Friday, July 30, 2010

CONFLICT - Julie Cohen

I'm going to pause for a moment from my personal opinions on Conflict because as I've always said there are no rules.

And equally there isn't only one opinion on any subject for writing.

So when I was planning my talk on Conflict for the RNA, I asked some friends to give me quotes on conflict. I put these on handout for the people at the workshop, and with the permission of the authors I've quoted, I'm posting them here as well for you to see and get the benefit of their expertise.
First, is Julie Cohen:

The heroine's main inner conflict will affect her career, her family, her friendships, her behaviour, her way of dressing, her speech patterns, her reputation, her favourite cuddly toy—in short, everything about this character will be determined, in some way, by her inner conflict, even if this particular aspect might seem contradictory.

Inner conflict doesn't grow out of plot. It's the other way round—plot grows out of the main characters' inner conflict. You can have your chase scenes and your kidnappings and your great one-liners and your brilliant wonderful sex, but if they don't speak directly to your main character's inner feelings, there's no point to them.

Conflict grows and changes as your character grows and changes. Although the seeds of the problem should be right there on page 1, by the end of the book, the heroine shouldn't be solving exactly the same problem as she faced on page 1. It should be related to her initial problem, but it should be deeper, more complex, developed by the events of the middle.

A very wise author (called ahem—Kate Walker) told me once, "Don't be afraid to put conflict on the page." Make the conflict the centre of your story. Don't hold back.


Thursday, July 29, 2010


I said yesterday that goals, particularly goals that oppose each other can generate intense conflict,
Here are some possible GOALS that either of your characters might aspire to:

Romantic love
Internal – We form strong emotional bonds which makes us vulnerable
- we fear being hurt, not being lovable enough

- External – differences between your h&H affect their goal of emotional love. How they show their feelings which causes pain and anger to the other

Keeping or winning possessions
- house
- car
- job
- business
- heirloom
Internal – character worries about getting or keeping the desired possession
External – Character A makes it difficult for B to get it or threatens to take it – so B must fight or retreat

Keeping secrets
Internal – struggle between the moral desire for truthfulness and fear of consequences of revealing secret
External - Character A knows Character B’s secret or does something that B fears will reveal secret. The more drastic the consequences of exposure, the harder the struggle

Gaining achievement

Inner conflict – our sense of self-worth is tied up in our ability to achieve goals.

External – when people around interfere with those goals, block them, deride them


Internal - territory is our home, children our self-respect, our money. We worry about what we’ll do is someone takes it
External – when territory is attacked or we defend it against real or imagined invasions
Two people with incompatible territory will always experience conflict.

Your characters’ goals must be very clear so that it will be clear to the reader when those goals are thwarted

And they should pose a SERIOUS THREAT – physical or emotional. The more it seems that one character's goal will destroy/ruin/make impossible the other character's equally important goal, the more the resulting tension will create an internal and emotional conflict that comes between them

Conflicts can be small or huge – ideally a mix of both .

What matters is not how huge a goal is but how important it is to your character. If the 'possession' your character desperately wants to get hold of is tiny, perhaps valueless to anyone else, but vital emotionally and personally to them then it ill be a huge driving force out of all proportion to its size or financial vaule.
Because, as with everything else in a romance,with conflict you must always begin and end with the CHARACTERS.

And the conflict should force your characters to MAKE DECISIONS and TAKE DECISIVE ACTION
(c) Kate Walker 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


External makes internal worse
Internal makes eternal worse

Characters in conflict – under stress are instinctive not logical
They revert to ‘default position’, the most emotional, most basic, most instinctive and automatic response.Only if something or someone forces them to pause and think, to face what they are doing do things change

With strong internal conflict and strong interlinking external conflict, the stakes rise .
And to add more emotion and more conflict you need to the stakes.The most obvious way tpo do this in a romance is by having one or other of your characters - or both - fall in love.
Falling in love ups the stakes because -
Falling in love makes you vulnerable
Vulnerability increases conflict – ups the stakes

But the conflict in the story isn't just one thing that remains static and unaltered from the opening conflict. It must change and develop. And this will also increase the conflict and change it.

