Thursday, September 30, 2010


Well, the book - SCOOP! - the one with the ice cream van and set amongst the villages of Upper Haughton, Lower Haughton and Longbourne, is now with my editor which means I have a day or two to catch up with the knitting, read without guilt, and play. 

I'd better make the most of it because another deadline looms and I've no doubt the lovely ed will have a few ideas of her own about what more it needs.

So what have I been doing?

Well, on the understanding that all work makes Jill a dull writer I've been in London for the annual Mills and Boon author lunch.   Lots of opportunity to catch up with friends I hadn't seen for a year.

I had coffee with the lovely Kate Hardy before lunch - and she let me play with her iPad.  Lovely piece of kit but I'm still not tempted.

Pre lunch drinks was a noisy affair.  Fifty plus authors have a lot to talk about after a year!

I had lovely company on my table.  Here's the delightful Jennie Lucas who I first met in New York several years ago, and Mandy Ferguson, Mills and Boon's Managing Director. 

On the right is the  yummy Kate Walker who I was fortunate enough to be sitting next to, with Michelle Reid and Jackie Baird behind, and on the left, the lady who can do fabulous things with hot Italians, Lucy Gordon

I also took time out with the dh to explore the Museum of London, and rediscover the City where I once worked, many years ago.  Driving down Fleet Street, up through Fetter Lane and High Holborn.  Familiar names, but very little looked the same.

One of the other joys was that, since I was staying at the Charing Cross Hotel - where we had lunch - I had a bird's eye view of the Eleanor Cross (Cher Reign Cross...) newly restored and gleaming like a wedding cake, as well as Nelson's Column.  Brilliant location.  Will definitely stay there again.

After the hectic London bit, the best beloved and I went on to Surrey for the Christening of Cora Rose, our grand-daughter, now nearly eight months old.  Definitely sitting up and taking notice. 

She was Christened the lovely church of St Andrew's in Croydon, built for the servants of the toffs who workshipped at the parish church. 

It's quite small, but very beautiful, with this stunning font which was painted by Cecily Mary Barker, creator of the Flower Fairies, who also worshipped in the church.

It was a joyful occasion, part of the morning service - all the dd's yummy mummy mates brought their babies and they all behaved beautifully - with the entire congregation taking part and welcoming Cora Rose into their community.

Here are the three generations, together.  I just hope that Cora Rose (in a hundred year old family Christening gown from her Daddy's family) has inherited her mother's height genes!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


This is from the Whole Story Audio website - thanks to Kate Hardy (who has one out later in the year) for pointing me in this direction. This site is collaborating the Mills & Boon and bringing you unabridged audio books (all available from your library, btw,) at a rather more affordable price. The contemporaries are £17.99 and the historicals, which are longer, are £19.99.

Here's what they say: -

"For the very first time, titles from Mills and Boon - the undisputed market leader in romantic fiction - are to be published as audiobooks. And, as this unique and exclusive arrangement has been made with Whole Story Audio Books, they will all be unabridged.

"In July, through our exclusive collaboration, Whole Story Audio Books will publish an initial selection of 10 Mills & Boon titles from their most popular and passionate ranges, with a minimum of three new titles added to the collection each month.

"Keep the romance alive in your life with Mills & Boon unabridged audiobooks, exclusive to Whole Story Audio Books."

Available now are -

The Australian's Society Bride
by Margaret Way
narrated by Federay Holmes

Bought for the Sicilian Billionaire's Bed
by Sharon Kendrick
narrated by Simone Philips

Cinderella's Wedding Wish
by Jessica Hart
narrated by Harriet Carmichael

The Disgraceful Mr Ravenhurst
by Louise Allen
narrated by Maggie Ollerenshaw

The Duke's Cinderella Bride
by Carole Mortimer
narrated by Steven Crossley

The Earl and the Hoyden
by Mary Nichols
narrated by Denica Fairman

The Greek's Forced Bride
by Michelle Reid
narrated by Jenny Sterlin

Marrying the Mistress
by Juliet Landon
narrated by Jenny Sterlin

The Prince's Waitress Wife
by Sarah Morgan
narrated by Jenny Sterlin

The Rake's Defiant Mistress
by Mary Brendan
narrated by Jane Collingwood

The Santangeli Marriage
by Sara Craven
narrated by Simone Philips

Secret Baby, Surprise Parents
by Liz Fielding
narrated by Maggie Ollerenshaw

Seduction Westmoreland Style
by Brenda Jackson
narrated by Jack Garrett

Shattered by the Ceo
by Emilie Rose
narrated by Jack Garrett

Virgin Mistress, Scandalous Love-child
by Jennie Lucas
narrated by Laurence Bouvard

Here's is a link to the website. Look out for new titles each month!

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Everybody hates this stuff, don't they?

We all buy great books about "how to" write - I have a huge collection - but we're not interested in the nuts and bolts of the craft, the stuff that makes what we do intelligible to the reader. We all rush to the chapters that show us how to create a plot, a to-die-for hero, a heroine with the strengths, empathy, spirit that we all yearn to possess.

It's inevitable. It's the exciting stuff. Who wants to read the boring stuff about apostrophes, or where to use a comma, and when to use a full stop? Dull, dull, dull.

But grammar is the basic tool in the writer's craft box and I'm bringing this up now because I've been reading entries to Mills & Boon's New Voices competition. I can't comment because it won't let me for some reason - but I'm not here to talk about computer glitches.

