Sunday, April 29, 2007


THE MARRIAGE MIRACLE, a book that you'll all know is very close to my heart, received yet another honour last night when Romantic Times BOOKclub named it Best Harlequin Romance of 2006.

My colleagues Teresa Southwick and Sandra Marton won Best Silhouette Romance and Best Presents, respectively, so huge congrats to them, too. A click on the link will take you a full list of the winners.

This book has already won the RWA's RITA for Best Short Contemporary Romance and an award from Cataromance. All I need to do now is work out what I did that was so great and do it again!

Friday, April 27, 2007


I'm Ellie March -- failed romantic novelist, cleaner, waitress and all round odd-job merchant -- and I'm here to stand in Liz Fielding who's having a bit of bother with some man called Tom McFarlane, and a girl called Sylvie Smith, whose lives are in a bit of a tangle.

I've absolutely no doubt she will sort them out, but in the meantime I'm here to remind you about my book, THE SECRET LIFE OF LADY GABRIELLA, which goes on sale in a couple of days time.

Actually, since I'm the failed writer here how about if, instead of making a fool of myself, I just tell you what some really nice people have said about Ben and my story? Honestly, it's kinder all-round. Besides I need to go and feed the rabbit...

A keeper.
Romantic Times

This is one story you don't want to miss!
Romance Reviewed

It’s simply a warm and sweet romance.
Once Upon a Romance

...a whirlwind romance with wonderful twists and turns that truly delights.
Coffee Time Romance

... this house cleaning heroine and her professor stole this reader's heart.

Oh, I nearly forgot. Liz asked me to tell you the truly exciting news that Nell Dixon was awarded the RNA's romance prize yesterday at the Savoy for her book MARRYING MAX. If you need any help with polishing the silverware, Nell, just give me a shout...

Monday, April 23, 2007


Many congratulations to Communications worker Kate Mayhew on winning the Mills and BoonB/Woman's Weekly short story competition announced last September.

"I've always been surrounded by books and toyed with ideas for my own stories," she says, "but I've never actually written anything before now. You get to the point when you want to achieve your goals, and this competition is the first step for me. It was a way to test the waters and receive some feedback."

To read her winning entry, "Scrambled Eggs" click here

Or more correctly, I never went away. The dh went down with a bug and our trip had to be cancelled. The competition isn't though, so if you know in which country The Girl With the Pearl Earring was painted and presently resides, sent me an email with "Picture" in the subject line for a chance to win something from my backlist. I'll draw the winner on the 31st April.


I really could have done with the break. Or at least my elbow could. I appear to have a version of RSI, but so far it's only affecting my elbow. It doesn't stop me typing, or even mousing -- although I'm trying to do that left-handed, which is, to say the least, interesting -- but it's hell to pick anything up. So I'm also cooking and pouring tea left-handed.


I've mention The Book Depository before. I bought my copy of Twyla Tharp's "The Creative Habit" from them. The first copy went awol in the post and the lovely people at TBD sent me another copy instantly. I was impressed with their caring emails and excellent service so I went to their website and discovered that they don't charge postage which is why I've added them to my "Buy" list on the sidebar where I can. The downside is that they don't have all my books. And they don't have them as quickly as Amazon. But they are discounted just as they are at Amazon and M&B direct and when the difference for one M&B paperback means paying half the amount, I do think they should be encouraged.

So, M&B have them a month before retail if you're desperate for a fix from your favourite author, Amazon have the long backlist, and The Book Depository send them for free. Lots of choices on which to make a buying decision. And of course there's still the fun of tossing them in with the groceries at your favourite supermarket, or at WHS or Borders, or even ordering at your local bookshop. Even if they don't stock M&B they can get them for you.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I've just received my first Mills & Boon Email "Newsletter". If you haven't had one then you can click here and sign up.

Go on. You know it makes sense. :)

Actually, the main reason I'm so excited is that the adorable Lady Gabriella's story is "Book of the Month". She's already on sale online (there's a link on the sidebar) but she'll be out there, retail, next week, so do say hello to her when you're passing, pick her up if she's fallen behind the supermarket shelves; make her feel wanted.

The other good stuff is that I've finished the page proofs of The Sheikh's Unsuitable Bride, which made a lot more sense after a gap of a few weeks. It's at the light and fluffy end of my range and is going to on sale in January 2008.

I've also just received hardback copies of Reunited: Marriage in a Million (August, 2007). Okay, the heroine doesn't look anything like Belle, who has short blonde hair with darker streaks, but it is a lovely cover. This book is not out the "light and fluffy" department and blurb very carefully avoids the heroine's major internal conflict, presumably not to scare anyone off. It's part of an amazing trilogy I've written with Barbara Hannay and Jackie Braun and I'll be telling you more about it soon.

But May is Lady Gabriella's month. I've already run a competition to give away a copy (when it's out there on the shelves I want you to buy it!), but I'll be running some kind of fun and frivolity with prizes from my back list next month. But first I'm taking a little break for, um, research.

