Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I've just heard that the truly wonderful Natasha Oakley (who writes weepies that keep Kleenex in business) has finalled in the Short Contemporary Category for the RITA with her book "The Tycoon's Princess Bride". Terrific news. And many congratulations to all the other authors out there who got "the call" yesterday.


You have until 1st April to take part in the competition to win the Mills & Boon Jigsaw (wherever you are in the world). Scroll down to the post below for all the details.


...the wonderful, sexy, funny Julie Cohen who this week has taken time out from admiring the adorable Fecklet to help me celebrate my 50th Harlequin Romance, The Bride's Baby.

I first encountered Julie at a Romantic Novelists' Association conference. She was giving a talk on writing sex. I was in the next room discovering the joys of writing a synopsis. Oh, bad choice. Truly, I needed the synopsis talk more than I needed to learn how to write about sex, but the gales of laughter coming from the next room left me in no doubt where I should have been and the minute her first book was published I rushed out and bought it. And kept on buying. Read her excerpt and you'll see why.

Over to Julie...

I’ve got a secret vice to admit: I’m a Liz Fielding book hoarder.

I’ll see a Liz Fielding book in the shop, and I’ll buy it, because of course you’d have to be insane not to. But then I won’t read it right away. No, I’ll put it on a special shelf, the one that’s directly to the left of the computer where I’m typing right now, and I will leave it there, like that bar of chocolate your husband bought for you in a rare moment of romance and which would be a waste to merely shove down your throat. It’s something that needs to wait for the correct moment, when you have time to savour it.

The correct moment, for me, for a Liz Fielding book, is when I’m feeling under the weather. Or when I’ve got a train journey and I need a break from work. Or when nothing has quite gone right all day and I need a long, long bath. That’s when I take down the Liz Fielding book, because I know Liz’s likeable characters, her sense of humour, her sparkling style will give me a lovely break of unalloyed pleasure, while I snuggle in bed, or the miles go by, or the bath goes cold.

Congratulations on fifty books, Liz, and thanks for the hours of happiness when I needed them.

I’ve got two books on the shelves right now in the USA and UK. They’re both, coincidentally, friends-into-lovers stories, though they are pretty different.

MISTRESS IN PRIVATE (April Harlequin Presents, USA) is about “plain” Jane Miller, who decides to embark upon a hot affair with a sexy male model named Jay. The problem is, she has no idea how to seduce a sexy male model, so she asks her online friend, computer geek Jonny, for advice. Little does she know, that Jay is actually Jonny.

ONE NIGHT STAND (Little Black Dress, UK) is the story of Eleanor Connor, who writes erotic comedy novels by day and works in a seedy pub by night. Fed up with her boring life, she has a one night stand with a stranger, who then disappears. When she discovers she’s pregnant, she asks her best friend and neighbour, pastry chef and ladies’ man Hugh, to help her find the father.

Here’s an extract from ONE NIGHT STAND, which is a flashback to Eleanor and Hugh’s early friendship, five years before the story starts.

When we got to the cinema, having arrived ten minutes late, Hugh had got the dates wrong and it was an art film about Danish wife-swappers.

Hugh had left his glasses in his room so it fell to me to read him the subtitles.

“‘Do you want to make love to my fair lady? She is very good at giving--’”

I couldn’t say it. I dissolved into snorting giggles and the people sitting near us glared at me.

“What?” asked Hugh. “What is she good at giving? Gifts?”

“You know,” I gasped between sobs of laughter.

“I don’t,” said Hugh, although the fair lady had started to do it onscreen and his vision wasn’t that bad.

“Shhh,” hissed someone a row or two behind us.

“A bl--”

“Blood? She’s giving blood?”

I could barely breathe. “No, she’s giving a bl--”

“Black plague?”


Hugh was managing not to laugh; I was clutching onto his arm so hard it probably hurt him, trying not to slide off my wooden seat. Meanwhile on screen two other people had joined the action and it appeared that they were also having a conversation about flower symbolism.

