Thursday, February 26, 2015

Meet a new author

As many  of you know, every year I go to London for the annual Association of Mills & Boon Authors lunch.  As  well as a chance to meet up with old friends (that's old as in the meaning of - we've been friends for a long time!) there is always the chance to make new ones. 

This year I was thrilled to be able to introduce new author Rachael Thomas to the M&B authors when she had just had her first Modern Romance/Presents published.   Later, I was also delighted to meet brand new Historical author Nicole Locke who was there because her first book had been accepted and scheduled. I can still remember just how it felt to have that very first acceptance - though of course my first book The Chalk Line  was published   30 years ago - way back  before the internet, AMBA or anything like that!  So I love to meet newly accepted authors and often invite them to come along on to my blog to talk about their first book when  the magical day/month comes and it's finally published.

So I  asked Nicole to join me and talk about her  new historical title - The Knight's Broken Promise. One thing Nicole and I share is a love of Medieval times and the history of that period - so I was happy to find out that this is the period in which she's set her book .  But although she's talking about historical novels, I think her declaration of what she's aiming to write is a great summary of what all romantic novelists are aiming for - 

 That one piercing cherished love. The one that cannot cease. 

And that is a great cover!

So - welcome to the blog, Nicole, it's great to see you here.

From Nicole:

It’s thrilling to be here on Kate Walker's blog! I write about the medieval times. So why am I here? I believe when writing contemporary or historical romance, love compels across all centuries. And when it comes to writing about love, Kate’s stories and generous encouragement are an inspiration.

Nicole Locke
The Knight's Broken Promise is my first book with Harlequin and releases February 2015.

Why I Love Medieval Times
I love the medieval times because of the heart of one man, and his love for his wife. When she died, he wrote a letter about his anguished wretchedness. His wife, ‘whom in life we dearly cherished, and whom in death we cannot cease to love.’
That letter was written to the abbot of Cluny in France by Edward I, who ruled England from 1272 to 1307.

Say what you like about this king. It is probably all true. He was politically savage, determined and ruthless. Was it a sign of the times, or did Edward himself forge those times? Books and arguments for centuries have been written on this. So much conniving and betrayal were heaped upon him, but he gave as good as he got. Our modern temperaments can barely comprehend it.
However, it is not the conflicts that compel me to write about this era. It is Edward’s love for his wife, Eleanor of Castile, and their thirty-six years of marriage. Married young, they were truly cherished companions and rarely apart. They shared sixteen pregnancies, travels, campaigns and crusades. Yet strife, injuries and loss were not all that bound them together; play and joy did as well. They loved chess and hunting. While she preferred a bow and dogs, he often used a sword and hawks. After Lent, it became a tradition for Edward to pay Eleanor’s ladies-in-waiting to re-join his wife in their marriage bed.

When Eleanor died in November 1290 at Harby near Lincoln, Edward orchestrated and accompanied an elaborate funeral procession that took over two weeks. For years afterward, Edward honoured his wife with three separate artistic tombs set at Lincoln, Blackfriars and Westminster. Twelve memorial crosses were built to stand where the queen’s body rested on the journey from Lincoln to Westminster. As beautiful and awe inspiring as the funeral, tombs and crosses were, I only envision Edward’s tall form crumpled as he rode behind the procession.
After that first Christmas, Edward wrote to the abbot of Cluny. He wrote that his love for Eleanor could not cease. Could not because he was incapable of stopping it. A noted warrior, and a determined ruler. A king, who began and conquered wars. He was a hammer, a foe, a force, but he loved. He was a man all the same, and he grieved.

So I’m writing a historical series regarding Edward’s reign, about the wars in Wales and Scotland, the betrayals in France and England. The conflict is intriguing and gripping to read and write, but love compels me more. I want to find it in this time, and endeavour to describe it. That one piercing cherished love. The one that cannot cease. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I'm smiling . . .

Computer struggles have messed up a lot of my writing day, but now that I'm back connected to the internet  and hoping to make up for lost time, a initial  catch up on various sites lead to  something that made me feel a whole lot better.

A friend pointed me in the direction of the Romantic Times   with the reviews for the books out March/April.   I was thrilled to find that my new book  has been given 4 1/2  stars - and a fab review.

In order to get a tenacious suitor off her back, Alyse Gregory cavorts instead with a dark, sexy stranger. She learns the mystery man’s identity after he suggests an outrageous proposal. Dario Olivero plans to use the beautiful woman his half-brother covets as a weapon in their civil war. But after one sizzling kiss, he decides to keep her for himself and reveal to her his brother’s nefarious plans. This couple heats up the pages with their battle-worthy banter and sensual conversations. The first chapter is a seductive awakening, and their initial love scene is a lascivious feast. 

