Monday, December 31, 2012

Ring in the new

So – resolutions for this year? Actually, M&B asked me this, so I’m going to paraphrase my reply because I rather like having positive ones instead of negative ones.

#1 Work a bit harder (all right, at the back – what I mean by that is focus and do my daily work quota BEFORE I touch social media, and not let myself get distracted by the internet) and write books that really touch my readers’ hearts.

#2 Build on the progress I've made at this year at the gym so I can run a mile on the treadmill at a constant rate of 5 miles an hour by the end of April (that one might need tweaking as the muscle at the side of my calf really hurts if I overdo things – and because my gait is a bit weird the best compromise is neutral shoes, so I guess I need to work with my limits and stretch them gradually. I found out what they were, the week before Christmas, so I guess it’s learning to pace myself!).

#3 Tick something off my bucket list - I want to go to a live performance of my favourite piece of Beethoven for the very first time. (Shocking that I haven't done it before. And I want to do it NOW while I can still hear and enjoy it.) I have to admit that’s a terrible cheat as I actually had a couple of performances in mind when I said that. The next step was to negotiate a bit with DH, the kids and my BFF to find out who wanted to go with me and whether it was doable. Result: I’ve booked tickets for September – and I’m REALLY looking forward to it!

So what are your plans for this year?

Ring out the old...

This time last year, I didn’t make my normal resolutions. I didn’t promise to diet, exercise and write a best-seller. I said that I was going to be a tortoise and have a quiet, slow, organised, well-paced year.

Um. Didn’t quite work, because I’m naturally a hare and being a tortoise doesn’t suit me. But it was relatively quiet, which helped.

But I did make some major lifestyle changes. My very first Cherish/Harlequin Romance, ‘Ballroom to Bride and Groom’, meant going to ballroom dance classes in January last year (just how I talked DH into that, I’m not sure), and we enjoyed it so much that we kept going – it’s really nice to do something just for us. And my Feb Medical Romance, ‘The Brooding Doc’s Redemption’, triggered me into going to find out about getting a personal trainer in May… and as a result I joined my local gym and I’ve stuck to it. Better than that, I enjoy it. I haven’t lost a lot of weight, but I have changed shape, and even some of the more negative people in my life have made a positive comment about it.

Workwise, it’s been up and down. Some things have been tricky (and my confidence still hasn’t quite recovered – I’m faking that one until it does), but the two big highlights were being shortlisted for the RoNA Rose award in Feb and getting my pin from M&B for my 50th book in Sept.

Verdict? 2012 wasn’t so bad.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A special free holiday gift from Liz Fielding

Liz Fielding is my all-time favourite category romance author, and I'm thrilled to be able to play host to her today. What's all this special free gift thing about? Well, I'll let Liz tell you that herself...


Dangerous Flirtation is vintage Liz Fielding. One of my earlier books, I've given it a light brush up and a fabulous new cover and it's yours to download free from 28 December to 1 January.

Here's the blurb -

Rose has her life all mapped out. A job she loves, a thoughtful, reliable fiancĂ©. Everything is just perfect until a stranger with laughing blue eyes and a roguish grin bursts into her life and turns her life upside down with a birthday kiss. Jack Drayton offers romance, excitement and passion – and he challenges her to accept. Dare she?

And an excerpt:

Reluctantly she lowered her window. ‘Why are you still here?’ she demanded. ‘Didn’t Anthony pay you enough to move on?’ It was hateful, but she couldn’t help herself.

‘There isn’t enough money in the world for that, Rosie.’ He smiled, apparently relishing the memory. ‘I told him he’d better put it back in his piggy bank and save up until he can afford to buy you a ring.’

She stifled a groan. Behind them someone hooted politely. Jack ignored the hint and leaned on the roof of the car, staring down at her. ‘Where’s he taking you for your birthday treat? A burger bar?’

‘A concert and then dinner at Michel’s,’ she said, a little smugly.

He let out an ironic whistle. ‘Just as well I wouldn’t take his cash. Which concert? The Jay Livingstone Trio is playing at the jazz club, or perhaps that isn’t quite his cup of tea?’

She stifled a groan. She had wanted to go. It wasn’t often these days that such a group could be tempted into Melchester, but Anthony loathed jazz and she hadn’t even dared suggest it. ‘It’s not my jazz club,’ she retorted, disappointment lending a sharpness to her voice. ‘If you must know, we’re going to the Guildhall, The Shostakovich Cello Concerto.’

‘Wouldn’t you rather come and listen to Jay?’ he asked.

‘You have tickets?’ she asked, surprised. They had not been cheap.

‘No need. Jay’s an old friend.’ He bent down beside her window, examining her face under the lamplight. ‘What do you say?’

Her heartbeat began to accelerate again. ‘I...’ She tore her eyes away from his. ‘No. Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous.’

‘I wasn’t being ridiculous, Rosie. You’d much rather come with me. Admit it.’

‘I’ll admit nothing of the kind.’ She put the car into gear and glared at him. Laughing, he stood up.

‘Better run along, then. You mustn’t be late. I’ll see you later, cheer your soul with a little blues.’ He glanced at the instrument case in his hand.

She stared, horrified. ‘You wouldn’t?’

His eyes gleamed wickedly in the subdued light. ‘I think you know that I would.’

‘Haven’t you caused enough trouble for one day?’ she demanded.

His eyes teased her. ‘Rosie, my darling,’ he drawled. ‘I haven’t even begun.’ And with that he stepped back, leaving her free to drive away, but she couldn’t. Not before he told her why he was tormenting her.

‘What do you want from me?’ she demanded.

‘Use your imagination,’ he said, roughly.

She gasped then. She wasn’t going to use her imagination. It was a dangerous thing, the imagination. It conjured up strong hands and warm kisses to torment her.

‘What do you want?’ she demanded again. He didn’t elaborate, refusing to make it easy for her, but it was there in the raw challenge in his eyes and she felt as if a trap were closing around her.

The knowledge that she had sprung it herself offered precious little comfort. She only knew that if she stayed another moment she would lose everything she wanted. Peace, contentment, security. Precious things. All Jack Drayton could offer was momentary passion, a transitory, crazy sort of excitement that would destroy her peace of mind and when it was over, leave nothing but the misery and humiliation her mother had suffered when her father had walked out on them both.

She was going to marry Anthony and she didn’t know what she was doing even talking to this man.

