Friday, August 31, 2012

50th party blog guest - Donna Alward

I first met Donna Alward on the eHarlequin boards, and I was so pleased when she sold her first novel to Romance. And I’ve been privileged to meet her in person at an M&B lunch – she’s exactly the same in person as she is online, as warm as her books. Again, we have lots in common. Dogs, books, wine, food (and Donna has been a cheerleader on the Kate Unlardy project, giving me encouragement and great tips). And as soon as I switched lines to Romance/Cherish and Liz Fielding had got me added to the author loop, she was one of the first to welcome me and add me to the author website – making me feel immediately at home.

Over to Donna:

I wanted to write a story about a First Responder for a long time. I am a total sucker for a uniform – not just the sharp look of it (though it only takes one look at Richard Gere in Navy Whites to understand the attraction), but the commitment and bravery it takes to be in those professions. Be it soldiers or cops or firemen or paramedics – I’m there. But it took me quite a while to figure out what form those stories would take, and how they’d fit into my writing and publishing schedule.

I published a few books with Samhain Publishing early on in my career, but then Harlequin Romance was keeping me pretty busy and I hadn’t sent Samhain anything for quite a while. I got a note from them, though, saying my previous editor was leaving and my friend Jenna Bayley-Burke suggested I send something to her editor there. I did. She bought it. We did two books together and I enjoyed the process immensely. When I finally realized I wanted to write OFF THE CLOCK, I had the idea to do it as a series of novellas, and my editor thought it was a great idea.

It was really great to have a change of pace. I LOVE writing my cowboys and ranchers for Harlequin, and I plan to keep on doing that for a long time to come. But with the FIRST RESPONDERS, I got to play. I got to indulge my love of a uniform; I got to set the stories in Nova Scotia (where I live). I got to play with a shorter format (around 30,000 words instead of 55,000). I got to write slightly more sexy than I do for the Romance line, while still focusing on the warm, emotional story that I try to deliver to my readers with each book.

The second book in the series, IN THE LINE OF DUTY, released just a few days ago. I really loved writing this one. I know I love a man in uniform, but this time I made the hero an ex-soldier and the heroine an RCMP officer. Who doesn’t love a Mountie, no matter what the gender? Add in the fact that she and Jake already had a run-in in the past – when she had to arrest him for being drunk and disorderly – and I swear the story nearly wrote itself. Jake’s sexy and, in Kendra’s eyes, a bit of a bad boy, but really he’s hiding some dark pain about his time in the Middle East. Kendra’s against everything he stands for – or so she thinks, until she gets to know him better. And of course, falls in love.

The third book is coming in November – INTO THE FIRE. Anyone care to guess what this hero’s job entails? I indulged my love of animals in this one too. And the fourth book, BENEATH THE BADGE, should be on cybershelves in 2013.

I’ve had a chance to talk about my new release today but really – this isn’t my party. It’s Kate’s – to celebrate the publication of her 50th book. FIFTY. I’m not quite even half way to that point and getting to fifty is SUCH a huge achievement! Congratulations, Kate, on such a fantastic milestone. Here’s to many more stories with your special brand of emotion and evocativeness that keeps readers coming back again and again.

To help celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of IN THE LINE OF DUTY! Just leave a comment in the comments section! ☺

You can find out more about Donna at her website or on her blog at
Or talk to her on Facebook at
Or follow her on Twitter@DonnaAlward

Winner (Natalie Anderson, Flirting to Win)

First name drawn from the hat for 'Flirting to Win'- Tammy Yenalavitch. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

50th party blog guest - Lynne Marshall

I first met Lynne Marshall on the eHarlequin boards and then on an author loop. We hit it off straight away (and although we haven’t met in person yet – I’m in England and she’s in California – I know we’ll get on really well when we do). Again, we have lots in common – apart from writing for the same line, there’s food, dogs, books, films… She’s another good friend who’ll share the joy with you, and be there when you need a hug. And, hey, anyone who sends me a chocolate angel is very all right in my world :o)  (Thank you, Lynne!)

Over to Lynne:

LET’S DANCE! By Lynne Marshall

A special celebration is in order for Kate’s fiftieth book, I say let’s dance!

There’s nothing quite like kicking up our heels to express our joy, is there? Dancing allows us to let go of pent up feelings and it releases endorphins, so it is a win-win endeavor, wouldn’t you say?

I recently saw a lovely French movie titled The Intouchables (English translation) where my favorite scene is where Driss, after suffering through a long evening of tame classical music (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), jumps to his feet and pumps up the music volume to dance. He chooses Earth, Wind, and Fire to serenade the birthday boy Philippe, while he dances.

