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Friday, March 24, 2017

If in doubt, thunk...

About five minutes ago I was sat on my sofa avidly listening to an impassioned sales pitch on QVC while I was eating my breakfast.

This is sooo convenient,” the presenter enthused holding his mobile phone up to the screen for me to see, “It doesn’t matter where I am- I could be on the train on my way home, at the supermarket or even on my way back from the airport after a long holiday- and I can control my thermostat!”

I am not going to lie. She had me sold. How brilliant would that be? No matter where I am, I can adjust my thermostat, thus ensuring the house is snug and cosy upon my return! And just in case that wasn’t fabulous enough, this wonderful system, priced at a very reasonable £249, was also on easy pay instalments!

My cup literally runneth over. Where had this wonderful gadget been all of my life? I hastily pulled out my own mobile phone, because it is already loaded with the QVC app in readiness for such an eventuality, and quickly put the item into my virtual shopping basket. After all, they had already sold over two hundred of them so far this morning and I certainly did not want to be the dithering fool who missed out…

Then I stopped and did what me and my husband call some ‘thunking’. Because to ‘thunk’ something means to resist the temptation to act on your first instinct. You have to weigh up the pros and cons properly, then make a reasoned decision. Like Socrates or Plato would have done in days of yore.

So I sat and contemplated the pros: virtual control, cosy home, perhaps even a reduction in my utility bills. Splendid. Cons: I usually go on holiday in the summer months when the heating is off anyway, £249 is actually quite a lot of money to do something which is effectively only a flick of the wrist, I work from home…

Good grief!


I work at home, in constant, easy reach of my own thermostat. What an idiot! Why was I even considering such a ridiculous gadget at all?

And that, Dear Reader, sums me up perfectly in a nutshell.

I am an independent, intelligent woman. I have a degree. I used to be a teacher. I write books for a living for pity’s sake, yet beneath all of that common sense, I am a sucker for clever marketing. My husband often comments I would buy a bottled fart if it had the word NEW emblazoned across it. I wish this statement was not accurate, I really do. But alas, I am weak and open to suggestion.

My house is filled with things which, frankly, never should have been bought in the first place. And all because of the lure of hypnotic words like ‘New’, ‘Introductory Offer’ and my personal nemesis ‘Limited Stock’.


I have an electric egg boiler, which claimed to take all of the faff out of boiling an egg. This miraculous invention involves piercing the bottom of the egg with a strange pin attachment so it doesn’t explode during the revolutionary new process. Then you have to measure the exact amount of water for the number of eggs being boiled and according to the desired firmness of the finished egg. Once you have done that, you put the water into the machine, close the device and hey presto! Five minutes later you get the perfect three-minute runny egg. Or not, as actually proved to be the case. But it was ‘New’ and shaped charmingly like a yellow chicken so I had to have it.


Then there was the revolutionary seamless bra which, and I quote, “this unique new bra conforms to your curves… has no wires or hooks that can dig into your skin… giv(ing) you a perfect lift and a smooth shape… is so comfortable it won't even feel like you're wearing a bra at all.”

Well, they got that part right. I’m a big girl in the boob department, and the seamless bra did little to defy gravity. What it did do was flatten my ladies and push them downwards in a most unflattering way! The silhouette created when I looked in the mirror was soul-destroying.


And then there are all those beauty products which make promises they cannot keep. I have not yet found one which significantly reduces wrinkles, repairs damaged hair or gives my complexion the dewy glow of my youth! But I keep buying them because of their clever advertising, I have versions in every premier brand cluttering my bathroom cabinet, each one ultimately a crushing disappointment. Little jars of lies which taunt me every time I reach for the floss. What they do, do is empty my bank balance and make me feel stupid for trusting my aging body with them in the first place.

And as for the miracle grass seed I purchased to repair the bald patches in my lawn. You PROMISED the seed would begin to grow in just SEVEN days. It’s day twelve. There has been plenty of rain and a good amount of spring sunshine. The exact conditions, I am reliably informed, which are perfect for grass seed to grow in.