“A blow job!” I cried, and someone else yelled, “Shut up!” and I put my head on the armrest and laughed as quietly as I could, tears streaming down my face, as Hugh shook with silent laughter beside me.

We snuck out soon afterwards, trying to ignore the dirty looks. It was a full moon and warm for March, so we swung by Hugh’s room, picked up a screwtop bottle of red wine, and went to sit by the university lake. A log hewn into a bench sat near some bushes on the bank, the perfect place to drink and watch the moonlight on the water and talk about everything and nothing, the kind of talk you can do with your best friend.

“I never thought sex was funny before,” I said.

“It’s inherently funny,” Hugh said. “Just listen: blow job. Say it.”

“Blow job,” I repeated, and giggled.

And then we lapsed into the kind of silence you can do with your best friend. The lake made lapping sounds on the shore and the moonlight was so bright it seemed as if I could taste it between slugs of wine from the bottle: something refreshing as water and a little metallic.

Hugh put his arm around me. This in itself was not unusual. I took another drink of wine and closed my eyes. I felt Hugh’s arm tighten around me, I heard him mutter something I didn’t quite listen to about taking charge of his life, and then he took the bottle of wine from my hand. I still had my eyes closed but it seemed as if he drank for a very long time

When he put the bottle down on the path it made a hollow empty sound. I opened my eyes and frowned. There had been about a third of the bottle left when I’d last taken a drink.

I leaned forward to pick up the wine to see if Hugh had hogged it all, and at that moment Hugh lunged toward me. I felt the warmth of his breath, the heat of his lips, on the side of my face near my ear. And something wet that I realised, with shock, was his tongue.

I jumped off the bench, knocking the wine bottle over onto the path. “Hugh,” I gasped, “did you just try to kiss me?”

I’ve got a copy of ONE NIGHT STAND for someone who leaves a comment on this post, telling us all about your secret vice. If it involves Liz Fielding, all the better! ;-)

* * *
I can't wait to read those, Julie!

Julie's book ONE NIGHT STAND is available now here at Amazon, where you'll also find MISTRESS IN PRIVATE.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


A huge thank you to Abby for taking time out from her Easter break to drop by and take part in the celebrations -- and to all of you for doing the same. I hope you all were suitably rewarded with chocolate bunnies! When she's home, Abby will pick her winner and I'll post the name then.

I might be celebrating my 50th book, but as many of you know, this year Mills & Boon are celebrating their centenary. We've had loads of coverage in the press -- largely positive, although those journalists do find it hard not to slip in the lazy buzz-words that betray they've either never read one, or at least not in the present century. Television and radio have also done us proud, raising the profile of what is, undoubtedly, a publishing phenomenon.

They are also producing some great commemorative stuff. Specially commissioned stories (see the cover of 100 Arabian Nights in the sidebar), a reprint of 24 novellas in those retro covers -- you can buy the entire set now in a special at the Mills & Boon website -- £25 including postage (there's a link on the sidebar. And there's this fabulous jigsaw made up of old covers and I'm offering one as a prize in a special competition.

Above (courtesy of Philippa Gedge Photography) is a picture of the authors who gathered to join in the celebrations last month at the Wallace Collection (I'm on the left, rather a long way back in the spectacles) and for a chance to win the jigsaw, I want you to send me your suggestions for an apt, amusing or just plain outrageous collective noun for a group of romantic novelists at liz with Jigsaw in the subject line and your suggestion, along with your name and address in the body. I'll pick a winner on 1st April!

In the meantime, if you can't wait, or you want to send one to a romance lover your know, it's available here at Amazon

Finally, Ally Blake is having a fuzzy moment and can't remember whether she heard from Jill, the winner of her signed book when she was a guest here earlier in the month. Jill, if you haven't sent your address to either Ally or me, or if you have and haven't had a response (my email is new system and I'm still finding out about its quirks), do contact me at liz with all the relevant information.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


In the last three or four years, both the Harlequin Romance and the Harlequin Presents/Mills& Boon Modern series have been enlived by the arrival of wonderful new authors.

