that it had to be at least 10 -12 inches, you'll see how much hair Joanne lost) had been sent to the Little Princess Trust to help make a wig for a child who has lost their hair following cancer treatment. I think this is a fabulous thing to do and as Joanne is running a sponsorship for the hair cut on her blog I gave her my donation at the end of the workshop.

And if you'd like to sponsor her too you can find the details over on her personal blog where there is a sponsorship link you can use.

Congratulations Joanne - and thank you for coming to the workshop too. Now get writing on that submission and I'll hope to hear good news from you in the future.
PS The radio interview with sine fm radio should be broadcast today sometime between 11 - 12 am. After that it will be available on the internet.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Out and about

I've been away in Oxford where the Babe Magnet was teaching his Writing True Crime course and tomorrow I'm off to Hull Central Library to teach a workshop on Writing Romance - so we're still doing the Crime and Passion evn is not quite together!

So while I'm busy, if you want to catch up with me then it's my day for blogging over at Tote Bags and Blogs when I'm talking about February and the romantic - or not? - day that is coming up on the 14th.

Oh and last week - while I was still at home - I recorded an interview with sine fm community radio for the Book It show. This will air live on Tuesday between 11 and 12 am or can be found on line from Wednesday or Thursday.

And if you're coming to Hull tomorrow. See you there!

Oh - and very special congratulations to the lovely Liz Fielding on becoming a grandmother to a beautiful little baby girl called Cora Rose who was born on Friday February 6th. Congratulations to Liz and her daughter and s-i-l - and welcome to the world Cora Rose!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

My First/Favourite Kate Walker - Lidia

Today's choice of her first - and Top 5 favourite Kate Walker novels is a rather special reader - Lidia.

Lidia had been reading Harlequin Presents for - well, probably for almost as long as, if not as long as I have been writing them. She has a wide-ranging, encyclopaedic knowledge of the books and the authors and strong opinions on what she likes and dislikes. We may not always agree over her opinions, but what she thinks is never boring and I'm always amazed by just how much she remembers of so many books she's read.

And I'm complimented by the fact that she still regards me as one of her auto-buy authors when she has less time to read and so many authors to choose from. Thank you so much for your choices Lidia.

My first KW book - was probably "Shattered Mirror" (I am not positive -- but pretty sure). The book was very emotional and I felt the pain that both Eve and Kyle felt. In some ways, Kyle's pain was worse -- he remembered the loss of their baby, and knew that his wife didn't remember anything -- just heartbreaking.

As for the Top 5 -- the list keeps changing (it appears that I am fickle). Whenever I re-read a book and it becomes a favorite, the list ends up changing. "A Sicilian Husband" is sitll in the top 5 onloy because I found that Gio really went through a lot emotionally to finally accept the fact that he could love again -- that he wouldn't be betraying his dead wife's memory. That was a fabulous book. My top book is "Kept for Her Baby." You tackled a difficult topic, one that appears to be avoided. It was a book that made one cry as well as be extremely happy for Lucy when everything worked out. Your characters are always very passionate about the things they believe in, the people they love, even if misguided at times. That makes your books stand out.

So the Top 5 listed are:
"Kept for Her Baby" (2009)
"A Sicilian Husband" (2003/4)
"Her Secret Bridegroom" (2000/2001) *
"The 12 Month Mistress" (2004/2005)
"Bedded by the Greek Billionaire" ( 2008) and "The Golden Thief" (1990)

Can't wait to read your next book.

* This is the book that is reprinted in Mistresses Shackled by Rubies.

Thank you again Lidia. I hope you have your copy of The Konstantos Marriage Demand by now and that it meets your exacting standards!

For her contribution, Lidia wins a copy of Bedded By The Greek Billionaire

Friday, February 05, 2010

My Favourite Kate Walker - Heather Reed

Today's blogger who has chosen her very favourite Kate Walker title is another of those wonderful women whose help to me is invaluable and without whom I couldn't reach my readers worldwide as well as I do - Today's blogger is Heather Reed of We Write Romance.