In acting out the transitions demanded by conflict your H&h will commit offences against each other
When your characters feel threatened they’ll FIGHT or they’ll RUN both of which will make the conflict worse.


Conflict is created when GOALS meet obstacles
To create conflict – give your character a goal – then have someone oppose that goal
GOAL vs GOAL creates an intense conflict.
Tomorrow we'll look at some of those possible goals.
(c) Kate Walker 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Coming back to the Q&A on Conflict, having covered the basics of External and Internal conflict, it's time to look at one of the questions I've been asked about it -

Lacey said:

I really struggle with balancing internal and external conflicts and I tend to lean toward external. While I understand the principles of letting the internal drive the external I'm still not getting it right. I'm sure I'm missing something... Where's the magic formula ;)

My simple answer is - Don’t balance them!

The 'magic formula' is this -Internal conflict must always be the most important.


In other words, the external conflict must create the internal conflict and combine with it – and then the internal conflict (the feelings) must drive everything.

People act on emotions. On what they feel inside.There may be external conflict but it’s what they FEEL about it that motivates them and drives them into conflict.

EXTERNAL can add to/ make an internal conflict worse but the INTERNAL must be there and must be the dominant driving force.

And EXTERNAL can only make it worse if they let it (ie if the INTERNAL) lets it.

Let's recap on Romeo and Juliet
There is a feud between the families - which is EXTERNAL

Romeo and Juliet are from those different families which is EXTERNAL

But when they meet what they feel (which is INTERNAL) makes them want each other more than this feud.

But they believe their families will hold them back/punish them/ opposite family might even kill them(INTERNAL) They fear they can never be together.

If they didn’t give a damn about their families/feelings/thought they could persuade them – the EXTERNAL conflict wouldn’t push them into doing what they do. It's those INTERNAL feelings and conflicts that do that.

How does it worsen ?

When Romeo sees Tybalt fight Mercutio – his INTERNAL conflict makes this EXTERNAL one worse – and the INTERNAL conflict makes his feeling at having fought the enemy - and killed Tybalt - worse

Juliet’s INTERNAL conflict is made worse because Romeo – who she loves - has killed her cousin – so she should hate him. But her feelings for him (INTERNAL) make her INTERNAL conflict worse.

Then her father insists she marries Paris. EXTERNAL. Her feelings for Romeo (INTERNAL) and the fact she is already married (EXTERNAL) are affected/made worse by her INTERNAL conflict which drives her to the fake death plot.
EMOTIONAL/INTERNAL conflict should underlie everything that’s happening. It should always be in the characters’ and in the readers’ minds. It is the INTERNAL conflct that makes your hero and heroine react, that motivates them, that drives everything they do.

So Lacey, if you tend to lean towards the external, you are getting the balance all wrong. You need to focus on the internal conflict and let that dominate.

We'll look at ways of getting this balance right later.
(c) Kate Walker 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Iris Gower

Iris Gower

So I'm here in Caerleon for the fabulous Writers' Holidays. It took a while to get an internet connection to my room, but I finally have that sorted out.