Abby Green, one of the latest acquisitions for the Presents/Modern series, has lived all her life in Dublin and her day-job, as an assistant director in the film industry has undoubtedly strengthened those essentials needed by every writer; the ability to let her imagination soar and the absolute requirement to battle on through mud, storm, hail and fire when everything is against you.

The successful writer of popular commercial fiction is the writer who turns up every morning and puts in a full days work, ignoring backache, rsi, and every distraction that family and friends can throw in his or her way. And Abby does that twice over.

Many, many congratulations on this new career, Abby. I admire you more than you can possibly know.


First of all a big thanks to Liz for inviting me to blog in this special year of celebrating fifty books! Wow, fifty books. It makes my mind boggle, especially as I’ve only just completed number seven. That’s just another, oh, forty-three to go. The sheer scale of Liz’s achievement and success is something amazing to aspire to and I think if I manage to make it halfway to fifty books I’ll be very happy!

I have a book out this month, Bought for the Frenchman’s Pleasure and it mixes a few of my favourite things: romance, obviously; Ireland as I’ve set pieces of the story here; an arrogant but devilishly sexy French hero and an Irish heroine who is close to my heart as I’m Irish.

I was able to draw on a lot of friends for inspiration for my heroine as I have quite a few who share her colouring, that very distinctive Celtic pale skin, dark dark black hair and blue eyes. It was such fun dreaming up the characters and thinking of the various situations to put them in. And untimately giving them a happy ending, despite all the odds.

Sorcha opened her mouth, to try and say something, to reach him and he took advantage, driving his mouth down on hers, full of pent up aggression and anger. Hatred. Sorcha’s hand had come up to his to try and take it away and in her shock she left it there. His words were swirling in her head but all she could feel was him, wrapping his arms around her again, his tongue dancing erotically with hers. He was relentless, a master of her senses and she could do nothing but succumb, even as she felt a tear trickle out form under one eyelid and down her cheek.

After a long, long moment Romain pulled back with a jerky violent movement and looked down. He shook with reaction, to what he’d just revealed, to what he’d found on Sorcha’s person, and most of all to the way she was making him feel. To the way she held his body in her spell. He could see wetness on her cheek where a lone tear had left its mark and instead of inciting concern, he welcomed the hardness that settled in every bone. She was looking up at him with those big eyes. Lips trembling, plump from his kiss. And he would have her. Even though it went against every moral principle he’d held dear. Even though he’d hate himself. Because he couldn’t not.

‘You asked what I’m going to do Sorcha…well this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to take your delectable body when I’m good and ready. And I’m going to sate myself with you, burn myself free of this desire I feel.’

Sorcha swallowed painfully, her head and insides in absolute chaotic turmoil. ‘But…you mean you’re not going to send me home?’

He shook his head and a cruel smile touched his mouth. ‘No way. At this stage that would cost me money…’ he trailed a finger down her cheek and around her jaw. ‘And cost me my sanity. You’re going to finish the job…as my mistress…’

I’d love to know if any of your friends or acquaintances have ever inspired you for a story, either in the way they looked at a certain time that led you to imagine her/him as a heroine/hero, or by the jobs they do, or the lives they lead? I find my friends a constant source of inspiration, not that I’d tell them of course! And usually by the time the book is written, the piece or thing that inspired me in the first place is much changed from the reality. But I’d love to hear your experiences and I've a signed copy of the book for the one that floats my boat!

In the meantime, congratulations again to Liz, and here’s wishing her all the best for the next fifty books which I’ve no doubt we’ll be celebrating in the future.

Great question, Abby. I can't wait to read the comments, but in the meantime, for more information about Abby, her books, her life, you can visit her website here

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


According to Liz I've been slacking on the hero front. Never let it be said that I don't take my duties seriously, so I'm here to post a note from the delightful Donna Alward.


