Friday, June 29, 2007


I can't believe how long it is since I blogged! I've been sooo busy--I know we all are, but with a book due and the RWA conference coming up, the time's been flying past.

I've started writing the first book in my 2008 trilogy called The Sheikh Tycoons. This first story, The Sheikh's Defiant Bride, is, well, the only word is 'steamy.' Very. And the hero, Crown Prince Tariq of Dubaan, is the kind of guy I love to write. Tariq is gorgeous, of course, and sexy (also, of course!) but more than that, he's accustomed to people obeying his every command.

Then he meets the very proper, very independent Madison, and she's not about to take orders from any man, especially one who gets her hot and bothered.

These two people have drawn me deep into their story and I want to stay with them until the last possible minute before I leave for the Romance Writers of American HUGE annual conference in Dallas at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Here's what I'll be doing in Dallas.

1. I'll be among the hundreds of authors autographing books at the big Literacy Booksigning Wednesday evening, July 11 from 5:30 PM to 8 PM.

2. I'll be one of Harlequin's Special 40 Favorite Authors signing books Friday, July 13 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 PM in the Marsalis Ballroom, Section B(2).

3. I'll be giving a very special workshop, HOW TO SELL TO PRESENTS, with editors Tessa Shapcott and Kimberley Young on Saturday morning, 9:45 AM to 10:45 AM.

If you're at the conference, be sure and stop by to say hello!

Before I forget... here's the cover of my August release, The Italian Prince's Pregnant Bride, which will be on the shelf at your favorite bookstore, supermarket, Target, Wal-Mart, KMart, etc. in July!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Just Perfect for Reading - Annie West

As I write this winter has set in here in Australia. Finally our drought seems to have broken. We’ve had rain...rain...rain. In fact we’ve had floods and even a cyclone.

This morning I woke to the sound of rain pounding on the roof and that dim light you get when the sun seems too lazy to get up. My first thought was that it was a perfect day for reading. There’s something about being snug and warm in a house, preferably with a fire glowing, when the rain is pouring down, that just makes me want to pick up a book.

I have my favourite spots too. One of the best is in a large wing chair with a huge ottoman so I can put my feet up. It’s in a corner of the lounge with a view out to the eucalypt trees, and you can see the fire at the end of the room. Very cosy. There’s a lamp and a table at just the right spot for a warm drink or a glass of wine. There’s a CD player too if you want background music.

On the other hand, summer has its benefits. I’ve discovered the joys of reading in a hammock late on a hot afternoon, beside a pool. Bliss! A cold drink, a good book and I’m in heaven. I always dream of relaxing on holiday with a stack of books, but somehow it rarely happens.

Recently I found another idyllic reading spot – also outdoors. Visiting a friend I discovered her huge raised patio, looking out across the paddocks to where her llamas (yes, I said llamas) grazed. The sun was warm on the recycled timber deck, the magpies warbled and there was a seat in just the right spot for a bit of reading.

I can’t imagine a home without at least a couple of good reading nooks. I’ve always dreamed of building my own library to house the burgeoning collection. There would be full height bookshelves, comfy chairs and, of course a fire. There’d be space to stretch out and room for even more books than we currently possess. Hey, a girl can dream.

In the meantime I've just received some copies of my own July and August releases for the US. Two sheikh stories. I can't tell you how tempting it is to curl up in a corner and read one of those instead of trying the write the next one. But perhaps you know exactly what I mean.

Do you have favourite reading places or do you just open a book wherever you can? Do you like to be outdoors, in a library, or in your own place? Surrounded by other books or maybe in a cafe, with coffee and cake on tap? I’d love to hear.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sandy Blair says We Love it, But...

We’re downsizing. Our home is on the market so instead of writing I’ve been out straight with painters, decorators, appliance installers and all manner of beasts who make messes wherever they go.

Worse, being the seller in a “buyer’s” market is much akin to being an author. Rejection becomes part of your everyday life. While someone looks at your “baby,” you hope, you pray and then you get those 4 dreaded words, “We loved it, but…”

In the case of a book, the but might come in the form of “we just bought a similar plot,” or “there wasn’t enough emotional depth.” In the case of this house, the but(s) amounted to “it’s too formal,” “it’s too white”, and “it needs updated appliances.”

Our agent has been as kind as can be—as any agent or editor worth the name should be—when delivering the bad news, but it still hurts.

So, like any good author--or desperate home owner—I went into revision mode. I took what the buyers said to heart, made some changes on my own then called in a “young” decorator. One whose taste would hopefully shout from my lofty 24 ft ceilings, “Hey, I’m hip and trendy.”

