Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I’ve got a lot to get through in this post but I’ll do my best to keep it short because I’ve got Fiona Harper as my guest this week and I don’t want to keep you from the excerpt from ENGLISH LORD, ORDINARY LADY, her latest book and already short listed for the RNA Romance Prize.
First, Elizabeth Rolls has chosen her prize winners. Three of you! What a generous woman :) Congratulations to Eva, Cryna and Jean, this week’s lucky winners. You’ll be hearing direct from Elizabeth about your prizes.
Now I have to tell you that February – tomorrow! -- sees the start of the annual Anne McAllister/Kate Walker/Liz Fielding “Here Comes the…” competition. Last year it was the Brides leading the Grooms a merry dance. This year it’s going to be Grooms turn and who knows what they’ll get up to. What I can tell you is that there are three prizes and each prize will consist of the three latest titles from each of us. Anne's ONE NIGHT LOVE-CHILD, Kate's SPANISH BILLIONAIRE, INNOCENT WIFE and my THE BRIDE'S BABY.
You’ll find a question from each groom on our blogs and for a chance to win, you’ll have to send all three answers to each of us. Which gives you three chances to win. I think that’s clear…
I’ll introduce you to Anne and Kate’s grooms next week, but for now let me introduce you to self-made tycoon, Tom McFarlane.
He's a man who has everything except the very necessary well-bred wife to put the gloss on his meteoric rise from the lowest sphere of society.
A man who knows that love hurts and is having none of it, only for love to throw a spanner into the carefully oiled works and overturn his well-laid plans.
No doubt he'll take over and tell you the tale himself, but here's a bride's eye view of him to be going on with.
Sylvie turned to find her way blocked by six and a half feet of broad-shouldered male and experienced a bewildering sense of déjà vu.
A feeling that this had happened before.
And then she looked up and realised it was not an illusion. This had happened before – except on that occasion the male concerned had been wearing navy pin-stripe instead of grey cashmere.
“Some billionaire…” Laura had said, but she hadn’t mentioned a name. And she hadn’t bothered to ask, pretending she didn’t care.
She cared now, because it wasn’t just “some” billionaire who’d bought her family home and was planning to turn it into a conference centre.
It was Tom McFarlane, the man with whom, just for a few moments, she’d totally lost it. Whose baby she was now carrying.
Tom’s question is --
What colour silk did I become intimately acquainted with?
You’ll find the answer on Liz’s website.
If that’s not enough excitement for one week, Nicola Marsh is running a Valentine competition during February with books galore to win, including one of mine on the 1st. Check it out here.
Okay, you’ve had the trailers, now here’s the main attraction.
Fiona Harper stepped into stardom with her first book, the wonderful BLIND DATE MARRIAGE, winning the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Award against a line up that included mainstream women’s fiction. This year she has two books on the the “Romance Prize” shortlist and she’s going to be telling you about one of them, ENGLISH LORD, ORDINARY LADY, and offering a signed copy to one lucky prize winner. You’ve got until Monday morning (Sunday evening if you’re in the US) to enter.
Here’s Fiona to tell you about the inspiration for her book and give you an irresistible taster.
The inspiration for English Lord, Ordinary Lady came from a secondary character in my first book, Blind-Date Marriage. The heroine’s best friend was a rule-breaking pink-haired dynamo called Cassie, and I so badly wanted to give her a story of her own, even if it meant killing off her vicar husband and leaving her pregnant and homeless (aren’t I wicked!). I even had a hero all set up and a great idea for an ending, but…I just couldn’t get the timelines to fit with the past I had given Cassie in the previous book.
So, in the end, I decided to take the ‘spirit of Cassie’ and create a new heroine – one whose history I could manufacture to fit my story – and, hey presto, Josie popped into being. Her hair was just as pink as Cassie’s, her take on life just as unconventional, but she turned out to be younger, feistier and naughtier than I could ever imagine! I also kept the same ending I’d dreamed up for Cassie. In fact, the whole of English Lord, Ordinary Lady was written, and Will’s character created, just to let that ending make sense. I’m not going to give anything away, but let’s just say that it’s the bit where Will decides to keep everything under his hat (wink, wink).
It just so happens that I have relatives that run a tea room at a stately home. What a great way to bring an ordinary girl into the path of a stuffy, need-to-be-shaken-up English lord, I thought. But then the ‘what if’ fairies got to work on my idea. What if, instead of being a poor girl from the wrong side of the tracks, struggling to make good, Josie was actually from a family just as privileged as Will’s? What if she’d turned her back on that life? Suddenly, Josie became an upper class party-girl seeking to straighten herself out – and I knew I had a story that I was itching to write. But it turned out that I could take the it-girl out of the party circuit, but I couldn’t take that special something – the ‘it’ – out of the girl. And, despite himself, Will noticed it too. And that’s when all his troubles began, poor man…
'I’ve had an idea about how to get some more money in for Elmhurst Hall.’