The person behind had clearly had enough and an impatient horn galvanised her into action. She eased off the handbrake and stepped on the accelerator. The car shot forward and abruptly stalled. She grabbed at the ignition key, but the car wouldn’t start and the irritation from behind had suddenly become a chorus of people eager to get home. ‘Idiot!’ she said, furious with herself. Why on earth had she even spoken to the man? She was going to be late and Anthony hated to be kept waiting. There were tears pricking at her eyelids when the door opened beside her.

He took one look at her face and swore volubly, then put an ice cold hand on hers, stopping the desperate churning of the engine. ‘Move over, Rosie. You’re in no fit state to drive,’ he said, very gently.

‘And whose fault is that?’ she demanded, angrily.

‘That’s open to debate. You didn’t have to stop.’ He threw the saxophone onto the back seat and waited and conscious of the queue of cars behind her, she moved over. He pushed the driving seat back as far as it would go and climbed behind the wheel. The car, infuriatingly, started at the first touch.

Everything would start at his touch, she thought, hopelessly. Even her. Especially her.

Here are some links, but it's available in English at Amazon worldwide; download it with my warmest wishes and tell all your friends!

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Germany

Thursday, December 27, 2012

the best kind of Christmas

Current work: On holiday :o)
Listening to: daughter playing piano
Reading: Fiona Harper, Snowbound with the Earl; Donna Alward, Sleigh Ride with the Rancher (enjoyed both and am looking forward to the third in the trilogy later today)

Hope everyone has had as lovely a holiday season as we have. It was just the four of us for Christmas Day, so it was quiet and relaxing and just lovely to chill out together. Board games, It’s A Wonderful Life, and – umm, too much chocolate.

Went for a walk by the sea yesterday – it was mild enough to tempt me to go for a paddle, but I was talked out of it :o) Very impressed with Cromer’s tree made from lobster pots.


Today we’ve been messing about with one of Madam’s presents – the cake pop maker. Very labour intensive, and the candy melts (used to cover them) are a bit too sweet for me. But she enjoyed it, which was the whole point of it. And I have been to the gym (I think I needed to, given that I was also very bad with the Brie…).


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Current work: On holiday :o)
Listening to: Christmas songs
Reading: Nikki Logan, The Patter of Paws at Christmas (well, how could I resist ‘A Puppy for Christmas’? And these are very unusual puppies. Loved it, especially the mobile phone scene)

After a minor disaster (my fault for assuming that a computer program would be the same across ALL platforms) in which I lost the last 1,000 words of my book (and they weren’t straight 1,000 words, they were threaded in, so I couldn’t just dash it all down as notes and then tidy up)… well, the book is done, the new outline is done, all is on my ed’s desk for new year (so January’s going to be screamingly busy), and I am taking a few days off because I really need to refill the well.

So far, we’ve been socialising a lot, playing board games, and watching films. The kids wanted the Batman trilogy. Hmm. So far… very dark. And it’s really interesting that the superhero genre has as many restrictions as the romance one (i.e. we need the tragic loss in childhood for which they blame themselves, the hero has to be super-clever, and the hero has difficulty fitting into society). I did like the first one, but I found the second one quite disturbing. (Today, I’m hoping to persuade them into watching my all-time favourite film. Because it wouldn’t be Christmas without Capra.)

And, as it’s Christmas, do go and see my tree over at the Harlequin Romance Authors’ blog – there’s a chance to win books… :o) (remember to check the other trees, too…) http://www.harlequinromanceauthors.com/?p=1406

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Off on the BICO tour again!

Current work: polishing new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Corelli
Reading: next on TBR (I am having SUCH a readfest when my deadline is done)

Off on the Baby It’s Cold Outside tour again today!

There’s a gift card up for grabs with my interview over at Entangled in Romance

And later today I’ll be interviewed at My Book Addiction  (I’m posting this UK time, so try about eight hours from now!)

Other than that, today was pump class/a bit of cardio at the gym; next up is polishing the book; after school, possibly sorting out son’s main Christmas present (otherwise he’ll have to wait for new stock next month – ahhh, the guilt, but the situation isn’t actually within my control); dance class tonight; and then possibly wrapping presents. Possibly. (Have I mentioned that I loathe wrapping?)

Have a nice day :o)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmassy

Current work: polishing new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Corelli
Reading: next on TBR (I am having SUCH a readfest when my deadline is done)

Had a really lovely weekend, and am very grateful that we were able to do so, after the shocking and tragic events in Connecticut on Friday. Bestest cousin came to stay. Bit shocked to discover that I’ve never taken her round Norwich – so we grabbed daughter and had a girly afternoon in the city. Lunch out at Carluccio’s, a spot of shopping (where she was naughty and spoiled us, and daughter needs to remember this is shared nail polish…), and a stroll round Norwich Lanes.

Then we had a lovely bit of serendipity - we went to Norwich Cathedral to light candles for my parents, and it was the carol service with the choir singing. Made it feel really special and Christmassy - it's one of my favourite places in the world anyway, but to hear those beautiful voices in that amazing space, with a huge Christmas tree and lights - just magical. (And I love the colours of the robes. Turquoise for the women and purply-blue for the men.) Then we met up with DH and went to Valerie's Patisserie for cake (very nice and we will have to go back a few times to work our way through the cabinet. I loved the giotto – coffee cake). It was dark when we came out, so all the Christmas lights were on – really pretty.

Home for dinner; and, because bestest cousin is a foodie, it was immense fun. Salmon baked with lime; rosemary potatoes; steamed asparagus, mangetout, broccoli and carrots. (See, this is all healthy stuff. I did watercress sauce rather than hollandaise – OK, because M&S were out of fresh hollandaise and I’d forgotten, but it’s still healthy.) Fresh fruit salad, aka pineapple (any excuse to use my flashy pineapple corer), raspberries, kiwi fruit and pomegranate; there were also chocolate brownies and Ben & Jerry’s for those wanting to be naughty (NOT me). Then cheese and crackers (with celery, walnuts, figs, black and white grapes and parma ham – oh, and the cheeses? I’m the only one who likes blue cheese, so we skipped it and had Cornish cruncher (v strong and salty cheddar), Wensleydale with cranberries, and Somerset brie).

I probably deserved to put on more than 1lb this weekend. (Sunday was full Christmas dinner, though I never do Christmas pudding – fruit salad again, or wild berry roulade. And then a birthday tea for my aunt.) Will have to work very hard at the gym this week.

Ahem. Anyway, it was lovely to spend quality time with my closest family. We all ate too much. (Did I mention that bestest cousin bought me some Charbonnel & Walker choccies? Glorious presentation, almost like a hat box, and the chocs are the sort you savour. Edict from food police, i.e. moi, to my three locusts: if you want one, fine, but you have ONE and savour it. If you’re thinking about scoffing them, then please go and scoff the Lindt instead, because these are special.)

