Wednesday, July 31, 2013

40 for 40 - Chantelle Shaw

Today's special gust posting on my blog is Chantelle Shaw. Chantelle herself has told you how we first met, so there's  no need for me to do that! It's funny that she describes feeling very nervous when I remember a petite, smiling, and very  easy to get to know blonde!

I'm specially enjoying being able to host Chantelle here today because she's another of my gusts who's appearing  on my blog on her own very special day As you'll see from her post, today is Chantelle's own 31st wedding anniversary - so I'm delighted that she wanted to share her day with me - and my readers.

Welcome Chantelle! And a very Happy Anniversary to you and Adrian.

Congratulations to Kate and Steve on your Ruby wedding anniversary! Wishing you many more happy years in the future!

I met Kate at the first Harlequin Mills & Boon author party I attended in 2006. I was very new, and very nervous as I walked into a room full of strangers who were all successful authors. Star-struck and feeling horribly shy, I remember almost wishing that I hadn’t come – but then a friendly voice introduced herself as Kate Walker. Of course I recognized the name as I had read many Kate Walker books. Kate – Kate, immediately made me feel welcome, we chatted for ages and she introduced me to the other guests.

I don’t think Kate has any idea how grateful I felt that she took me under her wing that evening.

Later I met ‘the babe magnet’ and found Steve as kind and charming as Kate. It’s no surprise that these two lovely people are celebrating forty years of marriage!

My husband Adrian and I are celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary at the end of July. Yep – I was a child bride too! My great-grandmother, grandmother and mum had all got married at nineteen and had their first baby by the age of twenty-one. That won’t be me, I said – but that’s exactly what I did!

Despite having very little money we had a wonderful wedding. My aunt made the bridesmaids’
dresses, friends and family helped with the catering, (my grandmother’s homemade elderberry wine was so strong it was probably illegal!) and Mum grew all the flowers for my bouquet in her garden! Talk about ‘homespun’ but it was a magical day! I still love looking at our wedding photos, especially the one with the wedding cake that is leaning to one side like the tower of Pisa!

I know that Adrian and I have been very lucky. We were so young when we married and had to grow up fast as baby number one was followed at two-yearly intervals by another five children! Eventually someone took pity on us and bought us a TV!

I love writing romance novels and my books usually end with a wedding. My next book is due for release in September. His Unexpected Legacy is set in Sicily and tells the story of Sergio and Kristen’s rather rocky romantic journey as they deal with misunderstandings and past hurts before they can look to a happy future together. This is a duet book, and Sergio’s twin brother Salvatore’s story is told in Secrets of a Powerful Man, due out in November.

I am giving away a copy of HIs Unexpected Legacy to someone who answers my question in the comments.

 My  question  is - 'What is the worst prank to have been played on newlyweds?'

(Adrian and I spent our wedding night at our new flat, and his best man had hung a kipper behind the curtain in the  bedroom, in full sunlight for a whole day! The smell was unbelievable)! 

You can find Chantelle's web site here-  and she also has a  Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

40 for 40 - Pamela Hartshorne

Pam Hartshorne 2012
Way back when, before the Association of Mills & Boon authors existed. Before the RNA Conferences, I knew very few - hardly  any - other romantic fiction writers. So I was delighted when my then editor introduced me to another author she worked with - Jessica Hart. As a result, Jessica invited me to lunch and to spend the afternoon at her home in York.

It was memorable.  Wonderful food, a fabulous setting in the glorious ancient city,  friendly cats - and hours of fascinating and stimulating conversation about books and writing - and more about writing.
Since then, Jessica has written a total of 60 novels, had her romances nominated for the RITA - and recently, as Pamela Hartshorne, has turned  to a whole new type of romance writing with her brilliant time-slip novel - Love's Echo, which was also shortlisted in this year's RITA awards.

One lucky commenter can win a copy of this great, just by answering Pamela's question below. You'll be in for a great read.

Welcome  Pamela/Jessica!

I like to think of myself as an armchair bride. I’ve never been married myself but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a wedding as much as anyone else. As a reader, I love it when a romance ends with a wedding, and whenever I can, I like to include a wedding scene to round off the romances I write as Jessica Hart. So when it came to writing my time slip novel, Time’s Echo, which is set partly in the present and partly in Elizabethan York, I thought it would be a great opportunity to write about a Tudor wedding for a change. There are lots of things we would recognise about an Elizabethan wedding, of course. A wedding has always been a cause for celebration, and then, as now, the bride was the centre of attention. Guests were invited to witness the ceremony and for those who could afford it, a feast with dancing followed the marriage, just as often happens today.     Other rituals are less familiar. For a bride like Hawise, marrying a wealthy York merchant, the day began with her chosen maids getting up early to gather flowers and strew them along the way to the church. There were no ‘meringues’ or special bridal gowns in those days, of course, but Hawise wears a new blue wool gown with silver buttons that Ned has given her, and posies of rosemary are pinned to the hair that falls loose down her back. Rosemary signified fidelity; a bride’s maids wore it tied to their left arms with ribbons and they would put it under their pillows that night and dream of their future husbands.Rosemary Before the bridal party set out from the house, guests were presented with gifts of scented gloves, and accompanied by musicians they escorted the bride to the church in a cheerful procession behind the bride-cup, which was decorated with ribbons and more rosemary, and held aloft so that everyone could see. The marriage ceremony itself took place in the church porch, rather than in front of the altar as today, but the exchange of vows was much the same, and the placing of the ring on the third finger of the left hand, which was supposed to be the most closely connected to the heart. After the ceremony, the whole party moved inside the church for a nuptial mass, but rather than waiting for the reception, everyone could tuck into spiced wine and cakes in the church itself. No waiting around for endless photographs! Instead of confetti, the couple were showered with wheat as they left the church as tokens of fertility, and with carriages still a rare luxury, most couples would then walk to the bridal feast accompanied by their guests.

