Friday, February 26, 2010


I dropped in to see how Liz was getting on with this contest of mine but she was too busy to do more than raise a hand momentarily from the keyboard. I understand she has a problem with an elf. I thought it better not to ask...

Anne, too, is busy and Christo has had to take charge at her end. Kate is in Wales working with new writers and no one has seen Nikos -- well, he has his hands full right now.

Anyone who thinks these women spend their days lying on a sofa, murmuring sweet words to their secretaries really hasn't a clue. I can't begrudge Liz the time, though. My story is told, I have my beloved Lydia and life, while it has taken an unexpected turn, is full and sweet.

More than forty of these amazing women, and a couple of men, have taken time out of their frantic lives to write some delightful, touching and very different stories for the collection that Liz is giving away as a prize in the competition.

LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT is a showcase of the diversity of romantic fiction, a celebration put together by the Romantic Novelists' Association and published by Mira. Here's a moment from Liz's story, The Partnership Deal...

ANNIE Latimer took the soft little baby vest from the washing machine, held it for a moment to her cheek. Soft, sweet and dangerous. It was just the kind of thing that made even the most sensible woman go wobbly in the knees. Rang the alarm on her biological clock. Made her stumble as she stepped up to the top rung of the professional ladder.

Fortunately, her twin sister had grabbed all the domesticity genes before the egg split; making it in a male dominated corporate world where the words “maternity leave” were professional suicide required a single-mindedness of purpose that left no time for biology.

She dropped the vest into the laundry basket reminding herself that while Sarah had married the boy next door and set about populating the world single-handedly, she was a whisker away from a seat in the boardroom. Was the possessor of designer wardrobe that was not permanently covered with baby spit. Owned a minimalist loft apartment overlooking the river with a full complement of electrical appliances – including the essential drier.

How Sarah, with three children under the age of six, managed without one was a mystery, but she’d refused one even as gift.

There was being “green” and then again, Annie thought, there was being an idiot, but while Suzanne and Sarah Latimer were identical in appearance, they had always been chalk and cheese when it came to life choices.

Fortunately the sun was shining so she picked up the clothes basket and headed for the environmentally sound washing line in the back garden. Playing “mummy” while her sister was having a well-deserved holiday in the sun courtesy of the company whose organic baby cereal adorned her clothes on a regular basis having “…completed the following sentence in ten words or less…” and won a second honeymoon.

Not that it had been easy to shoehorn her sister out of her domestic rut. “Who,” Sarah had asked, her big blue eyes twin pools of innocence, “could she possibly entrust with her three precious children for eight whole days?”

Annie knew she’d walked right into that one and took it on the chin like the sucker she was, waving her sister and brother-in-law off for a much needed holiday – one they were no doubt even now using to create more little replicas of themselves.

Whatever made her sister happy, she thought, even though the timing couldn’t have been worse. Fortunately, modern technology meant that she was as good as in her office even when up her elbows in laundry.

Right now baby George was asleep under a net in the shade. Molly, three years old, copper curls and a smile as sweet as sugar, was eager to help with the pegs and Jack, just turned five, was kicking a football into his mini goal net.

Her cell phone was in her pocket.

Her wireless laptop connected permanently to the internet.

All was well with the world.

‘Blue peggie,’ Molly said, holding up a pink peg.

‘Pink, sweetie. It’s a pink peggie… Peg,’ she corrected herself, hurriedly. She cringed when her sister used babytalk. It had never occurred to her that it was contagious.

‘Blue peggie,’ Molly said again, this time holding up another pink peg.

‘Pink, Molly,’ She bent down, took another peg from the basket. ‘This one is blue…’ She broke off, jerking around as a screech of tyres from the far side of her sister’s dense hedge shattered the peace of the morning, heart in mouth as she waited for the crash.

It didn’t come.

There was no crash, no rending of metal, no cry for help and after a moment she let out the breath she’d been holding and smiled reassuringly at Molly who looked as if she was about to burst into tears. She hated loud noises… ‘Just some dumb man driving too fast,’ she said, reassuringly and Molly gave her a wobbly smile.

‘Pink peggie,’ she said.