Righty. Back to the book. I have a deadline!!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Another book up for grabs!

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven (and plotting to go to a concert next year)
Reading: next on TBR (I am having SUCH a readfest when my deadline is done)

Busy morning – gym, top-up shop at the supermarket (my closest family up this weekend for ‘early Christmas’ – oh, and did I mention I was out all day yesterday at my stepmum’s? The tough bit was putting wreaths on both parents’ graves, but the nice bit was going out for lunch with her and it was all nice and festive).

So today I’m up to my eyes and will leave you with a link for the next stop on the BICO tour. (Remember the holiday hop ends today, too, so click on that mistletoe ball to find out where you can win stuff!) Thank you, Crystal, for hosting us today and for such a nice review.

http://myreadingroom-crystal.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/author-interview-book-review-and.html

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Harlequin's Open House (aka books up for grabs!)

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Joe Bonamassa
Reading: next on TBR

Over at Harlequin today for their Christmas party – you’ll find me with the Medical authors, talking about holiday traditions, and with the Romance (Cherish) authors, talking about holiday movies. Do come over and say hello – there are lots of prizes up for grabs today!

If you haven’t already registered with them, you’ll need to go to https://www.harlequin.com/signin.html?mt=2&redirecturl=talk.html

Otherwise, the Medical authors are at http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/881-Heartfelt-Holiday-Traditions-with-Medical-Romance-Authors

And the Romance/Cherish authors are at http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/888-Happy-HOLIDAY-Movies-with-Your-Harlequin-Romance-Authors!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Off on the BICO tour again!

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: next on TBR

Did the Bodypump class this morning and was quite pleased with myself for managing it OK. (Next week, I might do 15 mins on the cross-trainer afterwards as I did miss the cardio component of the workout, but the strength training was great.)

There’s a book and a giftcard up for grabs this week on the Baby It’s Cold Outside tour – we’re over at the Book Goddess later today (http://jana-thebookgoddess.blogspot.co.uk/) and also at Feeling Fictional (http://www.feelingfictional.com/).

There's still time to be involved in the Entangled blog hop (just scroll down a tad to enter the one from Aimee and me and click on the mistletoe ball to find out where else is hosting a prize).

And tomorrow is the eharlequin open house, with lots more on offer – so do come back for the link!

One more link, before I go - sent to me by my friend Jackie Braun yesterday - this is GLORIOUS, so enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=GBaHPND2QJg&feature=youtu.be

Monday, December 10, 2012

things really do happen if you try…

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: Kate Harrison, The 5:2 diet book (very interesting and has given me something to think about)

I had a bit of an epiphany on Saturday. I think I might have whined here about the fact I’m working really hard at the gym, I’m eating sensibly, and I’m not seeing much difference on the scales. Anyway, for the last couple of weeks my gym trousers have been a bit loose (aka annoying), so I decided to get a new pair in the next size down. Except M&S didn’t have them in-store. So I decided to bite the bullet and try on a fitted pair (bearing in mind that I couldn’t quite squeeze into the next size up, six months ago). They looked OK. Daughter persuaded me to try the next size down. I was expecting them to look horrendous, but… they fitted.

So that’s really spurred on my motivation. Proof that if you keep trying, and if you listen to people who know what they’re talking about and are prepared to make tweaks and changes to incorporate that knowledge, you will get there. Sometimes it’s slow and steady (and yes, I know I said that this year I was going to be a tortoise, but I’m really a hare and tortoising just doesn’t suit me), and sometimes you think it’s just not going to happen, but if you keep going then you still have a chance of succeeding. (If you give up, or if you keep doing the same thing rather than being open to change, then you’ve taken away that chance.)

Remember the Entangled blog hop is still going on. There’s still a chance to win a copy of BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE on this blog (here’s the link) and do click on the mistletoe ball on the right-hand sidebar to find out where the other blogs offering prizes are!  (Click here to go to our fellow Flirtettes' post.) And if you'd like to nip over to Amazon and like our book, we'd be ever so grateful. Links are in the sidebar right under the book cover :) (I really hate self-promo, and it makes me feel really needy and big-headed at the same time, but sadly it's how things have to be in  the 21st century. New Year's resolution will have to be to learn to like it!)

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Celebrating Liz Fielding - and get a FREE book!

I'm delighted to welcome Liz Fielding to my blog - as well as being a good friend, she's my all-time favourite romance author, and this month she's celebrating the twentieth anniversary of her first M&B hitting the shelves. 

She's giving everyone a special Christmas gift - a free e-book!



But I'll let Liz herself tell you all about it... 

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, Kate! I’m having a bit of a fan girl moment here. You are an inspiration – and I’m loving Baby It’s Cold Outside!

I’ll keep this short; I know how busy you all are at this time of year, but I’m celebrating the twentieth anniversary of my first book – An Image of You - hitting the shelves in December 1992. I’ve just re-released one of my early romances, OLD DESIRES, as an eBook. To thank my readers, and as a little Christmas gift to everyone who has supported me, you can download it free right now (9 – 13 December) from Amazon.

To whet your appetite, here’s a little taster:

‘Holly?’

His voice grated against her spine and she stopped and turned slowly back to face him. He hadn’t moved.

‘Yes?’ she asked, from the safe distance of her porch.

‘There was something else.’

‘Can’t it wait?’ She fumbled desperately in her pocket for her keys.

‘I don’t believe it can.’ Her margin of safety proved illusory as in a stride he was beside her, his eyes smoky dark as he searched her face. It was a look that seemed to touch her, stroke her, burn her up until she thought she would cry out. After a moment, or it might have been an age in which she felt as if she was suspended at the top of a roller-coaster, waiting for that dizzy freefall plunge, he spoke. ‘I don’t believe it can wait another moment.’

She closed her eyes in an effort to blot out the desire in his eyes, not quite trusting it, but knowing that it was far too late for her to fight the echoing response he must all too clearly see in hers. Knowing that she was helpless to resist.

He took her face between his hands, tilting her face upwards cradling it in his long fingers until she could bear it no longer. ‘Please…’ The word, barely more than a sigh, escaped her lips, but whether she was begging for release or capture she scarcely knew. Until he kissed her and by then it was too late.

Old Desires is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US (and from all other Amazon sites if you’re an expat).



Friday, December 07, 2012

Entangled blog hop - win loads of things!