Here’s where it gets tricky – Philippe is a quadriplegic and is watching from his wheelchair. How cruel you say? Think again. Driss, a tough street guy, has forged a very special relationship since he’s been hired to be the helper for the aristocratic and ailing Philippe. Driss is the only person to treat Philippe like a regular guy, forgetting that he can’t move his hands or feet. Teasing him like a regular person instead of treating him like a delicate broken object. In other words, he has added life and joy to his otherwise routine existence. Philippe has the most glorious smile on his face listening to the raucous music and watching his crazy new friend (that is what he considers this young man who has invaded his life) dance. The scene made me cry with joy.

Ever notice something when you’re dancing? My guess is that you’re smiling, just like we all do when we let our hair down and kick up our feet. Well, today I’m doing a special “let it all hang out” dance for my friend and fellow Medical Romance author Kate Hardy, who, by the way loves to ballroom dance. ☺

What do you say we all get up and shake our booty for Kate’s fiftieth book!

I have a book to give away to one commenter who answers one or both of these simple questions: What is your favorite movie musical? Who is your favorite dancer?

Lynne Marshall writes contemporary and Medical Romance for Harlequin and The Wild Rose Press. The first book in the Grady family trilogy, Courting His Favorite Nurse, was a March 2012 Harlequin Special Edition. Dr. Tall, Dark…and Dangerous? is Lynne’s July 2012 Medical Romance. Also available in e-book only is, An Indiscretion, a contemporary romance with strong medical elements, (and ballroom dancing!) from The Wild Rose Press.

You can connect with Lynne Marshall on the Web:

Author page

Winner (Sophie Page, To Marry a Prince)

First name drawn from the hat for 'To Marry a Prince'- Julie Devenport. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

50th party blog guest - Liz Fenwick

I first met Liz Fenwick at an RNA lunch and we got on like a house on fire. She’s another of the effortlessly elegant ones (but is very, very nice with it so you can't be envious). And I’m so proud of her because her very first book came out this year. She’s worked so hard to get published, and deserves every second of her success. Although I bought The Cornish House the day it came out, I saved it to read in Whitby, and really enjoyed it :o)

Anyway, over to Liz:

Kate is amazing. Fifty books and here I am on book one! Maybe it’s because I’m a panster and she’s a plotter….and she’s so much more organized. Kate writes with such passion and it’s the one thing I have tried to emulate on my journey to publication. The Cornish House was the book of my heart and now I’m trying to apply all that passion to book two! I can’t imagine having done fifty or more times!

Kate uses glorious locations in her books and maybe because I spend my life as an expat my books are grounded in Cornwall. Cornwall is the well of my imagination. Each walk or trip to the beach feeds my writing soul. In The Cornish House and in the book I’m writing now the landscape is a character in the book. Each trip home I try and soak up everything I can from colour of the sky at different times of day to the smell of the air when wind blows in from the sea. I wonder what my characters see when they look on the same landscape that I do. Do they notice the subtle colour variation in the agapanthus or for them is it just blue? Do they look at the different pebbles on the beach and see the different stones or are they just pebbles?

I digress…here’s to Kate and her 50th book. Raising a virtual glass of champagne and now to put head back down over the keyboard and finish book two…

Liz is giving away a copy of The Cornish House to one commenter.  Just tell her, where would you like to visit in Cornwall?

You can find out more about Liz Fenwick at her website or on her blog at
Or talk to her on Facebook at
Or follow her on Twitter @liz_fenwick

Winner (Milly Johnson, White Wedding)

First name drawn from the hat for 'White Wedding'- Sharon. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

50th party blog guest - Natalie Anderson

I first met Natalie Anderson through an author email loop, but I’ve also been privileged to meet her in person (and, given that she lives in New Zealand, that’s pretty awesome). Another tall, glam author, but she’s so nice and writes such great books (fast pace, hot, zingy dialogue – if I didn’t like her so much, I would have to hate her for that). Not to mention being one of the cleverest women I know. (You are, Nat, before you protest and hide your light under that bushel!)

Anyway, over to Nat:

The Generous Hero

Firstly, a huge thanks to Kate for having me here and a massive congratulations to her on a phenomenal fifty books!!! I’m so thrilled to be part of Kate’s celebrations. She’s a legend with her amazing ability to focus and produce such wonderful, emotional stories time and time again.

Kate was one of the first authors I ‘met’ online when I sold my first book to Mills & Boon and she has always been incredibly supportive – friendly, welcoming and kind, helping out with useful advice and peptalks.

In a word, Kate is generous—she gives to her readers and she also gives to those of us in the writing community.