Look at my lawn people. Just look at it…
Virginia Heath writes witty, fast-paced Regency romantic comedies with a modern twist for Harlequin Mills & Boon Historical. Her novel,The Discerning Gentleman's Guide, was recently nominated for a RoNA (Romantic Novel of the Year Award)



'Choosing a wife is not a task that should be undertaken lightly.’
Bennett Montague, sixteenth Duke of Aveley, is seeking the perfect bride. He’s narrowed his search to five worthy ‘Potentials’…until the arrival of his aunt’s companion unravels his carefully laid plans.
Having fought for everything she has, Amelia Mansfield is incensed by Bennett’s wife selection methods. But as she’s forced to spend time in his company, she begins to see another side to Bennett – and that man is infinitely more tantalising and enticing …




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jennifer Gracen: Transitions

In both my writing life and my personal life, I find myself lately at yet another point of transition. I’ve had to push myself out of some of my comfort zones. And even though I know that I’ll be rewarded with growth and success of several kinds on the other side if I do it, my inner self hates doing it. That inner self alternates between whimpering, grumbling, procrastinating, throwing temper tantrums, and having full blown anxiety.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Why do we let fear hold us back, even when we KNOW the outcome will be to our benefit?

In my writing life, it’s been trying a new angle of writing. Writing some scenes in a way I haven’t before. The character in question demanded it. I had to go to a place with him that I haven’t in prior books. And it’s scary, because writing is such a personal art. Even though it’s the character saying and doing these things, not me, there’s still that aspect of feeling like I’m putting myself out there for everyone to see, naked and vulnerable.

In my personal life, I’m job hunting. Long story short, after being a SAHM and also working from home doing freelance, it’s not enough anymore. I haven’t worked a typical office job in fifteen years. So, it’s more of the putting myself out there, feeling vulnerable, all of that... it’s damned uncomfortable, and it’s a process that can really get me down sometimes.

I recognize that in both pursuits, there’s a fear of failure. Not just failure, either, but failing in spectacular fashion, with images of going down in flames over the side of a cliff as I freefall into choppy, shark-ridden waters. That fear is what makes the inner voice do all those yucky things and makes me twist and whine and, and... And ultimately it doesn’t matter, because I have to do these things. Period, end of story.
We all do.
 
Yes, pushing out of comfort zones brings growth, strength, and goodness. We know this. But it’s really hard. Because we are hardest on ourselves, and change is scary.

So I figured I’d talk about it. Hearing that others endure these growing pains and whispering doubts, to know someone else is struggling with it too, maybe makes someone feel not so alone as they go through something similar. Maybe it’s you. So...


Okay. Strapping my sword and shield back on. I got this. You got this. See you on the other side, fellow warrior.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lara Temple: Unconventional Heroines in Art

In every corner of the Regency world I always come across some amazing women. While doing research for my third book with Harlequin, The Duke’s Unexpected Bride (out next month), I ‘visited’ the 1819 Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts which at the time was based in Somerset House. During my research I came across two female artists who reached their peak at the turn of the 18th/19th centuries – Angelica Kauffman and Mary Moser. They are perfect examples of the kind of unconventional historical heroines that fascinate me.


My own heroine, Sophie, loves painting but is well aware of her limitations when she enters the amazing exhibition room where the likes of Turner, Constable, Reynolds and other British greats exhibited. She is content merely to be inspired and to be given the opportunity to paint and to buy her art supplies at the famous Cheapside art store, Reeves.

The Duke of Harcourt takes Sophie ‘backstage’ to the Royal Academy Council Chamber in order to show her Kauffman’s famous allegorical ceiling paintings. Sophie however, manages to find her way even further backstage where Academy members exhibit their nude paintings away from public (and female) eyes. I was using a little artistic license here – there were indeed rooms where Academy members could sketch nude models and where a young woman like Sophie (even women like Kauffman and Moser) were not accepted, at least publicly.