Josie was so excited she was almost bouncing in the chair. ‘I first got the idea yesterday…but I wasn’t sure…now I think it could.’
‘Josie, you’re not making any sense.’
The next sentence was delivered in such a breathless rush he only just recognised it as English.
‘You and me…we could…do a wedding, see how it goes. It could give us a wonderful future.’
Uh-oh. This is what you got for kissing your employees in the orchard. He’d known it had been a mistake right from the moment he’d opened his eyes afterwards. But this? This had caught him completely off-guard. Josie didn’t look like the rushing-into-wedlock type one little bit.
‘You mean…Josie, I don’t think that’s such a good idea.’
She looked puzzled. Had he really read her that wrong? Who would want to get married after just one kiss? He wasn’t that good a kisser, was he?
He stared at her. ‘Isn’t this a little sudden? I mean, I only just…’
She gave him a begging look. ‘I know you’ve only just given me the job, but I think this could really work.’
She was deadly serious. He had fun with Josie. She was great company. And OK, despite his best efforts not to be, he was attracted to her. But marriage?
‘Give me a few seconds to mull this over.’
She crossed her arms, leaned back in the chair and waited.
His thoughts wandered back to the blossom-scented orchard of two nights ago. What had she said about him needing a wife and producing an heir? Not that he wasn’t flattered she was offering her services. But he couldn’t see Josie in that role.
He needed someone who not just knew the rules of high society, but was willing to play the game. If he got married—and it was still a big ‘if’—he would need a peacemaker, someone who could pour oil on troubled waters. That wasn’t Josie. Oh, no. She was the type to light a match and watch the oil slick explode.
Of course, her family money might help—he presumed this was part of the reason. And great families down the ages had made marriages of convenience to cement their positions, to increase their status or wealth, but he didn’t think it was something he could stretch to.
Money alone would not buy what he wanted. For the sake of his grandfather, he needed respect and a good reputation. With Josie on board they'd have reputation in spades. Just not the kind he wanted.
‘I think I’m going to have to say…’ How did he say this? He’d never had to turn down an offer of marriage before.
‘Please don’t say no before I’ve told you my plans!’
‘Plans?’ His voice was horribly croaky.
‘My brother is getting married in July. If they have the service and reception here, we could use it as a test run.’
‘Test run?’ This was getting scarier by the second.
‘Will, are you OK? You keep repeating the last thing I say.’
He clasped his hands, lay them on the desk in front of him and tried to look normal. ‘Fine. Absolutely fine.’
‘If Alfie’s wedding goes well, we could plan to book more for next year. I’ve checked the figures. People will pay thousands to get married at a beautiful place like this. It’s part of the fantasy, isn’t it? In a few years we might be able to get every Saturday through the summer booked. It would boost the income substantially. What do you think?’
Oh. She was talking about other people getting married. Weddings. Business. And he’d thought…
He checked his reflection in the blank computer screen to his left. Sometimes, Will, you rate yourself a little too highly.
My question for the competition is:
What is the name of the stately home that Will has just inherited in English Lord, Ordinary Lady? Check out my website for the answer. I'll be giving away a signed copy of English Lord, Ordinary Lady to the winner.
Send your answer -- plus your name and street address -- to liz @ lizfielding.com with "Fiona Harper" in the subject line.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Liz, who is apparently busy sorting out some other guy's life, has asked me to drop by and tell you that the story of how Diana and I became the luckiest people alive -- her 50th book, don't forget -- is now sold out at Mills & Boon's website.
There may be a few copies left in the shops -- but only until Friday when the February books will be on display. Diana urges you not to miss out, she doesn't want you paying outrageous postage charges to get it from Amazon!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
The new bed is amazing. It’s so HUGE – I’m thinking that maybe I should have settled on king-size rather than going to the superking, but the space is magic. As is the sheer comfort of the foot-thick mattress. I won’t mention the bruise where I caught my shin on one of the screws as we put the frame together…
No, honestly. Never has getting up in the morning been so difficult.
Just as well I made the effort on Friday. As I reached the kitchen there was a noise like torrential rain. Except it wasn’t rain, but you’d already guessed that hadn’t you? It was hot water pouring from the bottom of my washing machine and no, I hadn’t gone to bed leaving it running.