All righty - today is the start of the Entangled blog hop. Aimee Carson and I are giving away a copy of BABY IT'S COLD OUTSIDE. All you have to do is leave a comment with your email address below to be in the draw.

Even better, you can have more than one chance to win!

Now, I was going to do this as a Rafflecopter thingy, but Aimee's in deepest Alaska (which is why we're sharing a blog today) and I am on deepest deadline, and I don't want to risk messing this up. So I'm afraid we're doing this in old technology!!! If you tell us in the comments that you've done any of the following, you get an extra entry for each :)

Like or friend us on Facebook (Kate = http://www.facebook.com/authorkatehardy?ref=hl and Aimee = http://www.facebook.com/aimee.carson.52?fref=ts).

Putting a link to this giveaway on Twitter to spread the word (http://bit.ly/TJ51uR)

Add our book on Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16162799-baby-it-s-cold-outside).

Add us on Twitter (Kate = @katehardyauthor and Aimee = @aimeecarsonmb).

As it's Christmas, I'm also giving away a print copy of my latest Harlequin M&B release, 'The Hidden Heart of Rico Rossi' :o)


Aimee:

When I was offered the opportunity to join three of my favorite authors in a holiday anthology, I jumped at the chance. What’s not to love about this time of the year, especially with time off to enjoy food, fun, and family? But for some people going home takes courage. Which is exactly the case for my heroine in ‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE TEMPTED, part of the BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE anthology. With a pierced eyebrow and a fondness for grunge wear, Evie is the black sheep of her well-to-do, traditional family. She hasn’t been home in a long time, and heading back during the holidays won’t be easy. Along the way she runs into her brother’s best friend, hunky Wes Campbell, who just might make going home more complicated…


Kate:
I loved working with the Flirtettes. We had such fun brainstorming our ideas (and I had to do a lot of baking - I'm a 'method' author, and there's a recipe in every book, so the baking is important. Gingerbread cookies, in this case). Not everyone loves the holiday season - so Mitch, my hero, tries to avoid it as much as he can. Who better to pair him with than someone who loves it and can teach him the true meaning of the season?  (Oh, and you know what I look like from the pic at the top. My daughter asked why I changed my hair just after I put up a new author photo. Um. So this is a pic of my new hair, as of last night - and going from deep red back to something nearer my natural colour is definitely a challenge and might have given me a new idea...)

Do remember to check out what the other authors are offering! Click on the pic to join in the hop :) And you might especially want to hop over to see our fellow Flirtettes Heidi and Amy over at Heidi's blog...




And there's a Twitter party tonight at 9pm EST - all you need is the hashtag #EntangledUndertheMistletoe and be in with the chance to win prizes! (Sadly, I won't be there because the time zone means I'll be asleep!! But do go along to check it out.)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Win a book at Good Choice Reading!

Off on the blog tour again today at Good Choice Reading - we've all been interviewed, so head over and find out all sorts of weird and wonderful things about us. (BTW, you *will* need tissues for mine!)

And do leave a comment to be in the draw to win a book :o)


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Off on tour! (aka win a book...)

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Fleetwood Mac and Daughtry
Reading: next on TBR

Am up to eyes in deadline, but managed two challenges at the gym this morning (a mile on the treadmill – and yes, some of that was running – and ‘climbing Kilimanjaro’ on the stepper. Couldn’t have done a minute on it, six months ago – and ten minutes on level six was fine today).

Today, the Flirtettes and I are at another stop on our blog tour – at Once Upon a Twilight. Do go over and talk to us – there’s a chance to win a book and a gift card!

Monday, December 03, 2012

something to celebrate (and smiling from the wrists up)

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: next on TBR

Had a lovely weekend with my best friends from uni. Much playing of board games, much laughing, much consumption of wine, and surprisingly little consumption of chocolate…

Today, I’m smiling from the wrists up – it’s the second anniversary of my dad’s death today, so I’m a little bit sad and trying to remember the good stuff rather than that terrible last year. (Dementia is such a cruel illness. It takes away a little bit every day.)

But I do have something nice to celebrate – Liz Fielding, whom I’m very proud to call a good real-life friend as well as one of my all-time favourite authors, is celebrating her 20th anniversary of her first book on the shelves. I’ll have a link later in the week to something special, but in the meantime she has guests over at her blog, and I’m thrilled to be there with her today, along with my fellow Baby It’s Cold Outside authors. Do go over and say hello, and congratulations to Liz on such a fantastic milestone!

Heidi Rice is launching the Baby It's Cold Outside blog tour over at Entangled in Romance - do go and say hello to her, too! And we're at the Totalbookahlic blog as well, if you'd like to find out a bit more about us and our characters :o)


Friday, November 30, 2012

blog tour!

Off on a blog tour next week! More details to follow...


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

new author picture

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Muse and Athlete
Reading: next on TBR (and yes, I’m bad, I added more to the Kindle yesterday)

Mills & Boon had a photographer at the lunch in London, the other month, and we all had an official photograph taken. So this is mine (copyright M&B). I'm quite pleased with it as it reflects how I am (on a scrubbed-up day, and Louise Allen and Caroline Anderson had to lend me a comb and sort me out beforehand because - well, I'm just a natural scruff).


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And some excellent news

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Muse and Athlete
Reading: next on TBR

I had the loveliest email from my ed, yesterday – she’s really pleased with the revisions, loves what I’ve done, and so A DATE WITH THE ICE PRINCESS will be published in July next year (UK and US Harlequin/M&B Medical Romance). I have a Pandora bead in mind :o) And I have my customary bottle of chablis so DH can help me celebrate, though we’re not going to have time to open it until the weekend. (And actually that’ll be nice to share, as it’s the first weekend in December = Godmother weekend = early Christmas, if you read my bit on the USA Today blog yesterday. So yes, this weekend is all about playing board games, talking, laughing – and Christmas dinner.)

Today: well, after all those squats yesterday, I’m a wee bit creaky, so I did the random programme rather than interval training on the cross-trainer and treadmill this morning. (350 calories worth. Which is good.) And now to work. Funny how I can never settle properly to a book until the previous one is done and dusted. But I’m definitely settled now, and ready to work :o)

Have a nice day! Oh, and if you'd like to go and like/tag/buy Baby It's Cold Outside, it's available as an ebook at Amazon UK, Amazon US and Barnes & Noble...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Coreilli
Reading: Trisha Ashley, Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues (enjoyed)

Busy weekend - Christmas shopping and then hitting the art shops because daughter needs to make a model of a cell. (I am HOPELESS at art – can’t draw a straight line with a ruler – and she asked me to help. Arggh.)

