Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Kate!

It's been quite a year for the Duchess of Cambridge...

The wedding...
Kate in Canada...
Kate's first speech...
Kate and Michelle Obama...
Kate goes cowgirl...
Kate at the Olympic park...
Kate goes walkabout...

 Happy Anniversary, ma'am!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Moving Chronicles...

Moving house is a roller-coaster of stress, emotion and sudden shocks to the system.

This morning our solicitor called. It was Monday. It was early. And selling a house is such a stressful experience that you spend at least half the time expecting things to go wrong so it was not entirely surprising that when Amanda said our seller was pulling out of the deal I got the wrong end of the stick.

For half an hour we sat, slightly stunned, working out what we'd have to do. What we'd have to stop.

And then... And then... I realised what she'd actually said.

Seller, not buyer.

I called Amanda back to clarify what she'd said. That it was our seller who had changed her mind and wouldn't be proceeding. Not our buyer.


It was still a moment for regret. The house we'd made an offer for ticked most of our boxes. Small garden, four bedrooms (need one for an office), pleasant location within walking distance of a shop.

We're sorry that we won't be living there but if necessary we'll put our furniture into store and rent while we find another one.

Meanwhile, the skip is two-thirds full. Fifteen years of tax records have been shredded.  The shed and garage have been cleared.

The packing has begun in earnest.

Happy St George's Day!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday...

My Six this week is taken from my non-fiction book, Liz Fielding's Little Book Writing Romance. I wrote for new writers, those who are struggling to get their story on the page, but reviewers have all said that it's a useful aide memoire for the experienced author, too

When we're having problems with a plot, a hero, anything, it's always useful to go back to basics.

This little snippet is from Chapter One - which is all about grabbing the reader on the first page.


"Consider any newspaper story. It doesn't start with ten years of back story, it starts with a headline.

"They are designed to catch your attention, make you read on. Does your story start with a headline?"

I hope you'll make some time to visit other Six Sentence Sunday authors and leave encouraging comments. (They'll love you for it!)

Have a lovely day.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


This post by Sophia Nash on the Huffington Post is about writing through the bad stuff and I so want to read the book about the woman left hanging on the cliff edge!

Actually, I'm the one clinging on - if she could do that through three years of divorce, then I can do it through moving house. Right?

This is a brilliant thing. This is what I want, but my
deadline is approaching at the speed of an express train and I can't even think about writing.

This should not have happened, but I had a fabulous (I thought) idea for a book and I convinced my editor to go along with me. It's still a fabulous idea but I discovered, after a couple of months trying to write the first paragraph, that this is not its moment. I suspect that like The Marriage Miracle, I need a character who I know - who's already made an appearance and who is going to keep nagging me until I give him a story. It took Matty a couple of years to get me to the point where I was ready to go.

Anyway, I put that to one side and started again and I was finally getting up a head of steam and a fabulous working title - Hot Fudge Sundae - thanks to Anne (see last week's post) when we had an offer for our house. From someone who had sold theirs and was ready to go and could we move quickly. Please.


There followed a week of furious house hunting on the web (we're moving 120 miles away) and then a week of actually looking at houses.

I know some people do this for fun, but frankly I think it's the most embarrassing and difficult thing ever. Especially when you don't like the house. But, hey, and halleluja - we found a house we both love. And now I'm not sleeping, because my brain won't quit trying to figure out how this move is going to work (along with selling the furniture that won't fit in the new house, fitting in visits to the dentist, the eye clinic, the hair dresser and a week in Italy).

And my editor comes back from holiday on Monday and is going to want to know why there isn't a book on her desk.

Here is Liz. She is in meltdown.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lucky 7 MeMe

I got tagged for this by the fabulous fellow RIVA, and New York Times best selling author, Nicola Marsh.

The rules state that you go to page 77 of your wip in progress or recent book, go to line seven and then paste seven sentences.

I haven't reached page 77 of my book yet, but Nicola said I could use page 7, and this is moments after Sorrel Amery meets Alexander Laing in the second book of my Ice Cream trilogy.

   ‘I know that, but I was beginning to wonder if you did.’ The gleam, if anything, intensified and without warning she was feeling anything but cold. Her head might be saying “He is so not my type”, but her body had tuned out her brain and was thinking “He is so hot…”
   Down girl…
  Sorrel had no idea what had brought Alexander Laing back to Maybridge, but from her own reaction she knew that his arrival would send Ria into a melt-down tizzy that would cause no end of disruption to the smooth running of Knickerbocker Gloria. And that would create a knock-on effect for her own business.

All title ideas grateful received - so far I'm thinking along the lines of "Sundae Sweet Sundae", or "Sizzling Sundae", or Sundaes With Sorrel"... 


Shirley Jump
Susan Stephens
Anne McAllister
Liz Fenwick
Jan Jones
Pam Hartshorne
Kate Lace

Sunday, April 08, 2012

I made the front page again...

My Writers' News arrived this week and the lead story was my brush with the plagiarist and how the romance writing community came together with the most amazing support.

