Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thanks and clebrations

My thanks to everyone who has sent me questions for the Conflict Q&A . I'll be addressing those in the workshop - and hopefully on here after the Conference. Any more questions, you still have time to ask.
Oh and special thanks to Janet who sent me a question by email and reminded me of something I'd once said a long time ago on this topic (some of you have memories like elephants!) that is a point I really want to make at RNA - so thanks for that question Janet!

And just to remind you that as it's 29th June, you still have one more day in which to enter the Summer Sizzler contest that I'm running with Michelle Reid. In case you've forgotten this is the contest where you can win a signed copy of both Michelle's and my new releases - Mia's Scandal and A Good Greek Wife?. Details can be found on the Contest page on both our sites. And don't forget that you can enter twice - once with Michelle, and once with me.

The contest closes when June 30th ends - everywhere in the world!

Of course this contest is to celebrate the publication of The Good Greek Wife? The official publication day is supposed to be July 2nd but as I was out and about yesterday and I discovered that it's already on the shelves, I'm celebrating today. I love seeing a new book on the bookshop shelves. And seeing it selling well - which A Good Greek Wife? was already doing, is even better.

Talking of publication, as Harlequin continues to reissue backlist books in ebook form, I've been thrilled to see The Married Mistress get a new lease of life as an ebook over on eHarlequin and Amazon. And now I've just discovered that Their Secret Baby has been reissued in ebook too.

This is one time when I'm realy pleased that it's the USA version of this book that's reissued. The original UK edition was known in this family as The Headless Wedding. And if you want to know why, you can see that cover here

Saturday, June 26, 2010

If you're going to the RNA Conference . . .

. . . or even if you're not. I wonder if you'd like to help me.

I need to know about how to stir up conflict.

Not an actual conflict at the conference - manuscripts at dawn or book wars over breakfast . . .

But on Saturday 10th July at 11.45 I am doing a workshop on Conflict - and I have an hour - just an hour - in which to, hopefully, educate, enlighten and entertain everyone there on the subject of Conflict. What it means, how it works, how you develop it . . .

Last time I heard there were 60+ eager (well, I hope they'll be eager) students signed up to come and hear me ramble on an the subject. 60+ eeek!

So I was wondering if you'd help me.
If you're coming to the RNA and if you're going to be in my workshop . . .or even if you're not, but you're interested in writing - and in finding out more about Conflict. About creating it, writing it, developing it.
Are you confuzzled by internal and external conflict?

Do you want to know how much is too much and how much is not enough?
Would you like to know why I describe conflict as being like the layers of an onion ?

Is there any question that you'd really really like me to try and answer on this subject?
If so please let me know. Post your question or you comment in the comments section. or email me privately at the address below.

Authors, if you want to say what you think is important about conflict then that would be welcome too - all contributions welcome.

I'll try to address every query raised in my workshop. And if you're not coming to the conference, then please still ask any questions you have and I'll hope to tackle them when I get back and maybe we can have a Conflict Q&A here on the blog as well.
Over to you . . . And thank you in advance

Friday, June 25, 2010

WInners and Blogging about

Well, there is still plenty of sunshine around - the sun is already high in the sky outside and the cats are preparing for another hard day lying around in sun patches or under a bush if it gets a bit too warm. I may well join them with my laptop later.

Today I am blogging over on the Pink Heart Society where as it's Must Watch Friday I'm blogging about one of my favourite TV programmes. One of 'our' favourite TV programmes I should say as it's one that the Babe Magnet loves too.

And today I get to bring some extra sunshine into the lives of some visitors to this blog by letting you know that Sid has chosen a few winners and the names he picked this time are:
Laurie London
Jean Hovey

So if you would all contact me - see the email at the bottom of the page - I will get your prizes sorted out. You can choose one of these backlist books so let me know your choice.










And don't forget that the special Summer Sizzler Contest that I'm sharing with Michelle Reid ends on Wednesday 30th June - so get your entries in for that.

You could win yourself a copy of my next release: The Good Greek Wife?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and showers sort of sums up the feeling of today's post. I know I said I was going to post some day brighteners this week but I can't not mention two very dear friends who have both lost someone truly special in their lives.

So I'm sending special love and thoughts to Mama Duck on the loss of her father and Anne McAllister on the loss of her mother.

It's at times like these that I understand on a very special level why writing about love - in all its forms - is not the shallow, trivial thing that some would believe. Love brings such a wonderful joy into our lives and without it we would be so much poorer and life so much less. But sadly loving someone also means that one day there will be the terrible sadness of loss when they're no longer in this world. It's a tough balance, but so worthwhile.