Five serious digits later, we now have an all stainless steel kitchen with built in wine cooler, new light fixtures, textured walls, fresh paint in colors that would make any coffee shop proud (Toffee crunch, Cocoa Latte, Espresso bean), not to mention the furniture has been rearrange to such a degree that we don’t dare walk around without a light on for fear of killing ourselves. Yes, neither Scott not I recognize the place.

And so now we’re back to waiting some more. Hoping. Praying.

Bottom line: I’ve tweaked this place so much in the last few months that I’m sick of it. Can’t wait to be rid of it. Have you ever done that to a home…or manuscript?


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Memorable Kisses - Susan Stephens

I dreamed a dream in times gone by...

One of my all time favourite songs from that amazing musical, Les Miserables.

Dreams. Odd things, aren't they?

As I confided over at the Pink Heart Society Spotlight the other day, I had this weird dream recently that I was kissing Roger Moore!

As one of my fellow Presents authors, India Grey so reasonably demanded- why not Sean Connery, or Pierce Brosnan?

You tell me!

But that brings me neatly round to the subject of kissing- don't you think we should have a contest for the best first kiss?

Mine was when I was nine years old and at a mixed camp during the school holidays.
Of course boys couldn't visit the girls' dorm, but Brian Bigland - 11 years old- (Hi, Brian! Goodness knows where you got to ) snuck into mine and gave me a very wet, and rather yucky kiss! Of course, the dorm' monitor was hot on his tail and poor Brian was punished severely for his boldness. But wet and yucky, I still remember my very first kiss to this day! And no, it wasn't repeated, and yes, the security between the girls and boys was tightened up right away!!! And no, of course my mother never found out ;-)

How about your first kiss?

Share your stories and I'll pick out a winner at random from those we love and award a prize!


Monday, June 18, 2007

Middle Names - Susanna Carr

Have you noticed something similar about a lot of New York Times bestselling authors?

Susan Elizabeth Phillips, or SEP for short
Jayne Ann Krentz, or JAK for short
Vicki Lewis Thompson, or VLT for short

That's right. They have three names. Three initials. I don't know whether to include MaryJanice Davidson in that. Still part of her first name, yet everyone abbreviates it MJD. Makes me wonder if I should include mine. Would it get me on a bestsellers list?

My middle name is Marie, named after my paternal grandmother. In fact, eight of my cousins have the name Marie for that reason. Fortunately, all of those cousins are female.

My twin sister had a more unusual middle name. We were born while my father was going to law school, and so my sister's middle name is after the patron saint of lawyers. Can you guess what the name is? It’s Ives.

I feel that I am the twin who lucked out on the middle name. Who cares if the name is pronounced Eve? I won't even go into my older sister's middle name. I'm still sworn to secrecy on that one.

So what do you think of your middle name? Does it suit you?


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Come and Join the Party

If you've visited the wonderful Spotlight that Lee has set up for me over on Leena's Goodie Room then you'll know that right now I'm celebrating something special. This month in the UK and in July in America and Australia, I have a book out that marks a real milestone in my career.

The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge is a special title for me because this bok marks my 50th title published by Harlequin Mills &Boon. Since my very first title, The Chalk Line was published in 1984, there have been all these other titles through the years - so many stories, so many heroes, so many heroines - and now I've published my 50th title.

So I'm celebrating. And when I celebrate I love to share with everyone else - with all the wonderful readers who have bought and enjoyed my books over the years - because without you there wouldn't have been a career and all those titles to celebrate.

So I'm hoping you'll join me at my Great Big Blog Party over on my blog. Every day there is a new guest blogger and every guest is giving away something special as a prize. Already joining the party has been Holly Jacobs, Abby Green, Trish Morey, Michelle Styles and many more. And they've given away signed books, banners and souvenirs of the countries they live in.

But don't worry that if you're a latecomer to the party then there will be nothing left - this party is going to run all through June and probably into July before all the guests have arrived and all the prizes been given out. Still to come will be Michelle Reid, Anne McAllister, Liz Fielding, Trish Wylie . . . and many more. And everyone will have their own giveaway that you can have a chance to win. All you have to do is answer the question, leave your reply in the comments section and you're in with a chance. Right now I have a static banner for your web site, a signed copy of Sold & Seduced by Michelle Styles (together with my own The Antonakos Marriage) and signed copies of my 'baby' books - His Miracle Baby and Their Secret Baby in a special post for UK Father's Day. So why not come along to my blog and join in the fun?

And this isn't all I'm giving away - check out that Spotlight and answer Lee's questions and you could be in the running to win a special gold heart necklace to mark the publication of this golden title.