Thanks, Tom. (Whew! Fanning myself here.) Okay, here goes.

All the comments really proved what great memorable characters Liz writes, and I was really happy to see some heroes make the list and not just heroines! This week’s winner is Maureen. Maureen said she liked Belle because she made a really difficult choice and then had to live with it. This really summarizes a lot of what I feel about characters in general, and in The Soldier’s Homecoming, both Shannyn and Jonas have made choices they have to live with now, years later. So, if Maureen will send in her address, I’ll happily put her signed copy in the post!

Thanks for inviting me Liz!


Thanks for that, Tom. Did I say you were slacking? Never in a million years...

Congratulations, Maureen, and thank you for a terrific weekend, Donna. I can't wait to read The Soldier's Homecoming.

Abby Green will be here this weekend, with her latest Mills & Boon Modern/Harlequin Presents. I've read her excerpt, believe me, you won't want to miss it!

Monday, March 17, 2008


To those of you of the emerald persuasion,
have a brilliant day!


What a great guest Donna has been this weekend. It was such fun hearing which of my characters were most memorable. And useful, too. Clearly chocolate and burgers make a great heroine – something to be for the future.

Right now I’m writing another slightly larger than life heroine who has a little cottage industry making home made sweets. Fudge, coconut ice, something close to tootsie rolls. I discovered tootsie rolls on the web and my dd sighed with remembered pleasure – apparently she ate them by the bucket load when she was working in the States. There is something about that name that is slightly naughty that is just perfect for a romantic comedy don’t you think?.


Spring is just about here and my spring bride’s book, The Bride’s Baby is already on sale online – and as a eBook. Now the wonderfully talented and incredibly kind Trish Wylie has put together a special blog for this four books series (the other three are by Fiona Harper, Trish Wylie and Shirley Jump) so if you want excerpts, links and all things wedding related (plus the chance to win all four books), go to here to check it out.


The laptop saga continues. This morning it was returned by courier. I hugged it to my bosom, crooned over it like a baby.
The work note from the “tech guys” said “No error found”. That had to be good, didn’t it? Nothing lost. I would have all those emails I hadn’t had time to answer. Get all my addresses back. Retrieve my lost chapter...

Elation remained until I plugged it in and switched it on.
Nothing. It was, in fact, worse than when I’d sent it away. Then it was only the screen that was dead. Now nothing works. So it’s being picked up again tomorrow.

Another week...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Gale force winds brought down a huge tree that smashed through the roof of the old village school in Golden Grove (if you're an Under Milk Wood fan that name will ring a bell), just down the road from us. It's been closed for a couple of years and there was no one inside at the time, but when I drove past yesterday it was a sorry sight. It's a pretty stone building in a group with an equally pretty village church and the great manse. Needless to say, I didn't have my camera with me.

Then, the minute I finished posting my blog on Monday, my laptop died on me. I'm usually good about backing up, but somehow my head has been all over the place with the book I'm writing and a whole lot of stuff slipped through the net. The poor thing was picked up this morning and taken away to be made better (fingers crossed) and now I'm struggling with a strange machine.

My worst concern was the fact that I'd lost all the stuff that this week's guest, Donna Alward, had sent me in plenty of time.

I met Donna online on the eHarlequin message boards before she was published by Harlequin/Mills & Boon. She was enormous fun, loved the Harlequin Romance series and we all gave the biggest cheer when HIRED BY THE COWBOY was bought and published.

This wonderful warm and emotional read set the standard for Donna's storytelling and she has quickly become a fan-favourite. I'm delighted that, in what is a very hectic time for her, she's able to spend a little time celebrating with me and sharing news of her latest book, THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING with all of us.


I’m so happy to be here and help Liz celebrate such a glorious milestone. Some days I get to be completely awed at what I’m doing and the company I’m doing it with. This is one of those days.

When I first starting reading in the Romance line, Liz was one author I knew I was going to love, as soon as I read the first book. She creates such memorable characters. One of my favourites ever is Dodi from The Bridesmaid’s Reward…I mean who can’t appreciate a woman with a love of a fine hamburger! I’ll always love that scene!

