Wednesday, August 06, 2008


The year rolls on and I've lost count of the number of great guests who've taken time out of their busy schedules to help me celebrate this special year.
Today it's Australian colleague Jennie Adams who has dropped by to share a glass of cyber champagne and her latest book -- her tenth, which is cause enough for celebration in its own right. Congratulations on reaching a big milestone, Jennie!
Despite living on the far side of the world from each other, Jennie and I share a lot in common, not least this little snippet --

"Jennie's first attempt to become a writer at age four involved sneaking off to go to school with her older siblings. Unfortunately, those efforts were foiled by a very small tricycle, three-and-a-half very long miles of dirt road between her and the school, and a vigilant mother who could drive faster than Jennie could pedal. "

Could it be that all writers have this huge curiosity? This "go and get it" attitude? I didn't have siblings, but at the age of three I snuck out of the house and followed the "big kids" to school. (Obviously if so many of them were going there it had to be great, right?) It was only round the corner and I made it. In fact I did this so many times that the head (amused? exasperated, desperate?) found me a place in the nursery school next door. It was fabulous. I can still remember the feel of the fingerpaints, climbing on the jungle gym, my favourite brown corderoy dungerees. We had naps in the afternoon and I used to lie there trying to work out if, when I closed my eyes, it went dark for everyone else...

Jennie started writing early, too, but I'm disappointed that there was no market for the "shopaholic" cartoon possum. Thankfully, she didn't allow early disappointment to discourage her and here she is to tell you about THE BOSS'S UNCONVENTIONAL ASSISTANT (which is presently sitting on top of tbr pile!)


My first Liz Fielding experiences came to me as a young reader enjoying Liz’s wonderful stories, lovely heroines and swoon-worthy heroes. Over the years I have been swept away by many, many of Liz’s stories -- and hope to be swept away by many, many more.

Congratulations, Liz, on your fiftieth book release! It is a remarkable achievement by a truly remarkable author. As a writer as well as a reader of romance, one thing I admire so much is the tenacity and commitment that I know must have gone into penning those many, many wonderful stories that have touched readers around the globe.

I am currently working on my tenth Harlequin Romance novel and feel very much the ‘beginner’, quite unable to imagine having fifty different stories in print! But I aspire to Liz’s ability to offer again and again, enduring classic romance stories of timeless grace and appeal.

I aspire to stories that bring laughter, and tears, empathy and a sense of ‘I am understood, there are others like me, I am not alone in the world’. So when I pick up a Liz Fielding book and a heroine is shinnying along a drainpipe (don’t we all do daft/unwise/silly things if we know
there is a need), or throwing out prickles towards the hero of the piece (I will never forget Liz’s wheelchair-bound heroine, I cried buckets over that book). Oh, I could name so many more ‘reader’ moments from Liz’s stories. The thing is, those moments are all tucked away in my
heart, and that to me, is the mark of a truly wonderful author -- the ability to give the reader treasured moments that are hers (or his) for life. It’s a form of generosity, of opening one’s own heart onto the page, and I know in Liz, this generosity goes deep.

When I sold my first novel to Harlequin Romance, Liz was one of the first to congratulate me. Liz stands as a great encouragement to aspiring and established writers alike, and it is in this generous spirit that Liz has opened up her 50th book release celebration year to fellow authors in her typical way.

So thank you, Liz, for inviting me to visit your corner of cyberspace and share a little about my latest book release.

The Boss's Unconventional Assistant is an August Harlequin Romance release, and shares the story of Sophia Gable and Grey Barlow. When Grey first meets Sophia, he rather feels as though he’s looking at a bright, fluffy... alien from another planet . But they go on to prove that opposites can indeed attract, with sometimes fun results!

Sophia’s is the last of my three Gable sisters stories, and I enjoyed wrapping up with a big-hearted, quirky, sometimes unpredictable heroine who tipped the hero quite firmly onto his ear from the first meeting.

Here’s an excerpt from the opening scene:

Soph climbed out of the car, twitched her fluffy cerise jumper and black pants into place and spared just a moment to admire the matching crimson ankle boots. With a cheerful expression pasted onto her face, she headed for the house and climbed the steps to the veranda.

‘You’re Sophia Gable, the assistant I acquired through the staffing agency?’ The question came as a low rumble of sound from a corner of the veranda where the speaker would have had a perfect view of Gertie the bug car’s arrival, and Soph’s exodus from said car. ‘I thought you’d be
older, less colourful.’

Was it the crimson tips in her hair? They probably looked a bit metallic innsunlight, now Soph thought about it, but she’d wanted power hair for this fresh start. She squinted into the shadowed corner.

‘I’m Sophia, but most people call me Soph. I hope you will, too, Mr Barlow.’ Despite the shadows, she could make out a cast on his arm, and one foot in an ankle brace, stuck out awkwardly in front of him where he sat in an outdoor chair.

Poor fellow, but at least his injuries were temporary. ‘The position outline said clerical with a bit of housekeeping and cooking, other general duties, and assistance related to your injuries as required. I want to assure you I’m prepared for all contingencies. I’ve given quite a bit of thought to how I can best assist in your recovery.’

‘You can assist by performing the required tasks and driving me places when needed. I’m certain nothing else will be necessary.’ He rapped the words out with every appearance of annoyance and even a hint of suspicion. ‘My injuries are simple, after all.’

At this pronouncement he glared and said, ‘I’m merely dealing with a sprained ankle and a broken arm. There’s nothing at all to fuss about.’