Not only does Heather run my web site for me, she designed the complete revamp that brought it bang sparkling up to date a couple of years ago and she has maintained it ever since. She also designs the wonderful banners that you see at the top of the page, the special Christmas 'cards' I put on my site each year, and of course the logo for this 25th anniversary celebration.

She's fast, super-efficient and wonderfully helpful. ( Only yesterday, I realised that the details of my talk in Sheffield on Feb 15th weren't up on my Events page - an email to Heather and it was done! ) And at the same time she runs the fabulous We Write Romance web site which has grown in success and prestige in the years I've known Heather. So much so that,as I've been telling you, she was asked by Harlequin to select the special Bloggers Bundle for their ebook store in January - and I believe that there's another Reviewers' Choice on its way too. We Write Romance is a site I'm proud to write my monthly Kate's Corner blog for on the 15th of every month.

Heather also runs my husband's site which she designed too - a very different image for his very different sort of writing.

Thank you Heather - like I said - invaluable.

Well, you've seen the choice of my titles that Heather has put into the We Write Romance Presents Selection - so it will be no surprise to you which of my books Heather chose as her very favourite:

Here's what she had to say:

My personal favorite? I have loved ALL that you've sent. But my favorite, favorite would be The Twelve-Month Mistress. That's why it's in the Presents bundle! ;-) I adored The Married Mistress too, though.

Here's what I told Harlequin when I did the selections...

Kate Walker's books are true masterpieces in every form of the word. Now with well over 50 books under her belt, we see that Ms. Walker's stories have only gotten better as the years have progressed! She is definitely a true pioneer of the Harlequin Presents line, and definitely it's most recognized and celebrated author online. She's most certainly a favorite of WeWriteRomance's reviewers! And The Twelve-Month Mistress is a prime example of her work!

The Twelve-Month Mistress is one of my all-time favorite Kate Walker stories. It's sweet, romantic and very exciting from the start to the end. It drew me in and made me want to see where the couple would end up long after the book was finished. If you're not a big fan of overbearing men, then this is a book that will make you understand how there can be a nice mix of persistent man and aggressive man mixed into sweet, adoring, caring man and those qualities can be of great benefit! ;-)
Thank you for that Heather - that was exactly the feeling and the type of hero I was aiming for!
Thank you for everything, Heather!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Celebrating 25 years with Anne McAllister Part 2

As you know from my last post, Anne McAllister and I are both celebrating the 25th anniversary of our first publication, me with The Chalk Line in December 1984 and Anne with Starstruck in February 1985.

Today Anne has written a special post talking about her favourite Kate Walker books - so over to Anne:

My first Kate Walker was Kate's first Kate Walker. She was published around the same time I was in UK and in, as I recall, exactly the same month my first book came out, too, in the US. So I was there "in the beginning" as it were.

I loved Kate's intensity right from the start. That hasn't changed over the past 25 years. Every time I pick up a Kate Walker book, I know I'm in for an intense experience. She catches her characters at the height of their emotions -- and often at the depths of their despair. She has an unerring instinct at finding that emotional pulse and makes us believe we are right there, witnessing her characters' highs and lows as they grapple with emotions that, very often, they are having a very hard time coming to terms with.

Do they want love? Don't they? What if their heart is at odds with their mind? What if their gut tells them one thing and their intellect says something else? What if their experience in the past leads them down one path and at the same time they can't stop believing?

Every Kate Walker is an emotional roller coaster. Every Kate Walker is exhausting and exhilarating and always always always worth the trip.

Which Kate Walker books are my favorites? Er, well, how do I choose? And because I'm so bad with titles, how can I possibly remember their names? I remember the heroes.