This distinction is made abundantly clear in the famous painting by Zoffany which shows the 168 Academy members observing male nude models – the only two Academy members missing ‘in person’ were founding members Kaufman and Moser (the two were also the only female members of the Academy until 1861)! Zoffany at least gave them a presence by adding portraits of them on the wall on the right, looking down on the male models. Here is a section of that painting:



I’m not a great fan of artists from this era other than Turner (and I have to admit Reynolds has a special gift with portraits) but I found the story of the rise of these two female artists fascinating – both had artist/artisan fathers who taught and promoted their girls’ talents very early on (Mozart style) and far from being excluded by the male environment, they were highly regarded at the time (Kauffman had Reynolds as a personal champion). Kauffman’s story is particularly exciting – she travelled all over Europe, was invited to England by the English Ambassador’s wife in Rome, was conned into marriage by a scoundrel, whom she promptly left, and when he died she married a Venetian artist and continued to travel and receive commissions from the high and mighty.
In my own story, The Duke’s Unexpected Bride, Sophie is ambiguous about her talents – she is acutely visual and painting is an important part of how she sees and interacts with the world but she has no great ambitions and no dramatic conviction in her skills. I think this would have been the case with many creative women of the time – unless their talent overpowered them or they grew up in a highly artistic or literary environment women of moderate or even above moderate skills were often willing to regard themselves as mere amateurs. Their best hope was to find someone who saw this additional aspect to their character as positive rather than negative – this is one reason Sophie is drawn to Max. Here is the scene where they discuss Sophie’s artistic talent:

‘I know you would prefer me without all the nonsense about the painting.’
‘I don’t know what you would be like without the painting. It’s not just something you do, it’s how you see the world.’
Sophie’s eyes widened.
‘No one has ever said that to me before.’
‘Is that good or bad?’
‘I…good, I think. It’s like those dreams where you are going about and suddenly realise you are only in your petticoats, you know?’
Max threw back his head and laughed.
‘No, I don’t. Not petticoats.’
‘Well, not petticoats, but you know what I mean. Finding yourself exposed.’
‘That doesn’t sound very enjoyable, then, and that is not what I meant to do. It was just a thought. Why did you think it was good, then?’
‘Because it means you see me.’
His smile faded slightly as he looked at her, but he kept his voice light.
‘Right in front of me. Hard to miss.’

Summary of The Duke’s Unexpected Bride:
When Sophie becomes her reclusive aunt’s companion she also finds herself nursemaid to a pug, stalked by an embittered artist, and the fiancĂ© of the thoroughly unsettling Duke of Harcourt, a man she has dubbed the Stone Duke. Ten years after his disastrous engagement, Max knows he must choose his bride with caution. Sophie meets none of his criteria – she is impulsive, funny, talks to animals, and her compassion leads her perilously close to danger. Their inevitable clash of wits, passions, and private pain lead to near tragedy and to the realization that the irrepressible Sophie and the Stone Duke are perfectly matched.


Book Buy Links:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lXdgUZ
Barnes and Noble:
Harlequin: http://bit.ly/2n53GkT
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-duke-s-unexpected-bride

Author Contact Links
Website: www.laratemple.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/laratemple1
Twitter: @laratemple1
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2mWin9R
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LaraTemple

Saturday, March 18, 2017

An introvert's nightmare...

  
I just attended my very first reader event: Angels & Sirens in Washington, PA. That might not sound like a big deal but when you're an introvert, the prospect of putting yourself "out there" in the middle of hundreds of strangers can be a little daunting. 


It's not that I can't "turn on"--in addition to being in the fire department, I also worked retail, so I can generally flip my internal switch and make it work. That doesn't make it any less daunting…or less exhausting. But I committed and yes, a small part of me was actually excited about it.
Of course, I stressed the two weeks prior, wondering what to bring. Swag? Check. Chocolate? Check. Author banner and table runner? Check. Books?