Experience has taught me that if a washing machine is going to stick, it will always stick on “fill”, never on “drain”. Just as well the little grey cells were sufficiently awake for me to grope for the switches under the sink and turn off the water. Luckily I’m completely up to date with the washing – if not the ironing – so a few days while it gets sorted out is not going to be a problem, but it looks as if the cheque for the last book arrived in the nick of time. I'm still waiting for my author copies of Bride for a Billionaire, though.
The new book is doing what new books always seem to do these days. Not a lot. I’ve got a hero and a heroine and a complication, but I keep running up against that little part of me that refuses to suspend belief and go with it; the one that keeps say “But…” And then, yesterday afternoon everything shifted sideways and I began to see a story emerge. And lying awake half the night with it going around in my head has shifted one of the niggles. With luck and a following wind, I might just get this done.
Fortunately, I’ve a couple of inspirational trips to London next week, dallying with colleagues and editors, first at the RNA Awards lunch, then at the Mills & Boon Centenary Cocktail Party; the stimulating conversation of fellow writers always acts like a whiff of oxygen to the brain, which reminds me, I’d better go and shake out my pink feather boa, but not before I've thanked Elizabeth Rolls for being such a star guest last week. It’s been a while since I read a Regency romance. Definitely time to reacquaint myself with their particular charms.
I'll post news of the winner of A Comprised Lady on Thursday.
There are a couple of other things I have to mention before I go. First Nicola Marsh is running a fabulous Valentine Quiz during February with books galore on offer. She’s got one of mine up for grabs on the 1st so make a note on your PC diary to drop by and join in the fun!
February 1st also sees the start of the annual Anne McAllister, Kate Walker, Liz Fielding competition. Last year it was Here Come the Brides. This year we’re going with HERE COME THE GROOMS.
Anne’s Theo has promised to put in an appearance, Max Valentine might just find time to drop by and I’m hoping that Kate will tempt Domenico into putting in an appearance to provide support for the three grooms being put through it by their brides this year. Whatever, you can be sure the males will be alpha, the brides will be spirited and that three winners will each win a signed copy of all three books being featured this year.
Finally, Fiona Harper – winner of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer Award for her first book, double Rita nominee in her first year of publication and with two books on the shortlist for the RNA’s “Romance Prize” this year – will be my guest here on Thursday. Better get out the red carpet…
Fiona will be telling us about her February “Romance”, offering a signed copy to one lucky reader and, hopefully, telling us the secret of her success.
Not to be missed.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
January progresses at a dizzying speed. This week I finally braved the incessant rain to return a Christmas present (my fault, I chose it, then decided it really wasn't me). I bought a copy of Writers News while I was out and there's an article about Mills & Boon with bags of advice from the delightful Fiona Harper.
Then the dh and I spent the afternoon putting up the new bed. We've finally decided we've reached an age -- and girth -- where we needed something a little bigger than a standard double. We went for a superking -- getting the mattress up the stairs caused a few hairy moments -- but it looks fabulous. I'll be having a lavender scented bath, then it's early to bed for me. :)
Then this afternoon I heard the very sad news about Heath Ledger who utterly enchanted me in The Knight's Tale. One just feels for his family.
Now, though, I have a lovely task, to introduce you to the delightful, award winning Regency author, Elizabeth Rolls, who is my guest this week. Elizabeth has always loved writing, but was drawn to the Regency romance by the Queen of the genre, Georgette Heyer and the story of how she sold her very first book is on her website. But here's Elizabeth to tell you about her new book, A COMPROMISED LADY.
It’s a huge honour being asked by Liz to help celebrate her fiftieth book. Fifty! Wow! If I ever have that many written it will be a major miracle. Coming in the same year as Mills & Boon’s Centenary it’s a double pleasure. Anyway Liz has been kind enough to spread her joy around and she’s asked me to tell you a little bit about my latest UK release A Compromised Lady, available in February. And I’m thrilled to say that it has just won a Cataromance Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Harlequin Historical.
To be perfectly honest, it was the Book From Hell to write. I started it after finishing His Lady Mistress and I told myself that there had been enough angst already in that one. This time I was going to write A Romp. Have Fun. Be Frivolous. Yeah, right. The idea that came to me was of a very shy woman who completely out of the blue inherits a large amount of money and has to run the gauntlet of society as an heiress. A real fish-out-of-water story. I had an opening that I thought was absolutely the bee’s knees and it was all buzzing along merrily.
