Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pre-order The Bride, the Baby & the Best Man

The Bride, the Baby and the Best Man is now available for pre-order at a special pre-release price of 99c (77p if you're in the UK) at all outlets.

For those of you in a hurry, here are the links -

 ibooks 
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Amazon
Google Play

For those with a little more time, here's the blurb -

What do you when, three weeks from your wedding, a blackmailing aunt leaves you holding the baby?


Faith Bridges should be wedding dress shopping with her bridesmaids, finalising the menu for the reception, house hunting. Instead she's up close and personal with Harry March - the last man on earth she’d trust with her heart - a fractious baby and a four year old diva.



She and Julian may not have had the most conventional of courtships but he’s wise, responsible and utterly dependable.  The  exact opposite of Harry, who thinks that all he has to do to get her to stay and take care of his sister's children is to tease her, charm her and, when that doesn’t work, make love to her.


It won't work; Faith knows that love is like meringue  — all sugar and air, and about as substantial. And she has made a promise that she isn’t about to break. So why does she find it so hard to walk away?

And here's an excerpt

‘BLACKMAIL,’ Faith muttered for perhaps the tenth time that day. Her aunt was an expert in the technique. One of these days she’d call her bluff — except of course that she wasn’t bluffing. She never bluffed. But whatever crisis had befallen Harry March, Faith vowed that it wouldn’t occupy one minute more than twenty-four hours of her precious time. ‘Not one second longer,’ she informed the signpost she had slowed to consult — Wickham Ash being too small to appear on her road map. A timely reminder not to weaken.
 

Despite the urgency of the call for help, there was no enthusiastic rush to greet her when she drew up in front of Wickham Hall. A small stone manor house it seemed to almost hang from its wooded hillside perch above the river, dominating the well-kept estate that stretched for acres in all directions. It was timeless, peaceful and quite beautiful but Faith, long past the age when she could be impressed by this evidence of wealth, or the man who possessed it, tugged at an old-fashioned wrought-iron bell pull.
 

For a moment nothing happened then she heard a faint far off jangle in some distant servants’ hall. All impressively picturesque and charming no doubt, like the house, like the stunning bird’s-eye view over the woods to the river glinting silver in the evening light below her. Not terribly efficient, but pretty much what she would have expected from a man whose response to an emergency was to send for his old nanny.
 

The door was eventually opened by a middle aged man of military bearing. ‘Yes, miss?’ The accent was unexpectedly Scottish, the tone dour, the expression lugubrious rather than a grateful welcome for someone who had dropped everything to ride to the rescue, no matter how unwillingly.
 

‘Mac? Is it her? Don’t keep her waiting on the doorstep, man, bring her in.’ The irritable tones of a disembodied voice raised impatiently above the more insistent cry of a baby, that grew louder as it came nearer, cut off her attempt to introduce herself. A baby?
The man who had opened the door regarded her doubtfully for a moment before turning away. ‘It’s not Miss Bridges, sir, it’s a young female.’ Young was clearly not a recommendation.
 

‘I’m Faith—’ she began, but as Harry March appeared in the open doorway of a room leading from the hall, the comfortable shabbiness of which could only have been accumulated through generations of hard use, Faith’s attempt to explain her presence died on her lips.
 

The man whose summons she had raced to answer was, according to her aunt, irresistible but Faith had never doubted her ability to resist the smooth, boyish good looks and too-
obvious charm that oozed from the photograph in the silver frame that had pride of place on her aunt’s sofa table.
 

Foolishly, she had expected him to look just the same as a ten-year-old photograph. Ten years was not long and men, after all, changed less than women in the decade between their early twenties and thirties but time, it seemed, had dealt harshly with Harry March.
He still made a singularly striking figure; he was tall — far taller than she had imagined from his picture, probably because he was so beautifully proportioned, with the broad shoulders of an athlete and a strongly muscled neck to support the kind of head that more usually adorned the warrior statues of ancient Greece.
 

Pain, though, had chiselled away the boyish good looks, forging the smoothly handsome features into something harder, stronger, revealing a strength of character she would never have imagined from the softer features in that smiling portrait taken in his youth.
 