TE coverThe details might be different, but in essence an Elizabethan wedding was the same as a wedding today: two people making a lifelong commitment to each other in front of witnesses, just as Kate and the Babe Magnet did 40 years ago. Was marriage harder then than it is now? It’s hard to know, but one thing is for sure: 40 years of marriage is a wonderful achievement at any time, so congratulations to you both, Kate!

If you’d like to read about Hawise’s wedding in Time’s Echo, I have a copy to give away to a winner selected at random from any comments today. Time’s Echo is the story of Grace, who comes to York to sort out her dead godmother’s affairs and finds herself drawn into the life of Hawise, who lived in the city over 400 years earlier.  

If you could travel through time and be a guest at a wedding, real or fictional, whose wedding would you most like to witness?

Time’s Echo is published by Pan Macmillan and also available as an e-book Website: Facebook:  

Monday, July 29, 2013

40 for 40 winners!

I have two more winners to announce -

Liz Fenwick's winner is Just another Bloke!

Susan Stephens'  winner is Mary Preston!

Can winners contact me- current ones and ones I've announced already  - perhaps ask for a read receipt to make sure you message has gone through - at kate AT -and I will forward your details/postal address etc to the donor of your prize.

Please also remember that while I'm having so much fun . . . ahem . . .working hard at teaching Writing Romance at Writers' Holiday that I might not get to you response immediately  but I will deal with it as soon as I'm home.

And for those of you who have asked about Charlie - thank you. His wound has healed up really well and he is  currently being looked after by the Offspring and his lovely FiancĂ©e. He goes for a check up tomorrow and hopefully will be able to have the collar taken off then. Fingers crossed!

40 for 40 - India Grey

Some people you just remember exactly where and when you met them. India Grey is one of those  people.  The Magnet and I had been invited to a party at Susan Stephens'  house. We had just negotiated a parking space close to the house when  the driver of the car parked in front emerged in a flurry of long, silky dark hair. When we realised we were heading in the same direction, she introduced herself as India Grey and, fizzing with excitement, produced  her very first copy of her not-yet-published book  The Italian's Defiant Mistress. I understood that excitement - it might be years ago now, but I still remember how it felt.
Another thing India and I share is our preference for understated weddings -  my wedding (to the Magnet of course!)  and hers sound really very similar - including the 'straight out of university'  bit.  Perhaps it's one of the reasons why we write romance - the real romance of a wedding is in the love between the bride and groom.
So India's post made me smile  as it brought back another memory. This time one of 40 years ago . . .

Thank you India - and welcome:

With an immensely successful career and 61 books (and counting) covering just about every luxurious setting imaginable, from grand palaces to exotic white-sanded beaches, there’s not much you could tell Kate Walker about the trappings of love. She’s a world-class expert, the Empress of Romance, so it might come as a bit of a surprise that she chose to spend her 40th wedding anniversary, not in a posh hotel in Paris or a villa on the beach in St Lucia but in student accommodation in Sheffield. (A decision applauded by her many friends also at the RNA Conference this weekend!)
When Kate invited me to write a post to mark this special celebration it made my thoughts turn to weddings, and specifically the ones I’ve written in my books. It struck me that, although the books are about people who are wealthy and powerful enough to have the kind of nuptials which would cost enough to fund the NHS for a year and would warrant a pull-out souvenir section in OK! Magazine, they never actually do. Almost all of the weddings I’ve written have been tiny, private, sometimes even secret, because to me those are about a squillion times more romantic than the Windsor State Circus-style ones. When I got married,
straight out of university and reeling with love and laziness, I bought my dress from the first shop I went into – a vintage clothing shop where they had a grand total of two to choose from. (Since then, looking back at the photographs, I’ve often thought that a little more attention to boring details like finding one that actually fitted properly might not have been a bad thing...)
Having just written another very modest wedding in the book I’m currently working on (this time in wartime and featuring a borrowed dress, a bouquet picked from a neighbour’s garden and a buffet comprising bloater paste sandwiches and almost-fruitless fruit cake) I was interested to find out what kind of wedding Kate and Steve had. I suppose what I really mean is that I had an idea what I thought their wedding would have been like, and I was interested to find out if I was right. So, when I tentatively asked, ‘was it lavish?’ I probably would have fallen down the stairs (for that was where this conversation took place – you have to grab your chances whenever you can at the RNA conference, particularly with the perennially in demand Ms Walker!) if she’d sighed and said, ‘Oh yes... Six tiny bridesmaids in ankle-length silk spilling out of a fleet of vintage Rolls Royces and a reception for two hundred at the local country club...’
No. A dress made by her new mother in law, an heirloom veil from her Irish grandmother (the original Kate Walker). A reception of about twenty family members and close friends. ‘I didn’t really care who came...’ she admitted, and I knew what she meant. Because Steve was there and that was all that mattered. I guess that’s all that matters still, forty years later. And that’s why Sheffield was as good a place to celebrate as St Lucia.
Happy anniversary, Kate and Steve, and thank you for sharing your celebration with us here, and in Sheffield at the weekend.