I think generosity is one of the kindest and most admirable traits someone can have—and it comes in many forms. I love to write heroes who are generous. I don’t mean generous in terms of a Pretty-Woman-I’ll-take-you-shopping (and on my private plane) sort of way—though that can have its place! But generous in ways other than financial is even more awesome—I guess in terms of time and priorities.

I’ve recently written about three gorgeous heroes in a novella anthology that’s just released. FLIRTING TO WIN includes three stories: Bargain in Bronze; Seduction in Silver and Gamble in Gold.

All three heroes in these books are generous in different ways.

Jack, the hero in Bargain in Bronze—has been very generous in the sense that he has put everything into caring for his younger half-siblings. He’s worked incredibly hard to gain financial security for them, and he’s sacrificed some dreams of his own to be there for them. In Bronze he has to realise that maybe its time he let himself have some fun now too…

Eduardo Ruiz, the mysterious stranger in Seduction in Silver, does try a Pretty Woman type generous moment—but his true generosity is evident in his career and the way he’ll do anything and everything he can for his clients. He always goes beyond the expected duty. But this isn’t a facet of himself that he’s actually able to recognise—it takes a generous woman to help him ☺

Luke, the apparent playboy in Gamble in Gold, comes across all confident and successful and indeed he is those things. But beneath that arrogant, sly-humoured exterior there lurks someone willing to suffer for someone else. He’s fully into running, but his current mission is to help his running buddy, who is blind, compete in the marathon. Luke’s trained harder than ever in his life to get to the level required, determined to be a guide runner.

It was a lot of fun working on these three very different guys—and interesting to see how there are some traits my heroes all have in common. All of them are hot, yes! But all of them are generous too ☺

I’d love to give away an e-copy of FLIRTING TO WIN to one commenter – just tell me what trait to you love most about a hero? Is it generosity? Humour? Strength of character? What helps make a hero, a HERO in your opinion?

(Entries are open to anyone in the world, the prize is an ebook via Amazon. Please check back in three days to see if you won!)

USA TODAY bestseller Natalie Anderson writes fun, frisky, feels-good contemporary romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon and Entangled. With over twenty books published, she’s also been a Romantic Times Award nominee & a finalist for the R*BY (Romantic Book of the Year).

She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with her husband, four children and what feels like a million ducks. Find out more at her website & blog: . She’s also on Twitter http://www.twitter/authornataliea and Facebook:
FLIRTING TO WIN is available from ( ) and (

Winner (Scarlet Wilson, A Bond Between Strangers)

First name drawn from the hat for 'A Bond Between Strangers'- Katie. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Monday, August 27, 2012

50th party blog guest - Jenny Haddon

I first met Jenny Haddon (aka Sophie Weston and Sophie Page) at an M&B authors’ lunch. She was the organizer and was so kind to me, as a wet-behind-the-ears newbie. Actually, she went way beyond the call of duty and came all the way from London to Norwich for the launch party of my first M&B. And I might add that that was on a day when the weather was so bad that the trains stopped running! (So she stayed overnight at our place – no way was I sending her off to a hotel.) And she’s the one who sent me my very first feather boa. And she bought me a cup of tea in the Ritz, which made me feel really special instead of the scruffy oik I normally am. I loved her Sophie Weston books for M&B, and her ‘To Marry a Prince’ (as Sophie Page) is fabulous.

Anyway, over to Jenny:

Happy 50th, Kate. What a star you are. It is not so long ago that I came up to Norwich to dance at the launch of your first book! I remember coming to spend the night afterwards and finding with relief that, in spite of your impressive diligence and organization, there were places round the edges where your workspace was almost as relaxed as my own feline-friendly one.

Thinking about how I love your books set me to wondering about that special hook that captures me as a reader. A great story, of course. And I have to admit that I want a satisfying ending, preferably happy. But the thing that binds me to a book with hoops of steel is the characters.

Sometimes these are lovely people I want to have as my friends - and you do great friendly and responsible heroines, Kate. But what makes them special is that they have the potential to be completely different from their normal selves. I am not talking about the Heroic Journey, like Hamlet or Sydney Carton, who change, achieve and die. I am talking about the Other Me in all of us, the one who makes the choices we reject and knows that one day we could, maybe even will, do the 'out of character' thing in real life. And even if we can't actually do it, we can still imagine the feelings, the desires, the achievements of Other Me.

One of the best examples of this I know is Jilly Cooper's Rupert Campbell-Black, a ruthless, witty, charming don't-give-a-shit sexpot all through Riders. He looks the same in Rivals and then suddenly, after a weekend visit from the children of his now ended marriage, he sits in the den in front of the television, with one arm round his dog, weeping over Lassie. It shows his Other Me, embracing the one thing Rupert rejects and, you would say, has no time for at all: innocence. It sent chills up my spine, that scene, when I first read it.