I'll continue with posts for the Conflict Q&A soon, but first I have to write about some sad news that I -and everyone at Caerleon - has had this week. When I wrote about Caerleon in the past I have mentioned the much published Swansea novelist, Iris Gower who has been so much a part of Writers' Holidays right from their start 26 years ago. Sadly,Iris died last week at the age of 75.
Iris (real name Iris Davies) was born in MUMBLES and lived in Derwen Fawr, a part of Sketty, Swansea. She had four adult children, though her husband of 48 years, Tudor Davies, died on 15 April 2002 . She later lived with a partner, Peter. She was one of the top-selling authors in the country, and was awarded an MA in Creative Writing by Cardiff University, as well as an Honorary Fellowship at the University of Wales, Swansea. She wrote and published around 40 books including 26 novels, most based in the areas of Swansea and its suroundings that she knew best.. When she died she was three quarters of the way through another novel.
At Caerleon, Iris was always a warm and welcoming figure, with her glowing red hair and ready smile. She was happy to chat with anyone, multi-published or the newest of the begininers. Her talks on her writing were lively and witty and together with Anne and Gerry Hobbs she was always at the heart of Writerts' Holidays. I remember one time when the expected speaker hadn't turned up and Iris and I were pushed in front of the audience to fill in. Iris needed no back up or support, she launched into stories and answered questions without a moment's hesitation and soon had the audience laughing along with her.
On a personal note, all the time I have been coming to Caerleon, Iris was one of my dearest friends here. We exchanged books, talked writing. talked life, and laughed a lot. I felt for her when she was so knocked down by the loss of her beloved husband Tudor, felt joy at seeing the sparkle return to her eyes when she found new happiness some years later with Peter. Iris and Peter came to Lincoln to celebrate the publication of my 50th title, The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge and I was thrilled to share that special time with her, and even more so when she told me how much she had enjoyed the book. She was also part of my great big Blog Party to celebrate that event.
Part of the joy of coming back to Caerleon was the thought of meeting up again with Iris and seeing that vivid red hair, the bright bright smile. Sadly, this year she is not here and never will be again. Writers' Holidays will be that bit poorer without her.
The Babe Magnet and I loved here. We will miss her very much.

Thank you Iris for the wonderful stories, the fabulous discussions, and so much laugher.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mills & Boon New Voices

I'm interupting this discussion on Conflict (I'm glad so many of you are finsing it helpful) to tell you all about a brand new and exciting writing contest that is being organised by Mills & Boon, starting now and going on into the autumn, with the winner announced on November 1st

Mills & Boon New Voices
A global search for fresh writing talent to join
the Mills & Boon galaxy of romantic fiction stars

How the competition will work…
The competition will have its very own website - where the entries will be posted and readers can leave their feedback.

The competition will be divided up into four stages and will run from Monday 6th September.

The winner will be announced on Monday 1st November.

1. Stage 1: The Free for All;

- All submitted entries will be read and judged by the Mills & Boon judging panel

2. Stage 2: The Shortlist

- A shortlist of 8-10 authors will be announced, and their first chapters posted on the website.
- All shortlisted entrants will be assigned a Mills & Boon author and editor as a ‘mentor’ as they polish their second chapters and for their remaining time in the competition.
- The public will vote for their favourite!

3. Stage 3: The Shorter-list
- The shortlist will be chopped down to 4 – the next stage to share a ‘pivotal moment’ from their book.
- The public will vote for their favourite!

4. Stage 4: Winner!
- Judged by a panel – names TBC!
- The winner is announced!!

The Romance is not dead web site is now up and running and there is so much ionformation on there.

I will be running a workshop in connection with this contest in Doncaster library - the suggested date is currently August 26th but I will confirm that later.

Good luck

Friday, July 23, 2010

Conflict Q&A 4 - Internal Conflict

The second - and much the most important form of conflict is INTERNAL CONFLICT


INTERNAL CONFLICT is the characters’ own problems, their personality traits, fears, doubts, beliefs, which they have to change or overcome to get their happy-ever-after.

Internal conflict is also called CHARACTER ARC.

INTERNAL conflict is a person’s INTERNAL struggle over opposing goals. It is inside, hidden from witnesses

INTERNAL CONFLICT comes from the characters themselves; it’s whatever they bring to the story, both emotionally and intellectually.
An emotional conflict is one that grows from feelings.

