Monday, October 22, 2007


I’ll post a few more pictures of Italy in a day or two (although here is the picture of Bacchus that somehow got left out of an earlier post).

Occasionally, however, something closer to home catches my eye and this morning – in dressing gown and slippers -- I snapped this amazing sunrise from my front doorstep and thought it was worth sharing.

There’s something about an all-guns-blazing sunrise that is just such a joy – although I have to tell you that the morning has not lived up to such a stellar billing.

It’s turned grey and a bit claggy, with that nasty little chill that gets into your bones, not that my bones need chilling. I’ve spent the last week laid up with a cold that the dh picked up on the aircraft coming home and very generously shared with me.

No work has been done since last Tuesday.

I left my poor heroine dangling over the edge of a precipice in true Pearl White fashion. An end of the chapter cliff-hanger in more ways than one. Could this be the way my writing is heading?

While I’ve been hors d’combat, with my feet up on the sofa, I’ve been dwelling on the “branding” issue. We all need a “brand” these days, apparently, so that our readers know exactly what to expect.

The best I could come up with was Be surprised by Liz Fielding….”

I quite like it, but it kind of misses the whole branding/marketing issue. The whole point of branding is that you should know exactly what you’re getting so that you’ll reach for it without thinking – whether it’s chocolate, cheese or a book. I understand the concept. I can choose which kind of chocolate I want to fulfil my taste needs at the time. Milk or plain. Bitter or sweet. Bubbly or smooth.

With romance reading I can choose a Lucy Gordon Italian to sigh over, get nostalgic with a Betty Neels heroine, have my heartstrings rung by Natasha Oakley or get hot and bothered with a Penny Jordan sheikh.

You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you? Being “surprised” tells you nothing. Except that you don’t know what you’re going to get. It’s a feeling my editor is familiar with. I rarely share my ideas with her since she gets a touch nervous when I go off the radar.

I have to admit I was very nervous about the novella I delivered back in mid-August. That’s the one with the discovery of a jewelled khanjar called “The Blood of Tariq”, the heroine who finds herself married to a man she’s only just met – he didn’t bother to ask first -- and the kidnapping.

Bless her, she said it was “exciting”; that she was “gripped until the very last page” and she "loved it", which was a bit of a relief, to be honest, especially since “exciting” and “gripping” are words singularly missing from the “Romance” guidelines, but then this novella is going to be in an anthology with a Medical author and a Presents author (I’ll tell you more when I have full details) so maybe it doesn’t matter.

No title as yet, but it doesn’t have to be in copy-editing until November so no one’s panicking about that just yet. Surprised by the Sheikh, anyone? :)


Early notice that I have one spare copy of BRIDES FOR CHRISTMAS, with stories by Carole Mortimer, Jessica Hart and my own A Surprise Christmas Proposal (clearly M&B are ahead of me with the branding thing).

This is one for members of my Yahoo Newsletter Group.

If you’re not already a member just click on the icon at the top of the sidebar.


Kate Hardy said...

Gorgeous sunrise, Liz.

And I know exactly what I'm going to get with one of your books - something that's going to leave me feeling warm and happy and in an excellent mood.

Liz Fielding. Better than chocolate.

Biddy said...

I agree with Kate but I know what you are trying to do with the surprise element. There is always a glorious twist and surprise in your books. Like biting into chocolate and getting an unexpected explosion of sensation from the fillings :-)

Donna Alward said...

Yes, we expect the unexpected and go away satisfied.

I laughed so hard at your post Liz, you were clearly in witty form today.

Liz Fielding said...

Better than chocolate? I sooo love that, Kate. Thank you. I have a vague suspicion that it's already been taken, but if not... :)

And now I'm desperately trying to think what filling the chocolate has. Remembering a Monty Python (?) sketch -- Spring Surprise...

Fiona Harper said...

Liz, I think that although your storylines are always fresh and different, there are qualities that link your books.

I know when I pick up one of your stories that I am going to have my heart-strings tugged and that often I am going to find humour, even if it is bittersweet.

I just finished Reunited: Marriage in a Million and I loved it! You kept me up last night because I couldn't put it down! I know I'm getting into a good book when it has an atmosphere, a world, all of its own and it seems to stand out from everything else in the line.

Anne McAllister said...

I like the "better than chocolate" notion. True, too, which helps.

And yes, actually, Surprised by the Sheikh has a certain appeal (and this from someone who doesn't read Sheikh books unless Liz Fielding, Sophie Weston or Kate Walker write them.

Jan Jones said...

The thing is, there always IS a surprise in your books, Liz.

Tell you what - there was a taste-testing in Waitrose a couple of weeks ago for a chocolate-with-raspberries bar. I wasn't keen because I thought I knew what it would taste like, but took some anyway (well, the poor girl had gone to all the trouble of breaking it into those itsy-bitsy pieces) --- and it was really surprising. Surprising and very nice. And it left me wanting more.

Liz Fielding. You'll be addicted.