Friday, September 19, 2014

Megan Crane: Montana in my dreams...

The thing about Montana is that it invades your dreams.

The first time I went to Montana was on a road trip in 1998.  My old college roommate and I were driving back and forth across the country and Montana was a major destination.  I’ll never forget driving across the eastern Montana fields, staring out at that weird little smudge in the distance and wondering what it was.  A storm cloud, maybe?

But no.  The “little smudge” was my first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains.

I don’t think you ever really get over that.

In Please Me, Cowboy, both my hero and heroine have gone to great lengths to put Montana’s particular charms behind them.  They think they’re immune. 

 Of course, they’re wrong.  About that and so many other things.  I hope you’ll read it and see for yourself!

Please Me, Cowboy

Gracelyn Baylee Packard got herself away from small-town Montana to big, rich Texas as soon as she could.

When her billionaire boss Jonah Flint informs her it’s her lucky day, she’s going back, Grace doesn’t exactly see things the same way. So what if Jonah needs her to help save his brother from a pre-nup-less marriage?

It’s the last place on earth either Grace or Jonah would ever go willingly, yet in Marietta they just might find exactly what neither one of them was looking for... 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Maggie Marr: My 10th Book aka How I Keep Writing Through The Fear

Easy Glamour, my 10th book and the 4th book in The Glamour Series, published yesterday! While this accomplishment makes me gloriously happy, even with this accomplishment and my joy I've been thinking about fear and writing. There was a period of time in my writing career when I felt pretty battered and beaten. I now know that a number of writers go through similar bumps in their career. Whether it's because they were cut from their contract, a book didn't earn out, they can't get their WIP (Work In Progress) to gel, or darn it, they simply don't feel good about their writing—it seems that no writer gets through this writing without a few knocks to the creative psyche. 

For me, those bumps and bruises created a bad case of fear. Or perhaps I'd always been afraid—afraid to fail, afraid to succeed, afraid to try, afraid not to try. Admittedly, I am a big scaredy-cat and have been known to sleep with the lights on (on more than one occasion!) A few years ago, when I encountered a couple big bumps in my career I became afraid to write. Oh, I thought I was writing. I would even sit down now and again and pretend to write, but I wasn't really getting much down. Looking back at that time, I try not to be critical, because really, who knows? Maybe I needed that time to recover from those bumps and bruises so that I could be the writer I am today. 

Here's the thing, the fear hasn't gone away. What I realize now, which I didn't understand then, is that my LOVE for my writing is greater than my fear. I love to write. I love my craft. I love to hear all the stories that these marvelous characters whisper into my ear. I know that the one thing that can conquer fear is love. Pure, simple, love. Maybe it is the realization of just how much I love to write, that has allowed me to write faster and become more prolific. I love my job (if you can even call it a job!) I will always write and the sheer act of writing, and revising and rewriting and revising and writing yet another draft, I believe in my heart continues to make me a better writer, each and every single time.

So thank you—all of you who read my books and email and review and let me know that these lovely stories of mine are not alone in the world.  Please share with us something that you keep doing out of love—no matter how hard it is or how afraid you may be.  Leave a comment and on 9/25 will select one lucky winner!  That winner will receive a copy of Easy Glamour and an Amazon gift card.

Maggie Marr is an author and attorney. She writes The Hollywood Girls Club Series, The Glamour Series, The Eligible Billionaires Series, and The Powder Springs Series. Maggie loves all things pop culture. She also writes for film and TV. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Joanne Rock: I (Heart) Small Town Series

There's a lot to love about a small town--both in real life and in romances. I'm writing my first series set in a small town now that I'm writing some Harlequin Superromances, and I have to say, I'm really enjoying it.

Some of the crazy pace of our world makes us crave small town living, I think. If you've sat in a big city traffic jam recently or tried to battle with a big school board in a huge district, you probably would enjoy the small town I've created in Heartache, Tennessee. It's a fictional town, but I pulled in a lot of what I know from growing up in a small farming community and from living in more rural areas. 

There's no traffic for one thing. Congested highways don't exist in these idyllic enclaves where the only other traveler on a back road might be a cow that wandered free from a nearby pasture. Of course, you might be slowed down by a tractor, but a friendly farmer will wave you around soon enough.