I'd love to hear about other people's wonderful, low-key or spontaneous celebrations, whether for weddings or anniversaries or birthdays or anything else, and have two books from my back catalogue (the
wartime wedding book being still in progress) that feature the most understated weddings to give away: Spanish Aristocrat, Forced Bride and Mistress: Hired for the Billionaire’s Pleasure – plus chocolate, because books and chocolate go together like books and chocolate.

With three daughters of my own fast approaching wedding age I could do with storing up some ideas!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

40 for 40 - Anna Sugden

It's pretty typical of the way that the internet has connected the world now,  and the way those connections work in the romance writing that I actually met lovely Anna Sugden in America before realising that she was in fact a Brit and that she had lived  not too many miles away from where I live now.

Anna will tell you all about that in her post. She'll also tell you why she  is a special guest today. She is another of my friends who is celebrating  her wedding anniversary - and the celebrations are today.
Anna has another special reason to be celebrating - a little early today perhaps, but what's a few days when you're celebrating your  first sale, with  your very first book  - A Perfect Distraction  - coming out on September  1st. So I'm delighted that Anna could join us to mark bother these wonderful events.

Congratulations x 2 Anna!  And welcome -

our wedding 002

I’m thrilled to be part of Kate’s 40 for 40, celebrating her 40th anniversary with her fabulous hubby aka The Babe Magnet.

Kate is one of the nicest, kindest and most generous people I know. I first ‘met’ her over at eHarlequin, when I joined the awesome ‘Brit Pack’ contingent of the Struggling Writers thread, and we bonded over our love of cats! Kate was always the voice of calm and experience, helping us newbies through the torturous journey of writing and attempting to get published with sound advice, big hugs and a kick up the backside when needed *g*.

our wedding 001
She’s supported me ever since, keeping me going through all the ups and downs of this crazy journey, so it’s particularly fitting that I can celebrate the release of my debut novel for Harlequin Super Romance -- A Perfect Distraction -- which is out Sept 1, at the same time as Kate and The Babe Magnet celebrate their wonderful anniversary!

Today is also particularly special for me - 12 years ago today, on a day that was just as hot as it has been here in England over the past few weeks, I married my very own romantic hero. So, happy anniversary, Doc Cambridge and thank you for twelve amazing years.

Doc Cambridge and I both appreciate tradition -- you can’t fail to being Brits! However, we’ve also always marched to a different drummer. For example, I’ve never found a bouquet of red roses particularly romantic, preferring instead gerbera daisies. As Meg Ryan said in “You’ve Got Mail”, they’re so cheerful.

And you can keep your diamonds -- they do nothing for me. Instead I love the fire and colours of opals.

When Doc Cambridge proposed, he broke with tradition too. He didn’t do the ‘down on one knee’ thing. He surprised me with a proposal poem that he’d written himself!

Our wedding wasn’t very traditional either. At that time, the only places you could get married in England were your local church or registry office. We’re not religious and the registry office wasn’t exactly romantic, so neither appealed. Luckily, the laws had just changed to allow us to get married in a beautiful, local country house hotel -- so we did.

I didn’t wear white or ivory, but oyster pink. My dress wasn’t long and meringue-like, but knee-length and fitted. No veil or hat, but gerbera daisies in my hair, to match my bouquet. My ‘bridesmaids’ didn’t have the traditional awful dresses, but wore their own outfits - which amazingly, actually matched. I didn't arrive in a limo, but in an antique car. Instead of sherry <blech> we had Pimms and champagne.
cupcakesOh, and for those of you who know my love of shoes - they were hand-made for me by Jimmy Choo!

Although my father did ‘give me away’, he didn’t give a speech. And although we did have a top table, it wasn’t the formal family arrangement traditionally found at English weddings - we had our dearest friends. No towering wedding cake either; partly because I can’t stand the heavy fruit cake that is traditional at our weddings. Though it’s common now to have cupcakes, at the time, we were one of the first.

Even our wedding photos weren’t traditional - we did have all the formal posed shots, but we also had a wonderful array of casual black and white shots too capturing the details, heart and the happiness of our wedding. We also put disposable cameras on each table so people could take happy snaps of the wedding - still some of our favourite pictures.

Ah, but just to be sure - I did follow one wedding tradition. My old was an embroidered hankie from my mother, my new was my wedding set of jewellery, my borrowed and blue was a blue garter from one of my best friends.

How about you? Are you one for traditions and everything done according to the ‘book’ or do you like to be different? Did you do something unusual for your wedding or did you stick strictly to tradition?

In honour of so many celebrations, I will give one lucky commenter a prize package that includes a signed copy of A Perfect Distraction, a presentation pack of special Royal Mail stamps commemorating Jane Austen, Cadbury’s chocolate and some Anna Sugden goodies.

My website is: and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest – links on my website.

A Perfect Distraction can be bought at all good book retailers including


For those in Australia, it will be out as an Essence Duo in Sept, but I don’t have a link yet.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

40 for 40 - Anna Louise Lucia.

