Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Are you keeping up? Maybe a little camomile tea to settle the nerves after all this stimulation.  A cucumber sandwich to keep your strength up. A little strawberry tart? A big fat prawn or two?

What's your favourite party food?  Just say the word and one of our lovely butlers will be at your elbow with a tray. :)

We've still got lots of partying to do, so call over one of the butlers to give you a little massage - Hugh anyone? - to ease out the wrinkles, and then we can party on because I have a very special guest today.

Leah Ashton, our newest author, signed after being mentored by Jessica Hart in the New Voices competition held by Mills and Boon last year. Her first book, Secrets and Speed Dating, will be published in a special pack in September this year in the UK.

Here's Leah to tell you a little bit about her extraordinary year.

Meet the very delicious Tom Harley, a man who looks remarkably like my hero in Secrets & Speed Dating, Dan Halliday :) Dan is just like Tom - tall, strong, a fabulous smile and incredible sky blue eyes that you could just fall into. Tom is an ex-Australian Football League premiership player (and captain), who is now a football commentator, which means I can show a photo of him looking very dapper in a suit, also.

Dan isn't a footballer, he gets his lovely muscles from swimming every morning at Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Western Australia. During the day he manages his two super successful - and super trendy - bars, and he thinks his life is trundling along absolutely perfectly - until he meets Sophie Morgan. Sophie's world is full of to-do lists and plans while Dan has learnt that life can't be micro managed. But then Dan finds himself part of Sophie's latest project.

You may have already met Dan last September, during the Mills & Boon New Voices competition, which I was fortunate enough to win. Dan has grown and changed just a bit since then, but he's still the hero I fell in love with when I first typed up my entry. New Voices was such an incredible experience, everything about it was just so new and so huge - from the number of entrants (over 800!) to the prize on offer (publication!). I ummed and ahhed over entering, but I am just so glad I took that deep breath and dived in - because now by the time that New Voices 2011 begins this September, Dan's story will be a real life, published book! I am just over the moon excited :)

It's been a whirlwind since I submitted my entry last year - from the shock of finding out I made the Top 10, to the next nerve-wracking month of the competition, the euphoria of winning - and then the really difficult bit - writing the rest of the book! While some of it was a lot of hard work, I wouldn't change a thing. My writing has improved a hundred-fold through the experience of working with my mentors, but also I had the amazing experience of having readers read my work and provide their feedback - and that support just blew me away.

Thanks to New Voices I now have my first book about to come out, and my deadline for my second book rapidly approaching. I'm just starting out on my writing career with Mills & Boon, but I sincerely hope that I will get to write lots and lots of books for them in the future. I am in awe of Liz and her achievement - 20 years and 60 books - WOW! Congratulations Liz, I loved your books well before I was published. Your books, and your career, are such an inspiration to me.

Thanks, Leah.  Many congratulations on your new career. May Dan be the first of many heroes in your life!

So, here's the question - who would you cast as the hero in your first romantic novel?

Next up is the lovely Sophie Page - better known to some of you as Sophie Weston.  She's written a basketful of books for Harlequin in the past, but this year she caught the zeitgeist with her latest book, To Marry a Prince, published just before the royal wedding.  This is a truly delightful book with a genuine Prince Charming who wins the kind of heroine we all hope a man in such a difficult position will find to share his life.

Here's what Sophie has to say about her inspiration and her book -

The Ordinary Girl and the Prince is the first fairytale I read. 

When the Royal Engagement was announced in 2010, it brought it all back - the anxiety, the excitement, the big happy (and yes, okay, slightly tearful) smile when Everygirl married her One True Love. Only this time, just for a moment, it felt sort of personal - a happy ending in our time, as it were.

To Marry a Prince is a story for every girl, of any age, who has ever dreamed of finding her Prince.  It’s set today (with a few variations, as you would expect). It’s Britain, Jim, but not quite as we know it. The wondrous Terry Pratchett would say we have gone down the other trouser leg of Time and taken a slightly different turn in history.

A long time fan, I pre-ordered this book for my Kindle and devoured it in great big romantic chunks. My favourite bit is probably the nightmarish New Year's Eve party - wild Scottish country dancing, knocking HM's tiara off; lots of fun and very romantic.

Okay - you're at the New Year's Eve party at Balmoral and you've just knocked the tiara off the monarch's head. What would you say!

Okay, time topause for a little refreshment, I think! (I hope you spotted the Thai Coconut Prawns back there!

And onto our next guest, the truly lovely Ally Blake, who has supplied so many gorgeous pictures for us to drool over.

I'm particularly fond of this one, an oldie but totally gorgeous hottie who is an example to all those foolish men who think they need a face lift when they reach the age of the bus pass.  Guys, we love that lived in look. Truly. Think Cary Grant, think ... well, think Paul Newman!

Ally's latest book confusing, has two titles, depending where in the world you are.  This is the UK cover - THE WEDDING DATE, which is part of the new RIVA series.  In the US it's released as a Presents Extra with the title THE ROGUE WEDDING GUEST, but wherever in the world you are it has Ally's witty, emotional voice.