I also like writing small towns for the chance to know (and love!) so many characters. I'm returning to Heartache for at least three books-- PROMISES UNDER THE PEACH TREE (September 2014), NIGHTS UNDER THE TENNESSEE STARS (April 2015) and an as-yet-to-be-titled third book that should be out in Fall 2015. I introduced characters in Book 1 that I want to put in every book so we can catch up with their stories. It's fun seeing familiar faces in each book.

Another fun bonus is seeing the way people in small towns live. There's not a Wal-Mart in town, so people are more likely to buy locally. Artisans thrive when there is a local customer base. A small town can create its own distinct personality, attracting tourism from visitors who love their homemade pies or delicious peaches, or both. A small town flea market is Etsy come to life. No need to go to Restoration Hardware for authentic farmhouse fixtures (and pay a hefty price) when you can find the real thing in your neighbor's garage sale. Plantation shutters? Rustic doorknobs? They're all available for a fraction of the cost on your Saturday morning rounds. 

Best of all, there are a lot of interesting stories in a small town. Some people grew up there and never left. Others couldn't wait to leave an then made their way back home for one reason or another. But everyone's got a story to tell and in a small town, they make time for the telling. 

Do you have a favorite small town you like to visit in real life? A place you grew up or where a friend lives? A town you like to visit for their garage sales? Share with me on the blog and I'll give on random poster a copy of book 1 in my new series, PROMISES UNDER THE PEACH TREE. 

Three-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock never met a romance sub-genre she didn't enjoy. The author of over sixty romances from contemporary to medieval historical, Joanne dreams of one day penning a book for every Harlequin series. A former Golden Heart recipient, she has won numerous awards for her stories and looks forward to next month's release UNDERCOVER FESTIVITIES with Tawny Weber. Learn more about Joanne's imaginative Muse by visiting her online: 
Buy links:  Amazon / BN / BAM! / IndieBound / Kobo / iBooks / Goodreads

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Katherine Garbera: Charmed By The Thief

I’ve heard it said that we all have a tribe.  I didn’t always get what that meant until the first time I walked into a Roamnce Writers of America meeting in Orlando, Fl.  I was surrounded by people who were like me.  They loved books.  When I talked about characters like they were real people they responded the same way.  I had found my spiritual home in a way.

I also made some lifelong friends there.  Last fall six of those women and I had an idea to write a series of collected novellas together.  It was so much fun to work together with them.  That brainchild is ENCHANTED BY AN EMERALD and is out now.  It’s on sale on all platforms for .99.

The over-arching element of the book is an emerald that Catherine Kean’s hero Hugh brings back from the crusades to medieval England.  He wants to start a legacy, little does he realize that the legacy will be to unite couples in love through the centuries.  The collection ends with my contribution CHARMED BY THE THIEF.  It’s a lighthearted riff on To Catch A Thief—the Cary Grant movie.  Jules and Devlin reunited all the pieces of the emerald which was smashed on a pirate ship in Caro Carson’s entry in our saga.

The pieces are found by a wounded WWII pilot in France, a beachcomber in Georgia, a secondhand shop owner in Florida and travel to a graphic novelist as well before they are all brought back together. 

Here’s a little teaser.

“Gotcha,” a deep male voice said. At the same moment, a heavy hand wrapped around her wrist, jerking her to a halt and pinning her against the cold brick wall.

She looked up into eyes that were the same emerald green as the Brigonne. Of course they were, she thought with a touch of sarcasm.

“Whom do you think you’ve got?” she asked, pitching her naturally high voice lower and huskier. She’d also tried to disguise her British accent, but she thought she sounded a bit silly.

“I think I’ve got myself a jewel thief,” he said.

She didn’t know the big, muscly American man. He had a bit of five o’clock shadow on his cheeks and thick dark hair that was longish on the top but barely brushed his collar in the back. His eyes, she fancifully imagined, could see straight through her disguise. God, she hoped he couldn’t. Though they’d never met before tonight, there was something familiar about him.

“Wrong. I’m just out for an evening stroll.”