Remember the post from Julie Cohen?  I'm sure you do -
well, the day I met Julie Cohen was also the day I met Anna Louise Lucia. I struck lucky that day - I met two of my dearest friends and  'adopted' two 'cyber -daughters'  in the same 24 hours.  It was Anna who sparked this off by addressing me as 'Mum' in an internet chat before we met.  That was when I was working with an internet writing group called the Gonnabeez - who honoured me with the title of their Queen Bee. Which  is why Anna is also the only person who has actually curtsied to me when we first me!

Anna recalls that I supported her early struggles with writing - well, that's something I love doing.
When I find someone who has talent. And Anna has talent. She has had two romantic thrillers published - Run  Among Thorns and Dangerous Lies.  But right now she's busy with a new and wonderful job - that of being mother to a gorgeous, active two year old.   -Who is one of the inspirations behind her post.

Welcome Anna

Everyone should have two mums.

Okay, so I'm biased.  As an adoptive parent I would be!  I hope that as he grows up, the two-year-old will feel blessed to have had not one, but two mums who loved him very much.

I've felt the benefit of double-mumming myself.  When I was a lost and lonely writer, just starting out, wet behind the ears and beginning to make friends in the online writing community, Kate stepped in and 'adopted' me as my Cyber Mum.  She gave and gave.  Time, advice, affection and hands-on assistance I can never repay, but will never forget.

Before long we met in person and I made the acquaintance of the legendary Babe Magnet.  He was just as easy to love as Kate herself.  We all stayed in each other's houses, cried on each other's shoulders, cheered each other on, ate good food and drank too much wine (allegedly).  She wouldn't let me fail at writing, and was there to help celebrate when I sold my first book.  My Cyber Mum opened her arms and house to me at one of the darkest times in my life, when I was more than a little bit broken.  And she was there to cheer the roof down when I mended, and when the two-year-old came home to his new mummy and daddy.

So congratulations Kate and the Babe Magnet.  And especially thank you for being Cyber Mum.

Do you have someone who gives you that extra bit of 'mum' (or 'dad!) once in a while?

You can catch up with Anna at The Heroine Addicts blog or on Twitter.
PS From Kate:
Because Anna is busy concentrating on giving her time to being a mum, she doesn't have a personal  give away. But I said I'd offer one in her place.
So whoever Anna picks from the comments will win  their choice of one of my backlist.

40 for 40 - Winners announcement

Thank you to everyone for their concern about Charlie. His wound is now healing rapidly and well. He's fine in himself, but so fed up of the collar! And as he can't go outside, he is climbing the walls with boredom and yelling complaints at me! Hopefully it won't be long now before he can get back to normal.

I have a list of winners to announce. Can I remind you that it's up to the winners to get in touch with me so that I can pass their details along to the author who has donated the prize.  If the email link at the bottom of the page doesn't work, then send your message to kate AT  kate-walker DOT com.

So - the winners -

Julie Cohen  chose  Tishylou

Nell Dixon’s winner is bn100

Lynn Raye Harris has chosen Rachael

Jane Porter picked two winners –

Gonepecanla   and CC Coburn

And Annie West has just sent me her winner’s name - Sally

Please don't forget that this is the holiday  season in the UK.  I know that at least 2 prize givers will be travelling  for a few weeks. And of course I will be  in Wales for Writers' Holiday for a week now. With normal internet access, I will try to send on your messages and addresses as quickly as possible - but I will be teaching  a full course  and there won't be a lot of time to spare.

Anyone who I haven't contacted will be  let know as soon as I get back. 
I apologise if this delays the arrival of your prize for a  while.

Once again my thanks to every single wonderful author who has blogged and has donated their generous prizes. There are  14 or more posts coming up - starting today.

Friday, July 26, 2013

40 for 40 - Susan Stephens

I remember the very first time I saw - Susan Stephens. It was at an RNA Awards lunch and I spotted a new face amongst the authors on the Mills & Boon tables.  And elegantly groomed head of reddish hair, sparkling eyes and a wide smile. I didn't actually meet her then, but once met she could never be forgotten - her warm and bubbly personality makes that impossible.

Susan has her own very special - and very fast/Presents style  - romantic story about how she met her handsome husband in Malta. If you haven't read it, you can find it here.    It reminds me of the way that when I met the Babe Magnet he went home and told his family that he's met the girl he was going to marry-  he didn't tell me for another couple of months though! Anyway, Susan and her  husband are still together.  Which just shows that love at first sight - or almost first sight - is not just for Presents romance stories.

Welcome Susan, I'm so happy to have you sharing this special celebration.

The best thing about writing is reaching out and meeting people. The wonderful friends I've made have been a highlight of my writing career. I first 'met' Kate Walker through Kate's books and became a fan long before I was published.

It's always a thrill to meet a favourite author, and when you discover that the author in question is just as much fun as her books, and a great supporter of all those connected with the romance industry, it's a huge bonus. Having sat in on one of Kate's popular workshops, I can vouch for the fact that Kate is not only a wonderful storyteller, but an inspiring teacher. By the time you leave one of Kate's classes I can assure you that your determination to write, and write well, will have been increased tenfold.

And then there's Steve, Kate's husband, one of the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet. An unflagging supporter of all Kate does, as well as being a talented non-fiction writer and poet, Steve handles rooms full of women with aplomb at all the many romance conferences Kate attends, which undoubtedly accounts for his nickname, the Babe Magnet!

Though forty years ago FORTY YEARS AGO??? Steve only had eyes for one woman, as he does to this day, so I hope Steve will allow me to quote him on this occasion, as he raises his glass, and says - for at least the fortieth time... 'Kiss Me Kate!'

