Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Two things inspired me to write the THE SHEIKH'S GUARDED HEART, being published in the UK and the US in September -- with fabulous new covers in both countries (about which more anon).
First, those of you who read me will know that I have a bit of a thing about gardens. So when a fabulous picture book -- The World's Most Beautiful Gardens -- appeared in my Christmas stocking fifteen months ago, and one of thsoe gardens was an ancient Persian garden, you'll understand when I say I that little prickles of excitement ran up my spine.
Then I saw this photograph in a magazine. It was a toss up which picture I posted, the garden, or the "Sheikh Hanif".
I may be wrong, but I figured you'd prefer a sneak peak of the sheikh!
Saturday, March 25, 2006
And the book short-listed for a Short Contemporary RITA is
I used the US cover this time, so that you'd have something different to look at. And because it is soooo much better!
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
I know, in the UK we're out of step with Hallmark, but here we celebrate Mother's Day or what, when I was a little girl, was called Mothering Sunday, on the 4th Sunday in Lent (which means it's not on the same day each year, either!)
Mothering Sunday is based on an old tradition when girls "in service" were allowed to go home to visit their mothers. They baked a cake and took it home with them and on the way picked wild flowers -- traditionally primroses. .
Saturday, March 18, 2006
I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that THE MARRIAGE MIRACLE has been award Best Mills & Boon "Tender" Romance by CataRomance. Matty is trying not to look smug but there is a distinct look of "I told you so..." about her grin!
Also winning awards were Jessica Hart, Kate Walker and Kate Hardy.
Huge congratulations to everyone!
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
‘…to the outsider it must seem a bit like a cross between the plot of a Catherine Cookson saga and a James Bond movie…’
So, Fleur Gilbert, a young mother responsible for a family business in trouble and with an ailing father to care for, describes the feud that has divided her family and the Hanovers for more than a 175 years.
In 1829, Bartholomew Gilbert and James Hanover had formed a partnership to buy land, build the glass houses and make their fortunes breeding Fuchsias, the exciting new plants introduced to Europe by Leonard Fuchs.
It was a very short-lived alliance. When James caught his pretty young wife in flagrante with Bart in one of the hot houses, the land and the plant stock were divided, high fences erected and battle lines were drawn. Thus began 175 years of intense rivalry, industrial espionage and sabotage. Then, one day, a red-haired pixie – the five year old Fleur Gilbert -- stuck her tongue out at the eight year old Matt Hanover through a gap in the fence.
The feud should have been finally buried on the day Fleur Gilbert secretly married Matt Hanover, but life has a habit of getting in the way of happy endings. Within a week of the wedding, Matt had left the village of Longbourne and Fleur has not seen or heard from him since.
Someone has sent him a photograph of Fleur’s little boy, Tom, and now he’s home to claim his son. And to make the boy’s mother pay for five lost years of fatherhood.
Here's an excerpt...
'You’ve asked me to wait for my son. I want something in return.’
‘Anything,’ Fleur said, eager to demonstrate that she appreciated what he was doing. The sacrifice he was making.
Matt reached out, touched her lips with his fingertips. ‘Anything?’ he repeated, so softly that she might almost have imagined it. But his eyes darkened, the very air stilled.
His touch was still magic, sending intense, luscious waves of desire swirling out from the point of contact until every centimetre of her skin was tingling, alive, responsive to an irresistible, siren call.
His mouth followed his fingers, tracing the outline of her lips, then his tongue stole the bones from her limbs and she was limp in his arms, beyond thought as his breath, soft and warm, brushed against her cheek and his hands cradled her head as if she were rare porcelain.
How often had she lived this moment, dreamed of it, yearned for just this touch as he tormented her, made her wait, reducing her to begging mush?
She did not know how she’d had the strength to resist him, do her duty, when he’d demanded that she leave with him the day after his father’s funeral. Maybe if he hadn’t been so angry. If he’d been prepared to listen, to take his time, to talk to her instead of just insisting she choose. Maybe if he’d touched her then, as he was touching her now…
A guttural sound escaped her lips. Need, desire…
‘Anything?’ he murmured again.
‘Yes, yes…’ And then she realised that he’d eased back an inch, that he wasn’t making love to her, that the only contact between them were his hands cradling her head, his thumbs tormenting the line of her jaw, brushing against an ear.
This wasn’t some precious memory she was conjuring up out of the past, but a callous proposition and Matt was waiting for an answer to the question he’d just posed with his mouth, his body, his hands.
‘Are you suggesting that I sleep with you in return for your patience?’ she asked, wanting to be absolutely sure what he was asking, her voice even, low – she’d had years, after all, to practise keeping her feelings under wraps.