EMOTIONAL conflict is always internal.
The EMOTIONAL CONFLICT needs to affect the hero and the heroine’s relationship, so that they are irresistibly drawn to each other while simultaneously feeling that a relationship can’t possibly work between them

Emotions don’t have a logical basis and they can’t be reasoned away – they ARE

( Lesley Wainger)
INTERNAL is PERSONAL in that it grows from innate issues and insecurities everyone has. You carry them around with you. They touch you on the deepest and most personal levels

- the meat of the story
- The real issues that keep the characters apart after external problems have been solved
- Misplaced guilt, fear of rejection, pride, lack of self-esteem – internal problems
- Often the characters are unaware of their internal conflicts so these are the last ones to be resolved.
- Think of conflict (particularly internal) as like an onion – peel away the outer layers(External conflicts) , more and more until you get to the heart – the internal conflicts - and then go deeper till you find the REAL problem.

- The soft core is the part of character hidden away – because protected - because most vulnerable, deepest feeelings are carefully hidden except from those we trust the most
Characters must have both internal conflict and external conflict

External conflict makes the internal conflict worse
Internal conflict makes the external conflict worse
Think about Romeo and Juliet - the family feud (external conflict) had been dragging along for a long time before R & J actually met.
It was when they met and fell head over heels for each other that everything changed - and the internal conflict took hold -
The feud now kept them from declaring their love
It forced them apart
At first Romeo tried to avoid the brawls in the street etc - but
When Romeo became involved in a duel with Juliet's cousin and killed him then the whole story turned into a tragedy.
Juliet was torn between loving him and hating him for killing Tybalt
All of these are the internal conflict that makes the external conflict so much worse
And then the Duke banishes Romeo (external) Which makes it even worse
And Juliet's father insists she marry someone else . . .
And the whole thing snowballs out of control - which leads the two lovers to their terrible lowest possible point - their Black Moment.
Of course with R&J it ended in tragedy so there was no Happy Ever After Ending. But this is the point you want to bring your reader to - the one where they reall feel there is no chance of a HEA, until . . .

But we'll come to that later.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Conflict Q&A 3 - EXTERNAL

One of the questions that I was asked over and over again when I said I was going to do a workshop on conflict was:

How do you define the difference between Internal and External conflict ?

As Susan said: I would love an idiot's guide to external and internal conflict

So today I'm going to define the first of those types of conflict:


EXTERNAL CONFLICT is what happens to your characters, the obstacles outside themselves which they have to overcome to get their happy-ever-after.

External conflict is also called PLOT.

EXTERNAL CONFLICT comes from the plot and circumstances or is created by other characters.

EXTERNAL conflict is the struggle between people over opposing goals. It is out in the open. It is visible to witnesses

EXTERNAL is SITUATIONAL – it arises from the place and the plot. It can create the SITUATION that forces the H&h together so they have to deal with emotional issues – eg snowed in together etc.

SITUATIONAL can work with the EMOTIONAL issue

SITUATIONAL can never substitute for EMOTIONAL

External Conflict can be

- visible - a wildfire, a villain

- Situational - a situation that will cause turmoil for your character - eg working with their former husband/lover

- should be tailor-made for your characters, no matter how big or how small, it should truly affect them in more than a passing way

- should be directly tied to the essence of your characters, perhaps stemming from and adding to their internal conflict.

To quote Trish Morey -

The external conflict brings your characters together (to solve a problem, deal with a crisis, resolve an issue. . . )

The internal conflict then drives them apart.

So more on internal conflict tomorrow

(c) Kate Walker 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Conflict Q&A 2 - Why Conflict?

So why have conflict at all?

You are writing a romance. Surely it's more romantic when a couple take one look at each other, fall head over heels in love . . . and live happily ever after?

While a lack of conflict might be a nice goal in life, unfortunately it’s very bad for a story.

Without sufficient conflict there is no story at all, simply a long drawn-out visit with some nice people

It's all about the EMOTIONAL JOURNEY

Your characters begin with flaws or wounds or beliefs that prevent them from finding, giving, accepting love in their ordinary world.

The growth they need is frightening and painful, something most humans resist unless forced into it


Unless the plot’s events cause your protagonists physical or emotional suffering/distress they will never find the strength to overcome the challenges that would destroy their unimproved selves / and that create a different one


There will be more emotional satisfaction for the reader as a result.