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to two of the nicest people I know!
Susan Stephens

My question:

What is the most outstanding/unusual/crazy outfit you ever saw/wore at a wedding? Except for the bride, who always looks gorgeous!

I have a signed copy of the first book in my Skavanga Diamond series, Diamond In The Desert for the best answer

Coming later this year on ebook only: Ma Oo, The Hunter Kyane The Warrior Badaree The Sorceress and the start of the Celestina series for Harlequin-E Books 1 and 2 Celestina And The Sultan Celestina Warrior Queen January 2014 Book 2 in The Skavanga Diamonds series ebook and print HARLEQUIN The Flaw In His Diamond

The Glamorous Life of The Lady Novelist - Part 2

So, as you know, I'm heading for Writers' Holiday this weekend.
I'm teaching the course The Complete Introduction to Writing Romance in the second half of the week.


I say luckily - that it's the second half of the week - because my travel plans aren't quite going as expected. Usually I break the journey on the way to stay overnight  so that I arrive fresh and ready to teach.  I should be heading out today - but I'm not.

What happened?  
Charlie the Maine Coon  happened.

He arrived home after a long time in the garden, with blood dripping from his neck. So I spent time in the vets' emergency  room instead of ironing and packing.

And then I spent lots of money on anaesthetics, antibiotics  - and stitches.

Oh and the collar - the protective collar. 

So now I'm still at home, watching to make sure he doesn't pull his stitches out -  keeping him indoors  and bathing his wound  twice a day. (It looks like he caught it on a nail or something - too deep for a scratch even from an aggressive cat.)

And Charlie hates the collar, hates being indoors - and he's bored.
 He should be fine in a couple of days but right now,  instead of being on a leisurely trip to Wales, I'm still here.

Oh well, it gives me time to finish the ironing . . .

Next post will be back to 40 for 40 and today's special guest.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

40 for 40 Annie West

 My guest today says in her post that she's smiling as she writes her contribution to the blog. Well, so am I  - smiling that is.  Smiling at just the memory  of meeting the lovely Annie West  - and the image of her wonderful smile that's in my thoughts as I write this. (You can see that in the wonderful picture of Annie here.)
Annie lives too far away  - over the other side of the world in Australia, but I've been lucky enough to meet her on a few occasions - when the BM and I visited  the RWAus conference in Sydney and on the too rare occasions on which she and her lovely husband have visited the UK. I remember one  wonderful  evening in a hotel in London when we all relaxed in our (mine and the Babe Magnet's room)  after an Italian meal - and talked and talked . . .and talked. 
Annie has weddings on her mind right now too. Not  a wedding anniversary  but the very special day for her daughter.  I can't wait to see the photos of Annie as Mother of The Bride. Annie's looking for ideas   and hints as to how to handle all that a wedding entails. Can  you help her? I'm afraid I wouldn't  be much help - when the Babe Magnet and I got married it was when we'd just left university - three weeks was all we had to organise everything.  So perhaps you can give Annie more advice.

Anyway - here's Annie -
Hi Kate! Congratulations on 40 years of marriage. I'm so thrilled for both you and the Babe Magnet. Seeing you both together last time I was in London I can understand how your marriage has lasted so well. Obviously there's great affection and respect there. It's wonderful to see.
I had to smile for purely personal reasons too, when you mentioned contributing to your 40 blogs to
celebrate 40 years of marriage. Weddings have been on my mind, you see, as a member of our family is getting married very soon. It's all been a delightful surprise but now we're getting down to the business end of organising a wedding.
After years of marriage it's quite a change to be thinking about that first celebration again - the day when you tie the knot with the one you love. Isn't it a magical time? No matter how simple there's something so special about declaring your love in front of family and friends.
The wedding we're planning is in the vineyards of Australia's beautiful Hunter Valley. Here's a location shot to give you an idea. I should be lovely there on a summer evening. I'm so looking forward to it. So far we've got a few things in place: location, celebrant, photographer, bride's dress and (almost) the invitations. Still a fair bit to do of course and the upcoming months will be busy.
So in between writing, the rest of my year will be filled with wedding arrangements. I suspect it will be a big year for us all!

 Have you ever had to organise a wedding, or some other special event? Do you have any tips on what works or doesn't, or even suggestions on how to stay sane in the process of juggling so many different priorities? I'd be grateful to hear any suggestions.

In honour of Kate's wonderful anniversary I'll give a copy of my latest release 'Imprisoned By a Vow' to one person who leaves a comment.

Happy Anniversary, Kate!


40 for 40 - another winner

I was going to add this to the last post but it would get lost in amongst everything
I have one more winner to announce - and that is  from Donna Alward.

Donna's winner is Sharlene

I'm waiting to hear from Julie Cohen, Liz Fenwick and Nell Dixon. If I get time to post their winners before I leave, then I will - otherwise it might be a big  announcement when I get home, together with all the winners who have collected up while I'm away.

If you have posted comments in the past posts - please do check out the winners posts I've put up already, just in case your name is on there.

And keep commenting - and reading  - for more chances to win.

40 for 40 - Catch up - and while I'm at Writers' Holiday . . .

I hope you're enjoying the wonderful posts on the 40 for 40 blog celebration. I know I am.  All these lovely friends and amazing writers  have been filling my blog with great posts about weddings and anniversaries - and there are plenty more to come.