And has this gorgeous guy as its hero.

All work and no play means that Hannah’s crush on her gorgeous boss - blockbuster adventure TV show producer Bradley Knight – has no chance of fading gracefully away.   So the opportunity to go home to Tasmania for her sister’s wedding for a long weekend is just the break from work - and Bradley – she so badly needs.

One problem - Bradley has a gut feeling that if his most able assistant goes back to her beautiful island home, she might find more reasons to stay than to come back.  Thankfully, the stunning, raw, rugged scenery of Tasmania is just the kind of place he could set his next TV show.  It only makes sense that he tag along!

This book is set in the wilds of Tasmania.  Where in the world would you go to go for a romantic escape!

Three great guests, three fabulous books up for grabs. And tomorrow there'll be three more friends dropping by.  See you then!


Anna Campbell said...

Hey, I'm first again! That means I get first choice of Hugh...uh, drink. I'm sorry that picture of Hugh in a towel just distracts me. I remember Anne McAllister used it for a presentation at an RWOz conference a few years ago. I don't think anyone heard a word she said afterwards, wonderful as she is!

What a great line-up of guests today, Liz. Waving madly at Leah, Ally and Jenny. Jenny, I loved your royal romance book - one of the loveliest first meets I've ever read. Seriously sigh-worthy!

Jenny Haddon said...

Happy 20th, Liz. SO very pleased to be here. Especially as it gives me a chance to say how much I loved Tempted by Trouble. It dug me out of the Slough of Despond and sent me on my way with a song on my lips.

Waving back at Anna and Ally also.

Leah great to cybermeet. I look forward to your book.

I've loved Hugh since I saw him as Curly in Oklahoma. But chaps in towels don't (usually) do it for me. It's the voice that makes my toes curl. Anyone else remember Dennis Quaid saying,'Your luck's about to change, chere?' Imprinted on my inner ear, that.

Liz Fielding said...

Love an eager partygoer, Anna! Not sure how long you'll be able to hold onto Hugh - he's a romance author favourite. Enjoy him while you can.

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks so much, Jenny!

I had such a good time curling up with Prince Richard; a lovely, lovely book and I know whoever wins it will be in for a treat.

So glad Tempted did the biz for you. There is absolutely nothing like the right book at the right time to get a girl over a Slough (the town, incidentally where I was born!) Television just doesn't have the same effect as losing yourself in the imagination.

Lesley Cookman said...

Morning! I absolutely loved To Marry A Prince. And Liz, you know how much I enjoyed Tempted by Trouble. And I'm very tempted by Bradley, so I shall definitely be going for Ally's book - and Leah's - congratulations, Leah. Cheers!

Chris Stovell said...

Happy 20th Liz! Phew! So many congratulations to everyone, but for some reason I'm having trouble concentrating! ;)

Jane said...

A fat prawn sounds delicious. I think I'll have a few of those. I'll probably cast Richard Armitage as my hero. He was very dashing in North and South. I would run as fast as I can if I knocked the tiara off the monarch's head. I don't want to know what the punishment is for that crime/faux pas. I would escape to Tahiti and spend all day on the beach and maybe sample some exotic cuisine.

Alexandra said...

All these lovely books! My wish list is growing... I shall need a new bookcase just to stack my humongous tbr pile!

Humble apologies, Your Maj... I'll just... er... give this a clean for you... be back in a mo...

Romantic destination has to be Rome. We went there to celebrate our 25th anniversary just a few short weeks ago - we took our girls with us though! Couldn't go to such a wonderful place full of culture and history without them.

Liz Fielding said...

Welcome, Lesley! Grab a cocktail, grab a man...

Liz Fielding said...

Hi Chris - hope you're finding a working power point. I've been through the "building" phase and know exactly how disruptive it is.

Have a drink - it will help!

Liz Fielding said...

Good choice, Jane. And Tahiti sounds just about far enough! As for Richard Armitage... That reminds me, I need to make sure he's here this week; special request!

Liz Fielding said...

That's it, Alexandra, buff it up and hand it back. I'm sure she'll give you one of her 1000 watt smiles. And Rome - yes, absolutely. Can't wait to go back.

Helen said...

Whoo Hoo I would love some stawberries and champagne with a massage from Hugh after Anna of course LOL.

Great guests again such great books they sound fantastic

I am not sure who I would cast as my romantic hero as I have said before I really have a soft spot for Hugh Jackman

I would probaly freeze with embarrasment LOL but I would say sorry

A romantic escape would be to The Blue Mountains here in NSW in winter so as we can snuggle all day

Have Fun

gaelikaa said...

Happy anniversary Liz. Have a wonderful week.

Jessica Hart said...

Had to pop back, grab a cucumber sandwich in passing, and say hello again to Leah. I've a special interest in Dan and Sophie, and can't wait to read their story! Congratulations again, Leah, and may this book be just the start of a career as successful as Liz's ... only another 58 or so books to go!