“In a mask?” he asked.

“I have a kinky lover,” she said, putting her free hand on the side of his neck and stroking the length of it with her finger. “He likes it when I wear the mask.”

He shivered, and she felt his pulse speed up the tiniest bit. Flirting wasn’t her strong suit when she was herself, but as the Black Cat she’d always felt free.

“Kinky lover or not, I’m going to need that emerald back,” he said, running his free hand down the side of her body.

She slithered against him. “I think you just wanted an excuse to fondle me.”

“Why would I do that? You’re a thief—”

“I thought we agreed I had a kinky lover,” she said. “You shouldn’t make up stories about me.”

“We haven’t been introduced,” he said. “Whom would I tell these tales to?”

“How would I know?” she said, trying to free her hand from his grip, but he wasn’t budging.

“Maybe Interpol? I’ve read your profile, Black Cat.”

He smelled good. Better than her enemy should. His aftershave was a distinctive blend of an exotic spice and man.
His skin was warm, and his body heat enveloped her.

“I’m flattered,” she said. “Really, I am. I don’t even know your name.”

She knew that every second he detained her was a moment closer to her ending up in jail. And that wasn’t going to happen.

“Most people call me The Devil.”

“Not very popular with folks,” she said. “Must be why you’ve taken to attacking women on the streets.”

“Not likely. Give me the emerald,” he said.

The pouch she’d tucked it into was locked, and unless he produced a knife and cut the shirt from her body, he wasn’t getting it. And she didn’t think that was his way. She could tell he believed himself to be clever. It was just his bad luck that she was the slightest bit more so.

“I can see this is getting us nowhere,” she said, lifting her leg with the intent of kneeing him in the groin, but he stopped her with a very hard grip on her knee.

He shoved her leg back down and pinned her to the wall with his body. She was running out of time before she needed to be back at the party. She didn’t want to talk to him any longer. There was too great a chance she’d give something away.

She pushed her fingers into his hair at the back of his neck and shifted her head forward, brushing her lips over his. She felt the surprise in him, and for a second he loosened his grip. She tugged on her hand, but he tightened his fingers around hers, and she rubbed her tongue over his.


He tasted good.

Double damn.

He was kissing her back.

She was helpless to resist it, as he angled his head, and his mouth moved over hers.
Passion was clouding her judgment, and for a moment she wanted to let down her guard, which was stupid.
His tongue brushed over hers as his hand moved down her side, and she realized he was using the kiss to distract her while he searched for the emerald.

Sorry, buddy. Not today.

She pulled back, sucked his lower lip between her teeth and bit down lightly. Just enough to get his attention before she tugged her hand free, pushing him hard so that he lost his balance and fell to the ground. She stepped out onto the street and, with a jaunty wave, slipped between the cars on the main thoroughfare. She ran to keep up with one of the slow-moving vehicles until she disappeared and left him behind. 

Enchanted By An Emerald
Charmed by the Thief
ISBN: 978-1500785567
September 2014

I’m giving away a copy today to three lucky commenters.  Tell me about the place that feels like your home.  Is it a readers group?  Your family? Writers? 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Three Delightful Victorian Romances from Michelle Styles giveaway

For the past few years, readers in the UK and Australia and in other parts of the world have been able to read three of Victorian set novels – To Marry A Matchmaker, Compromising Miss Milton and Breaking the Governess’s Rules but because of a quirk in the system,  they were not  released in the North American market until now.
It had to do with the transition to simultaneous publication of all Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon titles which is now completed.

I am terribly excited to announce that all three will be available to download at all good etailers starting 1 October 2014. As they are not releasing it in print (something I knew about), I kept a few copies back to use as giveaways.
In many ways it has felt like waiting for the no 7 bus, you wait forever and then three come along at the same time!

And I thought of no better way of celebrating  than to offer a sign print edition of one of these books to one lucky Tote Bag reader.

To enter:
email with  Tote Bags contest in the subject line and simply tell me which book you'd like to win. I  will do the draw on 21 September 2014. Void where prohibited.