Then my editor persuaded me to put it aside to work on a collaborative project with Joanna Maitland and Nicola Cornick. That definitely sounded like a lot of fun, so I shelved the book and dived into A Regency Invitation exchanging hundreds of emails with Joanna and Nicola in the process. By the time we finished it and I returned to my Romp, I’d been on a hiking holiday in New Zealand and the DH and I had moved house half way across the country with two children, two dogs and two cats to an idyllic location. A lovely, green valley full of apple and cherry orchards, a peaceful, shady garden . . . perfect for a writer, wouldn’t you think?
Only the dratted book didn’t want to be written. Not the way I’d conceived it anyway. My bee’s knees opening now sounded contrived and wooden. The problem was my hero, Richard Blakehurst, the twin brother of Max, the hero in His Lady Mistress. Richard was quite familiar to me. He was a much quieter, but no less passionate man, than his twin. Scholarly, private and very much in control of his life and choices. But he also had a very strong, must-slay-the-dragon streak of chivalry in him and the story and heroine I was forcing on him didn’t interest him at all. He kept on walking back into his library and slamming the door in my face, a sure sign that I had got things wrong. That and the fact that everything I’d written felt “weary, stale, flat and unprofitable” to quote Hamlet.
I once heard the Editorial Director at Mills & Boon, Karin Stoecker, say, ‘Start with your characters.’ Believe me, you have to listen to them as well!
When finally Thea arrived in my head complete with secrets, fears and enough emotional baggage to sink a ship, I cursed. With Thea on board the plot was shaping up to be just as angst-ridden as His Lady Mistress. Not what I wanted at all. Richard however put his head around the library door, took one look and started co-operating. So I bowed to the inevitable. Start with your characters and then listen to them.
Some of the original concept remained, like Thea’s inheritance and their mutual, interfering godmother Lady Arnsworth who is desperate to arrange a match between them. But in the end none of this was enough for a story. Not for Richard’s story anyway, which is bizarre in way because so much of the story is about Thea and the revelation of her past. I had to dig deep to find out why Thea’s inheritance was so unwelcome to her initially and why she did not want to come to London. I guess that was what Richard was trying to tell me all along. He was a slay-the-dragon sort of fellow and he didn’t want me to waste his story.
In the end Richard didn’t get it all his own way and slay all the dragons. It was Thea’s story and she had to find the strength and courage to sort out her own life and Richard had to support her while she did that. Not that he wasn’t willing to slay all the dragons, but he realised when it was time to stand back and let Thea confront her final nemesis.
Do I regret the Romp? No. Not in the least. What I regret is that I forced myself through about 30 000 words of it before I worked out what was wrong!
Excerpt from A Compromised Lady
Thea took a deep breath and asked huskily, ‘Would you kiss me again?’
He stopped dead in his tracks.
‘I beg your pardon?’
Stubbornly she met his disbelieving gaze. ‘Please . . . if you wouldn’t mind . . . would you kiss me again. P . . . p . . . properly this time.’
He was having difficulty just breathing, but he managed to say, ‘I think I might just about be able to cope.’ Dear God in heaven – what the hell did she mean by properly? Unfortunately, the way – all the ways - he wanted to kiss Thea Winslow came under the heading Improper. Extremely improper. Now was probably not the right moment to point out that he’d been wanting to kiss her properly for sometime. And it certainly wasn’t the right moment to lose all control. She had refused even to listen to his last offer of marriage. So why in Hades did she want him to kiss her?
‘Here?’ he suggested, keeping his voice very neutral. At least his voice was under control. It was about the only part of him that was. Apparently the shreds of his control had been used up keeping that last kiss within the bounds of propriety.
She looked about. ‘Y . . . yes. Here would be nice.’
Nice? Richard took a shuddering breath. Here would be perfect. He suspected that here, in the sun-dappled green of the beech woods, was about to become the most wonderful place on earth. Slowly, he raised a hand and brushed his fingers along the elegant line of her throat and jaw. So soft. So silky. He couldn’t remember any woman’s skin ever being that soft. He couldn’t remember any other woman at all for that matter. She, and only she, filled his memories, his heart, his soul. And she had asked him to kiss her. Just kiss her. If anyone had ever offered him anything sweeter, he didn’t remember that, either. Carefully he cradled her jaw, smoothing his thumb over her lips. They parted on a soft gasp and heat shot through him.
Just a kiss, he reminded himself.
Thea waited, shivering in wonder at his touch, her mind reeling with shock, that she had actually done something so outrageous as to ask a gentleman to kiss her. Properly. Only . . . having asked him to kiss her, she now had absolutely no idea what the next move should be. She didn’t even know what properly involved. Fortunately it was obvious that Richard did know.