I suppose I'm saying that, for a character in a novel to be real to me, they have to have the capacity to behave out of character. And yours do. Heck, it's even in the title of Dr Cinderella's Midnight Fling! And now I'm fully expecting to find it in The Hidden Heart of Rico Rossi. Scrumptious. Thank you, Kate.

Jenny’s giving away a copy of ‘To Marry a Prince’ – just tell her what draws you to a book or leave a comment below.

You can find out more about Jenny at her website or on her blog at
Or follow her on Twitter @jennyhaddon

Winner (Shirley Wells - Where Petals Fall and Silent Witness)

First name drawn from the hat for 'Where Petals Fall' and 'Silent Witness'- superfluous. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

50th party blog guest - Milly Johnson

I first met Milly Johnson about five years ago, when I was planning my blog party for my 25th book, Breakfast at Giovanni’s. She’d just published her first book, The Yorkshire Pudding Club, which I absolutely LOVED, and I think I sent her a fangirl email telling her how much I’d enjoyed her book. And we got chatting. And we have lots in common. (Ice cream, chocolate, Italy, cookery, dogs... The list goes on.) I’ve met her in real life, too, at RNA dos, and she’s as lovely and warm as her books (which, by the way, get better and better with each one – I’m so proud of her).

Anyway, over to Milly:

When Kate asked me to write a celebratory blog in honour of her 50th book (GO Girl!) there was nothing else I wanted to write about – or seemed more appropriate – than… love. Firstly because it’s relevant – and secondly… because I’m in it. Head over heels, seeing the world with a rose hue, grinning, sighing, brain-to-mush, love. I feel like I’m living one of my own books, to be honest. And no one is more surprised at that than me. I’ve been on my own for so long that I’d kind of accepted it was how it was always going to be. I still held out some hope – didn’t quite throw out all my high heels and replace them with brogues, and I continued to shave my legs even though there was no one to wrap them around, but I couldn’t exactly see it coming around the corner carrying a box of Milk Tray – and I acquired a couple of cats. You can’t give up hope in this job though – I couldn’t write about middle-aged women who ‘never thought it would happen to them’ only to find that it did - with conviction if I was some embittered old bag who had taken up permanent residence on a scrap heap.

So here I am ‘courting’. And I’d forgotten what a fraught business it can be. It opens your eyes to how rubbish your wardrobe is for a start. (Actually – that’s a lie. I have a wardrobe filled with lovely clothes… all a size too small waiting for me to ‘slim’ into.) Underarm stubble is a no-no and new lingerie is a must. Out come the cookery books so I can seduce my lover with something sexy and marvellous on a plate instead of knocking up chicken nuggets for the kids. Exfoliation occurs pre-bath and the Ped-egg is dusted off. Oh it’s not a low maintenance business this love thing – but I’d also forgotten how much fun it is. How exciting to know that you’re on someone’s mind and experience that delicious anticipation as you wait for them to turn up. I’d forgotten the joy of holding hands in the cinema, of booking a table for two, of having someone refer to you as ‘partner.’ And if all this sounds like teenage stuff, well… it is. Love sends you right back to being seventeen again. It doesn’t matter how saggy your stomach is or how many bags there are under your eyes – when you’re on someone’s thoughts, you zoom back to those heady teenage years when a spring was most definitely in your step (even if it is no longer in your boobs).

I’d love to tell you that this man rode into my life on a white charger but actually when he turned up at my door to ask me out I thought he was a gypsy come to see if there was any metal in my overflowing skip. One of my romances started with a skip funnily enough, so you see life does sometimes imitate art.

So… if there is anyone out there who has given up hope, don’t. Mr Rights are all over the place. Sooner or later you’ll bump into him if you don’t shut yourself away and start knitting. And boy, she says – with a grin that makes the Cheshire Cat look like Victor Meldrew - some of them are SO worth the wait ☺ !!!!

Milly’s offering a copy of White Wedding to one commentator – just leave a comment to be in with a chance to win ☺

You can find out more about Milly at her website
Or talk to her on Facebook at
Or follow her on Twitter @millyjohnson

Winner (Amy Andrews, Taming the Tycoon and How to Mend a Broken Heart)

First name drawn from the hat for 'Taming the Tycoon' and 'How to Mend a Broken Heart' - Lynne (spabbygirl). Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

50th party blog guest - Scarlet Wilson

I first met Scarlet Wilson on the eHarlequin boards, but I got to meet her in person for the first time at the RNA conference in Greenwich (just before she sold – I remember being so pleased for her because she’d got revisions on a full). And I was thrilled for her when she sold! Her books are really emotional reads, so they’re always a treat (and I can tell you now that you WILL need tissues!). She’s wayyyy more glamorous than I am (especially the shoes!), and she’s great fun. And we can talk respectively for Scotland and England when we get together :o)

Anyway, over to Scarlet.