To help you choose these are the books with their US covers:

Lady Henrietta Thorndike hides her lonely heart behind playing cupid – some might accuse her of interfering, but she prefers to think of it as improving other people’s lives!
But Robert Montemorcy knows it has to stop – his ward has just fled from a compromising situation in London, and the last thing she needs is to be embroiled in Henri’s compulsive matchmaking! He bets Henri that she won’t be able to resist meddling…only to lose his own heart into the bargain!

Cataromance said 4.5 stars "A delightful Regency tale full of warmth, charm and spirit, To Marry a Matchmaker is an immensely enjoyable historical romance by Michelle Styles!"
Aurian from   said 8 stars Michelle Styles has such a nice writing style, it flows nicely, and it has a subtle humor I appreciate. I do recommend her books, especially if you need to relax after some heavier books.

Nas Dean said:  5 stars To Marry a Matchmaker is a well-woven historical tale which has engaging characters and is filled with good dialogue and delightful resolution. The hero appears uncompromising and domineering on the outside but is really intensely emotional and tender on the inside.

Henri is a fantastic heroine whose superficial exterior belies a generous spirit and a very big heart. Robert and Henri catches your attention and your heart. 
You can read an excerpt at

Marrying the Governess!
Buttoned-up governess Daisy Milton buries dreams of marriage and family life in order to support her sister and orphaned niece. But maddeningly attractive Adam, Viscount Ravensworth, is one distraction that shakes Daisy’s safe, stable existence.
Now ghosts from Adam’s past in India threaten Daisy’s future. Just what will it take to convince a tightly-laced miss to forgo society’s strict code of conduct…and come undone in the arms of a reformed rake?

 Cataromance says: 4.5 stars Compromising Miss Milton is Michelle Styles’ most exciting book yet! In her stunning new novel for Mills and Boon, award-winning author Michelle Styles deftly combines superb characterization, passionate romance, nail-biting suspense, exciting adventure and heartwarming pathos in an irresistible new story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
Pink Heart Society Reviews says: Compromising Miss Milton is sheer reading perfection from start to finish! An enthralling, poignant and fabulously readable Victorian romance, in Compromising Miss Milton, talented storyteller Michelle Styles has penned a captivating story that left me eagerly turning the pages late into the night.

You can read an excerpt at:
‘How delightful to meet you again, Miss Louisa Sibson.’
Jonathon Lord Chesterholm’s eyes bored holes into Louisa Sibson’s back. The former fiancée he’s thought dead is very much alive…
Louisa has rebuilt her life, after being dishonourably dismissed from her post as governess for allowing Jonathon to seduce her. Now Louisa lives by a rulebook of morals and virtue—the devastating Lord Chesterholm will not ruin her again!
But Jonathon will get to the bottom of Louisa’s disappearance – and he’ll enjoy breaking a few of her rules along the way…!
Cataromance said: 4.5 stars  "Michelle Styles’ latest historical romance, Breaking the Governess’ Rules, is a spellbinding tale of lost love, forbidden attraction and class conflict that will hold readers in thrall!"

You can read an excerpt at

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Christina Hollis–Work In Progress

The view Sophia gets from the top! (Photo:B.R. Marshall)
A few months ago, my chapter of The Romantic Novelists' Association held a workshop. You can read about that here. It was so successful, we've just held a second day–school with the same format.

Once again, we hired a room in Hereford's Courtyard theatre, and each of the seven writers who took part submitted ten pages of their current work–in–progress. Mine's a romantic thriller, but I can't settle on a name. The working title has been both The Barrow Wake and Bright Danger, but I forgot to ask the working party which one they preferred! I'm now toying with the idea of Tasting The Peach as the title, since heroine Sophia, is part of a witness protection scheme.

As Chapter One opens, Sophia Hope is being hassled by a man originally detailed to protect her. He's the secretive new boss of damaged hero Josh, who is prepared to break the rules to expose him. Josh turned to law-enforcement after a tragedy in his turbulent past, but Sophia turns out to be more dangerous to Josh's peace of mind than any murderer...