Also worthwhile is what love and caring makes us do for others. A few weeks ago, I got an email from Renee Combs who tells me she is 'a nineteen year old female college student. This summer I am shaving my head for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise childhood cancer research funds and I‘m asking for your help.

Childhood cancer is seriously under-funded and it is our job to raise awareness for the children who can’t fight this war on their own. Maybe you might put an add in your newsletter or donate an autographed book. Of course, donating money for our cause would always be welcome and gives the most direct support. Awareness is a key factor as well, tell your friends, your family anyone you can about our cause. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity and your support may be tax deductible.

If you would like to donate directly on my site please go to https://www.stbaldricks.org/donate/donationinfo/participantid/362749/nouser/1

As a part of a group called “46 Mommas Shave For The Brave” I and the others will have our heads shaved on national TV on September 13, 2010 in an effort to raise childhood cancer awareness. I need your help with our fundraising in any way you can help.

One of the great extras of being successfully published is the way that I can help with things like this, simply by donatinga bundle of books - which I've done. But I'm always amazed by the generosity and spirit of people like Renee who take positive action to help where they can. I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to shave my head, so I salute Renee and her friends who will - and I'm happy to be able to support them in what they're doing.

If you feel you could help too - the details are here.

Thank you for giving me a chance to help, Renee

Now I'm going to find Sid in whatever pool of sunlight he's snoozing and get him to pick some commenters to brighten their day

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Favourite Kate Walker - Lynne Raye Harris

As I promised, today is a post in that irregular series - My Favourite Kate Walker. I have rather neglected this as a result of pressure of work/life/everything else but I'm still keeping an eye on it for the celebration of 25 years since my first book ever was published. If you have an absolute favourite of my books, feel free to let me know about it and you might see your post on this blog.

Today's author is someone else who has had a difficult week with a husband in hospital and then back home - so I'm sending her a hug and a smile (and a gentler one for her husband!) So let me introduce you to Lynn Raye Harris.

Many of you will recall that Lynn won the very first Presents Instant Seduction contest back in 2008 and when I first met her at the RWA conference in San Francisco she was halfway towards being convinced that her book just wasn't going to make it as she dealt with the revisions asked of her.

She says I gave her the advice she needed- well, that was simply that revisions are a fact of life for all authors from first book to 100th and beyond. I'm surprised that she gave any credit to what I said as I believe I was dressed in my pajamas at the time - this was at the eHarlequin PJ party after all. I liked Lynn from the start and we bonded even more the following year when we shared a wonderful dish of fries and garlic sauce in a Washington restaurant. I'm only sorry that I won't make it to RWA this year so we can meet up again .

Here's Lynn:

As a new author for Harlequin Presents/Mills & Boon Modern, I have to tell you all that I was a bit apprehensive about joining this illustrious family of writers. What would they think of me? Could I possibly talk to any of them without descending into fangirl stuttering? Would my stories live up to the promise of the line?

Kate Walker was the second Presents/Modern author I met in person, and the first I talked to when I was on the verge of selling. I will never forget her kindness or her bubbly personality. She treated me like I was already a member of the fold. And she gave me exactly the right advice at exactly the right moment. I went home and got to work – and then sold my first book shortly thereafter.

So when Kate asked if I could talk about my favorite Kate Walker book for her 25th anniversary, I said yes! Except that I can’t talk about my favorite Kate Walker book because I enjoy them all so much that I can’t pick a favorite. I really can’t! Whether Kate is writing sheikhs or Greeks or Sicilians or (pick your favorite hero), I love them all.

(In fact, I’m currently rereading AT THE SHEIKH’S COMMAND – oh yum!)

But I can talk about one of Kate’s stories that gave me an aha moment as a writer: SPANISH BILLIONAIRE, INNOCENT WIFE. Alannah and Raul’s story is so intense that you just can’t stop turning the pages. What did I learn from this book? I learned how finely one can spin out the emotions of a character, how intense the suspense can be when one character needs to tell the other a dark secret and doesn’t want to do so. I learned about the deep ache of thwarted love, and how two people can want each other so much and still not think it will ever work out.

That book was intense, y’all! Steamy and dark and so emotional that I was biting my lip as I kept turning those pages. But you know how it turns out, even if you haven’t yet read it. Alannah and Raul get their happy ever after, though it’s an emotional trip to the end. It was the kind of book where you close it and can’t immediately begin another because you need to think for a while.