‘Sleep?’ he returned, soft as a baby’s breath. ‘Could you actually spare the time to sleep with me?’
‘You just want sex, then?’
‘You’re my wife, Fleur.’
He wanted to punish her, she thought. He wanted to punish her for not loving him enough to leave her dying mother, her poor broken father, a business falling apart.
If he still had any feelings for her, the tiniest remembrance of how they had once loved one another, he wouldn’t be able to do that.
And with that realisation something inside her shattered. It couldn’t be her heart. She knew it couldn’t be that because her heart had been dismantled bit by bit. The day she’d told her father she was pregnant – and wouldn’t, couldn’t tell him who Tom’s father was. The day her baby was born and Matt wasn’t there to hold her hand or to lift his son high as a proud father should. The day she’d registered his birth, leaving a blank space where Matt’s name should have been. Each day since, watching her son grow, knowing that Matt was missing his first step, first word, first day at school. Each day that he didn’t come home.
This was different. All through those years she’d lived with the belief that one day he’d walk up to the front door. No apology, no explanations – she wouldn’t have asked for either – just be there.
What had shattered, she realised, was hope.
As Matt and Fleur battle with feelings too strong to bury, try to come to some kind of peace for the sake of their little boy, events overtake them and they discover that they are not the only ones with long buried secrets.
The Five Year Baby Secret, UK, April 2006
The Five Year Baby Secret, US, May 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
A pile of mail was dumped on my doormat today, not much of it the kind of stuff worth the creak in the back as I bent to pick it up. Catalogues for wine, shoes, half price clothes. Not exactly junk mail. I’ve bought stuff from all of these companies in the past and they are just keeping me up to date. I just wish they didn’t feel the need to do it so frequently.
It’s one of those irritations that have become part of modern life. That we just live with. That we can’t do anything about. Even when we complain.
Consider the fact that advertisements on the television are always twice as loud as the programme they interrupt. This has become so blatant, so intrusive and there have been so many complaints about it that some worthy body recently investigated the problem. The findings prove that the public, us, sitting at home having our eardrums assaulted, have got it all wrong. The advertisements aren’t really louder. It’s just that the sound is compressed in some complicated way and we think it’s louder.
If my first reaction is to grab the remote and hit the mute button because it’s hurting my ears, something has happened. It hasn’t got quieter, that’s for sure. And it’s not at the same sound level because if it was I wouldn’t have noticed the difference. That only leaves one option.
There is of course an answer to this problem -- one I urge everyone to use. Take care of your precious hearing. Switch off the television (well, the minute Coronation Street is over, anyway) and read a book.
On the subject of books, amongst the bin fodder was a letter from the Arts Council of Wales, enclosing the long list for the Welsh Book of the Year. Ten books in Welsh and ten in English by writers living in Wales with a £10,000 prize for each category. Some interesting looking titles are included, but I’m rooting for Christopher Meredith’s book of poetry, The Meaning of Flight, for no better reason than that he taught my children English at High School.
And, since it’s Friday, I also received my copy of Publishing News". Today they’re featuring "home and crafts" books. Apparently crochet and dressmaking is back. The early seventies was the last time this kind of stuff was a big seller. Anyone else remember “Golden Hands”, with Lady Victoria (aged six) learning to knit? This time the publishers have gone for a slightly funkier image with titles such as "Stitch ‘n’ Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker" (apparently it’s not your Gran’s crochet book) and "Yeah! I Made it Myself", although the blurb for "Greetings from Knit Café" suggests that the actual projects haven’t changed much, promoting a “range of up to minute patterns from hiking socks to a bikini”. I remember that bikini from way back in GH days. It was a bad idea then and thirty years on, it’s still a bad idea.
Checking the best-seller lists, I see that Sarah Waters new book, The Night Watch, is riding high. She’s a terrific writer and I’ve had a proof copy by my bed for weeks, reproaching me for ignoring it while I sweated over my own latest effort. I’ve also got the latest by the Kates -- Walker and Hardy -- a Lindsey Davies and an Anne Tyler. Sorry Sarah. I’ll get to you. But not this month.
Finally, I’ve only just discovered that you can buy Mills & Boon titles a month early online at Mills & Boon. And Harlequin/Silhouette titles at the Harlequin website. For those of you who can’t wait for your favourite authors, the April titles can be yours in a couple of days with the click of your mouse.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
I'm blogging at eHarlequin this month (see the previous post for a link) and everyone wanted to see the Shaker Jug I'm buying as treat for myself this week. Since I can't post a photograph there, I'm posting it here.
I haven't made up mind which one, yet!
Friday, March 03, 2006
If, on the other hand, you just want to buy the book, click on the cover opposite!