Here's the final draft of the opening paragraphs of my current work in progress, polished according to the encouragement I got from our latest workshop:

‘...and I love TV, but I don’t want to watch it every day!’ Sophia called back over her shoulder as she put on a spurt. 
Would this guy never take the hint?  It felt like she’d been trying to get away from him all her life. In a way, she had. She’d moved here to get away from it all and start a new, blame-free existence from scratch. Despite everything, he’d refused every instruction, kind word and firm refusal. As her determination increased, so did his puppyish adoration.  What was wrong with the man? He stuck to her like human chewing gum. Sophia was running out of options.
The time’s coming when I’ll have to get nasty, she thought. Really nasty. 
The track ahead of her was a bony limestone spine, rising almost vertically. Kicking on, she outpaced him. Scrabbling forward she almost fell, clawing at the path in a fever of excitement. She was getting away from her unwanted minder, leaving him for dead. 
For dead...
The cold, clean air burned her face. She dragged it in like vodka.
‘I’m serious!’ His voice rose from some way below her, as insubstantial as cigarette smoke.
Sophia stopped, stuck her hands on her hips and screwed round to confront him again. 
Every day, something always managed to stop her sprinting for the summit. Today it was this–this fawning fruit-loop. He was still ten yards behind, and wheezing like an asthmatic ferret. She found it too painful to watch him labour up the slope, so she raised her head and scanned the horizon instead. It was a perfect morning. The atmosphere was gin-clear from here to Hay Bluff, sixty miles away. 
I could run all the way there and be back before this loser’s caught his breath, she thought. 
This was a day to feel the lust for life powering through your veins. A life that was too short for promises. Sophia wanted to get on. 
She dropped her gaze again, meaning to confront him. It snagged on the city, down in the vale. From here, the confusion of tiny buildings was a dark smudge on the countryside. It was a necessary evil–as vital, ugly and inescapable as the feelings locked away inside her. She glanced at her feet. When she pivoted, her trainers had inscribed perfect circles in the damp grey grit. Down in the city, the heaving mass of humanity would soon be climbing on to the treadmill of another new day, getting ready to run around in the same old circles, in the same old way. 
She pursed her lips. Digging her toes into the ground she scuffed hard, destroying the neat marks.
‘You’re beautiful,’ he gasped.
‘I’m trouble, you mean,’ she ground away at the divots with her toes and heels, ‘especially for a man like you. If you think I’m falling for that old line, forget it. It’s only the thrill of the forbidden you’re finding beautiful.’
‘How many times do I have to tell you?’ He caught her by the arm. The action narrowed her eyes to searchlights.  Releasing her, he flung his hands up in a gesture of peace.

‘Nobody,’ she said in a low voice, ‘does that to me.’ 

Christina Hollis writes both contemporary and historical fiction - when she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping. You can catch up with her at, on Twitter and Facebook, and see a full list of her published books at

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Small Town Holidays

I was talking to someone about all the holiday books I've written.  I went back and looked at my files…turns out I've written a lot.  Eleven Christmas books, and even more holiday books if you count other holidays.  As far as the Christmas ones go, I think it has something to do with my name.  I mean, with a name like Holly, it makes sense to do Christmas…a lot!  LOL

My newest will be released next month, Christmas in Cupid Falls.  Not only is it a new book, but it's set in a new town.  My June release, Just One Thing, I introduced Lapp Mill…it was the kind of town you can miss if you blink while you drive through it.  Cupid Falls, PA is bigger than Lapp Mill…I mean, you wouldn't miss it if you blinked once, but maybe if you blinked twice.

Waterford, PA
In addition to I squeezed both towns in between the very real towns of Waterford and Union City.  Both are just a stone's throw from Erie, where most of my books have been set.

Now, as much as I love showcasing my city and the surrounding towns, the reason I love writing small towns is the people.  Granted, my people are fictional, but the real people in towns like Waterford and Union City are wonderful, and I'll confess, I think the ones in Lapp Mill, Cupid Falls, and some of my other made-up towns like Whedon and Valley Ridge are equally wonderful.  I hope readers do, too!

Most of my series have one character who becomes the touch-stone for all the books.  Someone who shows up in each story…someone who can give the readers a sense of coming home.  In my Everything But series, that was Nana Vancy (she has a cameo in Christmas in Cupid Falls) and in my Perry Square series, it was Pearly Gates.  Both were older ladies…the wise women of my books.  In Cupid Falls, I went in a different direction…an older man.  I leave it up to readers to decide how 'wise' he is!  LOL  Here's his introduction...