I hope I put half that emotion into my books! And if I do, I surely learned how by studying Kate’s work. Many congratulations, Kate, on twenty-five years of excellent storytelling. I hope you keep telling stories for another twenty-five years!

Thank you Lynn! I 'd love to think I have another 25 years' writing ahead of me!

Lynn has a couple of books out this month - so look out for them. The Prince's Royal Concubine - which uses one of my favourite themes in a romance, the way that the weather (in this case a huge storm) traps the hero and heroine together so that they are forced to face up to their conflict because there is literally nowhere to go. It makes for an intense and claustrophobic atmosphere - is out in Presents in America and The Devil's Heart is on the shelves now in the UK. I know it is because I bought my own copy yesterday. Just need a little time to read it.

You can find out more about Lynn and her books here

Monday, June 21, 2010

The sun is shining

Sometimes it seems that the atmosphere around is - well, let's just say subdued.

Hard work.


(And no I'm not just talking about the performance of the English football team in the World Cup. Well, OK- yes, I am -partly. If you'd shared Father's Day with the Babe Magnet and the Offspring yesterday you couldn't really have missed the mood of disappointment. )

I know several people for whom it's been a pretty hard week in other ways and my heart goes out to them and with appalling oil leaks, the promise of a 'pain' budget here in the UK and - well, yes the prospect of another England versus someone World Cup match coming up the euphoria of early summer seems to be dissipating fast.

So I'm going to try and change the mood a bit and think about good news (there must be some) or at least celebrate the fact that the sun is shining so I'm hoping to post some day brighteners or at least mood lifters for a few days. And I hope you'll join in.

I spent the weekend in a concentrated effort to get my office really cleaned and sorted out - I'd post a before and after photo but I really don't want anyone to know just how bad it had got. Believe me, it was bad. I also did all my accounts - not just the ones that need to go to my accountant tomorrow, but also getting them up to date for June! Which gives me a head start on next year.

That is such a relief. Perhaps that's what made me feel as if I had a weight off my shoulders this morning. And the sun was shining - see, I'm determined to mention the good things.

One of those good things, for anyone who knows how much I like shoes, is the fact that when I went into town I spotted some beautiful gold Grecian style sandals that I had almost bought last week but decided they were too expensive - but today they were in the sale at 50% off the original price . . . Guess, what I'm wearing right now! OK, so it's not important in the grand scheme of things - but it made me smile.

The sun is shining, the roses in my garden are looking spectacular this year - glorious in a way that brightens my day whenever I look in the garden. And over on Amazon, even though it isn't actually on sale in the shops yet, I spotted that my July release The Good Greek Wife is already moving nicely up the sales charts so some of you are already getting you hands on your copies. Which is more than I've done! My author copies haven't appeared yet - but that's something to look forward to.

One thing that sorta got buried is the fact that I'm still celebrating my 25 years of publication. So tomorrow I'm remedying that by posting another in that irregular series of 'My Favourite Kate Walker book.' Who's going to be the guest blogger? Well, one of the other things I bought in town was a copy of a brand new M&B Modern Romance titled The Devils Heart. . . . Come back and find out more tomorrow.

So what about you? Is the sun shining where you are? Or even if it's pouring with rain - snowing - what is there to brighten your day? Why don't you share this week.

Have you read a really great book or seen a fantastic film? We could all do with recommendations. I've just been watching the same film 3 times over but in different versions - it's all to do with the book I'm writing. Tell you more when I can.

So why not join in the day brightener posts? Please leave a comment if you have something to smile about. And you never know I might get Sid the Cat on the job of picking a few names to brighten some people's days even more. That is if I can get him to come inside - he's found a patch of sunlight with his name on it and is curled up in the garden enjoying the warmth. That, and the fact that it's almost teatime, is all he needs to brighten his day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I almost forgot . . .

. . .that as today (what's left of it here in the UK ) is June 15th then that's the day when I have my regular Kate's Corner blog post over on We Write Romance.

I only just remembered in time to write and post something over there before I signed off for the day - one of those times to be grateful for the fact that time zones mean it wasn'ty too late for the American WWR readers!

So if you want some insight into what an author does in her 'time off' (Ha!) well - mthe time when she's not actually writing a book in deadline panic - that's what I'm talking about over there!