Okay, here's a competition. I'll be away for a few days.

Look at this picture and tell me where I'm going.

Email your answer with "Picture" in the subject line and I'll draw the prizewinner on 31st April.

Whoever it is can pick a book from my back list.

Monday, April 16, 2007


I've just discovered -- it's a good idea to click on links and check them once in a while -- that my online read, THE CINDERELLA VALENTINE, is no longer "online". It has disappeared, gone, vanished into the ether. They used to stay there for years, but now these little stories have been rounded up to be sold as telephone downloads (for which the author does not get any money -- we were paid up front).

I do wish Harlequin would let authors know when this happens -- there's nothing more annoying for readers than clicking a link, hoping for a dollop of romance, only to discover that what you're hoping to find just isn't there any more.

I imagine that, sooner or later, like THE SECRET WEDDING, my Cinderella will be available as a phone download from eHarlequin. When that happens -- and they won't tell me when, I'll have to keep checking -- I'll let you all know.

In the UK, they've starting selling a few entire books as telephone downloads. I was interviewed on Radio 5 Live! about this on Easter Monday. All those people playing with their mobiles on the train, could now be reading a romance. I love that!

I've also removed the Mills & Boon link to BOARDROOM BRIDEGROOMS, because it's sold out.

Thank you all for that.

It is still available at Amazon, or The Book Depository, where they offer free delivery, and also in Borders in Fforestfach, Swansea.

I know, because I saw it there yesterday, where I also found NATURAL BORN CHARMER, the latest Susan Elizabeth Phillips, which cost £12.99 in trade paperback which is a scandal -- and frankly, I'd much rather have an ordinary paperback because it's easier to handle. But for SEP I'm prepared to suffer.

And today PURE PASSION is launched in Wigan by north-west libraries. Lucky readers in the north-west to have such a fabulous library service.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Last week, full of enthusiasm and excitement, I rushed off an order for Twyla Tharp's book, The Creative Life. It was despatched. It is out there. Somewhere. Fallen off the back of a truck, lying in hedge, mouldering. Dropped behind a ledge in some out of the way post office in the Welsh wilderness. Who knows?

Some day, some time -- probably years from now -- when the envelope has rotted away, it will found by some unsuspecting soul, who, hopefully, will open it and begin to read the wisdom it contains. Maybe it will change their life. Or maybe they'll just toss it in the bin.

Meanwhile the bookshop have despatched another copy.


Here, belatedly, is the final selection from the north-west libraries PURE PASSION promotion, which is launched on Monday.

HUSBANDS by Adele Parks

Bella secretly married her childhood sweetheart, Stevie, over a decade ago; two big kids playing at being grownups. When it all unravelled and reality hit, Bella simply got up and left. The secret remained a secret. It’s just a silly piece of paper, lodged at a registrar’s office in Aberdeen, isn’t it?


Set in the beautiful, wild landscape of Wycoming where cowboys live, as they have done for generations, Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar are two ranch hands, brought up to hard work and privation, glad to have found each other’s company. But companionship becomes something else on Brokeback Mountain.

A FAMILY OF HIS OWN by Liz Fielding

Kay is a single parent living in a village with her illegitimate daughter and desperately trying to earn a living as a gardener.

Dominic has returned to the dusty house and overgrown garden, five years after his beloved wife died.

This grips from page one with real and vibrant characters.

(That's what they said. I'm just quoting. Honest.)

For a full list of authors and titles being recommended as part of this initative or, if you’d like to recommend your own favourite romantic read to others, follow the link to Pure Passion on Time to Read

Thursday, April 12, 2007


... thank you for making the effort.

Or maybe you're brilliantly multi-lingual.
If so, this post is just for you, because
I’m having a rather good month for
foreign editions; always a reason for

been released in both Japan (Image)
and Germany (Bianca) this month,
(Romana) will be available in Germany
on 16 May.

A NANNY FOR KEEPS is also available
in a bewildering variety of languages in
Scandinavia; Minna has done her best to
explain the subtle variations, but I still
can’t fathom which is which.
My failing, not hers.

And in Brazil.

And The Temp & the Tycoon,
part of a 2-in-1 which in the UK and
(with Hannah Barnard) is on sale in Holland.
Unfortunately the cover appears to be not
only out of focus, but upside down on the website,
but I promise that the two stories inside are as
sharp as Hannah and I could make them!

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Yesterday I mentioned my search for purple shoes and Fleur Forsyte -- as portrayed by Susan Hampshire.

Today not one, but two kind colleagues (thank you Natasha and Abby) sent me exactly the right picture. Doesn't it take you back? Those of you who were even born when this version was made!

And Anne McAllister found not one, but two incredibly sexy pairs of purple shoes. These, which I am personally lusting after.

And these...