Special mention went to Googlefus, Elizabeth Chadwick, the Seriously Serious Scribes on Facebook and Jo Bourne, all of whom tracked down the whole story and made the woman who'd stolen not only my work, but that of Catherine Mann, Julie Kenner and Marie Ferrarella - and who knows who many others - 'fess up and admit what she'd done. No excuses.

They were all brilliant, as was everyone who emailed, tweeted and FB'd with their support.
And then today, my copy of RT Book Club Reviews arrived and there I was again, or rather there was my Little Book of Writing Romance being given a great write-up, along with C J Lyons, No Rules, Just Write.

Clearly we share the same vision of writing. It's there on the first page of my book -

"The first rule of writing - there are no rules."

I also received the US cover artwork of The Last Woman He'd Ever Date, which is very pretty. I'll get that up in a day or two.

Add this to a hilarious post on Smart Bitches Love Trashy Books from "pig", who said some lovely things about Tempted By Trouble and  this fabulous review for Flirting With Italian at Wearing My Reading Hat -

Glad I took a chance…

Liz Fielding’s Flirting with Italian. I generally don’t pick up Harlequins without a recommendation. So glad I gave this one a chance after reading a review of it on AAR. I loved everything about it from the Italian setting to the lead characters to the way the relationship develops and sex doesn’t take over the story. This one has been added to my comfort read pile and I’m sure I’ll read again when I’m in the mood for it.

All I can say is - some weeks are just magic!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Fun and fantasy...

I am so fortunate that Toni Sands, a member of the Carmarthen Chapter of the Romantic Novelists Association lives very near near me. We meet for coffee as often as we can - not often enough, we're both very busy - to chat about writing, about plots, ideas and fun.

We went to the RNA Conference together last year at Caerleon and had a ball. (This is us with Jennifer Taylor, Mills and Boon Medical Author, having a good time at the gala dinner!)

Sandra is much published in the short story and novella market (see Traded Innocence below) but has recently had her first full length novel, ORCHID PINK, published. It's a little bit naughty (actually very naughty) - you have been warned.

Today Sandra is my guest and she sharing some thoughts on writing romantic fiction…

How thoughtful to place a mural on the ceiling. Peter Rabbit nibbled on a bright green lettuce leaf and Eva Peron waved from her wrought-iron balcony above the black leather bunk where I lay.

The mind scanner, trim in pristine white coat, moved the ultra-sound probe across my forehead. ‘It’s a bit hot in here,’ she said. ‘Erm, do you by any chance write erotica?’

I dragged myself back from the brink of Alice’s rabbit hole. ‘I do,’ I said. ‘Is there a problem?’

‘Not at all. In fact there’s a queue of characters waiting. Actually,’ she lowered her voice,’ I’d rather like some of what they’re having. Oh, wow. There’s someone here I wouldn’t mind meeting.’

I wondered whether sexy smuggler Jac still hung around, hoping for another outing. Maybe Adelaide was there too – longing to travel to France with her lover. But the mind scanner moved on.

‘Here’s a shape shifter literally panting for release,’ she said. ‘Can’t you do something about that? He or it could probably take you to the Human Rights’ Court for not allowing him his own story.’

Did she mean Keir? He’s the hero in my new contemporary romance and I’d even pictured him as a snow leopard with hypnotic eyes and a Clint Eastwood prowl.

‘Around the area of your heart,’ she continued, 'there’s a distinct pink tinge. You have a whole cast of characters longing to escape. Love affairs between dolly birds and dishy chaps in sports cars ... so what’s this village back in the seventies? You couldn’t make this stuff up. And now there’s a pilot called Stan!’

He of the whispering fingers, I thought. What’s he doing back? Guiltily I remembered that website dealing in stories that don’t fit the women’s magazine market. Thanks, Stan. I’ll certainly give that a whirl. It’s time you landed happily.

The therapist was off again. ‘Definitely you have a battle going on between the fluffy pink clouds and the black satin sheets.’ She paused. ‘Mills and Boon has formed quite a colony here, just below your heart. You might try a good herbal remedy to wash your system out but - oh, I don’t know. You’ve become quite attached to this Dr Keir Harrison, haven’t you?’

I didn’t answer.

‘Goodness!’ The probe paused.

‘What seems to be the problem?’ I asked. Usually it’s the therapist who says that to the patient.

‘Laughter. Often you try to repress it but it bubbles up. I can’t do anything for that, I’m afraid. Did you by any chance get the giggles in church as a child?’

Yes, as well as in the Chemistry lab, in the Geography Room and on the netball court. I think it was all those bottoms clad in navy blue knickers. It happened a lot at college and when I worked in aviation, laughter hung around the flight deck and the cabin. It’s always there – sometimes hard to reach in times of darkness but never far from the surface. I don’t think it’s going to go away. In fact I hope it never does.

(Note from Liz: You only have to look at that wicked grin to know that Toni got up to all sorts in the Chemistry Lab!)

Thank you, Liz, for inviting me. I’m honoured to be here and I hope your readers enjoy my tongue-in-cheek therapy session. If anyone wishes to learn more about my novel, Orchid Pink or forthcoming novella, Traded Innocence, please visit my website I can be contacted there or, please follow me on Twitter @tonisands

Monday, April 02, 2012

Robert Browning says it for April

O, TO be in England
Now that April 's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now!

Robert Browning