Once again Michelle Reid and I have books out at the same time this summer and to celebrate we are running a joint contest to give you a chance to win a copy of each of these great new titles

Dates: June 10th – June 30th

There are two prizes of one signed copy of each of our new titles:
The Good Greek Wife? By Kate Walker (out July 2nd)
Mia’s Scandal by Michelle Reid (out now)

How to win
All you have to do is to answer this simple question:
Name the two series that these new books are coming out in this summer (one series for each book)

You can find the answers on our web sites

Send the names of the two min-series to each author with Summer Sizzler Contest in the subject line of the message and you’ll be in with a chance of winning
Good Luck!
The closing date for entries is June 30th.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chasing my tail . . .

This is just how I feel at the moment with a To Do list as long as my arm, one on which everything I cross something off, something new gets added. Add into that mix, a stomach bug that laid me low for two days, a computer key board that turned up its keys and died, just in the middle of something really important, a car that started making very peculiar noises just one quarter of the way home from a trip to Derby - a journey that then involved a major diversion because part of the motorway was closed for repairs . . .and you'll get some idea of the week I'm having.

But if you need something longer to read, then that's fine because last month I did a long interview with Gemma Noon over at The Literary Project which you can find here so there should be plenty to interest you there. Gemma used to be a librarian, as I did, and we share a belief in the fact that getting people reading is much more important than sneering at them for what they read - which for my money can only make them feel discouraged and unwilling to read at all.

So I found Gemma's introduction to this interview interesting - and I found myself nodding along with much of it. So I hope you'll read the interview too - and let me know if you enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Mills & Boon and The Lady Short Story Contest

From The National Trust Website:
Try your hand at writing a romantic short story and you could see it printed in The Lady magazine.

Our places are full of romance, from grand stately homes and magnificent castles to gorgeous gardens and charming cottages.

To help celebrate the publication of Scandalous Innocent, the National Trust and Mills & Boon have launched a romantic short story writing competition, using any of our places as the setting - a proposal, a wedding, an encounter in the rose garden, an ‘upstairs, downstairs’ tale – the options are endless.

How to enter
Visit The Lady website to enter and for competition terms and conditions.
The prizes
The winning entry will be published in The Lady magazine and there is a hamper of books, worth £200, for the runner-up. Stories should be not more than 1500 words in length and the deadline for entries is Saturday 31 July.

Mills & Boon Writing Workshops
To inspire you with top tips and hints for romantic fiction writing, Mills & Boon authors and editors will be holding a series of writing workshops at our places around the country.

Tickets cost £15 per person.
Places are limited to 30 people per workshop so book your place now.
To book a place, telephone the contact number shown under your chosen date (N.B. a booking fee may apply)

Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire
Sunday 13 June, 10.30am – 12.30pm
With Mills and Boon author: India Grey
Tel: 01625 445845

Ham House, Richmond on Thames, Surrey
Thursday 17 June, 10.30am - 12.30pm
With Mills and Boon editor: Linda Fildew
Tel: 0844 249 1895

Blickling Hall, Blickling, Norwich, NorfolkS
aturday 19 June, 10.30am - 12.30pm
With Mills and Boon author: Kate Hardy
Tel: 0844 800 4308

National Trust, Heelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon,
WiltshireMonday 28 June, 2pm – 4pm
With Mills and Boon author: Nicola Cornick
Tel: 0844 249 1895

Monday, June 07, 2010

Foreign Editions

I had a bundle of foreign editions today. It's always an interesting discovery to find out just which book has been translated into which language recently. This delivery had a real surprise in it.

There was a There was an Italian translation of NoBack. couple of German translations - A Sicilian Husband and Kept For Her Baby. There was an Italian translation of No Holding Back, but the most intriguing - and the oldest book to be reprinted was the Korean edition of Game of Hazard.

Game of Hazard is a book I'm really fond of. It was the first ever of my books to go into paperback and the first ever to go to America. So it's rather special to me. I also remember the then Editorial Director of Mills & Boon the late Jacqui Bianchi - who was also an author in her own right under the name of Teresa Denys - told me that when she read it she felt that I had really discovered my real author's voice.

But the first edition of this book - in the UK - was published way back in 1986! So it was amazing to see it coming back in a new edition 24 years later.

The other interesting thing about this was the cover. Above is the original M&B cover of Game of Hazard. And here is the Korean edition. Unusual isn't it? I'm not at all sure what all that bits and peices of clocks or watches have to do with what is actually an amnesia story - but it's still great to see one of my oldest titles being revived in this way.

Incidentally, for some reason I was sent 6 extra copies of No Holding Back - Irresistible Attrazione - so I have these going spare. So if anyone reading this is in Italy and would like a copy - the original translation only came out in a multi pack - just email me your address (see the link at the bottom of this page ) and you can have a copy as a gift.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Blogging about

Because it's the first Sunday in the month, today is my day for blogging over on Tote Bags 'N' Blogs - so that's where you'll find me.