Who a character really is becomes defined by their response UNDER PRESSURE

Conflict is a struggle that exerts that pressure.

A compelling romance is one where there is enough conflict to raise that important question:
How will these two ever manage to overcome their differences and make it to the altar/registry office/commitment ?

Without conflict it will be the shortest story ever told
Conflict makes the sparks fly between your hero and heroine

If Romeo and Juliet’s parents said ‘OK get married’ the sexual, tension between them would vanish

And I'm not just talking about sex

Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester barely even kiss – but there is a huge charge between them. One that is remembered by readers for years after they read the story. One that has lasted for centuries since the book was written.

Romance is about the SIZZLE and the sizzle comes from conflict.
(c) Kate Walker 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

CONFLICT Q&A1 Definition

Things aren't getting any less busy - and the computer is dying on its feet - or whatever computers stand on. So I'm going to get into the Conflict Q&A in the hope it will give you something interesting to read while I'm preparing for Caerleon and travelling there.

So let's start with a dictionary definition:


· A state of open, often prolonged fighting; a battle or war.

· A state of disharmony between incompatible or antithetical persons, ideas, or interests; a clash.

· Psychology. A psychic struggle, often unconscious, resulting from the opposition or simultaneous functioning of mutually exclusive impulses, desires, or tendencies.

· Opposition between characters or forces in a work of drama or fiction, especially opposition that motivates or shapes the action of the plot

Obviously for the purpose of the writer, thenh last definition is the most important. And the importan thing to note about that definition is the last few words - "motivates or shapes the action of the plot"

Because Conflict has to move things, change things. It is that 'problem' or belief or whatever thathas to come between the hero and the heroine and to stop them - or a seem to prevent them - from reaching their happy ending. But it is also something that creates changes in both the characters and their lives, altering them and devloping them so that they are ready and worthy of that happy ending.

So it isn't just something static, a block, a barrier. It's a force for change and by living through it the hero and heroine will become different people from the ones who appeared on the fist page of the book.

As a result they will reach the happy ending ready to really love and be in love and to go into a future that the reader believes be not just a happy ending but a 'happy ever after' ending.
(c) Kate Walker 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I might be back . . .

. . . I don't know. Not sure

I have a new computer coming next week. And I grabbed the netbook back from the person who had borrowed it so that I can at least communicate just a little with the outside world. If you've emailed me in the past week, then I apologise if I haven't answered yet. It's become an endurance test to send emails so I've rather given up on that.

Add in the fact that I am so so busy that everything is piling on top of me.

So belated waves to everyone I saw at RNA. But that seems so long ago and now I'm busy preparing for the next event - which is the wonderful Writers' Holiday at Caerleon. Personally, I can't wait and neither can the Babe Magnet - we are so looking forward to this.

Now I have some news about this just in case anyone is thinking of looking at a course on writing romance. Because after discussions with the organisers of both Caerleon and the equally fabulous Fishguard Writing Weekend, my teaching at these two events will now combine to create a more detailed and in-depth course. And if you want you can combine the two to get the best possible benefit.

So as far as I can see it, what's going to be happening is that the Caerleon course (5 one hour sessions) will be a basic Writing Romance course, with the grounding you'll need to approach romance writing.

Then the weekend in Fishguard 6 sessions) will be Romance - Moving it On. This will have more intensive workshops, discussions, one to one assessments of your first chapter and
synopsis . . .

So you can do the basic course at Caerleon and then you have 6 months to absorb what you've learned, plan out a story, write a first chapter and a synopsis and come to Fishguard to learn more.

At the moment the Fishguard course is filling up fast - past students who've already been on that course with me are coming back - but there are still places at Caerleon for this summer if you wanted to get started now.

The dates are coming up fast but in case you're interested you can still book a place-
Dates - 25th - 30th July
Place: University of Wales Caerleon Campus
Cost £399

And that includes all accomodation, board (there is so much food on offer!) two courses . (You can find the selection on offer as well as mine on the web site), a wonderful selection of hour long talks, after-tea sessions, a half day trip out, the fantastic evening with the Male Voice Choir . . .