One of the things that has thrilled me in particular is when my friends and fellow writers have shared their own romantic stories - and so many of you in the comments have told yours too.  As a writer of romances it's made me truly happy to see how many writers and readers have shared wonderful stories of long lasting loves, many many wedding anniversaries - and again there are more to come. It's a fabulous assertion of the fact that real love is not just a fiction but a real life fact.

I'll admit that that was partly what I hoped for when I planned this - but I didn't quite expect it to be fulfilled so wonderfully.

I need to  add a little note of explanation just in case the posting/organising of the blog doesn't go quite as smoothly as I hoped  over the next week or so.

Those of you who know my regular summer plans will know that the fabulous Writers' Holiday  at Caerleon  takes place  from 28th July - 2nd August this year.  And as I'm teaching my course  - A Complete Introduction to Writing Contemporary Romance -   then obviously I have to be there. 

I'm hoping that there  will be easy internet access when I'm away but just in case there isn't, I do have the upcoming blogs scheduled and I hope they will all post as I've planned. If not, my apologies in advance to all my guests and my readers. If anything goes wrong I will sort it out as soon as I get back - and  I promise that you will not miss a single post or a giveaway even if I have to post things when I get back.

And just to whet your appetite - the guests I have coming up while I'm away are:
Harlequin Presents author Annie West
Harlequin Presents  author Susan Stephens
Romantic thriller writer Anna Louise Lucia
Brand new Harlequin Superromance author Anna Sugden
Harlequin Presents author India Grey
Historical novelist and Harlequin KISS author Pamela Hartshorne/Jessica Hart
Harlequin Presents author Chantelle Shaw
Blaze author  Tawny Weber
Harlequin Romance/KISS author Liz Fielding
Harlequin Presents author Sandra Marton
Harlequin Presents author Michelle Reid.

That should keep you coming back and entertained till I get back.
Hopefully it will all go smoothly - if not - I'll sort things out when I'm home!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

40 for 40 - Jane Porter

Today's special guest is Jane Porter. It's amazing to think that I met Jane when she has just had her very first  Harlequin Presents title - The Italian Groom- published. That was  back in 2001. But she's come so far since then.   I've lost count of the total number of her Presents titles that she's written in the intervening years - and then there are her women's fiction books, starting with The Frog Prince (2005) and coming right up to date with The Good Daughter (Feb 2013).

I first met Jane when she came over to the UK for an AMBA meeting and  sharing afternoon tea with her has always been one of the highlights of the times I've been able to get across 'the pond' and  attend RWA.  A couple of years ago I was able to return the favour and invite Jane to a dinner before the AMBA lunch. That was when I met her very new husband  Ty and see the great chemistry between them.

So, seeing as I asked my guest bloggers to write about weddings, anniversaries of meeting their partners, it's not surprising that Jane talked about Ty and her time of  'Flirting with Forty' - which has stopped being flirting and turned into  a ten year anniversary.

Welcome  Jane - 

I'm not a snow bird or a beach girl. I am, to be quite honest, incredibly unathaletic when it comes to skates, skateboards, surfboards, skis and snowboards. Anything requiring balance, edge, coordination, confidence, and speed is pretty much, not in my skill set.
Fortunately, my guy, a surfer in Hawaii, likes nerdy book girls that wear glasses.
We met when I interviewed him for a future book.  The book became Flirting with Forty, a bestseller, that then was turned into a movie in the US for Lifetime starring Heather Locklear.
Ty and I dated long distance for eight years—he in Hawaii and me in Seattle with my children—and we constantly were asked, ‘How does this end?’
It always puzzled me.  How does anything end?
One of the things learning to surf has taught me is that your surfboard will go the direction you face. If you look down, as you’re learning to get to your feet, you’ll fall. If you look straight ahead, point towards the beach, your board will straighten out and head in that direction.
But that’s not just surfing, that’s life. And so when people ask, ‘where will this go? What’s going to happen?’, I truthfully answer, I’m going with it as far as it will go.

Then later, when Ty and I were expecting a surfer baby of our own, people would ask if Surfer Ty is going to move to Seattle permanently, and I would say no.  We were just going to keep doing what we were doing, which is being together and then apart, and then together again.  We always find a way to get back to the other and sometimes we wait a month but it’s what it is, and it works.
How?  I don’t know.  I do know that like my book Flirting with Forty he changed my life.  He made it magical again. It was just like Mama Mia, the ABBA song,
Just one look and I can hear a bell ring
One more look and I forget everything
Mama Mia, here I go again.
My, my how can I resist you?

I couldn’t resist him that first year.  I was crazy about him, absolutely head over heels, and I’m still crazy about him and we’re heading towards ten years.
Oh.  And our second wedding anniversary.  You see we got married along the way, did a Vegas wedding with Elvis and it was incredible.  The best wedding ever with 83 guests cheering us on.
Ty’s and my relationship was never the one in my book.  It’s always been more complicated.  And harder at times.  But it’s better, too, because it’s real.  I’ll be fifty soon, and it’s awesome to look back and realize, that life wasn’t over at forty.  Life was just beginning.
Just one look…

Jane has generously offered to give away, to two lucky winners, a copy of Flirting With Forty and one of her backlist Harlequin Presents novels, along with fun JP goodies.  J

To be in with a  chance of winning this great giveaway, just answer this question – Jane says she’s not a snow bird or a beach girl – but perhaps a nerdy book girl – so her question is:

Would you consider yourself a snowbird, a beach girl or a nerdy book girl?