And when I was a regular on the eharlequin boards looking to get published, she was incredibly generous with her advice and support. I was a little star-struck at first but she’s so friendly and has such a unique sense of humour that I soon got over it! Well, for the most part. I think I’ll always be a little star-struck because I simply respect her and what she’s accomplished so much.

Now I’m fortunate to call her my friend, and that’s very, very special to me.

To help celebrate Liz has again shown her generosity in inviting several of us to tell you about our latest books. Mine is THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING, out this month and it is the hardest thing I’ve ever written, probably because I loved my hero so much that it hurt to torture him so! I could feel his pain, his guilt, his feelings that he wasn’t worthy any more. He’s a Special Forces soldier, wounded, working as an instructor as he isn’t medically cleared for combat. He’s feeling guilty because he survived an attack that he considers his fault. Everything he based his identity on, is gone.

Of course, what he needs a woman strong enough to stand beside him. The only problem is, that very woman has betrayed him by keeping a secret…the fact that she had his baby five years earlier.

Here’s a short excerpt…from when he learns the truth:

The door to the back opened and she heard his voice talking to Geneva, thanking her politely. Shannyn turned her head towards the sound, only to snap it back abruptly as the front office door swung open carrying laughter with it.


A charged bundle in jeans and a red t-shirt barreled across the floor towards Shannyn’s desk, bouncing to a halt and grinning up precociously. “Surprise! I came from kindergarten!”
Jonas released Geneva’s hand as he turned, his heart stopping for a brief moment as the girl wrapped her chubby arms around Shannyn’s neck.

I have a daughter. The thought struck him like the sure aim of a bullet.

As if she sensed something was off, the girl turned her head and their eyes met, green to green. Every muscle in his body tightened with the impact of the truth. This is Shannyn’s daughter.

She’s in school. I left six years ago. She has my eyes.

Shannyn’s cheeks coloured; the blatant guilt on her face and the way she shifted in her chair seemed to confirm his suspicion. This was his daughter, one Shannyn had kept hidden from him all this time. A tiny poppet who looked eerily like the pictures of himself he remembered from his grandmother’s photo album.

All of it left him gutted. How much more could he lose? He clenched his fingers. It wasn’t enough to have the life he’d made for himself ripped away in the space of a moment. Now he had to find out he had another, separate life that he hadn’t even known existed.

It took every ounce of his self-control to not go to the little girl, to kneel before her and demand to see her eyes again. Moss green eyes. His eyes in a miniature of Shannyn’s delicate features. But what would that accomplish beyond frightening the child? She wouldn’t understand. He didn’t understand.

Congratulations Liz on Fifty Fabulous books! And thanks for letting me celebrate with you!

I’ve got a copy of The Soldier’s Homecoming up for grabs…all you have to do is post in the comments and tell us who your favourite Liz Fielding character is!

And, a final word from Liz, if you can't wait,you can buy now here. And don't forget, it's also available as an eBook!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


There's too many good choices!!!!! Seriously about ten I would happily choose. I had to cross out those I have already used, those I might one day use for a heroine, and those too close to the hero and heroine's names in this book. Soooo I had to go back to the source, looking into that sweet face, imagining where she has come from and how her name would have come about and the final winner is...Poppy.

A big thanks to everyone who helped out and congrats to Jill who'll be getting the signed copy of my FALLING FOR THE REBEL HEIR which is out now in the UK and in the next few days in North America!


Monday, March 10, 2008


Wow, didn’t we all have fun naming Ally Blake’s moppet? Thanks so much to you for joining in and telling us all your favourite names. As soon as I hear from Ally (we're on opposite sides of the world so the time difference is a factor) I’ll post the name of her winner.