Holly Jacobs, 10/14

“Arf, arf,” Clarence Harding barked as he entered Kennedy Anderson’s shop minutes after she’d opened for the day. He pulled off his thick knit cap and exposed an ice-grey head of hair. “Mornin’, Mayor.”

“Good morning, Clarence. And it’s Cupid’s Bowquet. Bo—long O. Bow, like bow and arrow—Cupid’s bow and arrow. It’s not bow, short O, like powwow.”

For more than three decades, Kennedy’s aunt had owned the flower shop and it had been Betty’s Flowers. But Aunt Betty had been gone three years. This was Kennedy’s shop now, and she thought it was a great marketing strategy to play off the town’s name. Last year she’d realized that when you lived in Cupid Falls, Pennsylvania, Cupid’s Bowquet was a perfect name for a flower shop.

“It’s a dumb name, Mayor, if you don’t mind me saying.”

Kennedy did mind, but she was enough of a businesswoman not to say so. “What brings you in today, Clarence?”

“Seems I’ll be needing to send the old ball and chain some flowers. I got in late and ran over her new frog.”

Joan Harding collected frogs. Lots of frogs. They were everywhere inside and outside of her house. She even had some plastic bullfrogs she’d nailed into her giant maple tree and proudly told everyone they were tree frogs.

Clarence pulled off his gloves and stuffed them in his heavy winter coat’s pocket. “Course, I don’t know how she could tell I ran one over. I hid the pieces and there must be about a million frogs around now. Plus we’ve got all this snow . . .” He shrugged, as if figuring out the mystery of his wife was too much for him.

Clarence was a regular. It seemed he was always doing one thing or another to annoy Joan, but crushing a frog called for more than just some flowers. “It just so happens I might have something to get you out of the doghouse.”

“Froghouse is how I put it,” he grumbled. “And I seem to be in it more than any man should be.”

Despite his less-than-endearing endearment ball and chain, Kennedy had seen Clarence and Joan together. She knew they fit. They worked. Clarence might get in trouble for running over frogs, but the Hardings were one of those couples that no one could imagine not being together.

She liked to think her small flower shop helped to keep them that way . . . together.

“One of the vendors I order from had these, and I thought of you when I ordered it.” Kennedy reached under the counter and pulled out a small box and slid it across the counter toward the elderly gentleman.

Clarence opened the lid and pulled out a frog planter. “Now, this is just the ticket. The perfect thing to get me out of trouble. You’ll stick some plant or something in it for her?”

“Definitely,” Kennedy assured him. Clarence was the kind of customer she liked to think of as job security. “Do you have anything in mind?”

He handed her the planter. “Whatever you want, Mayor. Bill me, okay?”

“Sure thing, Clarence. I’ll deliver it this afternoon.”

“Maybe I’ll be out of the froghouse before dinner then. See ya later, Mayor.”

Clarence's name comes from the iconic Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life.  And though he is no angel, he's got a good heart and I hope readers fall in love with him…and the entire town!  There's something special about Christmas…I think that might have more to do with my writing so many holiday books, than my name.  And I hope readers enjoy spending at least part of their holiday in Cupid Falls!


Today's the last day to enter a contest to celebrate its release at:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Autumn (Fall) the book season - With Kate Walker

As I write this, the evening is starting to draw in.  It’s not nightfall yet, but it’s coming over the
horizon.  We’ve had a lovely warm and sunny day,  one that still felt like summer – but the   gathering evening is definitely a hint of Autumn – or Fall.

And I love it.

We’ve had an up and down sort of summer – some very long, hot days – just what you really want from summertime – and some very very wet days (that seemed even longer!). Unfortunately the long hot days were when I was teaching – or writing – or revising. And the long wet days were when I was supposed to be holidaying and sightseeing.  