‘That’s right!’ She pegged up a tiny pair of dungarees. ‘Pink peggie, blue dungarees.’

Realising that she hadn’t heard Jack’s repeated cry of “Goal!” for a minute or two she half turned to check what he was doing but was distracted by the sound of a car door slamming, a man’s raised voice from the far side of the hedge. A very angry man if the words “stupid”, “idiot” and “fool” were anything to go by. Maybe he’d scratched his precious car.
Serve him right for speeding…

Remembering her nephew, she looked around. He’d already given her several bad moments with his disappearing acts before popping up out of nowhere. She couldn’t see him.

Calm, she thought. Calm. Nothing could have happened. The side gate was safely shut…

‘Jack!’ she called again, louder this time, as she picked up Molly, heart thudding in her chest.

She hadn’t taken more than a step before the gate was flung open by one of those tall, dark and impossibly handsome men you read about in romances but never seem to encounter in real life. Or if you do they’re married and, truthfully, if they weren’t you’d have to wonder why.

Tall, dark but, in this instance, scowling.

He was holding Jack under one arm and Jack’s football under the other. The football was flat and Jack was trying very hard not to cry.

Don't forget, you have until 1st March to get your entries in. All the details of what, where and how are below. Hopefully, by then, Liz will have the elf under control and Santa will be smiling.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


It's that time of year again, when Anne McAllister, Kate Walker and I come up with all the threes. Three books, three heroes, three questions and three prizes for three winners.

All you have to do for your name to go into the draw to win one of the prizes is visit each of our blogs, answer three little questions about our heroes and send an email with the answers to ALL three questions to ALL three of us in an email with HERE COME THE GROOMS in the subject line.

So what's the prize?

This is a tricky one for me this year. My new Harlequin Romance, A Wedding at Leopard Tree Lodge, isn't published until May, so I don't have an excerpt up anywhere, or even any copies of the book to offer as prizes. What to do? Well, I thought I'd offer something a little special.

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Romantic Novelists' Association and in association with Mira, they have published a fabulous anthology of short stories,
LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT by their members, some of whom -- like Joanna Trollope, Katie Fforde, Elizabeth Chadwick and Anna Campbell -- are bestselling authors.

There are, in all, 43 stories including THE PARTNERSHIP DEAL, written by one Liz Fielding.

Which takes care of the prize. That leaves only the competition and I'm really not sure what to do about that...
"Liz... What you doing?"

"Oh, hi Kal..." -- pauses to grab fan -- "...I'm organising my section of the Here Come the Grooms contest."

"Well, I'm here, and I'm your latest Groom. What can I do to help?"

"Er..." -- applies fan with vigour -- "...maybe you could set a question? The answer has to be on my website."

"And this question is to be about me?"

"Whatever you say..."

"Well, that shouldn't be difficult. One moment..."

"Anne, Kate, I need cold water... Oh, Kal, you're back already. That was quick."

"Interesting. I didn't know that my beloved's first thought on seeing me was that I was her Prince Charming."

"That was an innermost thought, Kal. The kind of thing that women don't like a man to know."

"Of course not. It puts her at a disadvantage. It makes her feel vulnerable, no?"

"Maybe this isn't such a good idea."

"Oh, but yes. I shall enjoy teasing her."


"Just a little. I promise that she will be happy.' That I do not doubt... 'Do what want my question?"


"Very well, it is this -- Of which literary character (other than Prince Charming) did I remind my beloved Lydia ?"


"This truly was an interesting discovery, Liz. I think I shall have to growl a little when I tease her..."



"Oh, good grief....' What can you do with the man!

"Is there anything else I can do for you, Liz?"

Throw a bucket of cold water over me... Won't this fan go any faster?

"Er, maybe you could drop by again to see how things are going?"

'That too, will be my pleasure."

Kate, Anne, excuse me while I go and stick my head in the fridge!

While I'm cooling off, you can find the answer to Kalil's question in the excerpt of HER DESERT DREAM on my website -- it's available both in paperback and as an eBook download from eHarlequin, Mills and Boon, and from Amazon in a Kindle format and, of course, from The Book Depository who offer a postage free service throughout the world.

And to recap, to be in the draw you have to send the answer to this question, and the questions on both Anne and Kate's blog in an email to all three of us with Here Come the Grooms in the subject line. There's an email link to me at the top of the sidebar -- and contact links to Kate and Anne on their blogs.

Three lucky winners will be drawn to receive a copy of Loves Me, Loves Me Not as well as Kate's The Konstantos Marriage Demand and Anne's One-Night Mistress...Convenient Wife

Should you already be lucky enough to already have a copy of Loves Me, Loves Me Not, I'll sort out another title for you.

Here are all three questions -

KAL'S QUESTION (from Her Desert Dream)

Of which literary character did Kal remind Lydia? (apart from Prince Charming!)

CHRISTO'S QUESTION (From One-Night Mistress, Convenient Wife by Anne McAllister)

Why is Natalie staying at her mother's house?

NIKOS'S QUESTION (From The Konstantos Marriage Demand by Kate Walker)

What name did Sadie use so that Nikos would not know his 10 o'clock appointment was her?

Good luck!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Public vote for PASSION in the RNA’s 50th anniversary year

The Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) is pleased to announce the creation of the RNA‘s Pure Passion Awards, in celebration of the Golden Anniversary of the founding of the Association.

Each year, the very finest romantic fiction has been recognised by the long-standing and hotly-contested Romantic Novel of the Year and Love Story of the Year awards. The Romantic Novelists’ Association is proud to offer more chances to salute the best writers and best stories through a number of new awards and a major national promotion in retail outlets and in libraries.

The initiative has the support of leading publishers and high street retailers and will see posters and stickered books in shops and supermarkets and coverage in the press, reinforcing the RNA Pure Passion Awards as a major industry event.

RNA Chair Katie Fforde said, “In our 50th year we are celebrating with more awards and more opportunities which provide a wonderful opportunity for readers to be introduced to writers they may not yet have heard of.

“We are proud to showcase contemporary women’s fiction, chic lit, sagas, and historical fiction. Some are written by newcomers and some by more established authors. What links them all is that they have been selected by discerning readers to be loved by everyone.”

The 50th Anniversary celebration will include the presentation of the much-loved Romantic Novel of the Year and Love Story of the Year awards. The new awards introduced this year are The People’s Choice Award, The Rom Com Award, and the Romantic Film of the Year. The RNA is pleased to include The Harry Bowling Prize for New Writing as part of its celebration. Two RNA Lifetime Achievement Awards will also be presented at the Anniversary event.

The Romantic Novel of the Year

The Romantic Novel of the Year is chosen from a shortlist of six titles which have been selected by the reading public from more than 150 nominated books. The winner is selected by three independent judges. The shortlist, in alphabetical order by author name, is:

Passion, Louise Bagshawe, Headline Review
Fairytale of New York, Miranda Dickinson, Avon (Harper Collins
Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, Lucy Dillon, Hodder & Stoughton
A Glimpse at Happiness, Jean Fullerton, Orion
The Glass Painter’s Daughter, Rachel Hore, Pocket (Simon & Schuster)
The Italian Matchmaker, Santa Montefiore, Hodder & Stoughton

The Love Story of the Year

The Love Story of the Year is for a shorter romance where there is a strong emphasis on the developing central relationship. A shortlist of six is again chosen by the reading public, with the winner selected by three judges. The shortlist is:

The Notorious Mr Hurst, Louise Allen, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Animal Instincts, Nell Dixon, Little Black Dress
Always the Bridesmaid, Nina Harrington, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Fair Deception, Jan Jones, Robert Hale
The Wedding Party, Sophie King, Hodder
Claimed for the Italian’s Revenge, Natalie Rivers, Harlequin Mills & Boon

The People’s Choice Award

To celebrate the modern nature of the Pure Passion Awards, the RNA has created a special ‘current award’ to recognise key new or developing authors in the romantic genre with paperbacks out in the spring.

In keeping with the RNA‘s desire to help good new romantic writers achieve prominence, publishers were invited to submit books by authors in whom they believe passionately and who would benefit from being part of the 50th Anniversary Awards event. Expert romantic writing buyers at key retailers were then asked to select their favourite six for the shortlist.

The winner of this award is chosen by the public. Readers are invited to read as many of the new paperbacks as possible and vote for their favourite at the poll website The shortlist is:

Missing You, Louise Douglas, Pan
Remembrance Day, Leah Fleming, Avon
I Heart Hollywood, Lindsey Kelk, Harper
Rich Girl Poor Girl, Lesley Lokko, Orion
Heiresses, Lulu Taylor, Arrow

The Romantic Comedy Award

The Rom Com Award is organised and administered in the same way as the Romantic Novel of the Year. To reach the shortlist, the books must really tickle readers’ funny-bones. The winner is chosen by a panel of writers and readers selected by the RNA. The shortlist is:

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, Jenny Colgan, Sphere
The Nearly-Weds, Jane Costello, Simon & Schuster
50 Ways to Find a Lover, Lucy-Anne Holmes, Pan
Rumour Has It, Jill Mansell, Headline Review

RNA Romantic Film of the Year 
Romance is a theme that moves easily from the printed page to film. The RNA celebrates this shared love of romance by selecting the finest romantic adaptations released as a film in the UK during 2009.

Once again the public will help select their favourite adaptation on the partner website These votes will be added to the views of the RNA expert panel to select the winner. The shortlist is:

Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella, Black Swan (Transworld)
An Education, Lyn Barber, Penguin
The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger, Vintage (Random House)
Twilight: New Moon, Stephanie Meyer, Atom, Little Brown

The Harry Bowling Prize for New Writing 
Awarded every two years, and now for the first time included in the RNA Awards, this prize is given to the best first chapter and synopsis submitted by an author who has not yet had an adult novel published. The setting must be urban, and the book should contain a strong romantic element. The prize, organised and administered by the MBA Literary Agency in conjunction with the RNA, offers a great opportunity for a budding writer. Please visit the Harry Bowling Prize website for more details.

Lifetime Achievement

Two awards will be presented at the Pure Passion Awards to two people who have made outstanding contributions to romantic fiction and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Awards presentation
The winners of all awards will be announced on Tuesday 16 March 2010 at the Award lunch at the Royal Garden Hotel, in Kensington, London.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Cora Rose -- 7lb 6oz, 51 cm (20 inches), green eyes, born 5th February 2010, the first grand baby on either side of the family seen here with her mother.

Will she be spoilt?  Is it possible to spoil a baby?  Absolutely not!

Are her grandparents totally besotted?

You betcha!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


“More sheikhs, Liz, more sheikhs…”

That’s a quote from my Italian editor, as he sat beside me at a book signing in Matera a couple of years ago. And it’s a fact that of all my books it is the sheikhs who get the most reprints worldwide – and usually with the hottest covers.

This month The Sheikh’s Guarded Heart – the first of the Ramal Hamrah stories featuring Sheikh Hanif and Lucy Forrester – is snuggled up with books by Susan Stephens and Alexandra Sellers under this delectable cover.

Han and Lucy have appeared – and meddled in – the lives of two of Han’s cousins, Zahir and Kalil, so far and they are such fun that I have no doubt that when I get around to writing the next book in the series they’ll be in the thick of that one, too.

Some characters are just like that. They have a life that you can feel continuing beyond their own book. And the fact that Hanif is the Ramal Hamrahn Ambassador to the Court of St James puts him in the centre of my romance world, London.

As readers do you enjoy this continuing contact with characters? Watching Princess Ameerah grow up, seeing Princess Lucy become the woman she was meant to be and Han, still reserved, but serving his country as was his destiny, surrounded by an adored and adoring family.

And if you’ve only glimpsed them in the pages of The Sheikh’s Unsuitable Wife and Her Desert Dream, you can read an excerpt here

LORDS OF THE DESERT – Rescued by the Sheikh is available online from Mills and Boon, Amazon UK and from The Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Oh, boy, have I have a website for you. The Literary Gift Company came my way by chance last week and I want you to know that I'm not on commission and I don't know anyone who's involved with the company, but the treasures I found there were such fun that I wanted to share them with you.

For instance are you going to a wedding, know someone whose getting married this year?  How about literary confetti?

Heart-shaped pieces are cut up from old Mills and Boon novels.   - how appropriate! This generous helping of romantic confetti comes in a pocket-sized box.  I quote from the website -

"When their bodies were touching it felt right. As if she were coming home, as if she belonged here." Kate Hardy, Nurse Bride: Bayside Wedding.

- as a sample of what you'll get.  Actually, that's a Gil Sanderson title, but Kate's blog is always worth a visit!

And then there's the book wallet.  Each one is individually made and you might be lucky enough to find your favourite author.  How about this one, for instance?

Just the thing to keep your money comfy and the library ticket will feel right at home.

The store has a ton of fun stuff for the book lovers -- and if my dh is reading this as he wonders what little special something he might buy me for Valentine's Day he should look no further than this rather smart handbag...

There are mugs, posters, "banned book" jewellery, even, blissfully this "Ladybird" Tea Towel that will have us all sighing with nostalgia for that bygone age when Janet helped Mummy with the washing up and John helped Daddy wash the car.  Now, obviously, they're both too busy surfing the 'net.

Don't take my word for it, go to The Literary Gift Company and treat yourself!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Several years ago, when attending the Romance Writers' of America conference in Denver, I was introduced to Lucy Monroe at the post awards party. It was just before she sold her first "Presents" to Harlequin and since then her career has taken off like a rocket. We met again in New York, where we had dinner and then again in London. (Sometimes, just occasionally, we authors get out of jammies, put on the glitz and party!) She is just amazing, and I'm absolutely delighted to share my blog with her today.

Here's Lucy...


One of the things I love best about the Internet is how easy it makes it for readers to contact me. There have been days that writing felt like chiseling on stone with a rock and petrified stick. When those days come, getting letters from readers that share how my stories have touched them in a postive way keeps me going. Keeps me connected.

But readers can have a much more direct impact on the writing process too. A few years ago, I ran a contest asking readers to help me name the homeland of my royals for a trilogy I was writing for Harlequin Presents. Their suggestions led to me starting a new personal mini-series, The Royal Brides. The book I'm working on right now has a hero-heroine pairing suggested by a reader, and it resonated with me. I realized that was exactly who was supposed to be with whom. She just wanted to know if I was going to write either or both of these minor characters' stories. It surprised both of us that her question was the catalyst for my next book.

And then there are the stories that might never get written if readers didn't keep emailing me and letting me know they were waiting. One such story is my newest release, MOON CRAVING. When I started my Children of the Moon books, I intended to have at least one release a year, but then serious family crises cropped after another. And my health took several downward turns that some might even call a spiral. Things are looking up now, but I wrote MOON CRAVING when they weren't, when life was so hard in spots I didn't know what each new day would bring.

My family and yes, my readers...kept me focused, kept me connected, kept me believing in myself and my stories.

It's your turn: tell me the books you are keenly waiting for your favorite authors to write, or wish they would.

Moon Craving
Feb 2010 - Berkley Sensation
ISBN-13: 978-0425233047
Children of the Moon Book 2

If it were up to him, Talorc—laird of the Sinclair clan and leader of his werewolf pack— would never marry. But when the king orders that Talorc wed an Englishwoman, the lone wolf is shocked to find his mate in the strong-willed Abigail. And after an intensely climactic wedding night, the two fiercely independent souls sense an unbreakable bond…

Deaf since childhood, Abigail hopes to keep her affliction from Talorc as long as possible. And for his part, he has no intention of telling her about being a werewolf. But when Abigail learns that the husband she’s begun to love has deceived her, it will take all of his warrior’s strength—and his wolf’s cunning—to win his wife back. And Talorc will have to face his biggest challenge yet: the vulnerability of a man in love…

Read an Excerpt | Buy the Book

Watch the Book Trailer

As a special thank you to readers, Lucy is giving away a prize pack of pamper yourself products and paranormal romance. All you have to do to enter is send an email with Moon Craving Contest in the subject line to moon_craving at yahoo dot com before February 28th, 2010. The drawing will be held March 1st and the winner will be announced on her blog.