The confident curve of his smile had hardened to a straight line, the slight droop of his lower lip retaining only a suspicion of the reckless sensuality that dared girls to resist his charm. His nose, long and once arrow-straight now showed battle fatigue and his chin, deeply cleft, boasted such stubbornness that she almost flinched. But dominating the whole was a scar, livid against the tanned outdoor complexion, a scar that scythed from the centre of his forehead to his temple. It was no longer a pretty face, she thought, remembering her own instinctive recoil from such blatant and careless charm, but one that had been lived in and lived in hard. And the effect on Faith was far more devastating than the unmarked beauty that it had replaced.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cheese Scone Recipe

This is the recipe for the cheese scones on my Facebook page.
I've looked up the US cup equivalents but it's tricky since nothing is equivalent.
Apparently 2 cups of flour are about 10oz so if you increase the other ingredients slightly it should work. Apart from not getting the dough too wet this is not a recipe that requires precision!
Anyway, here goes -
225 gms (8 oz) of self raising flour
pinch salt
1 level teaspoon baking powder
1 level teaspoon of mustard powder
optional sprinkle of cayenne chili pepper (this is very much to taste but don't overdo it the first time - I used about a pinch)
50 grams (2 oz) of butter or hard margarine chopped into small pieces
150 ml (5 fl ozs) or a quarter of an Imperial pint(which is 20 fl ozs and not 16 like the US one)
100 gms (4 ozs) grated cheese (strong English cheddar is best but something with a bit of a bite)

Sift dry ingredients together, rub in fat until breadcrumby, mix in grated cheese, add milk. The amount of liquid depends on the flour, the humidity, annoying stuff that takes no account of recipes. You may need a touch more but be careful.

Bring together using a folk, knead very lightly (as little as possible) to make a ball, roll or flatten out to about an inch thick. Cut into rounds (or any shape that takes your fancy) and place on baking tray.
Bake in hot oven 220 C (425 F - gas mark 7) for about ten minutes. They will be coloured on the bottom and sound a bit hollow if tapped. Eat fresh. (They freeze well but they're so quick to make it's only a good idea to save yourself from eating them all at once.)
Variations

You can leave out the mustard/chili/cheese and make plain ones to have with jam and cream or butter. Lots of recipes have sugar but I make these the way my mother did. No sugar. They don't need it.

You can add 100 grams of sultanas to make fruity ones. (I think they're called raisins in the US; sultanas are the white grapes, raisins are the dark ones)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pretty shoes, gorgeous socks...

I'm going to have a little ranty rant...

It's about what happens to you if you're not a standard fit. Nothing major. Just having feet that, over the years, have spread a little and are now wider than standard.

I used to buy shoes from a company famous for providing well made, comfortable shoes for the wide fitting. Pretty shoes. I'm fairly light wearing with shoes (that just means I don't walk anywhere) and they last me a long time. But not forever. But now, when I go to this same manufacturer, I find that all the prettiest styles, all the prettiest colours, are restricted to those with "standard" fitting.

There's this one for instance. It comes in a colour range including black, purple, navy, a very lovely dark green, grey and this very desirable dark red.

I lust after the red. I yearn for it but wait; if you want the "wide" fitting you can only have purple or black. And the black isn't this lush suede, but shiny leather.

Why?  This company built its name on wide fittings. And is there really a bigger demand for this shoe in purple than red? Honestly?

I've written to them and they wrote back suggesting that I look at their other shoes. The decreasingly small selection that they now offer in wider fittings. Which isn't helpful. At all.

And it's not just me. When I go hunting for luscious comfy socks for the dh - who has big feet - I can only get them in the dull colours. Beige, grey, black. If you want the fun red and yellow ones that he loves, tough luck unless you've a standard 8-11
 




Saturday, August 23, 2014

A bride, a baby and the wrong man...?

This is cover on iBooks marking the place where, for the first time, an ebook version of  The Bride, the Baby and the Best Man is available for pre-order.