His fingers, light and caressing, drew tingling magic from deep within her, melting her shyness in the warmth of his tenderness. Gentle, feather light kisses caressed her temples, her closed eyes. Controlled strength drew her closer, nestling her against his body as that teasing mouth brushed fire along the line of her jaw, until, in sudden frustration, she turned, clumsily capturing his lips with her own.
A moment’s stillness as their mouths met, then his lips moved in a heart shaking entreaty, the silky heat of his tongue tasting, teasing her own lips open. So different, a melding this, and she responded to the heat spreading within her, parting her lips, opening her mouth in acceptance.
His tongue slid deep, stroking, and heat burst inside her as she felt the aching pulse deep within, echoing the possessive surge and retreat of his tongue.
He took, but he also gave. And she could sense his restraint. In the taut strength of his arms, cradling her so tenderly. In the low groan deep in his throat as she tentatively returned his kiss, tasting, probing with her own tongue.
Her bones melted. Every fibre softened in delight and she clung, pressing against him, closer than sunlight, feeling joy and love pour through her, illuminating every dark corner, flinging back the shadows.
Finally, far too soon, he drew back, releasing her mouth and settling her cheek against his chest. She could hear his heart hammering. Beating to the same wild, burning rhythm as her own. His hand stroked her hair, soothing, gentle.
His voice came, utterly calm. ‘Was that what you meant by properly?’
Question for an autographed copy of A Compromised Lady.
What is the name of Lady Arnsworth’s butler? (You’ll need to go to the excerpt on my website for that.)
And for a bonus book from my backlist: Check out the photos page on my website and count how many different creatures we have!
Back to Liz...
Thank you so much, Elizabeth, that's so generous. And since, clearly, we can't have the answers on the comment section, please email your answers to me at liz @lizfielding.com with Elizabeth Rolls in the subject line, adding your name and address in the body of the email along with your answers. But do come and talk to Elizabeth, too. About the Regency, writing and her life in Australia.
Meanwhile, if you can't wait until February to buy A Compromised Lady, you'll find it online at Mills & Boon website -- there's a link on the sidebar.
Monday, January 21, 2008
First a big thank you to Melissa James for being my guest over the weekend. And to everyone who responded to that terrific question about favourite storylines. You’ve given us all plenty to think about in your replies.
Bectoria and Snookie were both prize winners this week. Snookie, I have your address and I’ve already passed it on to Melissa. Bectoria, if you’ll contact me at liz @lizfielding.com with your street name and address, I’ll see that Melissa gets it asap.
Well, it has been an incredibly busy week following the announcement of the Romance Prize shortlist. Did you all go and check out the full list? As well as The Secret Life of Lady Gabriella, Fiona Harper has two books on the list, Kate Hardy is there with her fabulous Breakfast at Giovanni’s along with titles by Julie Cohen and Lucy Gordon. We’ll all be meeting up at the awards lunch in February and whoever wins it’ll be a cause for celebration, which remind me, I must book my seat on the train!
Also an interview with a journalist from The Observer about writing for Mills & Boon. It’s part of the M&B Centenary and will be in the Review section on Sunday 27 January.
This week my guest will be Elizabeth Rolls, who writes the most fabulous Regency romances. Check out her website and read the story of how she became hooked on Georgette Heyer while staying with a friend, wrote the book to unwind in the evenings and, seven months pregnant, she sold it. What a woman!
Her blog will be online on Thursday and she’ll be giving away a copy of her latest book A COMPROMISED LADY to one lucky winner, so do drop by over the weekend to chat with her.
Monday, January 14, 2008
The 50th Year is certainly starting in a blaze of excitement.
THE SECRET LIFE OF LADY GABRIELLA, having been shortlisted by Romantic Times as Best Harlequin Romance of 2007 and won a Catanetwork Reviewers' Choice Award, has now been shortlisted for the
and the Betty Neels' Rose Bowl which is awarded annually by the Romantic Novelists' Association.
This is such a thrill and even better, one of my dearest writing chums is also on the list, but I'll leave her to make her own announcement. The winner will be announced at the RNA's Award Lunch at the Royal Garden Court Hotel in London on 4th February.
You'll find the full list of finalists here on Thursday afternoon.
... A WINNER...
The winner of Annie West's book, The Greek Tycoon's Unexpected Wife, is Michelle L (deseng). Annie is on holiday at the moment, Michelle, so if you'd like to email me with "Annie West winner" in the subject line and your name and street address, I'll pass it on to her as soon as she's home.
...AND MY SECOND GUEST, MELISSA JAMES
My guest this week, Sydney-born author, Melissa James, believes that “A life lived in fear, is a life half-lived...” a tenet she lives by. As a novelist, however, she can leave the risks to her characters and just dream about flying, scuba diving and abseiling down cliffs, much to the relief of her family!