Leave your answer in the  comments section as usual.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

40 for 40 - Lynn Raye Harris.

I can remember so clearly when I first saw today's guest, Lynn Raye Harris.  She was a finalist in the 2008 Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® contest, and then the winner of the Harlequin Presents Instant Seduction contest.  At that year's RWA Conference I was at a Harlequin event when I saw her standing against on the opposite side of the room - that long blonde hair is  so recognisable - so I went up and introduced myself.  She had had the news that she had won the Instant Seduction contest but she was in the throes  of revisions - and more revisions.  I know that one of the things I said was to reassure her that revisions were a part of life, not the end of the world.  The book would work - and it did. That was the story that became Spanish Magnate; Red Hot Revenge which was published in August 2009.

Since then I've met up with Lynn too rarely but it's always been fun. We've bonded over fries and garlic mayo in  Washington. She's charmed my husband at several dinners in London. And I've met her delightful, handsome husband when he came to London with her for AMBA. And in the meantime, that one difficult book has  been the start of what is now a successful, almost twenty book career.  I missed seeing Lynn at RWA this year - so I'm delighted to welcome her onto my blog today.

Here's Lynn -

I’m so thrilled to be here sharing with Kate and the Babe Magnet in their monumental anniversary month!  Though I live in America, I am lucky enough to say I’ve spent time with Kate and her wonderful husband – and my husband and I even got to have dinner with them on one lovely October night in London!  Yay!

So I thought I’d tell you how I met my husband.  It was a long time ago and I was seventeen.  He was nineteen.  Though we are both American, we met on a U.S. military base in Germany.  I’d just moved there with my family.  Mr. Harris (as I always refer to him online) was at his very first military assignment as a new recruit.

Oh, we were young.  So young.  I might have never met him except that my next-door neighbor was dating his roommate, and one night when we were at a dance at the Officer’s Club, she asked me to pop over to the barracks with her to see if her boyfriend was home.

He was not, but Mr. Harris was.  We woke him up, in fact.  He was a mid-shift worker and on an odd schedule.  It was kind of an awkward meeting, poor thing, as he was groggy.  But just about an hour later, he showed up at the club with my neighbor’s boyfriend, wide-awake and with that particular gleam in his eye that said he was interested in me.  (The neighbor’s boyfriend was too, but that’s another story.)

Was it love at first sight?  No.  He was cute though.  Tall, green eyes, brown hair, and absolutely hilarious.  He made me laugh and he looked hot in uniform.  When he worked up the courage to ask me out a couple of weeks later, I said yes.

The rest, as they say, is history.  We’ve moved around the world together and had a lot of fun.  I
wouldn’t change a thing.  In just a few days, on the 26th of July, it will be the 28th anniversary of the day we met.  I can hardly believe it!

To celebrate all these lovely anniversaries, I’m going to give away an ebook.  My very first military romantic suspense is out right now, yay!  I’ve finally put all those years with the military to good use. 

To be entered to win, just leave a comment and tell me if you like a guy in uniform…


Here’s a little bit about HOT PURSUIT –

The last man she ever wanted to see…

Evie Baker’s luck just ran out. Thanks to an ex-partner with organized crime ties, she’s lost her restaurant, her money, and nearly all her self-respect. Forced to return to her hometown and work as a shampoo girl in her mother’s salon, she doesn’t think her luck can get any worse.

But then someone starts shooting at her, her sullen baby sister is suddenly missing, and the high school heartthrob who stole her heart—and her virginity—is the only man big enough and bad enough to help.

Might be the only one who can save her…

Captain Matt “Richie Rich” Girard can’t afford to get involved. He’s already on the verge of a court-martial after a Top Secret op gone wrong, and he’s been ordered to stay out of trouble while he’s home for his sister’s wedding.

But when Evie’s ex-partner turns up dead, staying out of trouble is the last thing on Matt’s mind. He failed Evie once before; he can’t fail her again. If he’s going to protect her from a killer, and find her sister before time runs out, he’ll have to risk his entire future—and both their lives—to do it.

Things are about to get HOT in the bayou!

Come visit me at for more information on all my books!
You can buy Hot Pursuit here:


Monday, July 22, 2013

40 for 40 - Nell Dixon

Today's special guest post comes from lovely Nell Dixon. Nell is another of those  friends I've made through the RNA - and in particular  through my 'RNA Virgins' scheme.

I'm so thrilled and delighted that like so many in that group Nell went on to be published - multi-published - and not only that she has  won the RNA's RONA Rose award twice.   That's a great achievement.

I missed seeing Nell at RNA this year as she was unable to attend - so I'm specially  pleased to have her as my guest here  on  the blog.

Welcome Nell!

Many congratulations Kate and the Babe Magnet on your special anniversary!

You both look far too young to have been married for 40 years.

 Mr Nell and I have some catching up to do! We've been married28 years now and we met at school so I've known Mr Nell since I was 11. That's actually a bit scary when I think about it.

This is a rare snap of us both together when Animal Instincts won a Rona Rose award a couple of years ago. Usually Mr Nell takes the pictures and I attempt to avoid being photographed at all.