Okay, you all know I have a serious chocolate weakness so it will come as no surprise to any of you that I’ve been watching Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory on the box.
Willie is a touch manic, totally infuriating – occasionally we get a glimpse of his wife’s expression that says it all – and gorgeously sexy. I tried to talk the dh into making Willie's cloud forest chocolate cake with his shirt off yesterday, like Willie, but he thought he’d rather not.
Probably very wise (the cake, not the shirt); it looked fabulous, and not only impressed the buyer at Selfridges but had the punters at Cullompton Farmers’ Market drooling. High sugar/high calorie nosh is, however, out of the question at the moment. Diabetes in the dh’s case – avoirdupois in mine! And I’m not quite sure what the local food hygiene officers would have made of the kids joining in the cooking, or the dog in the kitchen. It's your own concern if you’re eating it yourself but when you’re selling to the public I believe the regulations are a little stricter than that! Great telly, though. And I’m definitely up for the “choc-shock” diet. One hundred per cent chocolate drunk like espresso. Oh, yes…

I’m beginning to get really excited about the publication of my 50th Harlequin/Mills & Boon Romance, THE BRIDE’S BABY.
The other “A Bride for All Seasons” authors (Fiona Harper, Trish Wylie and Shirley Jump have Summer, Autumn and Winter) and I are in the middle of setting up a special blog for this four-book series – I’ll set up a link as soon as it’s live. In the meantime, to counteract that dress on the cover (which I’m sorry, just doesn’t compute), here’s a glimpse of the dress that was my inspiration. It evolved, as these things do. The jacket got longer, the appliqué more important. I don’t often get caught up with clothes, but I could really see Sylvie’s dress. Well, here is Sylvie, looking at it for the first time: --

“The dress, a simple A-line shift in rich cream silk, had been appliquéd to the knees in swirling blocks of lavender, purple, and green. And instead of a veil, Geena had created a stunningly beautiful loose thigh-length jacket on which the appliqué was repeated around the edge and on wide fold-back cuffs. Embroidery trailed over the silk and tiny beads caught the light as she moved, beads that matched the small, Russian style tiara that had been made to go with the gown.”

And of course, you all remember the shoes!

The book is already available online at eHarlequin (with the eBook option for immediate satisfaction!) and Mills & Boon, and to order at Amazon. As for reviews, well it’s already received a TOP PICK from Romantic Times and a new review is online at the Pink Heart Society.

Don't forget that Donna Alward will be here later this week to tell us all about her book and offer a prize, so do drop by to join in the fun.

And this week I heard a really thrilling piece of news – but I can’t share it just at the moment. Such a tease!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Well, I’m still here although still minus the broadband connection, and Gunnar hasn't yet decided who is the winner of Anne McAllister's book. It's been snowing in his part of the world and that it tough on a dog, but I'm sure he'll have it sorted by Monday.

But right now there is nothing on earth that would keep me from introducing my guest this week, the glamorous, multi-talented, Ally Blake.

Ally and I have never met, but we really bonded over the books we wrote for the The Brides of Bella Lucia series. Our heroines were half-sisters and when my heroine, Louise went to stay in Melbourne with Jodie, we wanted to be sure that our characters didn’t behave, well, out of character.

It was terrific fun exchanging scenes, cocktails, and supporting characters and when I decided that my website needed a new look, it was the multi-talented Ally who I turned to.

She writes great books, too; her lovely Billionaire on Her Doorstep is very high on my list of best ever Harlequin Romances.

This month she has a new book, FALLING FOR THE REBEL HEIR, on sale in the US and UK, but I’ll leave her to tell you all about that.


I love my husband. Adore him to bits. Feel beyond blessed that all those years ago at the local TV station he walked past the conference room and caught me sneakily eating a chocolate bar when I was meant to be partaking in a serious meeting.

He’s so lovely he tries to help come up with ideas for new books for me all the time. Problem is he’s really terrible at it. Horrendous even. So much so when he tells me his ideas, I’ve found the best thing to do is stick my fingers in my ears and say, ‘La la la,’ really loudly until he gets the hint and leaves me be.

