Tuesday, September 26, 2006
London, I have to say, was fun.
Despite having taking a tumble over a step a couple of days before I was due to put on my highest heels, leaving me with only one pair of (very flat) shoes that I could actually get over my poor swollen foot, I had the best time.
My first engagement was lunch with Karin Stoecker, Editorial Director of HMB, and editors Kimberley Young , Bryony Green and Jo Carr, seen in the picture below on the steps of Locanda Locatelli, the hottest place to eat in London right now. (Yes, there is one of me, but I’m squinting, and besides, you all know what I look like.)
One editor, I shall not embarrass her by naming names, totally lost it and winked at one of the luscious Italian waiters and everyone went home drooling after the seriously alpha Giorgio Locatelli passed within touching distance; you can trust me when I say that the cover headline on the Observer food magazine this week “Local Boy Makes God”, did not exaggerate. *g* And that was before the food about which I shall say only this -- “White Chocolate Soup with Pistachio Ice Cream”...
(I know I promised pictures of good looking men, but I haven’t yet found one that does Giorgio justice, but be assured that I have found my Italian hero!)
The following day I met up with thirty or so fellow authors, including Harlequin Romance Authors Jessica Hart, Natasha Oakley, Trish Wiley, Lucy Gordon, Sophie Weston, Fiona Harper and Caroline Anderson, as well as all the usual suspects, for our annual lunch at the RAF club, followed later by a champagne reception at Brookes’ in St James’s Street (where I met Biddy on the doorstep as she dropped her keys off for Julie Cohen, who is blooming, beautifully, btw.
This was the moment that I took possession of Rita II. Sorry, no photo -- my grin is too wide to get on the blog!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
In the UK this week, Woman's Weekly and Mills & Boon have teamed up to launch a short story competition.
How to Enter
Write a short romance story of 1,500 words, suitable for the new Mills & Boon "Romance" series and Woman's Weekly and send it with the coupon in the magazine by 30 November 2006.
* Dell laptop
* Winning story published in Woman's Weekly and on-line on the Mills & Boon website
* 12 months subscription to the Romance series
* Consultation with a Mills & Boon editor (and travel allowance up to £50)
Three runners-up will receive
* 12 months subcriptions to Romance series
* Your story online at Mills & Boon website
* Consultation with a Mills & Boon editor (including travel allowance up to £50)
There's also a special 5 M&B "Romance" books for the price of 4 at W H Smith (including The Sheikh's Guarded Heart!).
Go to it!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Okay, you've had the pretty pictures, now it's time for the food! You can't go to Italy and not eat pizza, right? This was a Quatre Staggione... and I'm (almost) ashamed to say that I ate most of it.
And here are the little "mignon", made by yet another Anna. I had a fruit tart, a rum baba and one of those little almond triangles...
And here we are in Sora market buying cheese, proscuitto and sausage. Yes, that is my hand taking the sample!
Now back to the diet!
Saturday, September 16, 2006
First I have to say that this trip was all work. Honestly. Every bit of my stay involved research for my next book. Serious note taking was involved. Hundreds of photographs were taken. An enormous amount of wandering through markets, haggling for bargains (a heroine needs to do stuff like that), trying on shoes, checking out handbags. Serious shopping. This was important, serious Work.
But then again, working in Italy is not like working at home. The warmth, the colour, the elegance, the relaxed attitude to life, the sheer joy of the dolce vita. The fact that given the slightest excuse Italians will let off the kind of firework display that makes November 5th look very sad. While I was there they had a firework competition. Imagine firework display teams trying to outdo each other in the brilliance of their shows. Italian firework display teams. And no rain!
Well, actually we did have some rain. Not the grey, dreary stuff that goes on for days, but exciting, macho rain accompanied by thunder and lightning, with, of course, a rainbow when the sun broke through.
We stayed with friends in Isola del Liri in the Comino Valley -- north of Naples, south of Rome – and here’s the view that was all mine for ten days.
The mountains are spectacular, the hill top towns ancient.