  Anniversaries are always special times. Time to remember the wedding, everyone who was there. The things that went wrong! In our case, a stand in organist with no sense of musical timing.  The really lovely parts, for us it was signing the register in church in front of everyone and then the photographs outside. These were memorable as Mr Nell has a large family and our vicar had to stand on top of one of the large flat topped tombstones to wave everyone into position so the photographer could get his snapshot.  That picture in our album still makes us smile!

Anniversaries should bring happy memories so I hope Kate, that you and Steve will go on to have many more wonderful memories and happy years together. Love Nell xx
Nell Dixon's website
 Nell's facebook page

To help the celebrations I'd like to offer a pdf copy of The New Bay box set. This is up for a random drawing from the answers to this question:

When Mr Nell and I married, it was May and we filled the church with Daffodils, my favourite flower. My bridesmaids wore yellow Edwardian style dresses with white picture hats and fingerless lace gloves.

Our best man was a close friend who had to coach it down from Cardiff where he was at university. There was a strike and he almost missed the wedding.

If you could choose a celebrity to be your best man or chief bridesmaid as a stand-in, who would you pick and why?

Welcome to New Bay where the waves are perfect and the town is quaint. Delve into Nell Dixon's complete New Bay series and meet the people that have made a place in everyone's heart. Includes: Making Waves, September Song, A Cornish Christmas, Easter Holiday and New Bay Wedding – 5 Fantastic stories.

  Available at or Amazon Uk and also on Nook, Sony, Smashwords etc.

40 for 40 - more winners!

I have a couple more winners  to announce -

Janet Gover  has picked Charlotte McFall - ' for reminding me of Cleopatra – the movie with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and their fabulous love story.' 
(Which reminds me that there is a drama about just that story on TV tonight . . . dashes out to set the recording  . . .)

Right  - I'm back

And Fiona Harper  has picked Jane Linfoot for her list of favourite wedding movies.

Congratulations to the winners - please let me know your postal addresses (kate AT kate-walker DOT com)  so that I can let your generous authors know where to send their prize.
Julie Cohen and Liz Fenwick are still  chatting with commenters - and a new guest will be arriving today.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

40 for 40 - Liz Fenwick

There have been a  lot of my guest posters that I met at the RNA conference - not surprising really.  As anyone who has attended any of the RNA Conferences, will tell you, this association is a\ warm and friendly group who welcome newcomers into their midst without hesitation.  So RNA  conference was where I first met  Liz  Fenwick.

And it's at the RNA that I have a chance to keep up to date with her. Not an easy matter because so much of the time Liz is in Dubai where she lives.  If she's not in  Cornwall, that is. And Cornwall is the setting for her two books.  That sounds like a  glamorous life  doesn't it?  Like Liz herself . 

Liz's post is on the blog today  for a very special reason - as you'll see from her first sentence.   So

Happy Anniversary Liz!  Thank you for sharing it with me - and all my readers.

(Oh and Liz - Can I enter your giveaway contest?  I could tell you about the day the Babe Magnet   looked at a Welsh craft ring he’d bought for me and pushed it on to my engagement finger saying ‘Well I suppose this will have to do till I can get you a better one’! Cue stunned silence and then I said ‘was that a proposal’ and he said of course it was!  40+ years later   . . .)

Here's Liz -
On July  21st, I will be married twenty-two years.  Not a patch on Kate and the Babe Magnet but beginning to be serious! 

I can’t think of those twenty-two years without remembering about my husband’s wonderful proposal. It was the August Bank holiday weekend and miraculously the sun was shining. We were staying with his parents in Cornwall in their wonderful house set above the Helford River. I don’t remember where the rest of the family were but Chris and I went for a walk along Frenchman’s Creek.

It’s a circular walk and as we began we met some acquaintances coming the other way. About half way around we sat on a bench and admired the view over the river and looking out to Groyne Point.  I sat there swinging my feet (yes they didn’t touch the ground) and leaning against Chris and said, ‘I guess you’ll never make an honest woman of me.’
Chris turned to me and said, ‘Will you marry me?’
Being the romantic I am I replied, ‘Are you serious this time?’ (He’d asked twice before but that’s another story altogether!)
‘Yes.’ He looked at me and then the view.
‘Then yes.’  My heart flipped for I’d believed he wasn’t ready to get married!
He kissed me and the rest of the walk is a blur of happiness . We must have looked like grinning idiots when we met the acquaintances again. Of course we couldn’t tell them our news, family needed to be told first, but it was so difficult as both of us were bursting with excitement.

I will give a copy of my latest book A Cornish Affair (which is a bit autobiographical about an American running away and falling in love with Cornwall) to the best proposal story left in the comments….

Liz's latest book A Cornish Affair is out now…
Running out on your wedding day never goes down well. When the pressure of her forthcoming marriage becomes too much, Jude bolts from the church, leaving a good man at the altar, her mother in a fury, and the guests with enough gossip to last a year.

Guilty and ashamed, Jude flees to Pengarrock, a crumbling cliff-top mansion in Cornwall, where she takes a job cataloguing the Trevillion family's extensive library. The house is a welcome escape for Jude, full of history and secrets, but when its new owner arrives, it's clear that Pengarrock is not beloved by everyone.

As Jude falls under the spell of the house, she learns of a family riddle stemming from a terrible tragedy centuries before, hinting at a lost treasure. And when Pengarrock is put up for sale, it seems that time is running out for the house and for Jude.

You can find out more about Liz here.


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