I read a lot of really great stuff, but all the time I was being thrown out of the story by bad grammar. Apostrophes in the wrong place. Sentences that were miles too long. Writers who seemed unfamiliar with the purpose of the comma or the full stop.

I'll tell you right now that I'm not a great grammarian. I use language in ways that serve my story. If I want single word sentences, I'll use them. If I want a sentence without a verb, I'll do that, too - but not too often.

I don't know about your computer, but mine is always throwing up wiggly lines and sometimes I'm not sure why, so I click on the mouse and find out. Mostly it's "fragments"; the sentence without the verb. I think about it, and decide if maybe I'm overdoing it and occasionally I'll combine two sentences. Sometimes I'm surprised to discover that I can't spell a word when I thought I could and I'm grateful for the help. Sometimes it's just querying my use of an apostrophe. (It's asking me to think about it, not telling me I've got it wrong - it just sees an apostrophe and thinks uh-oh...)

Do you know the difference between "its" and "it's"?

The thing is it matters. And in a world where editors and agents struggle for every minute in their day, they no longer have the time to cope with someone who hasn't taken the trouble to master the basic skills of writing a sentence. Read your work out loud and you'll soon realise how important this is.

The good news is that anyone can learn this stuff. I did. Point proved. Not the strange words - gerunds and past participles - but the reason for using an apostrophe and how commas help make sense of a sentence.

For those of you who are a little hazy on the basics, I can heartly recommend GETTING THE POINT by Elizabeth Hawksley and Jenny Haddon (former chairwoman of the Romantic Novelists' Association). It's a light-hearted and simple guide to grammar.

I'd also recommend noticing this stuff while reading. I know, we all race through a rattling good yarn without noticing the punctuation - that's the point. It enables the reader to instantly make sense of the words on the paper. But once you've enjoyed the book, you might usefully go back and read it again to look at sentence structure. The simple grammar. The skeleton that supported the story while you were concentrating on what was happening to the hero and heroine.

And good luck if you've entered NEW VOICES.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


I'm just delighted to see this lovely BY REQUEST from Mills & Boon in the UK this month. Apart from the joy of being teamed up with two of my favourite authors - Jackie Braun and Natasha Oakley, Her Wish List Bridegroom was nominated as Best Harlequin Romance by Romantic Times in 2005.

I'd written on book in the What Women Want mini series, The Bridesmaid's Reward, and this was driven by the same idea. What did Juliet really, really want. Well, that was easy. As a teenager she'd made a life plan. Did that thing we're all advised to do, made lists. Small dreams, big dreams.

The big ones were academic success, a great career and Gregor McLeod. Two out of three wasn’t bad. But then the rug was pulled from beneath her feet and she was back where she started. Well, she still had the academic paperwork, but the career she'd spent years building was in ruins and she was back home, in her childhood room, with her mother nagging her. But then, just when she needed a hero, Greg was at her door offering to kiss it better.

There were several problems with that.

She had sworn off men for life.
And he had quite a few secrets of his own.


‘Tell me what you want, Juliet.’

Greg knew he was crazy. She was saying “please” in a way that no man could possible misinterpret. He could feel her body yielding to him, feel it softening, opening, the soft little sounds she was making in the back of her throat.
All he had to do was kiss her and she’d dissolve, crumple up right here on the floor if that’s what he wanted.

And still he held back, offering her a way out, giving her a chance to think again.


She wasn’t some nervous virgin who didn’t know whether she wanted this or not. He’d never been interested in those. He’d liked women who knew what they wanted and weren’t afraid to show him. Juliet was a grown woman and they’d both known where this would end the minute they’d started baiting one another with verbal foreplay.

He had his hands full of hot, sexy womanhood. She knew exactly how he was feeling right now and she wasn’t exactly pushing him away. This should have been so damned simple.

But it wasn’t.

And he didn’t know why.

Except, except...

‘I need to know that this is what you want.’

Her response was to lift a hand, lay it along his cheek. She was trembling, he realised. Not with fear, because if she’d been afraid she would have been rigid in his arms, would not have been openly encouraging his mouth on her breasts. She was trembling with desire and knowing that made him feel ten times, a hundred times stronger, more powerful than he’d ever felt in his life. And still he waited, doing nothing to encourage her, nothing to discourage her.

He wanted her to know that despite his sudden lapse into the kind of machismo behaviour that he despised, that was an invitation to any self-respecting woman to show him the door, he was not so lost to his own needs that he wouldn’t step back if that’s what she wanted.
As if rewarding him for his patience, she lifted her other hand so that she was cradling his face. And then she lifted her mouth to his and kissed him, very gently.

It was the sweetest kiss.

The kind that an innocent teenage girl might bestow on her first boyfriend. All soft, trembling lips. Uncertain longings. The kind that was wasted on a hot, horny youth who had only one thing in mind. The kind that could steal a man’s heart. She couldn’t begin to imagine how much it cost him to hold back, allow her to take the lead, set the pace. Had no way of understanding that her tenderness was burning him up in a way that not even the hottest of kisses had ever achieved.

Then he realised that her face was wet, that tears were pouring down her cheeks and mingling with their lips.


It's available from the Mills & Boon website. And also from The Book Depository who will send it anywhere in the world for a discounted £4.49 without charging postage.

HER WISH-LIST BRIDEGROOM has also been released as an eBook.

From the book: Her Wish-List Bridegroom
By: Liz Fielding
Mills & Boon “Tender” Series & Harlequin “Romance” Series
Publication Date: February, 2005 (UK), July 2005 (US)
Copyright: Liz Fielding 2004