He tries. He really does. ‘Why can’t he be a football player and she can be his best friend’s girlfriend?’ he says. I’m serious. And this is even one of his better ones!

But there was one night, snuggled together in front of the TV, watching a random eighties movie, when he came out with a pearler. Out of nowhere, in one long stream of consciousness, he gave me such a lovely, poignant beginning to a romance novel I could scarcely breathe lest it float away before I’d written it down it.

From that moment FALLING FOR THE REBEL HEIR, my current North America and UK release, was born.

Needless to say he’s proud as punch and will likely tell everyone he meets that he practically wrote the thing too. Which, I add here just for the record, he most certainly did not. Though he did make me dinner, did rub my feet, and did do lots of other things to help make this book possible.

Yet, just to be safe, in future I think I’ll let him stick to naming my characters’ pets ;).

Here’s a small taste of what my husband can inspire me to write. Hope you like!

Through a gap in the seemingly never-ending wilderness, Hud was blinded by a pinpoint of light. He held up a hand to shield his eyes and tugged his rucksack through the heavy brush until he found himself face to face with the old pool house.
A half-smile tugged at the corners of his mouth and pressed against the backs of his tired eyes as echoes of more long forgotten recollections tickled at the corner of his mind. Dive bombing. Performing pretty darned legendary back flips off the diving board. Lying on his back in the water for hours simply watching clouds shift past the pitched glass roof, wondering if his mum and dad looked up if they would see the same clouds while trekking some thrilling spot on the other side of the world.
He levered his heavy rucksack to the ground, and left it where it lay. Claudel was fifty metres off the road, behind a ten foot brick wall, and a ten minute walk through a pine forest to the nearby township of Saffron. If anybody was lucky enough to find his shabby old khaki bag they were welcome to the raggedy clothes, and just as threadbare passport within. It wasn’t as though he’d be needing them to head through a different kind of wilderness with his trusty Nikon camera slung over one shoulder and a hunting knife slung over the other with his team of documentary filmmakers at his back any time soon.

He cricked his neck, pressed his hands into the tight small of his back and glanced upwards to find brilliant red bougainvillea creepers seemed to have swallowed half the long building, leaving the hundred odd remaining white-framed glass panels that had survived the tests of time, thick with dust and mould. He could only hazard to guess how foul the inside might be after not having been blessed by a human touch for a good ten years.

‘If memory serves correctly...’ he said out loud, the sound of his voice raspy and deep in his ears after hours of non-use. Then he made his way around the back of the building to find the door was ajar, at an odd angle, askew on rusted hinges, as though it had been yanked open.

Instinct born of years spent stepping unannounced into dark, secret places he stepped quietly - toe to heel - over a small pile of worn broken glass and inside the pool house where his feet came to a giveaway scraping halt of boot soles on tessellated French tile.

The pool house was clean. The mottled green tiles around the margins sparkled and the dozen white marble benches were spotless. Miniature palm trees in plant boxes edging the length of the room were luscious with good health. And the water in the pool shimmered dark and inviting against the black-painted concrete bottom.
A sound broke through Hud’s reverie. A soft ripple as water lapped gently against the edge of the pool. And he was hit with the sense that something was about to break the dark surface. He held his breath, squared his stance, squinted into the shadows and watched in practised silence as...

A mermaid rose from the depths.

From there everything seemed to slow; his breaths, his heartbeat, the dust floating through shards of sunlight, as the nymph waded through the water, away from him, leaving a trail of leisurely wavelets in her wake.

Water streamed over hair the colour of brandy. It ran adoringly over pale, lean, youthful arms. And as she swayed up the steps, water gripped to her willowy form as long as it could before cruel gravity claimed it back to the dark depths.
Hud felt like he ought to avert his gaze. Like he was too old, too cynical, too jaded to be allowed such a vision. But those same qualities only meant that his curiosity far outweighed his humility, and his eyes remained riveted to the back of the exquisite stranger.

