Quick! Get His Majesty's Secret Passion, the first book in my Princes of Kharova series, for only $0.99 from http://bit.ly/1ujX5zc!






Monday, 1 February 2016

Dieting, And A Destination...

When the first of the month falls on a Monday, it’s a great time for second chances. How are you doing with your New Year resolutions? I’ve struggled with cutting down on carbs, so since Christmas, I’ve been busy losing three pounds in weight, then putting two of them back on again. It’s the little things I miss. OH brought a still-warm loaf of wholegrain bread back from our village shop one day last week. I managed to resist it for a whole day, but my willpower failed before the family managed to eat it all. Bread and Marmite has never tasted so good!

The second of February is Candlemas Day, a Christian celebration celebrated annually. It represents the Virgin Mary's purification and the presentation of Christ, and in our church all the candles for the year are blessed. Snowdrops are traditionally known as Candlemas Bells, as they flower at this time of year. When some brave daffodils were in flower at Christmas here, I thought the snowdrops would all be out and over by now, but they followed their own calendar. The photos on this blog were taken here at Tottering Towers, but if you’re anywhere near Colesbourne in Gloucestershire over the next couple of weeks, try and get to Colesbourne Gardens, where you can see them by the thousand. The gardens are signposted from the M5, and opening times for this don't-blink-or-you'll miss it event are on their website.

Friday, 29 January 2016

So You Want To Write A Book? Part Four...

1. Whatever you write, pour your heart and soul into it. If you believe in your work, then so will your readers, and you want to appeal to the widest possible audience. Read widely, join book clubs and talk to people. The more research you do into finding out what people like to read, the happier you can make them.

2. Find yourself a successful mentor, preferably by making personal contact through your membership of a good professional group, such as the Romantic Novelists' Association, or the Romance Writers Of America. You need someone you respect, who knows what they're talking about, who'll be honest about your work, and suggest ways you can improve. If you can't find any face-to-face guidance, go online and check out popular writers whose work you admire and see if they’ve produced any guides to writing that will help you.

3. Word of mouth recommendations drive the majority of book sales, so think creatively when it comes to getting your books into the hands of willing readers. If your book is good, your readers will spread the word far and wide, at no expense to you. Above all, enjoy your writing and remember—success isn’t only measured in financial terms. To have completed a book you’re proud to have written is a great achievement.

To make sure you don't miss any of my top tips, follow my blog using the sign-up form on the right hand sidebar of this page. I send out a newsletter a couple of times a year with news about my writing, country life, competitions and offers—join my mailing list here.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Looking At Pay-Day Down The Wrong End Of A Telescope...

Find out more at http://bit.ly/1GEkZkJ
There's a long wait between getting your hands on December's wages, and the day January's pay drops into your account. And still the bills keep coming! The mid-winter gloom isn't helped by the short, dark days and long, cold nights here in England.  You can try sorting out your debts over at Arianne Cassini's blog. Over here, I like to look on the bright side... 

This new year is a blank canvas. Anything can happen. The start of 2014 was so bleak and dreary, I turned my back on the bad weather and snuggled down to escape into a world of sun-drenched romance. Tucked away in my nice warm office and dreaming of an exotic foreign holiday, I realised I couldn't actually imagine taking any time off. I'm hooked on my job, that's the trouble. 

Loads of us spend all our waking moments either in the office, or stressing about work. Everybody is running at top speed and over capacity all the time, with no time to sit back and relax. I think everyone deserves an affordable escape from everyday life, whether or not they can manage to take an exotic holiday, so I switched on my computer and tapped out the words...

...which became the opening lines of His Majesty's Secret Passion, the first book in my Princes of Kharova series for The Wild Rose Press. You can read a longer extract from His Majesty's Secret Passion by clicking here

Writing Leo and Sara's story let me escape to a world of sunshine and spa treatments, without leaving my desk. It was the perfect antidote to the sleet and snow outside my office.

What's your top tip for escaping the January gloom? Comment below to enter a draw with the chance to win a free download of His Majesty's Secret Passion!

Friday, 22 January 2016

So You Want To Write A Book? Part Three

1. Writing only what you want to write is fine, but if you want to win over an audience, constructive criticism is invaluable. Once you are completely happy with your work, hand it over to a Beta reader you can trust to tell you the truth, whether it’s good or bad. What they didn’t like (and why) is as important as what they did like.

2. Check every fact you use, and always keep your spellchecker switched on. Keep a pad and pencil close at hand at all times to list notes and queries when you think of them. It’s so easy to forget to do it later. Like ‘tomorrow’, ‘later’ never comes. Always follow up leads and hunches—you never know when you might strike lucky. 