Cold outside? Well, yes, but at least it’s stopped raining, and we’ve been very lucky compared to some parts of the UK. But really it’s an excuse to talk about our anthology, because Heidi Rice, Amy Andrews, Aimee Carson and I are over at the USA Today blog today, talking about holiday traditions. And my fellow anthology contributors are saying they’re not at all surprised by mine… If you want to know more, do go over and see what we have to say. And the book’s available at Amazon UK and US, should you wish to buy it. (Liking and tags are also appreciated!)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Win a book!

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Corelli
Reading: next on TBR (and I was a bit bad last night and bought a few Kindle books – um, it IS normal to read different books in different rooms of the house, isn’t it?)

Busy day today. Tough session at the gym; meeting with my accountant to sign my tax form; and the majority of my Christmas shopping. I did behave and didn’t buy the blingy turquoise reindeer in Paperchase. (But, I mean – my joint favourite colour and it’s a reindeer…) Daughter has opted for lots of little girly pressies (I spend the same amount on the kids, but son wanted one big thing – obviously he’ll have something else to unwrap, but daughter will have a lot more to unwrap because she hasn’t gone for one big thing). It’s going to take me for ever to wrap them, and I HATE WRAPPING. I tried using giftbags last year, but apparently that’s disappointing and takes away all the fun of trying to guess what’s in the parcel. So there was a nice request for ‘proper’ wrapping, this year. (I might make her help me wrap everyone else’s pressies, just so she understands why I hate it. Or maybe it won’t be so bad, doing it with company.)

Late start for work, but it has to be done. In the meantime, do pop over to see Sara at HarlequinJunkie, as she’s giving away a copy of the Baby It’s Cold Outside anthology – AND you can read a bit ☺

And a special thank you to Desere and Fiona for their lovely reviews of the book so far :o) Glad you enjoyed it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: next on TBR

You might’ve noticed from the squeaking on Twitter and FB that I have a new book out this week – and it’s with three good writer friends (adjective applies to both nouns, there). One of them, Heidi Rice, just so happened to tag me in the Next Big Thing blog event… so here goes!

What is the title of your book?
Tis the Season to Kiss Santa, which is one of four novellas in the Baby It's Cold Outside anthology from Entangled Publishing.

How did you come by the idea?
The three other authors in the anthology – Aimee Carson, Amy Andrews and Heidi Rice – and I decided to write four stories set over the Christmas and New Year season, linked by a freak snow storm on America's Eastern Seaboard. I begged to do the Christmas Eve Santa one because I lurrrrve writing Santa stories. And then I thought, what if Santa didn’t want to be there and hated Christmas? And what if the Chief Elf loved Christmas, but was four thousand miles away from where she should be? And what would happen if they got snowed in together? (Yup, it’s one of my opposites-attract stories.)

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary romance. Oh, and it’s Christmassy!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?
That’s a tough one, because my automatic response to my hero would be Antonio Banderas… (Sorry, but he is utterly gorgeous and comes across as such a nice guy and clearly loves his wife to bits. Real romance hero material.) I think possibly Ben Affleck. He’d do a great uptight workaholic hero. And my heroine needs to be English, quirky and cute - I think Kate Beckinsale.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
With the help of a sprig of mistletoe and some snow angels, a recently single pastry chef teaches a highly successful and sexy Scrooge the true meaning of the holidays on a snowy Christmas Eve that quickly heats up.

Will your book be self-published or traditional?
Entangled are primarily an epublisher, so the anthology's going to be an ebook in their Indulgence line.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It’s a novella, so – um – do I have to admit to this? Let’s just say I write quickly, and this was done in proportion to my M&Bs :o)

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I think I should refer you to Heidi’s answer for this one! (I love the idea of us being a cool 60s girl group. Y’know, actually, we could do it…) Ahem. It did start out as my chocolate book, but then it worked better with the heroine as a pastry chef. And I did grill some of my American friends about Christmas baked goods (thank you in particular to Julie Cohen and Kimberly Lang). And Philadelphia is on my travel wishlist, so... it all worked together.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Snow angels. The differences between UK and US Christmas traditions. Gingerbread. Sexy man in a suit getting very wet (think Mr Darcy in the pool - except it's snowy). And, most of all, it’s in an anthology with three other cracking stories about the holiday season, from writers I love. (You just cannot miss the sex-and-shopping in Heidi’s, the strip Scrabble in Amy’s, or the hot toyboy in Aimee’s!)

Oh, wait. I forgot something. The COVER. :o)



It's available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

To close, I've nominated three other authors to tell us about their NEXT BIG THING on Tuesday 27th November. (It would have been a couple more except I messed up the dates, and lovely Fiona Lowe is going to be in the middle of a very impressive 591km bike ride.)
Scarlet Wilson
Shirley Jump
Lucy Gordon

Monday, November 19, 2012

joining the 21st century

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: Ali Ahearn and Ros Baxter, Sister Pact (loved it – not just because Al’s my mate, though the author note put a real lump in my throat); Louise Candlish, The Day You Saved My Life (a real pageturner)

Did some Christmas shopping this weekend. Son finally decided what he wanted for Christmas, so I made him come with me to try on said long black coat, and we need to order it in the right size. Daughter needed a new school bag (I note that Gola has completely ignored my email to them saying how disappointed I am in the quality of their products, and that I expect a bag that’s looked after to last for more than two months without the stitching going). And Santa also arrived for me – via the postie, just before we went out.


DH said I was allowed to check the screen (given that there are issues with some batches) and then had to hand it back for unwrapping. I think he knew that wasn’t going to happen, as I'd already bought a case for it :o) (He’s had his main pressie early, so what’s sauce for the gander…) And I’m very pleased with it. I don’t mind not having anything to unwrap on the day. I get much more fun out of giving than receiving, in any case. (Though if you’re reading this, O lovely husband, do remember that I am very partial to Fortnum & Mason’s choccies. Or a tin of their violet biscuits, though you’ll have to make that a joint present between me and the kids because they are total locusts.)

I also managed to sneak in a couple of reindeer for the tree. My Fortnum’s peacock, however, is NOT going on the tree. That’s my office peacock. (Dear ed. I think you ought to be worried. I have plans for that peacock.)

There will be exciting news later today. But my publisher is on Mountain Time, which apparently is 7 hours behind GMT (aka my timezone). So right now they’re all tucked up in bed asleep. And I am on a post-gym endorphin rush, the laundry is on and my coffee’s made, so that’s me off the internet for the next couple of hours and focusing on the new book. Have a nice day!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Exciting stuff ahead!