Okay, yeah, that should be a no-brainer. Of course books. I mean, that's the whole purpose of going to a book signing, right? But how many? Should I bring copies of each title (that's 16 titles in case you're wondering)? If so, how many of each? Just focus on the new release? On the last two releases? Five copies? Ten copies? Eek!

The better plan: just throw a bunch of books in several boxes and load up the truck and be done with it. Okay, maybe not the best plan around, but I made it work. Mostly.

So I loaded up my truck and headed west, arriving entirely too early on Friday. Unloaded the truck (and I swear those boxes of books and swag multiplied during the 4-hour drive!) then…then what?  
Well, I surprised myself by not hiding in my room. I actually went to the lobby, grabbed a coffee, and got in some writing. Sounds brave, huh? Not really: a handful of my hockey romance buddies were also attending, so I was hanging out, waiting for them.

We had already made plans to grab dinner Friday night then go to the Pens game. Part of me thinks that was harder than playing extrovert! Why? Because I'm a Caps fan and felt like I was going deep into enemy territory! I still had fun, because I got to hang with my fellow authors and even a few readers who joined us, which made it worthwhile! 

(L-R): Representing my Caps deep in enemy territory; me and Cat, my uber-awesome PA, before the game; yes, I brought way too much stuff!

Then it was Saturday, the day of the event. I lugged all my stuff over to the signing room (making a mental note to never bring so much crap with me again!) and, with the help of my uber-awesome PA, Cat Parisi, got everything set up so it looked nice and pretty.

Then I sat there, wondering what I had gotten myself into. Would anyone buy my books? Would anyone stop by to say hi? Would people just blow by my table, carefully avoiding all eye contact? 
Thankfully, no. And after the first hour, I was finally able to bury my inclination to crawl under the table, curl up into a little ball, and hide. And I had a blast! It was so much fun meeting fans (who knew I actually had real fans!!) and talking with everyone. Was I exhausted afterward? Absolutely. But it was a good exhaustion, the kind where you're tired but it's the kind of tired you get from being busy and having a successful day. So yeah, I'd count my first reader event as a success. And yes, in case you're wondering, I came back with quite a bit less stuff! 


Would I have been as comfortable if not for my hockey romance buds? Hard to say. Maybe, maybe not. But having them there certainly helped--we're a team, helping each other out, just being there to support one another.

Kinda like the hockey teams I write about! And speaking of hockey teams…

I recently launched a new hockey series, The York Bombers. Book 1, PLAYING THE GAME, came out last month and is receiving some great 5-star reviews (hooray me!). The next title in the series, PLAYING TO WIN, releases next week. The hero in PTW was so much fun to write. Jason loves to win, on and off the ice, but he doesn't always notice what's right there in front of him--until it's almost too late. When he meets Megan, he realizes that winning isn't always easy…and fighting to win makes the prize that much sweeter!

Playing The Game is on sale now for 99 cents, so you can pick up your copy here. And, of course, you can preorder Playing To Win by clicking here


So how about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert? Any tips or tricks to surviving those social situations? I'm all ears and eager to learn…because yeah, I have a few more author events to attend this year (you can check out my scheduled events here). Maybe I'll see some of you there! Don't be afraid to stop by and say hi--I'll have lots of chocolate and goodies to pave the way, and I'll be eternally grateful for the company!

Until next month!
LBK
         


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Feeling Lucky?

St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow, which I know very little about aside from you're supposed to wear green and if you find a four-leaf clover, you're lucky.

Frankly, after what has felt like a very long winter, I would feel insanely lucky if I saw any clover of any variety. Our lawn is still white, white, white.

But even in the height of summer when I was a kid with nothing but time on my hands, I never found a four-leaf clover.

My grandmother often did. She was an avid gardener and would leave them to dry in a dish on her kitchen table. It always seemed so magical to me that she could just be weeding away and--oh, there's one! Lucky.