With my memories of Elizabeth Oldfield still in my thoughts, I suppose that it's inevitable that my memories of her and the thoughts they created sparked off my topic today - looking back at past favourites, authors whose books I once used to love.

Why don't you come and share your old favourites with me?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Elizabeth Oldfield

I heard some very sad news last night. The lovely author and one of the past stars in the Mills & Boon line up of novelists, Elizabeth Oldfield, died on May 30th. I was so very saddened by the news.

Elizabeth Oldfield was a fabulous writer whose book I loved. I remember how, when I was trying to learn my craft, working towards getting published, I would always pounce on one of her novels knowing how much I would enjoy it and how much I would learn from it. I could never write like her - she had a wonderful light touch, often dryly humorous, that was not my style but I enjoyed it her novels so very much.

When I first went to any of the social events that brough M&B authors together and was desperately nervous, not knowing anyone, Elizabeth was one of the very first to welcome me into the group, talk to me about my work and make me feel at home. From then onwards I was lucky enough to consider her as a friend and we exchanged letters where she told me all about her wonderful husband, her loving family and later the grandchildren she adored.

At any M&B get together I was always so happy to see her tall, blonde, supremely elegant figure, her lovely face with its glowing smile and hear her voice. She always had something wise and sensible - and usually very funny - that was so worth listening to. I remember how she once described the feeling of having a book finished, accepted and bought as 'better than an orgasm - it lasts so much longer'. And it was with Nadine that I once joking planned the 'You Finish It . . .' book of ideas for novels that we had in our computers, books that just hadn't worked. We joked that perhaps aspiring novelists would like this antidote to the 'where do you get your ideas' question. Long term visitors to this blog will remember how Elizabeth was a guest at my Great Big Blog Party to celebrate my 50th book back in 2007 - when she talked ab out her new publishing venture with her latest (non romance) novel Vintage Babes.

I knew Elizabeth was ill, she had struggled with cancer for some years, but all the same the news last night came as a great shock and a deep sadness. She was one of those special people of whom I would have to say that I really feel like a light has gone out in my life without her.

My deepest sympathies go out to her husband and her family. I know how much she loved them and so I know how deeply she will be missed.

Last night I pulled out some my Elizabeth Oldfield 'keepers' and reminded myself of what very special books she used create. One of my special favourites was Love's Prisoner and it was a joy to get lost in it's story once again. If you haven't ever tried a romance by Elizabeth Oldfield, I think you've missed out on something special.
Rest in peace Elizabeth - you will be sadly missed.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

It's June . . .

The first day of June - but no sign of 'flaming June' in Lincolnshire. it's grey and cool - and predicted to be wet. Oh well,as I'm in the final stages of a major clear out/clean/organise of my office, the cooler temperatures will be fine by me today.

As it's the first of June, I want to celebrate the birthday of a lovely lady - one of my special friends and favourite authors.

Happy Birthday, Liz Fielding!

I may write and enjoy the high octane intensity of the Modern Romance/Harlequin Presents novels but I enjoy reading so many other authors books - and Liz's novels are some of my absolute favourites, for the quality of her writing and the wonderful emotions she brings to her stories.

Today I'm going to celebrate Liz's special day by reading her latest - A Wedding at Leopard Tree Lodge which Liz was kind enough to send me a copy. Perhaps not quite the way round, by celebrating with a gift she's given me but it's going to be my treat for the day.

Have a very special day, Liz! I know I will with your book to enjoy

I had a surprise this morning - I had actually forgotten that my latest title - The Good Greek Wife is now available for pre-order on Amazon - and actually on sale on the Mills & Boon web site. So it was quite a surprise to find it on that site this morning. As I haven't had my author copies yet, I hadn't even read the back 'blurb' so I was keen to be able to find out what was actually in it - this is what I found:

The return of the proud Greek husband… He was declared missing at sea – but now notorious Zarek Michaelis is back and ready to take control! First he’ll see to his business, and then to his wayward wife…

For two years Penny has struggled to come to terms with Zarek’s disappearance. But enough is enough. It’s time to move on…

Her proud Greek husband is still as darkly handsome as ever, and the attraction between them is just as potent. But Penny can’t trust Zarek’s motives – does he just want her body and the fortune he left behind…or to try again?

The Greek Tycoons Legends are made of men like these!

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