Pause for "oh, wow!"

...which are unbelievable and will be going in my box with the ribbons I bought today, along with the mauve chiffon one that was around the mother's day flowers I had from the ds.

All I need now is the BOOK!

Come on postman!

Friday, April 06, 2007


I shouldn’t be here. I’m working like mad on the wip, which according to my contract is “Spring Wedding” – not so much a title as what the book is about – and doing my best to keep up a brisk pace (well, brisk for me, anyway.) But Ben is too busy giving Ellie first aid to drop in – and Ellie is too busy trying not to scream – so it’s probably a good thing is I distract you for the next few minutes.

Actually the reason I’m online is that I’m looking for a pair of silk, embroidered purple shoes that exactly fit my imagination.

Why do I need to actually see a pair of shoes when I can imagine them perfectly well? It’s all to do with the “box”.

My hugely talented colleague Anne McAllister has been blogging about Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit and I’ve been so captivated by what she’s written about it that I’ve instantly ordered my own copy. That stuff about hailing a cab struck such a chord.

And then yesterday there was the box.

According to Anne, Miss Tharp says that one of the things you need if you’re going to think “out of the box” is a box to think out of. (How brilliant is that? So logical. I can’t wait for my copy of this book to turn up…) Obviously, though, it’s not going to be an empty box. For Miss Tharp it’s a box in which she collects things on a theme, which then inspires her choreography. I suppose it’s a bit like the collages that I know lots of authors do. I did try it, but it looked untidy, which just irritated me. I’ve never been good with glue.

But a box... I get boxes. I love boxes.

They sell them in Borders, in all shapes and sizes and colours and I get so tempted. But a box needs a purpose and now I have an excuse... I mean a legitimate reason... to buy one which is going to be called “Spring Wedding”. It will be a crucible in which the worlds of Sylvie Duchamp Smith and Tom McFarlane will be collected, then heated and reformed. Which makes it a business expense. Tax deductible. (Can you tell that I’m smiling?)

So that’s why I’m hunting for an illustration of the perfect purple shoes to put into the box, because that’s where it all suddenly took off. With the shoes. I had a story before then. I’d written fifty odd pages, but when, lying awake in the middle of the night I started seeing purple shoes... (No! Not a drop had touched my lips! Honestly!)

I’m also hunting for a picture of Susan Hampshire as Fleur Forsyte on her wedding day. I can see her, sort of, but it was an awfully long time ago and a picture would help. Unfortunately the web sites seem more interested in her more recent role in Monarch of the Glen.

I’ve already got the violets, which is excellent. Now I to find some narrow green velvet ribbon. And pink satin ditto. And a photograph of Elizabeth Bennett’s house – the one they used in the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. And one of gilded youth in the summer of 1914. And a big sandalwood chest. And some glam Art Deco fashion that Sylvie’s great-grandma wore – she was very stylish. And, oh, dozens and dozens of things. I’m not sure yet what I’m going to be doing with them but once they’re in that box I’m going to be thinking out of it like mad!

Thursday, April 05, 2007


From Liz...

Ben, Ben, Ben....

What do you want me to say? Your sister had better things to do than worry about your house. She has a career, too. (She’s in Samoa, by the way.)

And you didn’t expect Mrs Fuller to stick around and polish your knick-knacks when she could be putting her feet up in the sun for the first time in her life, did you?

And try to forget that unfortunate accident in the library which, by the way, was as much your fault as hers. Be honest. Admit that Ellie makes the place feel like home. How long is it since you could say that, hmm?

So, the answer to your question is yes, Ben, I expect you to be grateful. Very grateful.

Now stop whining and go and buy Ellie something warm and furry -- you know it makes sense!

And leave me to get on with writing Sylvie and Tom's story!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


From Ben Faulkner...

Just when you think life can’t get any worse you come home and find there’s this woman living in your house.

That was not the plan.

I did not need a house-sitter. I had a sister and a cleaner and between them they were supposed to be taking care of things while I was away. Then the cleaner won a fortune on the lottery, my sister decided to go bug-hunting in Sarawak, or Senegal, or Sumatra – Gabriella March seems a little hazy on the actual continent – and I get caught up in a civil war.

And when I finally get home, hoping for a little peace and quiet to get on with my work, there she is.

A gothic-novel reading, spectacle smashing, duster wielding danger to life and limb. Sitting. In my house.

And I’m supposed to be grateful?

Monday, April 02, 2007


A response from Liz...

Ellie, sweetheart, I just told it like it was.

As for the title, well that was actually my editor’s idea. The really sweet Jo Carr, who was taking care of me while my own editor was on maternity leave. (And neither of them are anything like the dragon who runs Milady magazine!)

Or maybe someone in marketing came up with it.

Who knows?

In my head it was always just, “Ellie’s Story” because that’s what it is. The story of what happened to you when you grabbed your chance.

And for what it’s worth, I thought you did just great.