My husband has found them. He would say it's because he's one-quarter Irish, but I know it's because he has infinite patience. (That's also why we're still married.)

Our daughter seems to have inherited the ability from both sides. She finds them quite easily. It's very annoying for someone like me, who is, apparently, four-leaf-clover blind.

Have you ever found one? Comment below with your story. I'll check back in on March 24th and draw one lucky winner. The prize is a print copy of my March book, Pursued By The Desert Prince.

Draped in the Desert Prince’s diamonds…
To ensure his sister’s successful marriage, Kasim, Crown Prince of Zhamair, must stop Angelique Sauveterre’s alleged affair with his future brother-in-law. But when Angelique denies any involvement, Kasim can’t resist the chance to make the feisty beauty his!
Angelique is tempted by Kasim’s offer of a fling—always compared to her twin sister, she’s never allowed to just be herself. They couldn’t be from two more different worlds, yet Angelique blossoms under Kasim’s touch, and surrenders to the desert Prince. But can he give her more than passion and precious jewels?

Dani Collins is the USA Today Bestselling Author of thirty books for Harlequin Presents, Montana Born and herself. 
Join Dani's newsletter and receive a link to download Cruel Summer, a short ebook romance, as a welcome gift. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Priviledged Childhoods

A privileged childhood. It is a tricky word as many people these days associate it with class, creed or colour. It is why it was so refreshing to read an interview with Peaches Golding, Britain’s first black woman lord lieutenant. Peaches grew up in South Carolina and has slavery ancestry but she married a British man (they bonded over a passion for  poisonous snakes) and has spent many years in Britain. The position of Lord Lieutenant is a position founded by Henry VIII and is largely ceremonial – she becomes the Queen’s representative in Bristol.
 In the interview, she stated that she wanted to talk about the privileges that come from  books on the wall, a dedicated place to do homework and parents who believe in education. These privileges transcend class, creed and colour but are absolutely vital to the future success of children. They are aspirational in the extreme and yet we so often take them for granted.
Her words made me think about the things that I took for granted growing up that are truly privileges. For example, my library card. I can remember the pride I had when I could get my very own library card. It was orange and I practised signing my name so many times so it could be perfect.  Then when I grew up enough, I was able to exchange it for a yellow adult card and all the books in the library were open to me (at which point I discovered Harlequins). Several years ago, I was struck at how lucky I was to have an excellent library when I heard Sharon Kenyon speak about her experiences growing up and how she lived for the library and how having reference books made it possible for her to go to college as she couldn’t afford the textbooks. It is why in the past I have fought to keep my local library. I am a big believer in the power of libraries.
The first place I ever drove on my own was to the local library, once I had my driver’s license. And having a driver’s license is another privilege – something that is denied to many, including all women in Saudi Arabia.  Hopefully my youngest son has passed the driving test he was due to take as I write this. He has funded the lessons after the initial few, sometimes privileges  mean more when you have to work for them.
I may have hated my mother making sure that I did my homework but it taught me many things — such as self discipline and the fact that she did care. It also taught me that I needed to study and learn things. Some of her lessons did not  go strictly to plan – for example learning how to quickly and efficiently unload the dishwasher because she was about to return from picking my brother up and I had spent far too long reading but we can draw a veil over such things. The important thing is that she taught me that an education matters.
I could go on and on about the many small advantages I had and took very much for granted.
So when I look about, I did have a very privileged childhood and I am very grateful for it and for my parents who ensured that these things happened. And I am very grateful for Peaches Golding’s interview and how it made me think about what is important. I hope everyone who reads this also had lots of books and reading material in their childhood. And if not, that they do now.
Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romances for Harlequin Historical. Her latest Sold to the Viking Warrior is out now. You can learn more about Michelle and her books on www.michellestyles.co.uk


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Christina Hollis: A Cure For The Homesick Blues?