Her warm, wonderfully entertaining books are fan favourites, her Harlequin Romance, HER OUTBACK KNIGHT, winning a Reviewers Choice Award.
But here's Melissa to tell you about herself and her latest book A MOTHER IN A MILLION...
When I began writing for Mills & Boon, I was lucky enough to be told to write about whatever topic I wanted, within limits, of course. So when I saw a show about the long-term effects of missing persons on their families, I got the germ of an idea for this story, pitched it to my editor, who to my surprise, loved it.
This is a story about a single dad trying to raise three kids, two troubled, while trying to find his runaway wife, and a woman who can't have a family of her own, longing for just that. A love story that seems impossible for so long because of one child's promise to his missing mother...
Jennifer's trapped in past grief, and then trapped by a love that can't happen, until she's set free by the one person she doesn't expect. Noah's in desperate need of a mother for his damaged, suffering kids, and when he meets Jennifer, he knows he's found the perfect mother - a mother in a million - but Jennifer can't be his...and when he's finally set free, she still can't be his.
And here's the excerpt...
He dragged in a breath before he made the confession, took the biggest personal risk of his life. "Then I saw you, and even from a distance, I knew I was in trouble."
The soft, glowing eyes turned back to him at last. She took in his face, slowly, every part of it. Her lips were already parted; her chest heaved with every breath. "I’ve never been the ‘in trouble’ kind of woman."
He smiled, a little. "Who’s playing games now?" He moved closer to her, until the warm current of wanting grew to heat, fuelling their bodies.
She bit her lip over a grin: the kind of warm, sensuous curving of lips that told a man exactly what he needed to know. "This kind of game is…" Her tongue ran over her lips again, her gaze glued to his mouth. Her hand half-lifted, waiting in the middle of that hot, swirling current.
"Yeah," he breathed, lifting his hand, twining his fingers through hers. "It is."
"I can’t do this if you’re still married in your heart," she whispered.
He’d expected that. For answer he reached back with his free hand, and passed her the papers he’d signed. "I had to tell you before I sent them. It’s for me, not you," he said quietly. "Meeting you made me see the truth. I can’t hang onto something that’s no more than a memory. Part of me will always love her…but she’s gone. I can’t keep living a half-life for Tim’s sake, for my in-laws. Living a lie doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t keep her alive, except in their minds."
She read the divorce papers, and closed her eyes as she let them fall. "This is why you bought the kids the presents."
She gave a little sigh. "Everything about us seems to have irony in there somehow. Is there a message in that?"
He leaned closer to her, and captured her other hand. "There’s no timetable, Jennifer. There’s no right time or way. It’s happening, no matter what we do. We either ignore it and regret it later, or we take what we both want, and accept the consequences."
She looked at him, her eyes shimmering, uncertain. She wet her lips as she gazed at his face. He’d never felt so strong, so glad to be a man in his life as now, when Jennifer looked at him with all that longing.
"I want the consequences, Jennifer," he murmured huskily. "I want you. I want you."
"Noah." Her voice cracked; her eyes drifted closed, and she fell into him. "Don’t make me wait any more."
Jennifer had waited for him. Though he’d known it from the first night, he’d treasure the words until his dying breath.
Tender and a touch clumsy in first-kiss anxiety, they bumped each other’s noses. He opened his eyes, drew back a little and smiled at her. Jennifer laughed, low and soft and throaty: a rich, sensuous laugh, and he knew she’d laugh just like that when they made love.
He unlaced their hands and twined his fingers through her loose plait. "Come here," he said huskily, drawing her against him.
For the first time in half a lifetime, the sense of fatality filling him was beautiful. He knew this would be the kiss of his life.
Holding her flush against him, he hovered just over her mouth, waiting, teasing, loving the impatient little moan coming from her, the way her hands threaded through his hair and drew him down to the blanket so he was half-lying on her.
She moaned again and moved against him. "Noah," she whispered, aching with wanting. She wanted him so badly she was shivering.
Then her mouth covered his, tender and hungry; and rightness filled his soul at the same moment his body’s insistent beat took over everything and shut down every other sense.
The responses of her warm, generous body filled him with her sweetness and urgency. She kissed him gently, but when he took it deeper, she went with him; her hands were threading through his hair, fingers trailing down to his neck. The tiny, whisper-soft sighs between each kiss held a half-plea. "More, Noah…more…"
More was fine with him. Right now he never wanted to stop.
I have a signed copy of A MOTHER IN A MILLION to give away. Writers are always being asked "Where do you get your ideas from?" Well writers have their own version of that question. What would you most like to read in a storyline?