There's "the English guy" -- I liked him a lot. And "the Welsh guy" -- I think he was Rhys. Yeah, definitely a good one. There was Constantine -- was he the tennis pro? If so, I loved him. No, I guess he wasn't. Quick check with book shelf. Tennis pro was Connor. Yep, loved him too. And the guy who found uses for the dining room table that had nothing to do with meals. And most recently, Nikos. Nikos is a quintessential Kate Walker hero -- a man of deep pain, great emotion, grand passion and, always, a man of honor, sometimes even in spite of what he tells himself he wants.

Kate Walker brings a powerful voice and deep honest emotion to every book she writes. The past 25 years have only made her better. I'm looking forward to the next 25. Congratulations, Kate, on your 25th, on all your wonderful books. Thank you for them, and even more for the friendship that you have brought into my life.

note from Kate -

Rhys was in Their Secret Baby (2004)
Constantine was in Constantine's Revenge (2000)

Connor the tennis pro was in Saturday's Bride(1999)
The guy who used the dining table for things that had nothing to do with meals was Amir in Desert Affair (2002/3)

And of course Nikos is Nikos Konstantos in The Konstantos Marriage Demand which is out right now.

And the English guy?? Well, there were several of them and Anne has always had a fondness for my English heroes - but thinking about the first book of mine she was likely to have read then this was quite possibly Nick Hazard from Game of Hazard who was the 'English guy' who first appeared in America - in 1986 - The Chalk Line didn't make it over there for another 6 years!

Anne McAllister's The Virgin's Proposition will be published in Mills & Boon Modern on May 21st 2010. The USA publication date of this book is yet to be confirmed. No cover is yet available for this title, but there is also the We Write Romance selection of Presents titles in which both Anne and I appear - me with The Twelve Month Mistress and Anne with Lessons from A Latin Lover.

Don't forget that Anne is giving away a book a day to celebrate her 25th - and you can catch up with all the details of that and what else is happening on her web site or her blog

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Celebrating 25 years - with Anne McAllister Part One

This is a slightly different form of the 'My favourite top five Kate Walker' posts - because it marks the start of a double celebration. I am not the only author celebrating 25 years as a published author.

My first book (The Chalk Line) came out in December 1984 - that's why I'm celebrating now rather than all during 2009, because I wasn't actually published until the very last month of that year.

Two months later, in February 1985, Anne McAllister published her very first book - Starstruck which was published in Harlequin American Romance.

So this month, Anne too is celebrating her 25th publishing anniversary. And to celebrate she is going to be giving away a book a day for a year!

Here's what Anne says:

Some of them will be my books. Some will be books of my friends. Some will be books I've read and enjoyed and want to share with you (and incidentally make room on my bookshelves -- which means that some of them will have been lightly read -- by me).

If you want to find out more, learn how to take part in this fantastic prize drawing but - most importantly - if you want to help Anne celebrate her silver publishing anniversary (and I know I do!) the head over to Anne's web site or her blog and send her your congratulations too.

It's no secret - or it shouldn't be to anyone who reads my blog - that Anne is a very special friend of mine. It started with loving her books. I didn't read the very early ones because Harlequin American weren't available here in the UK much. But when she was published in Presents and the books appeared in the Mills & Boon line-up then I was hooked. The Alexakis Bride grabbed me and when it was followed by Finn's Twins, then I knew I'd found a new favourite. Fletcher's Baby! and The Playboy and The Nanny confirmed that and I've been an Anne McAllister fan in her books and in person ever since.

And of course, I live with one of her greatest fans - Sir Sidney St John Willoughby Eamonn Portly-Lummox, A Cat Of Superior Breeding is Anne's greatest (feline ) fan. They connected from the first moment she came to visit and have been the firmest friends ever since. Sid even puts paws to the keyboard to write to Anne and he asserts that she gives the best ear rubs this side of the pond - and, for all he knows, on her side of it too. He just can't swear to that as he has never ventured over the opcean to test them out. But he knows that Anne understands his passion for ear rubs, from 'greenies' and for a smackeral or two of salmon and that makes her a great friend in his opinion. (And Sid is very opinionated as many of you know.) It was Anne of course who gave Sid his own literary appearances in The Great Montana Cowboy Auction and again later in One-Night Love Child.