Clifton Suspension Bridge, via Pixabay
This year, I’m going back to my roots—and in more ways than one. I’ve been writing all my life, but my first published pieces were non-fiction work for local papers and national magazines. These were written in my spare time, while I was employed in a huge office in Bristol. Sat behind a desk, I
was bean-counting all day then writing at home until late at night. Once I began to get paid for my writing, I left my job in central Bristol and joined Rolls-Royce. Their offices are on the outskirts of the city. The move made commuting a lot faster and easier, as my new full-time job was closer to the country cottage on the Welsh border OH and I bought just after we got married. 

Only a couple of years later, OH suggested I give up office work and become a writer full-time. Trying to make it on my own was scary, but exciting. I’ve always been grateful to my husband for supporting me in what everybody said at the time was a reckless venture. It turned out to be the best investment he could make, and the second best thing I ever did (the best thing I ever did was to marry him).

http://mybook.to/MyDreamGuy
Find out more at myBook.to/MyDreamGuy
The Romance genre has been very good to me. I’ve made loads of friends and sold a lot of books, but I’ve been so busy writing fiction, there’s been no time to do anything else. I’ve missed non-fiction work—and Bristol too, if I’m honest.

That’s why I’m so excited to be starting a new non-fiction project. Women's Lives is a series of books to be published by Pen And Sword Books next year. The release will coincide with the centenary of the successful Votes For Women campaign during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Each volume of Women's Lives is devoted to a single city in the United Kingdom. I was born only a few miles away from Bristol, in what was then the Somerset countryside so I was keen to get involved with the Pen And Sword project. My family’s strong ties with Bristol go back hundreds of years, although we’ve always preferred living in the country and “just visiting” the city—usually to find a life partner! 

I've started work on the Bristol edition of Women's Lives: Women of Bristol 1850-1950, and I’m really enjoying it. The research it needs means I’m spending a lot of time combing through archives, but there’s nothing to beat the real-life anecdotes I’m gathering from women far and wide who have stories to share. Can you contribute any information about life in the City of Bristol in the years before 1950? I’m particularly interested to hear about women who left the city for life in America, Canada and Australia. Were you or your mother a war-bride, or an evacuee sent abroad from Bristol?

http://mybook.to/HisMajestysSecret
Find out more at myBook.to/HisMajestysSecret
The work on Women of Bristol is absorbing, and I’m unearthing a wealth of stories. They are a mixture of the happy, the sad, and the alarming. There are one or two really tragic tales, such as the new mother desperate to soothe her constantly crying baby. Not knowing any better, she followed her landlady’s dubious advice, and ended up giving her baby a fatal dose of laudanum. We’re so lucky these days, with qualified advice for all sorts of problems at the other end of a telephone, and support groups online. 


Bristol is a fascinating place. Its women are, and always have been, tough, loyal pioneers. They give as good as they get, and they’re always looking to the future. Despite the love I still have for my almost-birthplace and its people, going back there to work makes me appreciate the peace and quiet of our cottage out here in the bluebell woods. Tottering Towers may lack the conveniences of city life, but with its wildlife and tranquility, there’s no place like home…

When she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping, Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women.  Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and she’s sold nearly three million books worldwide. Catch up with her at http://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com, on TwitterFacebook, and see a full list of her published books at christinahollis.com

Her current release, Heart Of A Hostage, is published by The Wild Rose Press and available at myBook.to/HeartOfAHostage  worldwide.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Goals. Habit. Addiction...in a good way.



I'm going to confess, I am horrible at taking selfies.  I watch my kids take gorgeous photos of themselves and marvel. Sigh. I was out for a walk yesterday in 22 degree weather and wanted a pic of me all bundled up with the very picturesque Mercyhurst University in the background.  Well, you can see half of me bundled, and a very nice shot of the Hirt Academic building in the background.