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: next on TBR

Gym this morning was great (though I think my arms are going to hurt tomorrow) and I was pleased that I did some pull-ups on the scary machine (scary because it’s really hard to get off it!). Came home, eagerly expecting my Kindle to arrive (Amazon emailed me yesterday) and quite disappointed not to have it, but that’s probably a good thing. Some of my Christmas shopping arrived, however, so that’s good. And son has decided what he wants (so we have to go shopping for it – he wants a long black coat, so that means he has to try it on to make sure it fits). There is apparently an excellent patisserie that’s just opened in the city (according to two of my personal trainers) so we might just have to have breakfast there tomorrow. (And hey, I worked out so hard this week, I have EARNED a piece of cake!)

There’s something really exciting happening next week, but I can’t spill all the beans until Monday. What I can say is that it involves a new book out by me, with three other authors I like very much as people and as writers, and the cover is definitely hot (can’t wait to share that one!). Watch this space... and FB, and Twitter (I am so going to get to grips with social media this year).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

bad bad bad bad bad

Current work: revisions on Med (#54) and dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven, Def Leppard and Daughtry
Reading: (I have been reading lots)

Sorry – I have neglected you appallingly. I have been busybusybusy, including:

  • Sleepover for daughter (whoever called them that clearly never hosted one because the kids DO NOT SLEEP and then they are horrible and grumpy the next day)
  • Picking up son from Berlin/Poland trip (he had a great time)
  • Sixth form open evenings (yesterday’s was particularly good because I talked to son’s teachers and they gave great advice about his choices – oh, and the chemistry department set off the fire alarm…)
  • Revisions (I have a title… but I’ll share that after the revisions have been sorted because I’m a bit superstitious)
  • Writing
  • Admin (i.e. doing my accounts – and panicking because I’d mislaid my biggest receipt of the year and had to go and get a duplicate – Apple Shop was brilliant and sorted it out for me)
  • Meeting my new accountant (obviously stressful as my former accountant and friend passed away unexpectedly – his widow arranged the transfer and obviously picked someone who had the same kind of attitude as her husband, so the new one is equally nice and am sure we will work well together)
  • Gym – I have been working SO hard, because my fitness dropped appallingly last month when I was off with that cough (two weeks, then a week as normal, and then ANOTHER two weeks). The weight loss is verrry slow, but I'm keeping on with it
  • Christmas planning (I’m in charge of booking all the Christmas meals, plus there’s ‘early Christmas’ weekends to arrange with the godmothers and my closest family, as we won’t see them on the day – and do you have any idea how difficult it is to find presents for a teenage boy? Daughter is dead easy. Son… nooo)
  • Sorting out my parents’ graves (new silk flowers for my mum as it was her birthday last week, and a new vase for the fresh flowers on Dad’s because that went missing) and having coffee with my stepmum
  • Lovely lunch with historical author Louise Allen (I have major envy of her studio, her book collection, her prints and the fact that her husband cooks like an angel – mine doesn’t!) (umm – can I claim that as work? Because it was writer-y…)


There’s probably other stuff in there, too. Note to self: be a bit less hopeless and be a better blogger from now on :o)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

special day

Current work: new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: will be various dance games on X-box Kinect…
Reading: Raeanne Thayne, Blackberry Summer (will be getting the rest of the series as soon as my Kindle arrives); Lizzie Lamb, Tall Dark & Kilted (lovely debut)

Twelve years ago today, my youngest arrived in the world.

She’s growing up into a lovely young woman – she’s bright, she’s kind, and she’s good company. And she’s still as smiley as she was in this pic, aged 5 months.


It’s also a special anniversary for me in my writing career – ten years ago today, my very first M&B was on the shelves (and eleven years ago today, I got The Call). Odd to think that I’m currently writing my 55th…

Today is more about birthday parties. And cake :o) Happy birthday to my littlest.

Monday, October 29, 2012

half term, and the joys of cake

Current work: new Cherish
Listening to: nothing because the troops are home
Reading: Lilian Darcy, Daddy on Her Doorstep (enjoyed)

Half term. And it’s a manic one, filled with birthday celebrations, school trips abroad, Hallowe’en, and somehow shoe-horning in all the other things that need doing (including, for the fourth month running, trying to sort out the wretched endowment policy – it’s so annoying that ‘the system can’t cope’ – and it’s even more annoying having to do it with a croaky voice). Hopefully I can shake off this virus and will be back at the gym later this week, but at the moment I’m really missing my sessions.

Anyway. Have a nice Monday, and here’s a cake picture to bring a bit of sparkle – literally!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

lurigifed AGAIN - and new hair

Current work: outline
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: Christina Courtenay, The Silent Touch of Shadows (enjoying)

Stupid o’clock last night saw me coughing with a sore throat, so no gym for me this morning (sigh). Given that I’m eating properly, I’m exercising and I’m taking vitamins, I’m a bit put out that I’ve caught a second cold so quickly after the last one. Still.

New hair last night. I’m very pleased with the colour (Louise always does a great job).

Plan for today: work, and get rid of this incredibly annoying cough.

Monday, October 22, 2012

seaside, sunset, and do I bite the bullet?

Current work: outline
Listening to: Beethoven

Reading: Always the Best Man, Fiona Harper (loved it – as always, great characterisation and witty dialogue)

Sort of busy and sort of lazy weekend. Beautiful skies on Saturday.



Sunday, I had a yen for the sea. The tide was right in, so we didn’t actually get to walk on the beach itself, but the sea air and the sound of the waves was enough to clear my head.


And then we picked up a few bags of gravel on the way home – yay, my exhaust doesn’t scrape on the pavement any more :o) DH has been talking for a while now about getting some decent running shoes, so as the shoe shop is in the garden centre complex, we went in to have a look and I bought the shoes he liked as part of his Christmas present. (He always gets one big present early. Birthday or Christmas, he always decides about 6 weeks before and he does the Shrek eye thing. Same when he wanted an iPod, same with the satnav. Or maybe I’m just over-indulgent.)

As for biting the bullet, I’m about to cave on the e-reader front. My original argument for buying the iPad was that I could use it as an e-reader, but I just don’t – I end up checking email or working instead. And it’s too heavy really to be comfortable as a reader. The iPod is too small for my middle-aged eyes (!). And although I do prefer the feel of a paper book, I am getting a bit short of shelf space (partly my own fault for not sorting out my foreign editions and just stacking them up on the shelves regardless – this will be a project for the Christmas hols, I think). I know it’s going to make me stuck to one retailer (and it’s never good for the consumer when one retailer has such huge dominance – fine for now while they’re still building said dominance, but not once it’s achieved) but at the moment, it’s looking like the Kindle Paperwhite.

