Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Reviews, as we all know, are subjective. One person's taste on one day. Some people won't review a book they don't like (I won't myself).

Over the years I've had a lot of wonderful reviews, including one of the now defunct Gold Medals from Romantic Times. I've had some snorters, too, including those from people who are unfamiliar with some of the English English words I use and assume I made a mistake. That's life. You book a put out into the world and it's no longer yours. Either don't read the reviews or live with them.

Yesterday, though, was a review Red Letter day.

Flirting With Italian earned Desert Isle Keeper status from All About Romance, one of the toughest review sites on the planet (including Smart Bitches Loves Trashy Books). You get a flavour from their opening salvo - 

   "This book sounded trite: A recently dumped heroine lands a dream job in Rome and meets a gorgeous Italian Count..."

But then it goes on...

"Fortunately, trite is the last thing it proved to be. While it started off light and pleasant, by the end I realize just how textured and deep the characters are, and how lovely the story is. This is a good one."

Be still my beating heart. She liked it...

The review is a long one, with a summary of the plot and then finishes -

   "I enjoyed the author’s technique of beginning each chapter with an excerpt from Sarah’s blog. It helped show the changes she went through while in Rome, and also provided insights into her growing relationship with Matteo. 
   "I’ve never been to Rome or the outlying countryside, but the author brought them alive for me. I felt as if I was there, and could smell and see the sights right along with Sarah.
   "I’ve read a quite a few of the author’s books. Some have been enjoyable while others were forgettable. As I closed the book on the last page I found myself crying a few happy tears. I loved this one and know I will read it again at some point in the future. It’s on my keeper shelf."

If you want to read the whole thing, you'll find it here

Here is Liz. She is smiling...

Thursday, January 26, 2012


First of all, thanks to everyone who offered suggestions to get me out of the “six inch” bind. There were lots of great ideas and I really appreciate you all taking the time and trouble to help out.

I’m really glad I posted this because I discovered that it’s not quite such a problem as I had imagined.

The first hint that “inches” might not be a dead word in UK English came from those of you who pointed out that we still refer to heel height in inches. I don’t understand why that should be, but it’s a fact. Women who were taught entirely in metric still refer to 4” inch heels. Why?

And that’s not all. The dd emailed me to point out that she has no trouble with inches since we still buy our bras that way. (It’s feet she has a problem with – all 30cm of them). It’s true. I treated myself to some new underwear this week and sure enough the ones for the top half come in inches. How weird is that?

Then, having bought some new trousers, I took them to be shortened (oh the joys of being 5’1” whatever that is in metric) and realised that trousers are sold with the inside leg measurement in, you’ve got it, inches.

So my problem was not a problem at all.

Of course there are always the foreign language editions, but I’ll leave the translators to worry about those!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Feet and inches...


I am so frustrated. Today I was writing a scene with my heroine with head in a freezer, skirt up to her knickers, and discovering, too late, that she’s being observed by some bloke she’s never met.

How do I describe the length of her skirt? My natural inclination is to describe it as six inches above her knee, but then I went to school before decimalisation. No British woman under the age of 35 would say that. Or think it. My daughter, who falls within that category, doesn’t “get” inches, feet or yards. She thinks in metres as would my heroine.

But a large part of my audience is in America, where metres are some meaningless foreign concept and I might as well be writing in French. Well, obviously, metres are … French.

I come up against this again and again. Inches v centimetres. Metres v yards. And trying to make it work for all my readers. Mostly, I find a way of writing round it, but sometimes 

I Just Want To Bang My Head Against My Desk!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


It's been a few weeks since I've played Six Sentence Sunday and I've missed it, so here's a clip on the subject of character from my new book for writers.
To come alive on the page, your hero and heroine must be more than two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs that you move around the stage. You should not be asking yourself “what can I make them do next”. If your characters are blood-and-bones, heart-and-soul real, you will know what they would do, just as you instinctively know what someone close to you would do in any given circumstance.

You may hear authors talking about characters who “take over” the story. That is not because the author is not in control of her characters, but because she has created three-dimensional, living, breathing people, men and women she knows so well that her writing brain is flying ahead of her fingers on the keyboard.

To truly know your characters you must understand not just what they look like, where they went to school, what they do for a living but see them living in their own world, having a life before you write Chapter One.

Here's a link to download to your Kindle.