But the good news is, despite the 1/2 selfie and cold weather, I managed to get in a four mile walk.  I'm still on my 10,000+ steps a day kick.  It's been a few years and I think it's time to admit, I'm a step-addict.  I traded my Fitbit Flex for a Fitbit Charge 2 this year.

I haven't missed my 10,000 step goal since I started January 1, 2014.  Just looked up my totals:

Totals
15,582,975 steps

6,814.95 miles


I wore my FitBit in Disney last  week and there were extra hours at the Magic Kingdom one night.  As I followed the excited kids, I glanced at my Fitbit and saw I was at 28,000 steps.  I felt this surge of excitement  myself, despite being exhausted (the family tends to keep me running at Disney...their mantra is Hurry Up, Mom!!)...I was going
to break 30,000!!  I've broken 25,000 steps, but 30,000 has been illusive. As I was tiredly basking in my breaking-my-record glow I glanced down again and...I was at zero steps.  I realized it was midnight.  Like Cinderella, the clock struck and messed up my night.  The good news is...I had a few thousand steps when I woke up the next morning.

Here's my point.  (Yes, I have one. LOL)

I set a goal in 2014...10,000 steps every day.  And some days it was tough, but I stuck to it.  I made myself walk even when I didn't feel like it.  And somewhere along the line, I didn't force myself any more.  I wanted to get out there and get those steps in.  My goals had become my habit.  And now, I've realized that my goal/habit has become an addiction.  LOL

Goals. Habit. Addiction.

That's how my writing came about.  At first I wanted to write, so I decided I had to write something—anything—every day.  Pretty soon writing was a habit.  And now, all these years later, it's an addiction.  LOL

It's no longer January, but it's never too late to make a resolution and set a goal! And when you do, I hope it becomes something you enjoy and make a permanent part of your life!

Holly

PS On Sale Today:

Just One Thing





Sunday, March 12, 2017

Friends and Readers

It’s been one of those rather special weeks.  A week when I have enjoyed the unexpected, sideline
joys of being a writer.

When I first started writing, all I focussed on was the hope of getting published.  I  wanted  a publisher to buy my story, put it into  book form and put it out on the shelves in the bookshops.  I remember I said to the Senior Editor I met on my very first trip to London to meet someone from the Mills and Boon Editorial team, ‘I just want to see my name on a book and I’ll be happy.’
Of course there’s more to it than that.  When you hope to be published you also hope that people will read your  stories. You hope that people – lots of people! – will buy  your book and read it, and enjoy it and buy the next one.  . .  You hope for readers out there in the world.  But I have to admit that I never got to thinking about those readers  - and other writers  - and that they might become friends and  maybe even part of my life.

I also never thought, back in those early days, when The Chalk Line  was first published,  that I’d get to know other writers, or that the internet, email,  Facebook,  Skype etc would make the world seem so much smaller and people so much closer and  communication so much easier.
This was bought home to me in the first couple of weeks of March as it seemed that every day brought another connection, another communication, with a friend  I had made  as a result of being a writer. Someone I would never have met up with, or even communicated with  if it hadn’t been for this unique job I have.  

March has the birthdays of a couple of  friends – Irish author,  Abby Green  has her special day on March 3rd , and then  Tote Bags ‘N’ Blogs  own Lee  has her birthday a day later – on the 4th.   Next up was a special visit from a  dear friend  from ‘across the pond’ as  AnneMcAllister was always described in the past when my  cat Sid and she were great friends. This time Anne came to stay for a few days while she’s in England researching  a new book in  a quartet for Tule that she’s 
writing.   Sadly, Sid the Cat is no longer with us but she had two new felines to get to know – Ruby the black and white rescue cat is always friendly and welcoming, but unexpectedly Charlie the Maine Coon, who is usually rather stand-offish – decided to become her best friend. This can be a double-edged privilege as  Charlie is a very large cat  - and when he decides to sit on your knee . . .well, look  at the photo of him and Anne together!