Fiona Harper, Kate Hardy, Scarlet Wilson
I’m delighted to be here to help Kate celebrate her 50th book. I consider myself really lucky to call myself a fellow medical author of Kate’s. Here’s why.

A long time ago, on a planet far away…

Not quite!

I found Kate Hardy’s books a few years ago. I loved medical romances and devoured them. Then, I found out she had a blog and started reading it.

I’d decided to start writing myself and had joined the RNA New Writers Scheme. I was lucky enough to meet Kate the RNA conference in Greenwich in 2010. I was working with an editor at Mills and Boon by this stage and was undergoing revisions. Kate was very supportive and offered any help she could.

A few months later I needed that support. I phoned her in tears to say I didn’t think I could do the revisions I’d just been sent. She was great and gave me some very sound advice which I followed. A few months later I got The Call. And I’m sure if Kate hadn’t talked sense to me that day it could all have ended very differently.

So, it’s thanks to Kate that I get to call myself a medical author. And that’s why I’m so proud and happy to help her celebrate her 50th book!  [Edit from Kate: she's a medical author because she writes fantastic books. Talent. I just did what any other author would, remembering what it was like to do revisions on a requested manuscript...]

Now, the GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment on the blog and I’ll come back in a few days and announce the winner of my latest release.

A Bond Between Strangers. Yesterday John Carter and Lily Grayson were strangers. Now, following an IVF mix-up, their genes are bound together for ever - only someone else is carrying their child! John's only thought is to get his baby back...until he realises that Lily is the person he truly needs to complete his life...

You can find out more about Scarlet at her website or on her blog at
Or talk to her on Facebook at
Or follow her on Twitter @scarlet_wilson

Winner (Kate Jackson, Second Chance)

First name drawn from the hat for 'Second Chance' - Joanne Fox. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Friday, August 24, 2012

50th blog party guest - Shirley Wells

Shirley Wells is another author I’ve known for so long it probably predates my M&B career. We met on the very first RNA email loop (so many years ago I can’t remember when) and hit it off immediately. Chocolate, books, dogs… yep, we have lots in common. (And I have serious puppy envy as Shirley has a new pup, Dylan. Definitely check out her blog for pics. He’s gorgeous.) Oh, and she writes fabulous crime novels. I can never work out who the murderer is or see the new twists coming. I can really see her ‘Jill and Max’ series working as a TV programme, and Philip Glenister would be the perfect actor to cast as the hero. (I say this a lot and Shirley just laughs.) And I love her new Dylan Scott series, too.

Anyway, over to Shirley:

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be part of Kate’s party to celebrate her 50th (fiftieth!) release. Fifty books. Wow. It’s a massive achievement!

I used to write romance, I’m a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and many of my mates write romance. Me? I write crime/mystery so on my bookshelves you’ll see such titles as Criminal Shadows, Blackstone’s Police Manual, Evil Serial Killers: In the Minds of Monsters. I love crime/mystery in all its forms but, as you might imagine, there comes a time when I need a rest from murder and mayhem. Books I read for pleasure are probably half crime/mystery and half romance, and I know I’m in for a real treat when I settle down with Kate’s latest release.

If I’d written fifty books - well, just the thought has me wanting to lie down in a darkened room. Kate, thankfully, has no such problem and her books seem to get better and better. The Hidden Heart of Rico Rossi is a wonderful story that has everything, including a lovely heroine in Ella, the most gorgeous (and I mean truly scrumptious) Italian hero and the beautiful Eternal City. And, of course, as it’s one of Kate’s, you can’t put it down until you reach the end.

Kate is a hugely talented writer and all round lovely person. She’s brought us wonderful stories, full of passion, conflict, humour and warmth. She’s taken us to amazing locations, introduced us to unforgettable characters and she continues to validate the existence of true love and happy ever afters. Thank you for the stories, Kate, and keep them coming. I hope that in a few years, we’ll be celebrating your 100th release. Meanwhile, I’m raising my glass to you. Many, many congratulations!


When she isn’t playing with her dogs, eating chocolate, drinking wine or watching football, Shirley does a bit of writing. You’re more than welcome to distract her via her website, blog, Facebook or Twitter.