Friday, January 20, 2012


To write their story you will have to know your characters intimately. For this, you need to do more than fill out a character worksheet with all their physical characteristics, their birth sign, their place in the family hierarchy, the names of their siblings. — from Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance

When most people talk about “character building” they mean doing hard stuff that builds your own character. Helping good causes, being a good neighbour, learning survival skills in a freezing tent on the Brecon Beacons.

When I talk about character building, I’m having fun.

Take Sorrel Amery, the heroine of the book I’m writing at the moment, for instance. I knew a bit about her before I started. She’s the younger sister of Elle Amery, the heroine of Tempted By Trouble. She’s been studying for a degree in Business Studies and is determined to be a millionaire by the time she’s twenty-five. With her big sister, Elle, on maternity leave from “Scoop!”, the business build around Rosie, a vintage ice cream van, she gets her chance. (It’s going to be a bumpy ride…)

I knew that she has dark red hair, is good with clothes and she does it on a budget, hunting through charity (goodwill) stores for classics. (One of my favourite authors, the late, and much missed, Anne Weale was a past master at this!)

I needed more and when I saw these shoes in a magazine I had found her weakness. She might go bargain hunting for silk shirts and classic suits, but she would live on bread and water for a month to possess this pair of Mui Mui sandals.

What is your heroine’s weakness?

What is your weakness? What would induce you give up your double skinny latte or your lunchtime trip to Pret a Manger?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Liz Fielding's Little Book of Writing Romance

It's on sale now!

It seems to have taken forever to launch my latest project, but it's finally available on Kindle and will be appearing on other platforms in the next day or two.

I'm just about managing to contain my excitement long enough to tell you that this little book is a primer - an entry level aid for the writer who has a story to tell, but is struggling to get it out of her head and onto paper. To quote the theme song for the movie of Erich Segal’s bestselling book Love Story, “How do you begin. . . ”

I know how that feels, I’ve been there and I have written the book I wish I’d had when I was starting out.

My purpose is to explain, in the simplest terms — no jargon! — and using examples from my own work, how to make the transition from the story in your head to words on paper. How to write a compelling opening, deepen conflict, write honest emotion, hopefully with a touch of humour to leaven the mix. How to write crisp dialogue, develop the romance, add a little sizzle.

Following last week's draw, five names were drawn from the magic hat and


are already reading it, or will have it on their computer in the next few days.

For the moment it's at a special price of £2.45 in the UK and under $4 in the US (at least it was when I caught a glimpse of the price - they won't let UK residents see the price on the US site for some reason) largely because Amazon have got it wrong, so if you're thinking of buying it, it's probably a good idea to do it quickly before they sort it out!

If you have any questions, please ask.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reading, Writing, Nominated and a Review!

This was a lovely surprise: This blog has been nominated for the Top Writing Blogs Award by ECollegeFinder.com !

I've been catching up with some reading over the last week or two. An extraordinary detective story - The Interpretation of a Murder is set in New York in the first decade of the twentieth century. A young woman is brutally murdered, another attacked, and a psychoanalyst and a detective struggle to understand what is going on - with helpful (or not) interjections from visiting heavyweights Freud and Jung. 

It was not fast, but the fact that I was gripped was proved by the fact that the rather small, grey print that I found a struggle to read did not deter me.

Right now I'm reading Her Christmas Knight by Kate Hardy

This is an absolutely charming medical romance between a nurse with a very special son, and a hero suffering from guilt. They both fight the instant attraction but it's clear they made for each other.

Can they find the courage to move away from the past and find happiness? A life-threatening accident puts everything on hold.

Loving this!

On the work front, Liz Fielding's Little Book of Writing Romance has just been through another round of production edits. One step nearer! There's still time to comment on the post below to be in with a chance to win one of five copies hot off the computer! I'll post the winners on Sunday evening.

And finally, I just spotted this lovely review for FLIRTING WITH ITALIAN at

"Liz Fielding continues to raise the bar with her sixtieth Harlequin Romance, Flirting with Italian! Written with all the flair and gusto that readers have come to expect from this much-loved award-winning author, Flirting with Italian is a zesty paced page-turner that skillfully balances poignant romance with powerful emotional conflict, nail-biting family drama and rib-tickling humour."