Another  friend this week let me know that she is embarking on a big adventure later in the year. Rachael Thomas, who was once one of my students at the  Writers’ Holiday Fishguard course and is now multi-published in her own right, has signed up to  walk the great wall of China 
forcharity.   Go for it Rachael – I’m so happy to support her in this.

And talking of courses, I have another one coming up in Cirencester in April – and then a get together  for my birthday in May with some one of the students who have become ‘regulars’ on my courses and are affectionately known as Walkers  Stalkers. When I first started writing, I never even dreamed of doing any teaching but now  I meet up with ‘stalkers’ regularly  - and   their company is another joy I never expected to receive as a result of my writing.

Then there are so many people, more widely flung, sometimes known, sometimes never ever met in any way -  the hundreds, thousands of readers who have bought and enjoyed my books  so that I can continue to write more for your enjoyment. I have had a lot of emails since the publication of Indebted to Moreno  and recently one of these was a reader who has been in touch with me since way back when.  15 years or more I think.  I love it when readers get in touch with me – and just lately  people have been asking just when my next book is coming up.  So I’m happy to be able to say that  this new story – current working title is Claimed by The Corsican – will be out in February 2018/ I know, it’s a
long time to wait, but in the meantime I have to get on with and complete the second part of the duet. These two linked books I’ve called The Scandalous O’Sullivan Sisters  - the first one is  Imogen’s story and now I’m at work on her  sister, Ciara’s romance. I need to get it finished so that they can come out close together.


So while I’m thinking about all these wonderful friends and readers I’ve gained as a result of being a writer – I just wanted to say  a great big thank you to all my friends and readers out there, wherever you are in the world. I value you all and appreciate  your support and  the lovely emails you send me.  After all, that’s why a writer writes-  to be read and the sales of the books means I can keep going, write some more romances – so I couldn’t do it without you!

Thank you to all my friends and my readers (and Student Stalkers!)   Wherever you are,   I’m so glad you’re there.




You can keep up to date with all my news on my web site blog page  or my Facebook page  which is where you can also find details of my courses with    Writers' Holiday  or Relax and Write

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Carole Mortimer: Happy Spring!

Hi, Everyone,

I’m currently on the island of Majorca, taking a much-needed holiday after a very busy winter. It isn’t hot on the island yet, but all of my favorite restaurants are now open again, so no cooking for me for three weeks. I’ll still be writing, of course, and will be starting on Seducing Ethan, the 7th and last book in the Knight Security series. The pre-order for this ebook will be available at the end of March, with a publication date of May 26th.

March 31st is publication day for Enticing Ian (Knight Security 5). My editor tells me this is the best book in the series so far! I have to say I really enjoyed writing Ian and Evie’s story. Evie needs Ian to help save her brother, but it isn’t easy convincing Ian of that. The two of them knew each other three years before this story takes place, so this is a love revisited. Will they stay together this time or will the past tear them apart?
  

As promised the pre-order for the first book in my new Regency Sinners series, Wicked Torment, is now available, and the ebook will be released April 28th. The heroes in each of this eight book series are linked through friendship from their schooldays and years spent together in the army. There is a mystery linking all eight books which I hope you will find as intriguing as I do.


The stories in my Regency Unlaced, Regency Sinners, Knight Security and Alpha series, are more explicit in their language and sexual content than my other books. In other words, they’re hot, so you have been warned!

Happy Spring!
Carole xx

This ebook is also available on B&N, iBooks, Kobo, & Smashwords

This ebook is also available on B&N, iBooks, Kobo, & Smashwords.



Carole Mortimer has written over 220 books in the contemporary and Regency romance genres. She is 2015 Recipient of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award. A USA Today Bestselling Author. Entertainment Weekly Top 10 Romance Author—ever. 2014 Romantic Times Pioneer of Romance. In 2012 Carole was recognized by Queen Elizabeth II for her ‘outstanding service to literature’.

She is very happily married to Peter, they have 6 sons, and live on the beautiful Isle of Man.