Thanks so much RT - you made a problematic day a lot brighter!  Now I'm busy shaking up my sheikh - and maybe giving him a lascivious feast as well!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Great blog post

No - not mine . . .

As you may have noticed this blog has been a bit quiet lately.

Travel, teaching, not so good health and a screaming deadline will do that to you. I've been lucky to have time to breathe and Ruby the cat is peeved at the lack of attention she's getting.

So I was really pleased  to  find a great blog post about writing romance that I thought everyone who's involved in the world of romance books - whether writing, publishing, or just reading them should remember and maybe that we need reminding about every now and then.

Of course I wasn't surprised to read it  - after all it's by my dear friend and much-admired fellow author Anne McAllister. And as she and I have discussed writing, romances and writing romances over and over again for  . . . Oh, I've forgotten how many years now -  I knew  that what she had to say would be well worth reading - and it was.

So, even if you don't normally read posts on the Pink Heart Society blog   I suggest - recommend that you go over there today and read  The State of the Heart by Anne McAllister.  I hope you'll find it as worthwhile as I did.  It's something that needs to be said.

Thank you Anne - I'm totally in agreement with you!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Back home - and catching up

    I'm back - from a wonderful weekend at Fishguard for the Writers' And Artists'  Weekend. As always I had a wonderful time - with a fabulous group of students who gelled together so well that everything was  fun and not at all like work.
    Thank you to all my students who made teaching the Advanced Romance Writing Course  so much fun and filled each day with laughter, discussion and interesting debates. (And some really good writing - I'm hoping (more than hoping) that I'll soon be able to add #15 to my total of 14  past students who have published books in their hands .  Or is that 15 now - and looking to #16? Not sure - I need to go and add up the total!)  Anyway, it was just great.  It always but it seems that each year just gets better.
    I know the next one is just about a year away - but this courses always books up so fast that I thought I'd better mention it  now!
    Last I heard the Advanced Romance Writing Course was 'very nearly full' - so it's always a good idea to book early: 
    Here’s what Gerry of Writers’ Holiday has to say:
    Thank you to everyone who took part in the fabulous Winter Weekend and what a lovely time I had thanks to you all!
    The FEBRUARY 2016 WINTER WEEKEND WORKSHOPS will take place Friday 19th February - Sunday 21st February at THE  FISHGUARD BAY HOTEL.
    No increase in fees for 2016 events
    ...still remarkable value at only £229 FULLY INCLUSIVE of FULL BOARD PLUS.
    We look forward to seeing you!
    (I have a suspicion that the week-long Writers' Holiday in July is also full now too -   good things go fast! But you can always enquire if you're interested.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

February publication date

I was so busy thinking about red-headed heroes yesterday that I forgot that it was February 1st.

And Feb 1st is the publication date for this  3 in 1 By Request title.

His Revenge Seduction  contains my book The Konstantos Marriage Demand  - which won  the Romantic Times  Best Presents Extra 2010 - back when there were such things as 'Presents Extras'.

We have  more snow.  Ruby is intrigued  but hates the feel of it on her paws. Charlie has such huge furry paws that they act like snow shoes  until he comes back inside and leaves giant paw puddles everywhere.

Ruby has solved the cold paw problem by sitting on top of the radiators and staring out at the world, watching the strange white flakes falling down from the sky. When she gets bored she demands to be let go outside again - and is disgusted to find that the white stuff is still there!

I'm actually quite grateful for the snow - it keeps me inside to finish of my sheikh book and get Nabil and Aziza to their happy ending. And when that's done I have a course to finalise for the Fishguard Writers and  Artists Weekend.    Because this is the Advanced Writing Romance course, it's not a one-size-fits-all course, so I work on what the students most need (gathered from their chapter submissions etc.) Meanwhile the chapters and synopses are arriving for the Writing Retreat in Weetwood Hall in  March.

No peace for the wicked!( I must have been very bad!)

Monday, February 02, 2015

Pink Hearts and - Redheads!

 I'm blogging over on the   Pink Heart Society web site  today and it's Male on Monday as the topic  this morning.

So, perhaps this red headed - er - red furred gentleman (AKA Author Kitty)  will give you  and idea of what I'm talking about. !

It's freezing and icy here this morning so I hope that everyone who has the same weather and  a cold journey into work keeps safe  - and warm. I just hope the weather improves for my trip to teach the Advanced Romance |Writing Course in Fishguard  a week on Friday.


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