Giveaway: I’m giving away a hardback copy of Where Petals Fall (from my “Jill & Max” crime series) and a paperback copy of Silent Witness (from my Dylan Scott private investigator series). Chocolate might find its way into the parcel too.

Winner (Sarah Mallory, The Dangerous Lord Darrington)

First name drawn from the hat for 'The Dangerous Lord Darrington' - Eli Yanti. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

50th party blog guest - Amy Andrews

I met Amy Andrews on the authors’ loop when she sold her first Medical romance, and we got on so well that I knew when I met her in person at the M;B authors’ lunch, a couple of years ago, we’d get on like a house on fire. (We did.) And when she had a big European trip with her family, I was thrilled that she made it to our place for dinner (despite it being snowy and freezing). I might add that Amy writes amazing books (the jellyfish one is still my fave), and she’s also joined the Modern Heat/Riva authors. AND she’s had a single title published, too – I’m trying to get my hands on a copy (mutter, mutter, might have to cave in and get a Kindle; but her book would definitely be worth that).

Over to Amy:

Thanks for having me Kate and a big woot woot on your 50th book! The mind boggles!

In this day and age an author makes a lot of “online” friends. People we “chat” with every day, share our lives with, laugh with and sometimes even cry with. We’re there for each other through the highs and lows. Clapping and cheering every sale and award nominations and feeding each other virtual chocolate at the dreaded one star reviews or a horrible letter from a reader who hated your latest book (yes, they do take the time to write to you and tell you personally…)

But it’s really rare that you actually get to meet them face to face because more often than not, they are on the other side of the world!

I can say it’s been my very great pleasure to have actually met Kate, not once, but twice! And she’s even more lovely in the flesh than she is in the cyber world. Hell, she even fed me and my family when we were visiting the UK in 2009! Nice and a bloody great cook too!

Kate was also one of the first to cheer me on when I too branched out from my medicals and joined the RIVA line. And again when I scored an Entangled Publishing contract.

Yes – I am now an Entangled romance author as well. And very happy and excited that Kate is giving me some air time to squee over it at her party.

What’s that you say? You want to know some more about Taming the Tycoon? My pleasure ☺

An unstoppable force is about to meet his first immovable object…

Real estate tycoon Nathaniel Montgomery is one deal away from making his first billion and fulfilling a promise to his dying father. Nothing will stop him from tearing down the decrepit St. Agnes hospital and erecting posh condos in its place. Not even the crystal-wearing, health food store owner whose publicity stunt lands him in the hospital.

After her brush with death five years ago, child protégé Addie Collins learned what’s truly important—health, happiness, and the two-hundred-year-old rose garden at St. Agnes. To make amends for the accident, she agrees to pose as Nathaniel’s girlfriend at his eccentric grandmother’s birthday party.
But Addie has an ulterior motive. To repay her debt to the universe, she must show him there's more to life than making money. Nathaniel hates to lose, but as she breaks through his defences, losing himself in Addie's arms might be exactly what this tycoon needs…

TtT is a “worlds colliding” story with a side of fake-girlfriend. Nathaniel is deliciously driven and Addie is delightfully not. I really love taking strong Alpha men and flummoxing them with feisty women who don’t fall at their feet in adoration and Addie certainly flummoxes Nate right from the get-go. Throw in some fluffy pink handcuffs, a herd of cute Alpacas and some elderberry wine and neither of them are safe in their corners any longer!

And in honour of Kate’s amazing milestone I’m helping her celebrate by giving away stuff! A digital copy of Taming the Tycoon to one lucky commenter as well as my latest medical How To Mend A Broken Heart.

And if you don’t win it you could always make this authors day and go here and buy it for the low, low price of $2.99 ☺

Happy 50th Kate. Raising my glass to 50 more!

You can find out more about Amy on her website,, meet her on Facebook at, follow her on Twitter - @AmyAndrewsbooks, or find her at the following blogs:

Winner (Jennifer Taylor - Gina's Little Secret)

For making Jennifer Taylor laugh and cry - Desere, you've won a copy of 'Gina's Little Secret'. Thanks for taking part! (I'll pass your details on to Jennifer.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

50th party blog guest - Kate Jackson

I met Kate Jackson through the RNA email loop, and when we realised that we lived near each other we decided to meet for coffee. Except it turned into coffee AND lunch, and I think we both lost our voices that day because we’d talked so much. (Cough, that’s not the only time!) Nowadays we get to meet up once a term for lunch and a proper writers’ chat, alternating between Norwich and the coast. Our children are similar ages and we like the same sort of things (Kate always texts me or rings me if there’s an Aurora-watch red alert, because she knows I would dearly love to see the Northern Lights). She’s also helped me in research (she took me to a certain shop in Sheringham that sells 50 flavours of ice cream, when I was writing my gelati book, as well as telling me a couple of things that really helped with one of my local history books); her husband, also a writer, was nice enough to let me grill him about his Mac before I bought mine; and Kate writes lovely, warm serials for People’s Friend as well as longer books.