Plan for today was to work on the new book, but there was a burst pipe at school, so the kids are home. Cough, bad parent didn’t have her phone switched on – but having said that I was in the building next door, so all they had to do was walk into reception and wait for me, or alternatively ring the gym and ask to speak to me and I would’ve told them to walk next door and meet me. (Eyeroll.)

I did suggest taking them swimming. No. Am a bit tempted to skive off and go to the cinema... but it's misty and murky outside, so I think their plans might involve the X-box and hot chocolate.

Friday, October 19, 2012

perfect day

Current work: outline
Listening to: Bach
Reading: next on TBR

So I did it. Just to prove that I did it, here is the pic of my desk after I tidied it yesterday. (Several bits of paper, a set of guitar strings, a notepad and a book have crept onto it since then.) I've also updated my project list, so everything feels calm and ordered and organised again.



And today is pretty much a perfect day. I had a REALLY good session at the gym this morning – the manager trained me today (first time I’d worked with him), and I learned quite a lot from him. Firstly, that the stability ball works better than millions of sit-ups for core work (and I enjoyed it – it wasn’t complicated, but it was challenging and I’d like to do more work on that). Secondly, that when I do interval training I need to make the slow bits MUCH slower, to get that big change in heart rate (which is more effective than elevating it all the time). He might be the first person in history to get me to slow down :o)

I’m working on a new outline today (and tinkering with another). As I’m a planner, this is one of my favourite parts of writing a book – the beginning, where all things are possible.

And I have Shakespeare tonight. (RSC, at the Theatre Royal in Norwich – with son.)

So even though it’s drizzly and unpleasant outside, today is just a lovely, lovely day (and I hope I haven’t just jinxed myself and made the stressors in my life flare up!).

Have a nice weekend :o)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

busy week

Current work: tidying desk – then on to M&B 55 (Cherish/Romance) and outline for the other book I'm working on
Listening to: Daughtry
Reading: Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus (very good – really enjoyed the world-building, and the descriptions of the circus were fantastic in all senses of the word)

Tuesday was London. Not the best journey there as we had a replacement train, which meant no comfy seat and table to work at, so I read all the way there instead of working on an outline. (That was a treat, but also meant I was out of reading material for the journey home!) Also used a different way to get across London – instead of taking the District line and changing at Earl’s Court, I went to Bank, took the Waterloo and City line to Waterloo, then went by overground. Much quicker and easier.

Had a very good meeting with my editor and know what I’m doing now for the next few months – it’s good to be focused. Lovely lunch, too – warm beetroot and goats’ cheese salad followed by chargrilled salmon and ratatouille, and a glass of Chablis. (Notice, no pudding. I was SO good.) Headed for the Barbican, but sadly didn’t get to see the Rain Room as the queue was two hours (even at 4pm, when I expected it to be a bit flat) and I would’ve missed my train home. Still. Had coffee with bestest cousin, then toddled back to Liverpool Street to discover that the two trains before mine had been cancelled due to a tree on the line. Eep. Had a chat with the staff at the station (who were lovely, helpful, and could teach the grumpy lot at Cambridge last month a great deal about how to treat customers properly) and I was in luck – my train was still scheduled.

London always tires me out – I think it’s the travelling. (I walked more than 15k steps on Tuesday.) But I dragged myself into the gym on Wednesday morning - first time for a week and a half, thanks to the lurgy - and felt a lot better for it. I was supposed to be tidying my desk yesterday, but in the couple of days after finishing a book my head’s always a bit busy – lots of ideas dancing round and I find it a bit difficult to settle to anything. (And my hero is back to writing songs in my sleep. Didn’t think anyone would appreciate me working it out on the piano at 5am yesterday morning or this morning, though. Dear Muse, we need a chat about your working hours.) I did however book most of the things I'm meant to be sorting out (Christmas meals, birthday treats, etc) so it wasn't a totally skivy day.

Dance class last night was great; first half was the waltz, and then in the second we did a new step for the cha cha cha (i.e. our absolutely favourite dance).

Plan for today: tidy desk. Not my favourite occupation, but it needs doing before I can really sit down and get going on the new book(s). And I have Shakespeare to look forward to tomorrow – the RSC is touring Julius Caesar and I have tickets for Grumpy Teen and me. (Daughter is too young. But give it a year and if there's a traditional Twelfth Night or Much Ado, I'm tempted to take her.)

Monday, October 15, 2012

finished - and a lesson learned

Current work: just sent Medical (aka M&B 54) to editor
Listening to: Corelli
Reading: Robyn Carr, Shelter Mountain

Some books really are like pulling teeth. This one’s been difficult, to say the least. My hero and heroine both went stubborn and difficult on me, and everything went like treacle. I learned something from it: if it isn’t working, think about whose point of view you’re using. Sometimes rewriting it from the other’s POV works; or sometimes it crystallises your thoughts and sorts out the problem in the original POV. (Note – don’t delete anything. Cut and paste, and save it in a separate file.)

Can’t remember much of the weekend, as I was still suffering from the lurgy. Apart from watching Felix Baumgartner’s jump (we were all transfixed – loved the colour of the sky that high up) and Downton Abbey (no spoilers here, but if you’ve seen it you’ll guess that, from the books I write, I spotted what was going to happen. I’ve used that as a hero conflict in the past). Maggie Smith’s acting was SUPERB and it made me cry.

Righty. I ought to tidy my desk, now. But I need to print out directions for London tomorrow (not for going to my publisher’s in Richmond, though I probably do need to look that up to remind me because it’s been ages since I went to the office, but for the Barbican, because I think I have time between seeing my ed and seeing bestest cousin to drop in to a certain art installation. And hope the queues have died down a bit!). And I need to paint my nails. And charge my phone and iPad, and dig out the right handbag (the one that fits the iPad, a book and my reading glasses, now I am middle-aged and need them). I have however booked my taxi, so that’s one thing to tick off the list…

Friday, October 12, 2012

orchid

Current work: Medical (aka M&B 54)
Listening to: Vivaldi cello concerti
Reading: Robyn Carr, Shelter Mountain

Still lurgified and missing the gym. And it’s a dull, damp day here today. But there is something nice to cheer me up: the orchid that Michelle Styles sent me for my birthday last year is blooming again :o) The colours are lovely, so I thought I’d share to brighten up the day of anyone else stuck in this damp, miserable weather.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

shooooz!