3. Polish your manuscript until it shines, and when you send out a query letter or email make sure you go the extra mile and find out the name of the person best placed to help you. Personally addressed correspondence shows you’ve taken special care. It may take a long time for your work to be accepted, but never give up. Fashions change, and as long as you keep reviewing your work in the light of helpful suggestions and keep sending it out, if you've got the talent, all you need is a lucky break.

To make sure you don't miss any of my top tips, follow my blog using the sign-up form on the right hand sidebar of this page. I send out a newsletter a couple of times a year with news about my writing, country life, competitions and offers—join my mailing list here.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Your Escape Route To Romance (and a whole lot more)...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Hot-Headed-Virgin-Virgins-Billionaires-ebook/dp/B003JE1GY8
The Collection's Australian Cover
Ten years ago today I was sitting in a college lecture theatre, staring out at a rain-soaked car park and daydreaming about soaking up the sun somewhere hot and exotic. Today, dreams are my job, not just my hobby, and it all began with a creative writing assignment.

These days I don't have much time to gaze out of the window (and English rain is as wet and cold as it's ever been) but my life has changed out of all recognition.

I've met amazing people—Kate Walker, and the late, great Penny Jordan to name only two—written a lot of books, and sold nearly three million copies worldwide, in all sorts of languages.

When I began writing I started small, with magazine articles illustrated with photos I took myself. Then I wrote half a dozen historical novels, before signing up for a creative writing course which gave my career the breakthrough it needed.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Hot-Headed-Virgin-Virgins-Billionaires-ebook/dp/B003JE1GY8
My Original 2007 Cover
I'd always wanted to write contemporary, feel-good fiction, so this was my chance. I wrote the first two thousand words of what became The Italian Billionaire's Virgin, which is still available as part of The Hot-Headed Virgin collection. The other students loved my homework project and told me to send it to Harlequin.

The rest, as they say, is history. I submitted The Italian Billionaire's Virgin, and it was published as a paperback in 2007. The original artwork featured a hero who looked exactly like my OH—how lucky is that?

It's been a great ten years for me. I think everyone deserves an affordable escape from everyday life. Writing does it for me, every time. It gives me even more pleasure when I hear from readers who enjoy my books. Why don't you make 2016 the year you start that book you've been meaning to write?

To keep you on track, my blogs this year will include the top tips I've picked up along the way during my career as a best-selling author. Here are the first ones. To make sure you don't miss any, follow my blog using the form on the side bar on the right. To keep up with news of offers, competitions and my work in progress, sign up to my mailing list.


Friday, 15 January 2016

So You Want To Write A Book? Part Two...


1. Read as much as you can. Don't restrict yourself to the genre in which you write. Try everything, from classics to pulp, new to old, fiction, faction or non-fiction. For instance, how many of these have you read? That's this week's homework! ;)

2. Join a class in creative writing, whether ‘real’ or online. It's where I got my big break. Visit your local library (in this age of cuts to budgets, they need all the support they can get) to find out about local groups for readers and writers, and check out online sites such as http://romanceuniversity.org


3. Join groups such as The Romantic Novelists’ Association (http://www.rna-uk.org/) in the UK or Romance Writers of America (http://www.rwa.org/) who provide lots of useful information and contacts. The Marcher chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association has been a great help to me. The support of other writers, and the constructive criticism provided by writing workshops is invaluable.


To make sure you don't miss any of my top tips, follow my blog using the sign-up form on the right hand sidebar of this page. I send out a newsletter a couple of times a year with news about my writing, country life, competitions and offers—join my mailing list here.

Monday, 11 January 2016

What's On In January...

Eleven days into the new year, and I've just about managed to stick to my resolutions. How are you doing?

This month, I'm working on a non-fiction project that's very close to my heart. I'm lucky enough to have lived in the countryside nearly all my life, but most people these days live in towns. The disconnect between living and working peacefully at our own pace and the frantic pace of city life is at the heart of a lot of the world's problems.  The working title of my current Work In Progress, Country Into Town, gives you an idea what it's about. It's a year's worth of  small, stress-busting changes anyone can make to their busy life. I've already written a short magazine article called A Countryside Christmas, ready for publication in December this year. How's that for forward planning?

Today (11th January) I'm blogging for Rachel Brimble, and on 14th January, I'll be blogging for authorsoundrelations in my usual monthly spot.

For news of a very special offer coming later this month, follow me on Facebook by liking my author page.