Oh, oh, oh... I want to read this book now! Thanks so much, for sharing that with us, Melissa. And great question. Enquiring minds want to know what you'd rush and buy!
In the meantime, if you can't wait to read A MOTHER IN A MILLION, it's available at eHarlequin and Mills & Boon (links oppposite) and at Amazon, US
It's also available as an eBook.
Before I do anything else I want to thank Annie West for being such an amazing guest. Thank you for being so generous with your time in discussing all aspects of writing, Annie. And thanks to all of you for making her so welcome.
Annie is going to choose the winner of THE GREEK TYCOON'S UNEXPECTED WIFE sometime in the next couple of days and I'll announce it on Thursday when our next guest, Harlequin Romance author Melissa James drops by to party.
Those those of you who miss out, the book is available in May and you can reserve a copy at Amazon
I've had a busy few days guest blogging myself over at the Pink Heart Society and My Tote Bag, but we've managed to finish the decorating. The hall, looking much lighter with its new wallpaper, is now back to normal and fully functioning, although I still have to decide what to do with the two bookshelves we decided it could without. And I've had my reading glasses fixed (dropped them, stood on them, bent them out of shape). I need the hypo-allergnic frames and wearing my old ones brought out spectacle shaped patched of eczema. One day back in the new ones and I'm nearly back to normal. Magic.
Today I have to start a new book, a time of excitement, terror (off all the plots in all the world did I choose the right one?) and, well, yes fun. meanwhile, I've just had the artwork for the cover of my next book, THE BRIDE'S BABY, my 50th "Harlequin Romance" and couldn't wait to share it with you. If you wondered why I needed a whole year to celebrate, the fact is that I have a double 50 -- 50th book and 50th HR!
See you all on Thursday when you'll have a chance to win Melissa's latest book, A MOTHER IN A MILLION!
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
CELEBRATING 50 BOOKS!
Today the dh asked me if I ever thought, when my first romance was published, whether I'd ever be at this point in my career, celebrating the publication of THE SHEIKH'S UNSUITABLE BRIDE -- Book # 50. The answer was that I was just so thrilled to have my first book accepted, I couldn't possibly have imagined anything more exciting.
That's probably still true, actually, but there is something about a nice round number like 50 that demands a party so I thought I'd invite my friends to come and join in the cyber fun!
Each week during 2008 -- on Thursday (except for a couple of important dates when I'll post them a little earlier -- I'll tell you) -- one of my much admir'd authors will drop by to share the fun, and since all parties need games, offer a signed book for one lucky reader.
Today I have great pleasure in welcoming Presents/Modern author, Annie West. Annie, who has recently been nominated by Romantic Time for Best Presents of 2007, hails from Australia's east coast and once received a marriage offer which included a herd of camels!
Liz, thanks so much for inviting me to help you celebrate your career success so far – 50 books! From where I sit that’s almost unbelievable. Almost – because I and so many of my romance reader/writer friends have been enjoying your stories for a long time now. Congratulations on this landmark achievement!
I’m thrilled to start 2008 with the release of THE GREEK TYCOON'S UNEXPECTED WIFE, and to talk about it here.
This book emerged from a title that popped into my head one day: The Unwanted Wife. Once I had those 3 words I knew I wanted to write the story even though I didn’t know what it was about! For about 6 months as I worked on other projects I wondered why this particular wife was unwanted. I even became desperate enough to ask friends! They humoured me, supplying all sorts of reasonable explanations but none were quite right. Then, finally the story came to me and I became completely absorbed.
I enjoyed so many aspects of this story. A Greek island setting that made me long for another Aegean visit. A strong couple who were perfect for each other, if only they could overcome their differences. A good dose of melodrama (hey, I write for Modern/Presents), deep emotion, gorgeous gems and a situation that kept hero and hero in sizzling suspense. All I had to do was write it! Easier said than done.
Stavros is a powerful, obstinate man, used to getting things his own way. I took great delight in putting him in a situation where all his careful plans are destroyed, as well as his assumptions about Tessa. Poor Tessa doesn’t realise the trouble she’s unleashing when she arrives at his villa to return his ancestral ring.
'I'm sorry if I've come at a bad time. It wasn't my intention.' She tugged at her hand but he kept it in his. 'I'll leave now that you have your property.'
Would she indeed? And no doubt she'd head to the nearest press agency to sell her story.
Not if he had anything to do with it!
'I'm afraid not,' he murmured.
'But I'm not welcome here. That much is obvious.'
He nodded, acknowledging her point. 'True. But do you really think I'm so stupid as to leave you to your own devices?'