Current work: Medical (aka M&B 54)
Listening to: Lucy Rose, Like I Used To
Reading: Robyn Carr, Shelter Mountain

Lurgy is still winning, but I am getting there. Managed dance class last night, and lovely teacher Donna emailed me beforehand to let me know that my shoes had arrived.

Proper dance shoes do make a difference. The bottoms are suede, so it helps you move on a dance floor. And the buckles are easy-release (they look impressive, when on, but you can take them off in two seconds flat).


Note, I am the romance author who lets the side down because I don’t have many pairs of shoes – the ones I scuff around in every day, a pair of good running shoes, two posh (ish) pairs that do duty for author dos/lecturing, and a pair of spotty wellies. But I also have dancing shoes, now :o) And they are incredibly comfortable. It feels as if you're dancing on air.

These ones also remind me a bit of my wedding shoes, because they’re satin and the heel is identical. (Wedding shoes were obviously not this colour - they matched my dress - and were a plain court shoe.) And they have arrived at a serendipitous moment in the current book, as I've just moved a scene or two around. And yes, I have managed to get ballroom dancing into a Med :o)  (Dear ed, look away.)

So what are your favourite shoes?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

lurgy city

Current work: Medical (aka M&B #54)
Listening to: Bach
Reading: Robyn Carr, Shelter Mountain

Lurgy city here – unfortunately the cold has decided to go to my chest, so I’m coughing. Icky stuff. Am a bit disappointed because I’ve really been looking after myself properly, been eating superfoods (which are supposed to help prevent it), and am drinking manuka honey and lemon, so I was hoping that it would go swiftly and not hang around. I don’t have time for this right now and I have a business meeting in London next week, so I need to be feeling better. (Hmm. How come I always end up getting the lurgy the week before a meeting with my editor?)

No gym for me until the cough goes (on their instructions) – and I am SO fed up because I enjoy my workouts. But it would be stupid to push myself and make this thing drag on even more.

And then I managed to knock a nearly-full bottle of olive oil off the shelf, which smashed all over the kitchen floor. (How does broken glass manage to cover such a huge area?) My mop broke at the weekend so it was a clean-up on hands and knees with lots of kitchen roll. (I am now sporting plasters. Luckily I managed to keep the dog away from the mess, so we have no cut paws or noses to deal with.) And of course the Dyson was full (floors are not normally my job, but obviously I wasn’t going to leave this one for DH).

Gah. I give up. Stewing in self-pity is pointless, so it's back to work for me. (Or maybe... can we start Tuesday again, please?)

Monday, October 08, 2012

The party's over...

Current work: Medical (aka M&B #54)
Listening to: Bach
Reading: Robyn Carr, Shelter Mountain

After two months or so of celebrations, the party’s finally over!

I’d like to say thank you very much to all my writer friends who’ve been so generous with their time (despite having deadlines of their own) and wrote blog posts and offered giveaways to help me celebrate the publication of my 50th M&B – that’s made it so special. And thank you also to all the readers who came here to say hello (including the ones who lurked, too shy to say anything – honestly, there’s no need to be afraid here because I’m a great believer in kindness and friendship rather than snarkiness).

And also a quick apology – sorry, I’ve been a bit tardy on sorting out the prizes, but I will sort it out later today! (Deadline, school stuff, London, lurgy… real life sometimes does get in the way. Best intentions and all that.)

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow…

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Winner - Lesley Cookman, Murder in Steeple Martin


First name drawn from the hat for ‘Murder in Steeple Martin’ – Mary Preston. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Friday, October 05, 2012

50th party blog guest - Carol Hedges

Carol Hedges is a new friend, and I met her a few months ago on Facebook when I was asking for recommendations for books for my daughter. Actually, my daughter really enjoyed Carol's Spy Girl series, and Carol and I are discovering more things in common as we talk on social media/email. (This is what I really, really like about social media – at its best, it does bring people together.)

Over to Carol:

How Social Media Changed My Life.

Thank you, Kate. Recently I went to a meeting of the RNA London Chapter. I sat next to a not-yet-published writer, and in the course of a drink or three, got chatting about the inexorable rise of Social Media.

'Not for me,' she said, pulling a face. 'I can't imagine why anybody would want to go on Twitter or Facebook. As for having a blog - who on earth would read it?'

Now I'm a very polite person (yes, really) so I didn't bend her ear, or call her out, but I think her attitude is waay wrong. As a writer, you must embrace Social Media, or you will sink without trace, and without sales.

This is what I use:

1. My Blog: Set up in May this year. This is my personal area, where I waffle on happily about life, the universe and daft stuff that happens to me. People get to know me as a person. They read my bio. All my books are here, with links to Amazon. If you like someone, chances are you'll want to read their novels. Also, I regularly invite other writers to guest on the digital Pink Sofa, especially if they have a new book out. My blog is my shared and sharing space.

2. Twitter: Joined six weeks ago. It's a great way to meet new people - though funny things do happen: I use my e-book cover as my avatar, and am currently being followed by a couple of male writers who clearly think I am young, pretty and blonde. LOL, as they say. People you follow will retweet links to your books/blogs to their followers. Some tweeters have 1,000s of followers. Do the maths. I tweet three sessions a day, make sure I return all favours, and I chat far more than I promote.

3. Facebook: I've had a Facebook page for several years. Here I post links to interesting articles on writing, reviews of my books, and bits and pieces about how the new novel is going. Or not. People add their comments. I comment on what they're up to. Also, if a friend needs advice, or just a digital hug, I'm there for them.

I used to think social media wasn’t for me. How wrong I was. If you are still debating whether to launch yourself into cyberspace, I'd say: go for it.

You will sell books - a lot more books. But most of all, you will meet some of the nicest, funniest, most supportive people on the planet, and they will help you, 'friend you, and stand by you when the going gets tough - and I know Kate will agree totally on this.

Carol Hedges is the author of 11 published novels for teenagers and YA. Her writing has received much acclaim. Her latest novel Jigsaw Pieces has just been published on Amazon Kindle.

Carol lives in Hertfordshire. She has one grown up daughter, one husband, two cats, and an awful lot of fish. She drives a customized pink 1988 Citroen 2CV called Annie-Rose.


You can find out more about Carol at her website www.Shewrites.com
or on her blog at http://carolhedges.blogspot.com
Or talk to her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/carol.hedges.779?ref=ts&fref=ts
Or follow her on Twitter @carolJhedges

Winner - Sue MacKay, Every Boy's Dream Dad


First name drawn from the hat for ‘Every Boy’s Dream Dad’ – Mia. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!