Anyway, over to Kate:

I’m delighted to be here at Kate’s 50th book party. Fifty books is amazing and that’s not counting her brilliant local history ones too. Knowing Kate she’s got lots more books to come, with plenty of special light bulb moments popping up her mind and triggering new stories.

When Kate asked me if I’d like to be part of the celebration, I was stunned and honoured, because I’m way down on the ladder of writing, with only one book out there. But Kate wanting me to be here, is part of who she is – get ready to blush Kate – because not only is she is fabulous writer – A Christmas Knight is my favourite Kate Hardy book - she is a lovely, genuine, generous, kind and caring person who I’m lucky to have as a friend. She also supports and encourages me with my writing.

It’s fitting that my novel ‘Second Chance’ which is up for grabs, was helped along by Kate posing me some thought provoking questions about it over lunch. It was almost ready to be submitted to the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme, and Kate asked me to talk to her about it and she asked me some specific questions –
What’s your character’s motivation – what drives them?
Why do they act the way they do?

Working on these questions helped me tighten the novel and I sold it a few months later.

Second Chance is set in Orkney, a beautiful place which oozes history, scenery and wonderful wildlife, and to where Laura Sinclair returns. Her homecoming turns out to be far more complicated than she expected. She’s confronted with family secrets and the one person she wanted to avoid – her former love, Matt. While she waits to find out which direction her career will take, Laura takes on the challenge of helping her family while having to face up to her past actions - and Matt...

Old Man of Hoy - in the first scene of Second Chance

Langskaill House (the house in Second Chance)

Skaill Bay (setting in Second Chance)
Thank you, Kate for inviting me to the celebration. Here’s to the next fifty books.

To win a copy – leave a comment and tell us about your favourite setting in a Kate Hardy book.

You can find out more about Kate and her books on her blog - - and follow her on Twitter @katejacksonauth

Winners (Jean Fullerton, Hold on to Hope)

First names drawn from the hat for 'Hold on to Hope' - Julie B and bn100. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

50th party blog guest - Sarah Mallory

I met Sarah Mallory through the RNA ages ago – OK, yes, another historical author, so you know what we have in common and talk about at author dos :o) We were also on the same shortlist this year, for the RoNA Rose award, and I was so thrilled to be there and applaud her when she won!

So, over to my award-winning friend Sarah:

First of all, HUGE congratulations on your 50th book, Kate, although you are so prolific that by now you are probably nearing book number 60!

I am delighted to have the chance to be here with a writer whose books I enjoy so much, although they are very different to mine. I tend to stay away from other historical authors while I am writing my own historical adventure romances, just in case their "voice" infiltrates my writing, so it's good to relax with a Kate Hardy medical. Of course, Kate is also interested in history, which is something we have in common – my love of history goes back to my schooldays when we had a lovely (if eccentric) history teacher, who would hitch up her tweed skirts, perch herself on one of the front desks, push her thick-rimmed glasses back into place and proceed to tell us all the juicy bits of gossip about history, the salacious stories of the English kings and queens or how Victorian ladies relieved themselves and how you could tell an 18th century snuff taker (he or she would have brown stains around his/her nose). The detail we needed to pass the exams we could learn from our school-books, but we found this much easier because of the colourful detail added by our delightful teacher. Since then I have continued to read and research about history, particularly the Georgian and Regency periods, and to write my own stories, set in the gloriously colourful world of the past.

Writing can be a lonely business, and it's great to be able to meet up with like-minded authors. Kate has always been very supportive, never more so than when we were both short-listed for the RNA's Rona Rose Award earlier this year. You might have thought that the rivalry between authors would be intense, but not amongst romance authors - there is a tremendous camaraderie and when my Regency romance The Dangerous Lord Darrington was announced as the winner Kate was the first to congratulate me (this was my very first major award, so I was completely overwhelmed and very grateful for the advice and good wishes of such a successful and established romantic novelist).

What a party this is turning out to be, thanks for inviting me, Kate! To help celebrate I am giving away a copy of my award-winning book The Dangerous Lord Darrington plus a pretty little fan - I'm afraid it isn't a Georgian antique, but I find mine very useful at the theatre, or when I am reading those steamy scenes in Kate's romances! Just leave a comment and a name will be picked out of the hat.