But this sort of just heading into the next season is what I really love.   I’ve always loved the whole ‘New School Term’ feeling about everything – with its excuses to buy lots of stationery and  notepad and pens and pretty pencils. In fact, I usually have a sort of ‘New Year’ around September  - it works much better than in January.   And I have several courses I’m teaching coming up, so I’ll need those pens, and the notepads .

But the best thing about the slow fade of summer into the Fall is the way that it always means more time, more opportunity, more pleasure – from books.  When the days are still light and bright but not too warm , I can settle down at my desk without feeling too hot  and without missing the sunshine too much.  And as the evenings close in then I don’t have to feel that I should be gardening or anything out doors – I can curl up with a book and settle in for the evening.  And after my trips to Wales, Harrogate, York, Malvern . .  . I have lots of books piling up on my To Be Read shelves.    But even if I do manage to read my way through them, by  the time the bad weather comes, I won’t even have to go out shopping for more – just a few clicks on Kindle and I’ll  be able to replenish my stock.

So I can settle down and read and read as the light fades outside and the days settle into dusk.   Reading is a delight – and an inspiration - the more I read, the more I feel ready to write my next book. And before the bustle and excitement of Christmas overloads and distracts me  I have time and  energy to focus on the world I’m  creating in my stories.  Which is just as well as my editor has just accepted my latest book – that one that I was revising – and I’m preparing the next story.  My editor wants a book that follows on from A Question of Honor, so that’s what I’m focusing on. Another great thing about being a writer in the Autumn – as the days cool down, I can imagine myself in a distant Arab kingdom where the sun blazes down and the heat sizzles in the air (as well as between my characters)

So although some people may regret the passing of summer and miss those long hot days (not so much the l-o-n-g wet ones!) I’m already falling in love with Autumn – for me, it’s the real book season and I’m so looking forward to it.

I've just had my latest title accepted and scheduled so Olivero's Outrageous Proposal will be 
published in Harlequin Presents in  April 2015.

A Question of Honour
  - or A Question of Honor depending on whether you're reading the Mills and  Boon Modern edition or the  Harlequin  Presents one  is out now .

And the new, revised and updated Kindle edition  of Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance is now available on Amazon  at a much lower price than the old paperback.

You can find out more about Kate Walker and her books over on her web site  which has just been updated with new information added.

And there is all the up to date news on her blog   or Facebook page

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Truth - and the Duke - Is Out There!

by Anna Campbell

I'm so excited! It's exactly a year since I had a full-length new release and now, after that long wait, WHAT A DUKE DARES has hit the shelves.

This is book three of the Sons of Sin series (previous books are SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE'S BED and A RAKE'S MIDNIGHT KISS, with the novella DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES squeezed in between). A character who has intrigued me from the start is Camden Rothermere, Duke of Sedgemoor. Cam is the guy who always keeps his head in a crisis and who always hands out great advice. As a reader, I love seeing Mr. Cool, Calm and Collected tumble into chaos when he falls in love - and that's just what happens to Cam. I can tell you that particular character arc is fun to write too!

Cam's heroine in Duke is his childhood friend Penelope Thorne, a headstrong and passionate woman who leads Cam on a merry dance before they get their happy ending. Pen was fun to write too. I love stories about unrequited love, and Pen's got a really rotten case of the malady for Cam.

Here's the blurb:

A reputation at risk
What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that's who. She's known Camden Rothermere since they were children - and she also knows she'd bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can't stop her. Then her brother's dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he'd finally gotten over.

The only way they'll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they're married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed - until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins...
Reviews so far have been wonderful. RT Book Reviews gave Duke a Top Pick, 4.5 stars, a Knight in Shining Silver (K.I.S.S.) awad and called it "an extraordinary read." Publishers Weekly commented on the "romantic fireworks" and a starred review in Booklist said, "With its superbly nuanced characters, impeccably crafted historical setting, and graceful writing shot through with scintillating wit, Campbell's latest lusciously sensual, flawlessly written historical Regency, part of the Sons of Sin series (A Rake's Midnight Kiss, 2013), will have romance readers sighing happily with satisfaction."
You can read an excerpt here:
Duke is available in print and digital everywhere good books are sold, including: 

Penelope Thorne, the heroine of WHAT A DUKE DARES, suffers from a major crush on her girlhood hero Camden Rothermere. Did you have a crush when you were growing up? Was it someone real or someone fictional like a movie star or a rock singer?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Blue Screen of Death . . . Anne McAllister

I don't know if it was John Lennon or not who said, "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." But, believe me, life is what is happening here.