(Oh, now I really can't wait!)

Another important bit of news with regard to my teaching and writing - and this time it's about the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance.

I was delighted to discover that the second edition of the 12 Point Guide has sold out just like the first. The publishers are reprinting the book again. This will just be a reprint, the details of the new names for the lines coming up have been amended but other than that it's reprinted not revised.

There is one difference in that it will now be published by Aber Writers' Guides and the cover will be slightly different - but I don't want those of you who already have the second editon (the one with the white strip across the front) to think it's a new edition. It has just the same details inside.

But if you haven't already bought the amended and increased second edition, you might find it's not available now while the reprint is done. My latest information is that the reprint will be available from October so you won't have too long to wait.
(And if you want it sooner and are coming to my course at Caerleon, I will have some copies there.)

Coming up - I will be doing the Conflict Q&A as promised - so look out for that

And thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of The Good Greek Wife? and so pout it on the bestseller lists in Amazon etc . I can't post any pictures at the moment, but the fabulous cover is on show in the side bar.

Right, here's hoping this posts OK and if so I'll hope to be back again soon.

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Talk amongst yourselves . . .

I'm sorry but I'll not be posting any reports on the RNA - or blogging much at all for a little while.

The computer that ate my workshop is terminally in decline and if I try and send anything much - blog or email - or use the internet, it dies on me. And I have a deadline!

So I'm not sure how much I'll be able to be in communiation until it is fiexed or a new one arrives.

Kate Hardy, The Romantic Novelists' Association Blog, Julie Cohen, The Pink Heart Society and others have detailed reports so I hope they will ill you in.

Be back when I can - now I have to risk posting this!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I love it when this happens . . .

If you're reading this blog then that means I got too busy/had too much fun to post one from the RNA - which, seeing as Saturday is the day that I give my workshop on Conflict, and meet my editor is very likely indeed. Plus, I don't know what the internet connection is going to be like.

So I thought I'd tell you about Rachael because she's the perfect example of the way that an open mind can mean that you discover something you really enjoy. Plus it's a real success in my campaign to get people to actually read romance before they comment on it - so that hopefully some of the tired old cliched responses to the genre might just f-a-d-e away. People still don't have to love romance - some will and some won't, I don't have a problem with that, but at least they've made a informed decision rather than a lazy, bigoted, knee-jerk one.

And Rachael is one of those who did just that.

You might remember that in June I did an interview for Gemma Noon at the Literary Project. I talked about the bad press that MIlls & Boon and romance in general gets - and Gemma, bless her, was totally in my corner. I offered some books to people who commented and Rachael was one of those who received a copy of Kept For Her Baby.

I was delighted when she wrote to tell me how much she'd enjoyed it. And doubly delighted to find that she had also written a post in her blog about rediscovering M&B and the way she had been converted from her own self-confessed 'book snobbery' to realising that she enjoyed these short romances.

So thank you Rachael - for having an open mind to try something you didn't know about, for letting me know that you enjoyed my book - and most of all for posting on your blog so that other people can read and, hopefully, be as open minded as you.

Friday, July 09, 2010

While I'm away . . .

I doubt very much that I'll find a moment to post while I'm at the RNA Conference - it's always pretty hectic - and fun! So here's one I prepared earlier to keep you occupied while I'm away.

In all the chaos of sick computers and workshop worries, I haven't mentioned the good news I had at the begining of the week. The latest book, with the Sicilian hero (remember him? Yes, I know, it was a l-o-ng time ago that I tweaked him and sent him off. ) - anyway - Pietro D'Inzeo (or rather his story) has been bought, scheduled and titled. Which means that I can tell you that his story will be published March 2011 under the title The Proud Wife.

You'll note the new type of title. Yes, the Greek Billionaire has claimed his last virgin and those 'how many buzzwords can you get into a single phrase' titles are being phased out. (Pause for a moment for loud cheering! ) and the new-style titles are coming in. The ones that, as editorial say, reflect the fact that Modern/Presents Romances are "big reads in little books .'