‘That’s a very positive outlook.’ Though a bit taken aback, Soph tried to put a good spin on his grouchiness. The man may have placed his injuries last on his list of needs with the agency, but they were still needs. He might require a little coaxing to accept help with them. That
was all. ‘Even so, I have lots of great ideas—’

For a chance to win a signed copy of ‘The Boss’s Unconventional Assistant’ let’s have some fun! Name the ideas Sophia might have in that quirky, unconventional head of hers for looking after her brand new boss. No answer is too silly! Just anything you think might unnerve or
disarm a somewhat older, somewhat sensible, grumpy-about-his-injuries and not wanting to be ‘looked after’ hero who is still feeling slightly blinded by Sophia’s brightness and cheerfulness. Oh, and did I mention Grey is a control freak, and Soph is...rather intent on getting her own
way, though she is quite well aware she is not at all pushy or determined herself....

Thank you, Liz. May the rest of your ‘50th book year’ be as wonderful as what has gone before.

Love and hugs from Australia from


There's more about The Boss's Unconventional Assistant here: --

And here: --

The Boss's Unconventional Assistant


Snookie said...

Hmmmm, maybe Soph could paint colorful cartoon character on his cast to cheer him up :)

or she could wrap a wire hanger with the fluorescent bandages they have now and he could use it to scratch inside his cast (I have a friend that did that after losing three wooden chopsticks in her cast).

juliemt said...

Maybe Soph could tell him to lighten up and to pick up a Harlequin Romance - his grumpiness is making the place look untidy!

Michele L. said...

Ok the best way to cheer someone up is to tickle them! I love it when my hubby does that! Does the trick all the time when I am feeling depressed or sad.

Another good way is to flirt with him so he is distracted from his self-induced crabbiness. Bat those eyelashes, flip his tie, blow in his ear, crawl your fingers up his arm, etc. Ha,ha! I do that to my hubby and the next thing I know we are in each other's arms!

Michele L.

Liz Fielding said...

Michelle, did you see that you've won Phillipa Ashley's book, Just Say Yes -- email me with your snail mail addy!

Jane said...

I look forward to reading the Gable Sisters series.

Anonymous said...

Hi ladies, and a big hi and thanks to Liz for inviting me as a guest blogger.

I'm loving these responses. I can see Soph doing all of these things. A couple of them, I wish I'd thought of for the book!

Flirting is an art form isn't it. I might like to try a couple of these ideas out on my dh, too.

Hugs from Australia,


Anonymous said...

I always say the way to a man's heart is to ....bake him something. Men love home cooking.

Michelle Douglas said...

This book sounds like such fun, Jennie! I'm already imagining the mischief Soph is going to get into (but, boy, does Grey need her or what?).

I think that while she's performing those 'household chores' she should turn the music up really loud and dance around to fun ABBA songs. It may not make him less grumpy... but if the music is loud enough she won't be able to hear him complaining (besides, who can stay sad with ABBA blaring in the background?)

Congratulations on ten books!

Phillipa said...

Congratulations on your ten books Jennie - love the extract! I remember reading a Jill Mansell book where a wife had tried everything to distract her work obsessed husband from his computer. Even doing a veil dance and stripping naked didn't work... there was however, a happy ending *eventually.*

robynl said...

bring him his favorite sandwich for lunch at his desk and perhaps he'll ask you to join him

get a cushion for him to rest his arm and/or leg on and be kind

hum or sing while working and include his name in a song which will make him perk up his ears if nothing else

Look at him and ask "would you like to go for a walk" and make light of his injuries. He'll come back with something owly and you can make fun and perhaps he'll laugh.

congrats on your milestone.

Snookie said...

Hey Michele I. I love your ideas but you need to warn him first if you are going to tickle. I had my right hand in a plaster cast way back when my dh was still my boyfriend. He came up from behind me and lightly touched my side (i'm really ticklish) and I jumped and flailed my arm and hit him hard in the ribs with the cast! He had a black and blue bruise from it! We've been married for almost 22 years now so I guess it didn't scare him away! He's learned to warm me he's near before he touches!

Annie West said...

Hi Jennie,

Lovely to see you here. I'm hoping we'll catch up in person at the Australian Romance Writers' Conference in a few weeks. Readers - I can vouch for the fact that Jennie is a great dinner companion!

What could Soph do to cheer him up? Well, you did say no idea too outrageous...I don't know why, Jennie, but I immediately had a vision of her painting his toenails a bright hot pink to lift his mood. Perhaps he was asleep on a hammock at the time? Boy, wouldn't he hit the roof!

Love the sound of Soph's colour coordinated hair!


Anonymous said...

Dance of the Determined Veils. The guy should have noticed that! I'll bet the readers were thinking, 'Wake up -- how lucky are you to have this wife!'

Annie said: 'I don't know why, Jennie, but I immediately had a vision of her painting his toenails a bright hot pink to lift his mood'.

And I have to say, Annie, you have a good handle on my Soph. She would do exactly that *g*.

Fabulous suggestions everyone, and congrats Snookie on almost 22 years with your dh.

The dedication in this book reads 'For Mark, because you always smile when I sing'. I think there's something really special about a happiness and pleasure in the simple things about each other that endures through the years. Soph's quirks are definitely things I think Grey will still be appreciating when they're both decades and decades on.

Yes, I think of my characters as real people who go on to live out the rest of their lives *g*.