And another mwah mwah to Jenny - lovely to 'see' you again and I am so with you on the toe-curling qualities of Dennis Quaid in The Big Easy!

Liz Fielding said...

Step and welcome, Helen. I cast Hugh as my hero in Reunited Marriage in a Million. Perfect!

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks, Gaelikaa - I'm having a ball!

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

Wow - Hugh in a towel. How are we supposed to think? Like, Jenny my first hero would be like Dennis Quaid in The Big Easy.

If I knocked off a tiara, I would sweetly apologize.

Leah Ashton said...

Oh dear, I'm a little late to the party!

Thanks for inviting me along, Liz! And hello to all the other party-goers :)

Jessica - I hope I have done Dan and Sophie's story justice and you enjoy it. I just can't wait to actually see my words in print, that will be surreal!

Jan Jones said...

Gosh, can hardly squeeze through the door for all the Hugh-in-a-towel... sorry, where was I? Oh yes, for all the visitors here.

First hero ? Viggo, of course. and I did, in Stage by Stage.

Tiara? Too embarrassing to even contemplate.

Romantic destination? Greece. Fiscardo on Cephalonia to be exact. Then again, Viggo - or Hugh - could take me anywhere...

Caroline said...

Hi Liz - and the "girls" - Leah, Ally and Jenny. Happy 20th. What a great blog post - I loved it! Caroline x

Di said...

Tasmaina sounds like a really interesting choice. Having some fun in an interesting place adds to the joy which can only enhance the romance!

sallans d at yahoo dot com

ros said...

I love party food! I especially love crab rangoon, which is sadly not easy to get hold of in the UK. Now, onto the serious stuff, I tend not to 'cast' people for my books. My current hero is an environmentalist sheikh and I can't think of anyone remotely suitable to play him! But give me a social etiquette situation and I'm totally your girl. I'd give the queen a cheery smile as I retrieved her tiara and ask if she mind letting me try it on. But at the same time, I'd be nodding to a waiter to top up HM's gin and dubonnet so that she would be in a suitable mood not to care!

As for a romantic destination - Florence. Not the real one, the one in the film of A Room With A View. Heaven.

Ally Blake said...

Hi all! Waving madly to Leah and Jenny! Now I'm about to embarrass myself by admitting I've never seen The Big Easy. DVD shop here I come! Congrats on the Big anniversary lovely Liz! Love Ally

catslady said...

Congratulations!! Has anyone mentioned margaritas! I'm sure Hugh would love some in this hot weather!

Liz Fielding said...

It's tough, Tammy - but we'll struggle through!

Liz Fielding said...

Leah, just lovely to see you here. Can't wait to see your cover and join in your own party when the book is published!

Liz Fielding said...

Ah, Jan - of course I remember Viggo in Stage by Stage. Perfect casting!

And the isles of Greece, the isles of Greece... Sigh.

Liz Fielding said...

Hi Caroline! Lovely to see you - thanks so much for dropping by.

Liz Fielding said...

Di, there's nothing like a great backdrop to a romance to add a little zing. Add in Ally's sparkly writing and you have a winner. :)

Liz Fielding said...


An environmentalist sheikh sounds good to me and Florence - just perfect.

Liz Fielding said...

Hi Ally! I don't think I've seen the Dennis Quaid Big Easy, either. Definitely something missing in my life.

And I think I need to get out my Taz mug and read your new book this weekend.

I don't think I'm ever going to get book no 61 finished!

Liz Fielding said...

Margheritas, Catslady - I'm sure we had a jug of them around here somewhere...

Sheree said...

There are people who haven't experience the sexyhawtness that is Dennis Quaid in "The Big Easy"? You are in for a treat! (or I saw this film at the most susceptible time in my life - no wonder one of my ex-boyfriends looked like Dennis!)

Scenes from that film are so embedded in my brain that the first time I saw Cameron Diaz in "The Mask", I thought she was Ellen Barkin with a fabulous face lift.

Liz Fielding said...

Alexandra, you've won To Marry a Prince by Sophie Page! Congratulation - if you can get your details to me straight away she'll get it in the post to you in the morning. If not it will be Tuesday. :)

Alexandra said...

Hi Liz/Sophie

Delighted to have won To Marry a Prince! I've sent my details to you Liz but am not sure if they'll get there as it says no-replyblogger.


Liz Fielding said...

Alexandra, send them to liz at lizfielding dot com - that'll find me!

Liz Fielding said...

Alexcandra's address has to been passed on to Sophie -

Helen,you have won Ally's book - she so loved the snuggling up the mountains - so if you'll send your details to me at liz at lizfielding dot com I'll pass them on.

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments. I am enjoying this so much!

Helen said...

Whoo Hoo doing the happy dance thank you so much Ladies I have sent an email

Have Fun

Ally Blake said...

Congrats Helen! The book's all packed up ready to send. There's a big of mountain type snuggling going on in THE WEDDING DATE so hope it suits!