So you'll be seeing books with titles like these: The Bride Thief, The Society Wife, Reckless in Paradise, Giselle’s Choice, The Undoing of de Luca, The Man Behind the Mask, The Disgraced Princess, The Master of Bella Terra

And - the official announcement is still counting down on the M&B Makeover site so you'll need to watch there for all the details, but they are starting to appear on Amazon so I can let you have a little sneak peak at some of the new covers that are coming. There's only a few of the posted on the site yet - but the best way to illustrate them is to say that the final book in the mini-series of The Greek Tycoons Greek Myth series - Robyn Donald's book Powerful Greek, Housekeeper Wife will look like this - instead of the old-style cover for mine (which I've posted above for close comparison).

What do you think?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Off to London

I had a crazy day yesterday. It was going to be busy anyway, with my workshop to complete for the RNA Conference and the organising of packing and Danny the Cat-Sitter as well. But it turned into an even more frantic day than I'd planned when I switched on the computer, reading to print out notes and handouts . . .

. . . and watched it die right in front of me, leaving only a blue screen with lots of indecipherable warnings across it. And locked in there, inaccessible, not even on a memory stick (yes - I know but it's been on hell of a week) were all my workshop notes, and handouts . . . .Help!!

Luckily by the time I was able to put in a phone call to my techie wizard, Andy the PC Doctor, he managed to find time to squeeze in a visit to the computer's sickbed and deliver a dose of TLC that had it back on form again. I have promised Andy sainthood for this.

But there was no time to reorganise, regroup and double-check the workshop as I have to leave this morning to get to Greenwich tonight - so if you'll be in my workshop I hope it - well, I hope it works! But then, like Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy, I'm 'better when I move' ie answer questions so I should still find something to talk about.

Oh, and it's my day over on the Pink Heart Society today. Thursday Talk Time - and guess what I'm talking about?

If you're going to the conference - I'll see you there. If you're in my workshop, have questions ready!

Monday, July 05, 2010

If You're Going to RNA (2)

Busy day today - I need to organise the cat-sitter, get my hair done, send out a bundle of prize books, complete the work on my talk for the RNA conference - thank you so much to everyone who sent in questions. I plan on answering those the best I can.

I still remember how it felt to head for my very first conference back in 2000. I was so nervous. But I soon got settled and this year I’m back for my 10th – how did that happen?

In 2002, I helped introduce some ‘newbies’ (aka Conference Virgins) to the Conference experience and then for the next 2 years I ran the first timers’ welcome scheme and newsletter – something that’s now an established part of the conference. So when I was asked to write a post for the RNA blog about the things a first-timer should pack, I just had to go back over my past newsletters to collect up my list.

That post is up today so if you need a little advice, why not visit me over there ?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Tote Bags

It's the first Sunday of the month, so today my blog is written and posted over on Tote Bags and Blogs.

I'm celebrating the publication of The Good Greek Wife? (I keep forgetting to add that question mark!) and looking forward to another celebration coming up this month.

Hope you'll join me over there.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


The Summer Sizzler Contest that I shared with Michelle Reid has now closed and today Michelle and I - or, rather, Michelle and Sid the Cat - picked the winners.

So I'm happy to announce that my (Sid's) winner is Eve S from Estonia (I don't think I've ever sent a prize to Estonia before)

Michelle picked out Carol W from New Jersey

And my special newsletter winner is Ali F from Texas.

Congratulations to all the winners who will each receive a copy of my latest release The Good Greek Wife? and Michelle's novel Mia's Scandal which starts off The Balfour Legacy series.

My thanks to everyone who entered. I'm not sure when I'll have the next contest - but keep your eyes on my Competition page for any details.

Incidentally, if you'd like an extra taster of the Balfour series, then Michelle's on-line read Scandal at the Balfour Ball which is a prequel to this goes live from today over on eHarlequin. You can find the story here.

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