The rights were reverted to me earlier this year and I've "refreshed" it a little, it's been to a copy editor whose spotted the things that need a new eye to spot and I'm working with a designer on the new cover.

Meanwhile you can pre-order your copy - for an early bird price of 99c - at iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Here's the blurb -

What do you when, three weeks from your wedding, a blackmailing aunt leaves you holding the baby?

Faith Bridges should be wedding dress shopping with her bridesmaids, finalising the menu for the reception, house hunting. Instead she's up close and personal with Harry March - the last man on earth she’d trust with her heart - a fractious baby and a four year old diva.

She and Julian may not have had the most conventional of courtships but he’s wise, responsible and utterly dependable.  He’s the exact opposite of Harry, who thinks that all he has to do to get her to stay and take care of his baby nephew and 4-year old niece is to tease her, charm her and, when that doesn’t work, make love to her.

Faith isn't about to fall for that; she knows that love is like meringue  — all sugar and air, and about as substantial. And she has made a promise that she isn’t about to break. So why is it so hard to walk away.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Classic Office Romance

It's publication day for the ebook version of a classic office romance I wrote a while back. I loved this book -  in which a very down to earth, very ordinary girl, captures the heart of the very broken Max Fleming.




Max made a brief appearance in Amanda's story - his sister - The Baby Plan,  when she fell in love with Dan a year later.

And because some characters just live on, when I wrote The Sheikh's Unsuitable Bride, Dan and his daughter Sadie were on hand to prime the romance pump!

I just love it when that happens!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Playing on Google...

There's a new place to buy my backlist books, the ones I've given a bit of spit and polish since they were first published. It's Google Play

You'll find all my latest books there, too, but this boxset is on special offer until the end of August - four fun classic romances in one neat package for £1.10 if you're in the UK and whatever that equates to in the US; well under  $2. And it's available all over the world on this platform.

Meanwhile, I'm putting together another of my backlist books - The Bride, the Baby & the Best Man. Here's what it looked like back in the day when Harlequin Mills and Boon first published it.

I've revised it a little, updated it just enough and we're working on a gorgeous new cover. Hopefully it will be ready to go in September.  When the kids have gone back to school.

If you want to keep up to date with the launch - and a chance to win a copy of TBTB&TBM - you can sign up for my monthly newsletter here or "Like" me on Facebook here

Have a good weekend and happoy reading.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

August is Read a Romance month...

I can never understand why anyone would sneer at romantic fiction. I love a crime novel, or a good thriller, or even something a bit highbrow and literary, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing half so uplifting as losing yourself in a great romance.

I discovered the joy of this when I was in my very early twenties and, stuck in bed with a horrible stomach bug, one of room mates gave me a copy of The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer. It did far more for me than whatever potion the doc had dished out.= and made me a lifelong fan of Miss Heyer.

Obviously that wasn't the first "romance" I'd read. I'd fallen in love with Mr Knightly and Darcy, although I wasn't entirely convinced by Rochester or Heathcliffe. And fellow readers will always share a great read. The same friend who bought me my first Susanna Kearsley - she now an auto buy and I was so thrilled that The Firebird was recognised last week with a Rita - just last week recommended  The Wedding Cake Tree by Melanie Hudson. So emotional.

Another favourite author, a writer I've watched from her first fabulous romance for Mills & Boon Modern Tempted to her latest bestselling maindtream, Dear Thing, is Julie Cohen. All her books are romances, but they cover a huge range from the fabulous fun of Girl From Mars, to the kind of bookshelf keeper that stays with you long after you've closed the last page.

If you had to entice a skeptic to read a romance, which author, which book would you give her?

Leave a comment and I'll put you in the draw for a copy of my latest romance, For His Eyes Only - in paper or ebook. :)

August is Read-a-Romance month. 

Every day three great romance authors will write an essay on what romance fiction means to them, recommend writers they love and give away copies of their books. We're talking writers like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Susanna Kearsley, Jane Ann Krentz, Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery and Nicola Cornick.  How great is that?

Here's a link where you can see the entire list of participating authors.