Sunday, March 29, 2009


This is a delightfully wacky way to raise money for breast cancer screening devised by the South Carolina Quilters.

This one is called "Nursing Bra"

Check it out all the brilliantly witty and clever designs here


The following comesfrom a transcript of the Keynote Address Stephanie Laurens delivered at the Librarians' Day Luncheon at the Romance Writers of America National Conference in San Francisco, July 2008.

"Many societies, especially technologically advanced societies, have a habit of forgetting that humans are a biological species - we prefer to think that we are masters of our destinies, and not subject to a slew of biologically imposed, Mother Nature-dictated rules and regulations that we can't break. We forgot that, as a biological species, we are critically dependent on our environment, so now we're facing catastrophe on that front."

It makes for fascinating reading and you'll find the whole address here

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I had some lovely news on Sunday morning – along with the flowers and cards for Mothering Sunday; an email from the organisers of the Colorado Award of Excellence competition telling me that WEDDED IN A WHIRLWIND is one of five finalists in the Short Contemporary category of the competition. You’ll find a full list of finalists in all categories here within the next few days.

WEDDED was a very special book for me. The heroine, Manda, made her first appearance in Reunited: Marriage in a Million. She was not, on first acquaintance, a sympathetic character. She was pretty horrible to Belle, the heroine in that book, but she was sharp, lively, clever and I enjoyed her somewhat biting sense of humour. A woman like that had to have a back story and by the end of the book her brother, Ivo, in revealing his own desperate pain, gave us some clues. By the end of that book I really liked Manda and I wanted her, like him, to have a happy ending.

It wasn’t an easy book to write. Most of it takes place in the dark as Manda and Jago, two strangers caught up in a life-threatening situation, learn to know one another, sharing their secrets, shedding anger, guilt, pain as they reached for the light. For life. For the future.

It became a book that roused some controversy on the eHarlequin members board, too. One reader suggested that I had “chickened out” of addressing a subject that had become the “elephant in the room” in romantic fiction because my heroine lost the baby she was carrying before she had finally confronted whether or not to go ahead with the abortion she was contemplating. For me the abortion issue was an irrelevance and anyone who read Manda’s story deeply enough to understand her would have known that she could never have gone through with it. She was a woman who had been starved of love. A baby would have given her that – and unlike its wretched father – given it unconditionally. No contest.

It was guilt at the knowledge that she’d even contemplated an abortion that caused her mental breakdown. And that was, for me, the last taboo. The fact that she’d had a breakdown and been “sectioned” -- locked away for her own safety; that although she was academically brilliant and on the surface had made a full recovery, had no trust in her own emotions.

I loved her vulnerability, felt her pain, rejoiced in her awakening. I’m totally thrilled and touched that readers and booksellers in Colorado felt the same way.


I guess that hitting the #1 spot when your book is being given away for free is not something to shout about, nevertheless I was still as pleased as punch to see THE BRIDE’S BABY #1 in Contemporary Romance Kindle downloads over the weekend. Such moments are fleeting but can still lift the spirits. Now if only I could manage to do the same on the Waldenbooks list the way that my fabulous colleague Caroline Anderson did with her Harlequin Romance last month you’d hear me celebrating in Queensland!


Many congratulations to new Harlequin Romance author, Golden Heart finalist, Barbara Wallace, who signed this week. It’s the sign of a vigorous series when new authors regularly join the line-up and this is the second in the last twelve months.

More details when her first book is published.


A reminder that SECRET BABY, SURPRISE PARENTS is about to hit the stores in April in both the US and the UK.

The tragedies of infertility, of broken homes, touches nearly everyone.

SBSP is a story of healing, forgiveness, sacrifice and courage – with the occasional giggle thrown in. There’s an taster on my website, and Author Sound Relations will be running a competition on their newsletter in April – with a $50 Amazon voucher up for grabs – and it’s already available online at Mills and Boon and Harlequin

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm being driven absolutely crazy by my email server -- it's letting in the mails, slowly, but refusing to let me reply to them and I'm desperate to send congratulations to so many of my friends who're listed in the Short Contemporary Category for the Rita this year.

Two HARLEQUIN ROMANCES! Both Jessica Hart and Barbara Hannay are former winners in the Traditional Category. This just proves that HR can stand against the best in the business.

There's one of Anne McAllister's fabulus Antonides books in there, too. Way to go, Anne!

Brilliant to see a Medical from Lilian Darcy in the line-up, too. Lilian is no stranger to the Rita lists, either.

Congratulations to all of you! I won't be in Washington, but I'll be there in spirit, cheering you all on.