She opened her mouth, no doubt to protest. He cut her off with a single, abrupt gesture.
'Enough! I want no more of your pretensions to innocence. You will not leave the estate until I have the whole story from you and we come to some...accommodation about our circumstances.'
'Accommodation?' She shook her head, the very picture of bewilderment.
Her dramatic skills had improved in the last four years, he realised. When they'd first met he'd found her amazingly transparent in her thoughts and emotions. Now look at her: an accomplished liar.
'Of course, an accommodation. The situation requires careful...attention.' His fingers tightened round hers as he smiled.
'You surely don't think I'd have celebrated my betrothal quite so publicly tonight if I'd known I still had a wife?'
Writing about this story has reminded me of the fun I had creating Stavros’ Greek island. What is your favourite ‘exotic’ setting for a story? Maybe a place in one of Liz’s books, or elsewhere. Perhaps even a place you think would be perfect for a romantic story? I’d love to hear. And I’ll give away a signed copy of ‘The Greek Tycoon’s Unexpected Wife’ to one of the readers who provides a comment.
Happy New Year everyone, and happy celebrations, Liz!
In the meantime you have until Monday morning (US time) to leave your comments and have a chance to win a copy of THE GREEK TYCOON'S UNEXPECTED WIFE.
Whew! For a longer excerpt and to find out more about Annie and her books, check out her website
Sunday, January 06, 2008
My 50th book, THE SHEIKH'S UNSUITABLE BRIDE, hit the UK shelves on Friday.
Next week it will be retail in the US and in February in Australia. Of course it's available online and as an eBook download at Harlequin sites already.
I've had lots of amazing reviews for the book already.
"...oodles of sizzle...Pure magic from beginning to end." 4.5 stars from Romantic Times
"Sublimely entertaining." Romance Readers at Heart
"Fielding writes characters that matter." Coffee Time Romance
and then, yesterday this went online -
"Sparkling, enchanting, feel-good and wonderfully romantic, The Sheikh's Unsuitable Bride is sheer perfection!" at Cataromance
As if all that wasn't enough to makes a writer's head dizzy, this month is a double release in the UK, with the re-release of THE BILLIONAIRE TAKES A BRIDE in a Mills & Boon "By Request" 3-in-1, BRIDE FOR A BILLIONAIRE along with fabulous books by Carol Marinelli and Robyn Donald.
And let's not forget that I'm not the only one celebrating a very special anniversary.
Mills & Boon are celebrating their Centenary this year so keep an eye on their website. Also look out for 24 collectable titles in retro covers at £1.49. My contribution, THE TEMP & TYCOON will be available in June -- you can reserve a copy now at Amazon. The cover is in the sidebar.
So, I hear you asking, what is Liz being doing to celebrate this amazing event. Is she out partying? Having a champagne fuelled booklaunch? Actually, no. I've been burning the midnight oil on a short story over the New Year and now the dh and I are wallpapering the hall.
We thought it would be a piece of cake. The bottom half is oak panelled, we reasoned, so it's only short lengths. Pause for hollow laughter, here .
Day One involved moving all the stuff that seems to gather in the hall. The coat rack, four bookshelves, three tables, an armchair, lamp, clock, mirror, pictures. Then we stripped the walls. And thought we were so smart because it was done and dusted by lunchtime and we even had time to do the weekly shop. Such hubris is always going to be punished...
Day Two is when we discovered the first piece of paper we put up had a mark in it and I remember why I HATE DIY!!!! Nevertheless we didn't kill one another (intentionally or otherwise), and fell asleep in front of the television before crawling to bed every joint complaining. Yesterday I pasted and the dh did the wallpapering. Today it's the tricky bit over the platerack and I'm up the ladder.
Oh, and I have to start a new book on Monday as well doing my best not to think of the two sets of revisions that are now hanging over me.
But I haven't forgotten that GOLDEN celebrations are in order. From next week, friends and colleagues will be dropping by on a regular basis to help me enjoy this special moment. You'll a guest blog each Thursday, with an author chatting about writing, their books and of course giving away a signed copoy. First up on January 10th, will be Presents author, Annie West. I know you'll give her a warm welcome.
By the way, you may have noticed that the US cover for THE SHEIKH'S UNSUITABLE BRIDE has a special heart cover flash "Special Treat", well Harlequin have put together a special Valentine Day website with free online reads, games, e-cards just for your, so check it out at Harlequin Special Treat
And finally, do take a moment to pop over to the Harlequin Romance Authors blog, which has a Spotlight on Melissa James this month. And Melissa is giving away a copy of her January HR, MOTHER IN A MILLION to one lucky reader.