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Liz Fielding's Little Book of Writing Romance

Some of you may have noticed the "Coming Soon" title on the sidebar of my blog. Not quite as "soon" as I'd hoped, alas.
I was planning to launch Liz Fielding's Little Book of Writing Romance as the New Year dawned - to go with all those New Year resolutions - but I'm beginning to discover the frustrations of being a publisher.
It's not all done once the author has written The End.
It is, however, getting closer.
Tomorrow I should have the production proofs and, hopefully, if all is well, it won't be long after that before the book will be downloaded onto eBook platforms and available for download to your eBook, phone, iPad or PC.
So, what it is?
My Little Book of Writing Romance is, basically, a primer. A beginner's book of writing romance. The book I wish I'd had when I was a new, know-nothing writer hoping to be published by Mills and Boon.
There were very few books about how-to write back then. There was no internet where you could go for advice, no opportunity to chat to authors, take a class. (Now I'm sounding like the Ancient Novelist, but honestly, it wasn't that long ago!)
When I first put pen to paper (and it was a real pen and real paper) and wrote the first books that were rejected, I was on my own.
I wrote three whole books — every word of 55,000 words — before I picked up on the fact that I only had to send three chapters for them to know it was tosh. I don’t regret that. Finishing a book is a huge step forward and each one was a huge learning experience.
The only feedback I had was from the editor who read my efforts. I still have the letters – they are very precious to me, even the one that said my efforts were a little “wooden”. Kindly editors pointed me in the direction of writers I should read — Sara Craven, Elizabeth Oldfield — and said they would read my next effort, but there was no solid advice (it wasn't their job to teach me how to write).
I learned by reading, by practice (you learn a lot writing three books). I taught myself to be a writer. I also learned that I wanted it badly enough to keep doing it. There is a word for that. Bloodymindedness?
It’s more than twenty years since I received “the call” on a sunny summer afternoon.
Since then, I’ve published more than sixty books, won awards and had a wonderful career and it's time to pay it forward to a new generation.
I started this year with my involvement in Mills and Boon's New Voices competition and that inspired me to put together some of the stuff I've learned over the years.
Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance is a straightforward, no-nonsense book that helps the new writer to translate the story in her head into the written word.
How to start. How to grab your reader on the first page, tackle conflict, dig deep for emotion. How to give your reader a hero and heroine who had a life before your book begins, who are meant to be together — who don’t just fall in love because you put them together in a book — and who your reader can imagine having a life after they read the last page.
Real people, taking the journey of their lives.
It's nearly there.  Another week. (Fingers firmly crossed!)

Leave a comment telling me why you'd like a copy - I've copies for five lucky readers. The dipping hat will come out next Sunday evening.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


Didn't you just dread that first week back at school when you had to write an essay on what you did on your holidays?

It was such fun doing it, but having to write about it... duh...

Well, this is my report on my holidays.

The first great thing that happened was that there was no snow.  I'd always sworn I'd never travel on public holidays and especially at Christmas (vivid memories of my parents getting stranded in Spain one year), but I need not have worried. It wasn't sunny, but no snow and only one shower of rain to disturb the fun.

There were no strikes - I refer you to my previous comments about travelling on holidays.  The air traffic controllers all stayed at their desks, the baggage handlers did their thing and so did pilots, air cabin crew and groundstaff.

Thanks guys. I hope you all have a fabulous New Year.

Holland was lovely. It was great to see the family, have a cuddle with the grand-dogs and do some site-seeing.

We visited Vincent Van Gogh's house (bought a sweet little "sunflowers" lunchbox for my granddaughter), window shopping and lunch in Breda and a day in Arnhem, visiting historic sites with my d-i-l's parents.

There was also a memorable Christmas lunch at a Japanese restaurant with the entire family. Lots of fun.

There was  a momentary lapse from the diet with local New Year treat - olieballs (see picture above) and pancakes. I am now back on the wii and toning up in time for the RNA Awards Reception in March!

The journey home was a breeze with a trip on the Dutch High Speed train to Schipol and a smooth flight home.

It's the first time in twenty years I haven't been in charge of the cooker on Christmas Day. I'm thinking that I could easily give it up for good!

So, what did you do on your holidays?

Monday, January 02, 2012

I expected to be here writing a cheery New Year message full of last year's mistakes and deterination to do better this year.

Instead, my heart is full of memories of the lovely Penny Jordan who died yesterday. I first met Penny in Washington at an RWA conference ten years ago. She was so sweet, so shy - one of the best known authors in the room at the Harlequin party, but I doubt if there was one who was more modest, more driven to do her best for her readers with every book, more supportive of new writers.

Her death at the tragically young age of 65 is a message to never waste a minute doing less than my best, never waste a moment of the life I have.

 God bless her.