Here's the full list --

A Mother’s Wish
by Karen Templeton
Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Edition (ISBN: 9780373249169)
Gail Chasan, editor

Adopted: Outback Baby
by Barbara Hannay
Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Romance (ISBN: 0-373-17526-4)
Meg Lewis, editor

Antonides’ Forbidden Wife
by Anne McAllister
Harlequin Enterprises, Mills and Boon Modern (ISBN: 978-0-263-86478-6)
Jenny Hutton, editor

Falling for the Lone Wolf
by Crystal Green
Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Edition (ISBN: 978-0-373-24932-9)
Susan Litman, editor

Last-Minute Proposal
by Jessica Hart
Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Romance (ISBN: 13-978-0-373-17544-4)
Maddie Rowe, editor

Texas Heir
by Linda Warren
Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin American Romance (ISBN: 978-0-373-75230-0)
Kathleen Scheibling, editor

The Children’s Doctor and the Single Mum
by Lilian Darcy
Harlequin Enterprises, Medical Romance (ISBN: 0-373-71454-8)
Bryony Green, editor

The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle
by RaeAnne Thayne
Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Edition (ISBN: 0-373-24933-0)
Gail Chasan, editor

The Right Mr. Wrong
by Cindi Myers
Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin American Romance (ISBN: 0373752032)
Wanda Ottewell, editor

For the rest, go to the RWA site -- there's a link on my sidebar.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

PLR’s 30th Anniversary

22 March 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of the PLR Act which came after many years of campaigning by authors for the right to receive a payment for the free lending out of their books by public libraries.

The basic principle of PLR has not changed since then though the Scheme has extended its reach considerably at home and internationally.

Here, the Scheme’s remit has been expanded beyond writers to include payments to others who contribute to a book’s content: illustrators, translators, editors and photographers.

Incredibly cheap to administer -- this has to be one of the few Government run schemes which has actually reduced costs while giving the authors who benefit from it more -- PLR provides a vital source of income for all authors, but most especially those whose books are primarily a "library" read. There are in fact some publishers -- Severn, Linford, F A Thorpe, Hale for example, whose books are bought almost wholly by public libraries and the reality of that situation is that while a handful of authors make the headlines with seven figure advances, the majority earn considerably less than the minimum wage.

Every one of us whether we receive the minimum payment of £5 or the maximum of £6,600 will raise a glass to those determined -- some might say bloody minded! -- writers who campaigned for years with the Society of Authors to make this happen and refused to take "no" for an answer or go away.

And to the tremendously hard working staff at the PLR office.

God bless you all.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I'm part of the Carmarthen Chapter of the Romantic Novelists' Association here in the UK. I occasionally meet with other members for coffee and once in a while we all get together and have lunch to talk books, writing and quality puddings.

It's also a treat to celebrate a new publication by a friend and I'm delighted to present the first full length book, SUDDENLY YOU KNOW, by one of our members, Toni Sands.

Ambitious and independent thirtysomething Tanith has turned down not one, but two eligible men. As she starts work in a UK health store after a sizzling summer job in Majorca, she's determined to remain immune to both the icy charms of exec Adam and sexy, spiky-haired musician Rupe.

But avoiding romantic mayhem without resorting to comfort eating is a challenge, especially when confronted with Parents Behaving Badly, a flat-mate who falls for a love rat and a scheming colleague. With the odds against her, can Tanith find the strength to unravel the chaos, overcome her hang-ups and discover that love and passion are indeed within her reach?

Here's an extract, to whet your appetite...

Palma Airport concourse buzzed. Hellos and goodbyes, laughter and the whimper of a twitchy toddler hung in the recycled air while scents from the duty-free flirted with the coffee whiff. But flickering monitors and bilingual announcements faded as Tanith Russell felt Carlos’ arms envelope her like a smooth chocolate couverture.

“Adios, mi amor. I shall miss you so much.”

Crushed against his muscular chest, she asked herself for the millionth time if she were totally sane. Abandoning a Majorcan lover who roused her nerve endings to red alert with one touch of his lips had to be madness, didn’t it? Especially as he’d begun referring to her as his ‘significant other.’ And leaving the lush surroundings of the tennis resort where she’d worked a six month coaching contract was worse than the prospect of a wet Wimbledon fortnight.

This the woman who hated the business of flying; always putting her passport in the wrong pocket, always forgetting to fasten her seatbelt and always desperately needing a wee just as the cabin crew were performing synchronised safety procedures. So, why was she about to shut herself inside an airborne sardine tin for the second time this year?

For heaven’s sake - my decision’s made and I know it’s for the best. It’s time I stopped playing at life and went home to get on with it. My parents and my best friend need me much more than Carlos does.

“Adios, Carlos. Mmm.” Tanith hated goodbyes. “Thanks again for collecting George Clooney.”

“No problem. I hope he bring your friend happiness.” He pronounced the last word as ‘a penis,’ triggering Tanith’s gleeful snort; hastily disguised as a cough. The full-size cardboard publicity figure of the A-list heart-throb would no doubt ramp up her best friend’s pulse, but Tanith was beginning to regret her prank; especially when she contemplated toting Gorgeous George from the Heathrow baggage carousel to the Reading coach stop.