I’m writing my next Harlequin Romance right now, and my hero has a young daughter. Problem is I am struggling to come up with a name! I could ask my hubby but I thought I’d ask you lovely folk instead just to mix things up.

Whoever picks the perfect name for a 4-year-old moppet with dark curls and a penchant for getting as muddy as humanly possible wins a signed copy of FALLING FOR THE REBEL HEIR!

Harlequin Romance - North America and the UK March 2008
Mother’s Day Gift Selection - Australia & New Zealand April 2008

Monday, March 03, 2008


I’m really sorry not to have been around for the last few days. Having finally managed to get on broadband – admittedly a very slow version of broadband – you’ll forgive me if I thought my internet woes were at an end.

How dumb can you get?

After ten days of fun and frolicking amongst the websites, the connection failed, leaving me not only without broadband, but without any means of communication. I couldn’t even wish you a happy St David’s Day on the 1st March, but here are some belated daffodils. Or remind you that my 50th Harlequin Romance, THE BRIDE’S BABY, is now available online at and Don’t forget that you now have the eBook option. Instant satisfaction!

Fortunately, last week’s guest, Anne McAllister, had sent me her post in plenty of time and it was all set up and ready to go online, so I rang my daughter and talked her through that bit. Unfortunately that meant missing out those last minute bits, including the winner of the Jenny Haddon/Sophie Weston “cousins” trilogy. She chose Sue (and Tilly Trotter). Congrats to Sue and again, many thanks to Jenny, although you shouldn’t be reading this Jenny, you should be putting the finishing touches to Rosie. We can’t wait!

By the weekend, I’d managed to sort out a pay as go dial-up and can, therefore, announce that the winners of the HERE COMES THE BRIDES competition, are:

Alison Bond.Manchester
Jane Squires Mo
Carol Woodruff NJ

Congratulations to all three of you, who will each be receiving a copy of Spanish, Billionaire, Innocent Wife, by Kate Walker, One Night Love-Child by Anne McAllister and The Bride’s Baby from me.

And Patsy is the winner of the Mills & Boon coupons, calendar and bookmark.

Thank you all for taking part in the competitions, but don’t go away. I’ll be posting the winner of this weekend’s guest blogger – Anne McAllister’s – comp on Thursday, when the lovely Ally Blake will be dropping by to give us her take on writing and an opportunity to win her latest book. Don’t miss it!

… and AH!

This week I treated myself to a book. Not unusual, to be honest and I’d had my eye on Tess Gerritsen’s THE BONE GARDEN since before it was published. I read Tess’s blog when I have time and I was fascinated by the idea of the book and by the fact that she said she was growing a little weary of writing slice and dice thrillers and wanted to write something a little more cerebral. I felt exactly the same way as a reader (it sometimes seems that escalating the horror is the only way forward for best-selling fiction these days) and The Bone Garden seemed like a match. With a few notable exceptions, however – Sebastian Faulk for the dh, Janet Evanovitch for me (who can wait for the next Stephanie Plum?) -- I don’t buy fiction in hardback. I was being good, despite the temptation everywhere, patiently waiting for the paperback.

But then I was shopping on Amazon for an out of print photographic book for my son when I spotted a Mother’s Day deal (we’re in the UK – we do Mothering Sunday on the 4th Sunday in Lent) and Tess Gerritsen’s book was on special offer. And I thought, well, I’m a mother so I bought it.

Actually the dh snaffled it as soon as it arrived, but that’s okay. I’m reading Kate Walker’s Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife at the moment. Kate does such an amazing job of evoking the emotional anguish of being in the same room with someone that you love, but who is out of reach. Reading the opening gave me so much insight into what I should be doing with two characters who I’ve put on the back-burner for the moment. Her 12-Point Guide to Writing Romantic Fiction is a brilliant how-to book for any writer (there’ll be a new edition out later this year) but reading her fiction will teach you so much more.

And then I have Anne McAllister’s ONE NIGHT LOVE CHILD, and the latest Kate Hardy. The dh can take his time with Tess. J