Oh and I should remind you that The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge is part two of The Sicilian Brothers duo. This is Vito's story. Vito's brother, Guido had his own story in Sicilian Husband; Blackmailed Bride that came out in April and is still aound on Amazon or eHarlequin if you want to make sure you have the set.

Want another way to win? Well how about voting for your Top 5 Kate Walker titles? Everyone who vots has a chance of winning a signed copy of a book from my backlist together with a Kate Walker bookmark and pen. All you have to do is to list your Top 5 Favourite Kate Walker books and send them to me with Favourite Book (yes - the English spelling ;-) ) in the subject line.

If you need any help deciding which are your favourites, then check out that spotlight Less has worked so hard on - and take a look at the Backlist pages over on my web site to remind you of some you might have enjoyed. And if you'd like to know how the voting is going - then here's the current Top FIVE

1.A Sicilian Husband

2. The Sicilian's Wife

3. The Italian's Forced Bride

4. Desert Affair

5. The Spaniard's Inconvenient Wife

jointly with

5. The Antonakos Marriage.

Would you choose these ones? Or perhaps somethig totally different? I'd love to have your vote.

And I'd love to see you over at the Great Big Blog Party - and maybe send you a prize.

Good luck!

And thank you all for buying and enjoying my books over the years


Christine Rimmer says...Oh, Be-have!

Oh, Be-have!

I know I should. But…

Honestly. Truly. I am really, really trying to behave.

With my current work-in-progress, I mean. Hah. Had you going there for a minute, didn’t I?

Seriously, though. All professional writers know the drill. We’ve read the best books on the subject, books like Anne Lamott’s amazing, true and inspirational, Bird by Bird and Julia Cameron’s fabulous The Artist’s Way and just about anything by Natalie Goldberg

The drill is simply this: Show up. Get to the page every day, make page goals. Hit them—hmm. That sounds rather violent—well, and then, you know what? Writing, in its own way, is violent, on occasion. There’s a lot of digging that goes on, hitting the vein, watching the blood spurt and all that, going places within that sometimes aren’t pretty. Because there’s no getting around it. If you’re writing something you hope someone will put down their hard cash to read, you’ve got to deliver, baby. And all the clich├ęs are absolutely true on this whole delivery thing. You may groan when someone tells you, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” Groan all you freaking want. You better be crying when you write that reconciliation scene. You’d better be taking a page from Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone, sobbing your heart out, buried in wet tissues, moaning, “God, that’s good…”

And am I carrying the whole “writing as a violent activity” a bit far? Okay, okay.

I’ll try again. Make page goals. Achieve them. Yes, much better…

And really, what was my original point?

Wait. I remember…

Funny, but behaving—in the writerly sense, as defined above—used to be easy for me. When I was starting out as a writer, I behaved as a matter of course. I didn’t have all day to write. It wasn’t my actual job or anything, so when I came to the page, it was glorious, naughty, exciting, stolen time.

And even for the first few years after I began to support myself with my writing, it was all just one big miracle to me: That I got paid for the writing, which meant I could write more, because I didn’t have to spend eight hours a day slaving away at some day job just to eat and make the rent.

But slowly, over the years, my sense of the naughtiness, the lovely, amazing stolenness of my work has…eroded? Degraded?

Whatever. Now, well, you know, it’s my job. And it’s become so tempting to find clever ways to make it naughty again.

This is the true scariness of the human mind. Well, at least my mind, which is a place only I go and everyone is happy about that. Just ask my family…

So. Clever ways to be naughty. Oh, like for instance, not showing up at the page for a few days. And then freaking out when I get there and realize no veins have been opened recently. I have to start at the beginning and build my story, my world, my characters’ reality. It’s very exciting, in a very emotionally violent way.

And, honestly, it is not a good idea. It is not the way to go.

So here I am on my current project, and I have, honestly and truly, been behaving. Not just trying. Actually behaving. I show up daily, I achieve my page goals.

And you know what? I feel…really good about that.

Though naughtiness does tempt me. And I’ve decided that’s good. I need to be naughty right there on the page. I need to always remember the miracle that is this job.

I guess I always secretly believed it would get easier. It just doesn’t.

All of which, Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron could have told me. And did.

How about you? What are your clever ways to be naughty and not show up for work? Come on. Whether you’re a writer or not, I know that you know ways you are naughty.


Oh, and to the left is the cover of my latest, THE MAN WHO HAD EVERYTHING,out from Silhouette Special Edition in July. I believe it's my 63rd book, or thereabouts. So even when I'm not behaving, I'm still getting books written now and then...