And it's not just Sid who claims Anne as a friend - the other cats recognise quality when they see it and they flock to welcome her when she visits. The late and much missed Bob and Spiffy were great fans as are Dylan and even Flora the Floozie - though she still sees Anne as someone to provide an audience while she shows off in front of her.

It was Anne who named the Hecks after seeing them for the first time. And they now regularly appear when she is here, coming to the French doors so that she can see them. It was Anne who shared a wonderful trip to Ireland - and if you can share being huddled round a coal fire when trapped indoors on the coldest, wettest February days as well as the sunshine of July, then you know you really have a friend. I'm hoping that Anne will be able to come and visit again this summer (so is Sid!) when she is planning on speaking at the RNA conference and if the fates are kind I'll be able to introduce her to so many of my favourite people and places when we go to Caerleon Writers' Holiday together. I hope the Hecks will be back to snuffle their greetings too and I know that Sid can't wait.

So Happy Silver Anniversary Anne! Many Congratulations on this very special event - thank you for all the wonderful books you've written so that I and all your thousands of fans can enjoy them! And here's to many more.

But specially thank you for your fabulous friendship , your hospitality and your warmth. (And your greenies - from Sid!) Here's to many many more years of that!
Come back tomorrow for Part 2 when Anne talks about her favourite Kate Walker books.

And look out for the now thoroughly established as 'traditional' Here Come the Grooms contest which Anne and I share with the wonderful Liz Fielding and which, if my memory is correct, is planned to start on Valentine's Day!
PS On a separate but interesting topic, there is an interesting article on Mills & Boon India in Publishing Perspectives here. Particularly interesting to me as of course The Konstantos Marriage Demand is out now in this fast-growing market.

So I'd just like to say a warm Hello and Welcome to all my Indian readers.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Blogging about

Still trying to catch up after the lost weekend. (Thank you for the sympathy Caroline and Joanne). But today I'm blogging over on the Pink Heart Society blog where I'm chatting about one of my favourite ways of procrastinating . . .

. . . and researching . . .

. . . and getting ideas.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The weekend that wasn't

What can I say except that dreadlines and migraines don't mix. In fact migraines don't mix with anything. So the weekend didn't really exist very much.

Oh well - I'm going to cheer myself up with sticking to good news - let's see. . .

My workshop in Hull is now fully booked up (that's in just about two weeks) - so I'm looking forward to meeting everyone there next Monday

I've been receiving chapters and synopses from the students at my Fishguard writing weekend. I am so looking forward to that and to meeting up with friends I already know and making new friends from the students I've not yet met. (There are still some places on this workshop if anyone is interested - or for the one in Southampton in April. Details on my events page) And this time I'm getting there a day early so that I can actually see some more of Fishguard itself. (Note to self - get some sleep too, before then. I don't get much during the course itself!)

My March Presents EXTRA title -The Konstantos Marriage Demand is now on presale in both print and ebook form on

Some lovely reader has used the new ratings system on the Mills & Boon website to give The Knostantos Marriage Demand 5 stars. Thank you whoever you are! And in the couple of shops I visited today the UK edition had sold out. (And of course I'm still smiling a bout that 4.5 star Top Pick review)

The sun is shining. That's always a bonus.
I have had my hair done so I now look less like a haystack and a bit more human
At the weekend I will be meeting up with my dear friend and fabulous writer Julie Cohen and her small son and we will be going to see the dinosaurs in Oxford (in the museum of course - they won't be wandering around the city!)
There - that's made me feel a lot better . . . .
Now to see if I can get my Sicilian hero to co-operate. That will make the rest of today even nicer.

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