This -- and the narrow lane above -- is in Arpino, where Cicero and Agrippa were born and in the piazza (perfect for people watching over an expresso), a Roman pavement -- along which they undoubted walked -- is being excavated. Of course, when I saw a Ducati (serious hero transport) parked by the side of the road, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of that, too.
We spent a day visiting Monte Cassino, reduced to rubble in WWII, but now completely rebuilt and stunningly beautiful.
And at the monastery of Casa Mari, where the church windows are made of golden alabaster. We were lucky enough to witness the arrival of a bride, joining in the applause as she walked up the steps of the church to meet her groom.
Afterwards we drove to a nearby lake and I want you to imagine me sitting here, a glass of wine in one hand, nibbling an olive while the cicadas serenaded me and the sun beat down. All in the name of research, naturally.
Since at least part of my book will be set in Bella Maria, I had to get fully into the spirit of the thing with the food. There was the fabulous pasta made by Anna di Vito (cousin of the more famous Danny) who, incidentally, is a huge Liz Fielding fan. And I wanted to show you a picture of the “mignon”, the most elegant end to a wonderful Sunday lunch; miniature versions of the full size cakes, each one a mouthful of heaven. And unlike the big versions, you can try, um, quite a lot! Blogger, however, is being unco-operative! This has rescued you from seeing me shell-shocked by both pizza and ice cream!
Shopping in Sora market was fun. This is Marco, whose Papa sold the most beautiful tablecloths.
I could go on indefinitely about what a wonderful time I had, but now I have to go and put all that exhaustive research into a book. I just hope I did enough ... it would be tragic if I had to go back and check out some detail I’d missed, wouldn’t it?
Sunday, September 03, 2006
I've just received this review from Cataromance of my September Harlequin "Romance" and Mills & Boon "Romance", THE SHEIKH'S GUARDED HEART.
To say I'm thrilled might just be British understatement at it's most understated!
"In her latest romance, multi award-winning author Liz Fielding sweeps her readers off to the desert of Ramal Hamrah where Lucy Forrester is trying to find the man who has cheated her out of her money and broken her heart in the process. Lucy, unused to the desert roads, is driving a 4X4 vehicle when she suddenly has an accident and is saved by Sheikh Hanif, who takes Lucy into his home to recover from her accident.
"Having been abandoned by her mother and raised by her grandmother who has done nothing but instill fear in her, Lucy is unused to the tender care which Hanif lavishes onto her and for the first time in her life she feels wanted and welcome. Before she knows it, Lucy finds herself falling in love with the gorgeous Sheikh, but Hanif is a tortured soul whose past demons prevent him from moving forward.
"Is Lucy the woman who can show Hanif the way forward and heal his wounds? And will she let her past fears get in the way of her future?
"In THE SHEIKH'S GUARDED HEART, Liz Fielding will captivate her readers with a spellbinding romance which will tug at their heartstrings, move them to tears, make them smile and make them fall in love all over again! Engrossing, poignant and impossible to put down, in The Sheikh’s Guarded Heart Liz Fielding takes her readers on an emotional rollercoaster ride where they shall see her two characters grow from being two vulnerable people into stronger human beings.
"The Sheikh’s Guarded Heart’s irresistible blend of master storytelling, emotional drama, tender passion and moving romance makes this another winner for the supremely talented Liz Fielding!"
It's sold out at the Mills & Boon website, so if you live in the UK, click here if you want to buy the book.
If you're in Australia, click here
I'm under the grill -- um, spotlight -- today at The Pink Heart Society Blog. If you want to come over and baste me, click the link.
And we have the new Harlequin Romance covers for October online at the Harlequin Romance Authors Blog now. We think they're gorgeous!
Saturday, September 02, 2006
I had a lot of fun making little pieces of paper with the names of all the draw entries and putting them in the dh's Panama hat for him to draw out the lucky winner.
Serena, my darling, your name was on the paper so if you'll email me, I'll organise your prize. Unless you do it this weekend, you'll have to wait until I return from my research trip.