On the weekend I sat down to write this blog piece -- and my computer's trackpad went nuts. One minute it was behaving. The next it was sending the cursor zinging all over the place.  I couldn't even get it to shut down right. I had to press the on/off button. Never a good sign.

Next time I pressed it, I got as far as the "starting Windows" screen. I haven't been able to get any further since.  So . . . I don't have a blog piece written. I have countless hours of discussion with my friends at my computer company's software help division under my belt instead.

I would like to report progress. So far, I can't. Maybe today.  In the meantime, I've borrowed someone else's computer.  I apologize for the lack of a useful blog post.  If you have ever had computer issues, I send you my sympathies. I would appreciate yours.

Stay tuned . . . I hope by next month I can report that there were blue skies just around the corner.  But if not, I hope I can at least tell you that the archaeological dig I'm going on in 10 days was a great success.

I'd love to have you leave comments, but I don't know if I can answer them. Proceed at your own risk!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A visit to Agatha Christie’s house – Kandy Shepherd

As a writer, there’s something fascinating about seeing the places where other writers write. I love it when authors share photos of their workspaces and I can see the actual place where their books were created. (By the way, no one has ever seen a photo of my workspace—it’s way too messy!

First editions of her books on display at Agatha Christie's summer house, Greenway

I grew up loving the mystery novels of Agatha Christie. In July this year, I was fortunate enough while in the UK to visit the beautiful house (well, mansion really!) where Agatha Christie spent her summers. “Greenway” is on the River Dart in Devon, one of the loveliest parts of England.

The house had scaffolding on it for repair work when we visited but was no less imposing

The elegant Georgian house and the magnificent gardens that surround it are open to the public by The National Trust. When a friend asked would I like to visit it with her I jumped to say “yes”. Agatha Christie is reputed to be the best-selling novelist of all time—of course I would love to see where she lived and wrote!

Interesting boats on the harbour at Dartmouth as we took the ferry to Greenway

We took the ferry from the quaint town of Dartmouth along the River Dart to reach Greenway—that was an experience in itself. Then we climbed up through the gardens to the house itself.

The gardens were magnificent

Agatha Christie and her family were collectors. The house is packed with treasures from several generations of the family, some of them very valuable. Yet the house is set up as the family home where Dame Agatha and her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, enjoyed their summer holidays.

Views to the River Dart

My friend and I lingered in every room, listening to talks by the very knowledgeable National Trust volunteer guides. In several of the rooms, we listened to recordings of Agatha Christie in her very posh English accent talking about her writing process—fascinating stuff!

Agatha Christie's working notes for her play Witness for the Prosecution were on display

 Although Agatha Christie didn’t do a lot of writing in the actual house—she wrote in a boathouse on the grounds—her annotated manuscripts and first editions are on show and are beautifully curated. 

Apparently Agatha Christie was quite the shopaholic and brought home finds from all over the world like this inlaid chest of drawers in her bedroom

Many of Christie’s novels are set in country houses like Greenaway—some of the television series Poirot episodes were shot there—and visiting the house really helps bring them to life.

What a marvelous place for a writer to relax and find inspiration!

 An afternoon wasn’t nearly enough time to appreciate the treasures of Greenway. I can’t wait to go back!

Is there an author’s house you would like to visit—or have already visited? Have you read Agatha Christie’s books or enjoyed the TV shows and movies based on them? Did you have a memorable visit somewhere this year?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! I’m giving away a signed copy of my July 2014 release for Harlequin Romance, The Tycoon and The Wedding Planner. If you’d like to be in the draw, please include your email address in your comment.

Kandy’s third Dolphin Bay story for Harlequin Romance, A Diamond in Her Stocking, goes on sale on December 1, 2014 and is available for pre-order now.

Kandy Shepherd is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She lives on a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her family and a menagerie of four-legged friends.

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For more information on Greenway visit: