Thursday, June 24, 2010


Small? I have to find a husband in less than a month, he wants me to take care of his baby niece and Adam Wavell thinks that's a "small" problem?

Sorry, I'm May Coleridge. Liz has taken off for a week and she asked me to keep an eye on her blog but I see that Adam got here first. But then I have a business to run, a baby to take care of and Adam moving in...

He's right about me always being in trouble, though.

As if I didn't have enough to worry about there was this stray kitten up a tree.

Adam, typically, didn't arrive in time to do anything useful. Like help. He just stood there enjoying the view while he made fun of me, just he the way he always did. Calling me that ridiculous nickname.

Danger Mouse!

Maybe I should have called him Penfold. He did wear glasses back then. I suppose he's had his eyes lasered, because they are history. Not that I could ever think that straight when he was close. Not then. Not now, to be honest.

But I certainly fixed him today. I didn't fall into his lap as he suggested, I flattened him.


Well, okay, I'm no lightweight but he dines with presidents these days and you'd have thought he might have learned some manners to go with the designer suits, the luxurious bachelor apartment on the Quays. The success.

Maybe I should tell him how he got his job, that would wipe the smug smile off his face. But he's right. I need him as much as he needs me. And it's only temporary. He needs a nanny, someone who won't ask awkward questions - like where is the baby's mother. And I need a husband. Needs must...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Hi, I'm Adam Wavell.

Liz is up to her eyes in what she describes as "stuff" at the moment. Putting her house on the market, packing for a delayed holiday, writing a book. Oh, and she has a cold. You get the picture.

She's rushed off her feet so she's asked me to drop by and tell you my story. Well, not just mine - it's May's story, too. May Coleridge.

May and I met at High School. I was the geeky kid living on a sink estate on the rough side of town with the family from hell and nothing but brains to commend me. She was the short, tubby girl from the big house who talked with a plum in her mouth and wore the school uniform in regulation style - you can imagine how that went down with the cool girls. Two outsiders living a world apart. Except she was always getting into trouble and I always seemed to be the one yanking her out of it - and getting yelled at for my pains.

Even so, I sort of liked her. She was a gutsy kid, and in the stables where she kept her waifs and strays she had her own kettle, a jar of instant coffee and a cake tin with the kind of cake that you couldn't buy in a supermarket. She was prepared to share in return for a hand with the animals, so we hung out there. Nothing heavy. She wasn't the kind of girl even a geek like me wanted to be seen out with.

I know what you're thinking. It was going to end in tears and you're right. It did. These days she crosses the street if she sees me coming and the only time we'd spoken in years was at town functions. May's family are big in the town. Charity, that sort of stuff. Of course these days, so am I, so that happens more often than she'd like. Tough. Suck it up, Miss Coleridge...

But, when my sister threw me for a loop by leaving her baby in my office, May Coleridge was the first person I thought of. Waifs and strays were right up her street. And true to form, I found her up a tree, rescuing one.

And also true to form, she fell out of it, right into my lap, so to speak. In more ways than one. (You can read how here)

It was one of those days when everything seems to be going wrong and then suddenly the sun breaks through and you have a chance to wipe out a memory of pain and humiliation that has haunted you for years.

Revenge, they say, is a dish best served cold. There was just one problem with that. I seem to have left the pilot light on.

SOS: CONVENIENT HUSBAND REQUIRED is on sale now in paper and eBook form at eHarlequin and will be available retail in July. UK readers will have to wait until August, Australia and New Zealand, September.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I've been working very hard in the garden during the last couple of week, a fact I've been bewailing on Twitter.   Thorns in my hands, a nettle sting on the lip and quantities of ibuprofen for the back.

This fellow, gorgeous though he is, is no longer part of the scenary.

Shame, really. I do love dandelions, especially the silvery clocks, but I doubt I'll be without them for long because the entire lane has been golden with them for the last week or so.

Dandelions and the luscious frothy cow parsley have taken over from the bluebells and red campion, crowding in on the road and making visibility difficult. I've noticed the local authority are out slicing through it on the main roads in the cause of road safety. Hopefully we'll have ours for a few more days.

Not all is weeds, though. I've taken Rosie, the new camera, out for a walk and captured this luscious orange pansy in a pot on the deck of the Snap & Scribble shaking off a shower.

I did take a load of pictures of stocks and clematis and snowballs, but unfortunately, every time I lined up a shot, a little breeze decided to come out to play. I'll try again when the weather is kinder.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


I think one of the best things about starting a new book is the research. The excuse to browse for books -- my latest acquisition is OF SUGAR & SNOW, the history of ice cream making by Jeri Quinzio. Okay, so Nero poured honey onto snow, but actually, no, that's not ice cream!

I've also been having chats with the charming Ian at Mr Whippy, who has been giving me the lowdown on the how the music jingle works. I'd assumed something boring like a button. Apparently not.  Back in 1962 (which is when my heroine's ice cream van was on the road) the driver wound it up each time - he even sent me a photograph of the mechanism. Such tidbits of information are gems that the author can take full advantage of.

And then, of course, I had to buy a book about making ice cream. And I've been looking at eBay to check on ice cream makers - although I'm manfully resisting actually buying one.

I will, very soon, actually have to get down to writing, but for now I'm just having fun.

Saturday, June 05, 2010


I first met Elizabeth Oldfield when a group of Mills & Boon authors were invited to tea at the historic Brown's Hotel in Albemarle Street for afternoon tea, by the fabulous Charlotte Lamb. A very memorable occasion for a very new author.

We met in the cloakroom; I was trying to get my shaking legs under control, while she was so cool, so authorly. But then Elizabeth Oldfield was the author I'd been advised to read when my first Mills & Boon was turned down. She was a star, held up as an example, an author I should study if I was ever to hope to be published.

Reader, I studied her.

A couple of years ago, after a break from writing forty Mills & Boon romances to go travelling with her husband, Elizabeth published a mainstream women's fiction book called VINTAGE BABES and it was a true privilege to welcome her as a guest here on my blog so that she could share her new venture with us.

This week, Elizabeth lost a long battle with cancer and our thoughts are with her family and friends.

She will be much missed by all those who knew her, and by her many fans in all corners of the world who loved her books.

Friday, June 04, 2010


Following the Brenda Novak Auction, I’ve had several people ask me about the wonderful romantic tradition we have in Wales, of carving and giving a Love Spoon. Although the exact origins are unclear, the spoons are shaped with great care and devotion by their carvers and each spoon is unique.

The choice of spoon began as a practical thing. Wooden spoons were used to eat what is still a great national dish in Wales, a vegetable and lamb broth called Cawl. Love spoons were elaborate versions of the basic spoon, carved through long winter months by a young man for the girl he loved. The earliest surviving example, displayed in the St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life near Cardiff, dates from around 1667, although the tradition is probably far older.

Some are beautifully carved but even the most elaborate love spoon is carved from one piece of wood to show the skill of the carver many of whom were shy and unwilling to show their emotions. They would attempt to convey their true feelings through the use of various symbols and those that appear frequently include hearts, diamonds, to signify wealth, wheels, to represent the wheel of life and keys to denote security.

If the girl kept this present, all was well, but if she sent it back, she did not want him.
Some spoons include wooden chains, swivels and rings, the purpose being to make an object from one piece of wood, which seemed initially to be made from several pieces. The decoration of love spoons takes many forms to allow for the artistic expression of the carver and to give personal meaning to the design. My own personal love spoon, which has pride of place on the wall of our home, has two balls carved within a cage to indicate a hope for two children.

In the 1800s, when the Victorians began sending greeting cards, the tradition of the Welsh love spoons broadened to be given to family and friends and to mark special occasions, such as a birth or anniversary, although the original idea of a courting gift is still as strong.

The one in the photograph is a modern version with the handle formed from two daffodils – the Welsh national flower.

I’m wondering if any of you have a similar tradition? Something hand-crafted, or significant, to be given as a token of love. Do share!