And whether you're behaving or not, here's to the best summer ever--and a whole lot of wonderful summer reading for everyone!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

All in the name of research

"Write what you know!" they say. Though that doesn't much help if your plan is to write an intergalactic space western set in 4012 starring Garruvian monkey people. But if you are a romance writer, setting books in the here and now, writing for an international publisher, that ain't a half bad thing. Especially when setting a book somewhere fabulous ;).

Though every book I've ever written has its heart in my home town of Melbourne, I've set portions of several in such fabulous places all over the world. So naturally that meant I had to see said places first hand right? Trips to

Italy, London, Paris, New York... Okay so that was one massive trip I took a couple of years back before hubby and I sunk every cent into buying our first home. *Gulp!* But being a writer, such trips paid off for me, literally with each of these places making a huge mark on a book I have since written.

My latest novel, Billionaire On Her Doorstep (Harlequin Romance) came about after a trip I took to Sorrento located at the very bottom tip of Victoria, Australia, about an hour from where I live. Hubby and I set off on a cheap holiday (remember new house mentioned earlier) and as soon as we drove into the beachside town, I knew a book was about to be born.

The local flavour of the place was so overwhelming it was location heaven!! My Maggie could live her hermit lifestyle in a crumbling mansion atop the imposing ragged cliffs. My city boy turned beachcomber Tom could fish for calamari off the pier at sunset and own himself one of the amazing secluded multi-coloured beach huts littering the shrubs along the coastline.

And without having been there I never would have known about the distinct beige and blue colours that seem to permeate the area, I wouldn't have known how the ragged old pier felt beneath my bare feet, the exact taste and texture of meals they served at the local pub, or how the main street shops give the town a cosy village feel. And there's nothing I like better as a reader than feeling as immersed in the place as I am in the characters and the story. I hope I was able to do some of the same.

That said, I'm pretty sure I've never met a billionaire in real life, but who ever said a good dollop of pure fantasy wasn't a good thing ;) ?

BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP is a Harlequin Romance release hits bookshelves in North America this week! And Australia and New Zealand as a Sweet Romance in July.

For excerpts and more behind the scenes details of how this book came about check out Ally's website and blog.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friendship - by Lee Hyat

I've been told I should blog so I'm going to give it a try. I thought I was being clever when I decided to give it a go because I'm going to run a contest but now that it comes down to it, I find myself feeling awfully unsure about what to say or how to say it.

I've spent a lot of time lately sifting through memories from the last few years and I'm totally amazed at how far I've come emotionally, mentally and in every other way that matters most. If you'd asked me a few years ago if I had lots of good friends, I'd have said, No. I have acquaintances, but no really good friends.

Things have changed - touch wood - and I'm so much richer today than I was back then in the friend department. I have friends. Really good friends. Friends who care and call and keep in touch and generally look out for me because I'm still so naive in many many ways. It's a warm fuzzy feeling when you can pick up the phone and always have someone to call who will put aside her busy schedule and take ten minutes (or more, considering most of my phone conversations are never short!) and listen to me pour my heart out.

I also realized that all my friends, in one way or another, are bad girls. They all push the envelope in some way or another. They shoot from the hip and dare to dream. They dare me to dream and support me every step of the way. They don't let me hide behind my armor of timidity or take the easy way out. I'd be so lost without them. Truly lost.

One such friend, who is really important to me, is the lovely Susanna Carr. She's bright and warm and funny and she's big on qualities like loyalty and support which rank very high in my book. She may not always agree with my point of view but she's always been there when I needed a friend. I love her sense of humor - it's helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel more times than even she herself is aware of. She's the quiet type but she's also very gutsy and full of the bad girl attitude that I so love.

I hope all of you are just as wealthy in the friendship department. It's so wonderful to make friendships that withstand the tests of time and really last. They can bring such a great feeling of satisfaction and contentment. The internet has several definitions for the true meaning of friendship but I think for each of us, it's totally unique and can't be pinned down to one standard meaning.

So, for my contest, I'd love to hear from you about what friendship means to you. What are some of the qualities you look for in a friend? Are your friends bad girls too? Are you a bad girl? :) Lots of choices here on what to comment on so please jump in. I'd love to hear from authors as well - authors are readers too so my contest is open to anyone and everyone who wants to join the conversation!

On June 8th, I'll pick five winners from the people who comment and each of you will receive, a copy of Susanna's BAD GIRL BRIDESMAIDS... (which, I'm sooo proud to say is dedicated to me!) So please, let's talk about friendship.