With a display of reluctance that would have won him a place at RADA, Carlos surrendered Tanith to the queue for Security, stretching out his arms in a Brief Encounter moment. She could almost hear plaintive piano chords as the human crocodile inched her towards the barrier. But, one last glance over her shoulder revealed Carlos running his fingers through his lustrous locks with one hand while the other punched a number into his phone. Clearly he was sizing up the straggle of pasty-limbed tourists filtering from the arrivals hall, seeking fun and romance in the October sunshine before succumbing to the dank embrace of the UK autumn.

Tanith applied for the coaching job at the Steve Dennis Tennis Resort purely on a whim after she disengaged herself from fiancĂ© Will. They’d dated for two years before he asked her to move permanently into his king size bed, clinching the deal with lunch in a restaurant adjoining a chic jewellery store.

“What took you so long?” This comment from best friend Becky after Tanith de-activated the ticking time bomb of wedding plans.

“Was it so obvious?”

“Only to me,” said Becky. “But even I never suspected you possessed such self-flagellating tendencies.”

Disenchanted with her teaching job and conscious of colleagues eyeing her bare ring finger, Tanith worked the rest of the term. Temporarily back at her parents’ and sharing her bed with Douglas, her single male teddy-bear, she’d begun researching coaching jobs abroad.


For more information on Suddenly You Know, check out Toni's website here or you can find it online here --

Also from Waterstones and W H Smith

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mills & Boon and Virgin Trains kiss and make up…

Following Mills & Boon’s passionate opposition to Virgin Train’s kissing ban at Warrington train station, Virgin have been seduced by the world’s leading publisher of romantic fiction.

This Friday, Virgin and Mills & Boon will officially kiss and make up.

In support of Comic Relief on Friday 13th March, Mills & Boon and Virgin Trains will be indulging in a day-long romantic reconciliation at mainline rail stations including Euston, Warrington Bank Quay and Glasgow.

Warrington-based Mills & Boon author Annie Burrows and Virgin Trains’ Director of Communications Arthur Leathley will be launching the initiative at Warrington Bank Quay station at 9.45am.

Kissing-friendly platform events taking place throughout the day include:

• Mills & Boon book jacket photo-opportunities
• Brad Pitt look-a-likes and Virgin staff selling kisses for Red Nose Day
• Free ‘kissing mints’
• Love-seats designed by Mills & Boon and Virgin
• Live readings by costumed Mills & Boon ‘Romantic Heroes’
• Mills & Boon book giveaways

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I’m baaaack

Sort of.

The laptop, which is my lifeline to the outside world is in hospital at the moment on life support. Its innards have been backed up by the tech guys in Swansea, but are still ungetatable so all unanswered emails will remain that way for at least another week. Meanwhile I’m picking up the ones that are making it through on the dh’s laptop – although I’m not sure whether mail to liz @ is getting picked up. Sigh.

I really hate the dh’s laptop. Not it’s fault. It’s a big, beautiful, glossy black job, but the keyboard doesn’t work for me. The right hand shift key is a tiny little thing lost amongst a group of other keys and my finger doesn’t know where to find it (I’m a touch typist). And it seems so slow having to go to my server for mail instead of downloading it. So hold off sending me emails for the moment. I’ll tell you when I’m back up to full steam.

Never mine. Lots of good things have happened.

HER DESERT DREAM has now gone through copy edit and so the CHANGING PLACES duet is now scheduled for November/December this year. These are Cinderella stories. In the first, CHRISTMAS ANGEL FOR THE BILLIONAIRE, Lady Rose yearns to be an anonymous "nobody". In the second, HER DESERT DREAM, Lydia becomes the "princess". These two books proved something of a challenge to write, largely I suspect because both women are pretending to be something they’re not, but editors cried, so I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

But enough of future books. SECRET BABY, SURPRISE PARENTS is available now at the Mills and Boon and eHarlequin websites -- links opposite -- both in paper and eBook versions. And they’ll be on sale retail in April (as always, a month later in Australia and New Zealand).

So what is this story about?

A while back, when I pitched a story to my editor, she did that yeeees, thing. The one with doubt in every inflection. Then she said, "Could you add a baby.’ Pause. ‘And a marriage of convenience.’ Well, I tried, then I abandoned that idea and wrote this book instead. With the baby, the marriage of convenience and secrets galore. (Not the baby though – everyone knew about the baby!) But a secret love, desperate fears, and a desperate tragedy. And a couple of monstrous mothers.

Romantic Times have given the book 4.5 stars, which always makes me glow a little. But the people who really matter are the readers. My last book, Wedded in a Whirlwind, started a very heated debate on eHarlequin -- let's see what you all make of this!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hi everyone

My computer is in the sick bay. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.