You can find out more about Sarah on her websites - and, follow her on Twitter - @SarahMRomance, and find her on Facebook - Melinda Hammond (

Winner (Louise Allen, 'Danger & Desire')

First name drawn from the hat for one of the Danger & Desire trilogy - Caroline. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, Caroline, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Monday, August 20, 2012

50th party blog guest - Jennifer Taylor

I first met Jennifer Taylor when I was a wet-behind-the-ears newbie M&B Meds author, and she was immensely kind and sweet to me (especially as I was a bit overawed, meeting someone whose books I’d read and loved). We don’t get to see each other that often, but when we do it’s as if we last saw each other the previous day. And we can talk and talk and talk :o)

So, over to Jennifer:


I am delighted to be here, helping the lovely Kate Hardy celebrate the publication of her 50th title for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Not only is Kate one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, but she writes wonderful books, too. I’m sure her 50th is going to fly right off the shelves - I have already reserved my copy!

Now I have a confession to make at this point; I love celebrations and here in the U.K. we have been doing a lot of celebrating recently because we are hosting the 2012 Olympics. It’s the bit I enjoy best, that moment when the medal winners step up onto the podium and receive the acclaim they deserve. Obviously, it’s great if it’s a member of Team GB who has won a medal but I have to say that I derive as much enjoyment from watching competitors from other countries celebrate their success. There’s tears, laughter, relief - the whole gamut of emotions. I have to admit that I’ve shed a tear or two along with them!

Celebrations mark milestones in people’s lives. A wedding, a christening, a birthday or anniversary are all good reasons to celebrate with those closest to us. When I look back on the events I have celebrated, it always makes me smile and feel uplifted. My birthday when, unbeknown to me, my husband arranged for everyone to be served Champagne at a black-tie dinner we attended. Fabulous!

My daughter’s wedding, held in Thailand, was another wonderful occasion. (That's me, second from left.)

Then there was the cruise Bill and I took to celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. We renewed our vows on board the ship, standing side by side under a tropical moon. It’s a memory I shall always cherish.

So today as I help Kate celebrate this milestone in her career, I have the perfect excuse to remember all the wonderful things that have happened in my life.
Jennifer Taylor.

Have you celebrated an occasion that was particularly dear to you? I’d love to hear your stories. There’s a signed copy of Gina’s Little Secret for the person who makes me smile (or cry!) the most.

Winner (Mira Lyn Kelly, Never Stay Past Midnight)

First name drawn from the hat for 'Never Stay Past Midnight' - Summer. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, Summer, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

50th party blog guest - Jean Fullerton

I met Jean Fullerton through the RNA absolutely AGES ago – I can’t put a date on it because it feels as if I’ve always known her. She’s another author I love talking with about history, and she’s also a planner like I am, so she understands how I write and doesn’t think I’m totally mad :o) I always look forward to seeing her at RNA dos because I know I’m going to get a huge hug from her. She’s lovely. So are her books. ’Nuff said.

Over to Jean:

Jack the Ripper is my PR man.

Spitalfields - close to the Ripper sites
Now I don’t want you to think that by some bizarre shift in the time space continuum I’ve managed to reach back a one hundred and thirty year and whisk the 19th century perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders forward to 21st century London, but the fact that his exploits are known, followed and written about in all four corners of the globe does me no end of good. Let me explain.


Jean at London Docks
I was born in the London Hospital in Whitechapel, which it’s no more than a ten minute walk from all of the murder sites. It was also the same hospital where Thomas Horrocks Openshaw, a senior surgeon, helped the police with forensic analysis of the notorious kidney through the post. When I left school I worked in a clothing factory Fashion Street – the street between George Street where the first victim, Martha Tabram, was found and Hanbury Street when victim number three, Annie Chapman, was discovered. I regularly walked through Dorset Street, where the last victim Mary Kelly was lived and died. And I’m not the only one who knew the area well. My grandmother’s census return for 1891 gives her address as Princelet Street, just off Brick Lane and in the middle of the Rippers victim sites.

It’s a bit unfortunate the area is best known for a mass murder but, like the Krays in the 50s and 60s, good old Jack has taken on legendary status amongst the local. Even now you’ll meet people who will tell you their grandmother ran into or narrowly missed becoming one of Jack’s victims. There is also a thriving industry based around walking in his footsteps. Any night of the week you can see crowds of people gathering at Aldgate East Station to stroll the hour-long trail through what is left of Jack’s hunting ground. This brings me neatly back to my original premise that Jack the Ripper is my PR man.

Although a little earlier than Jack’s notorious deeds, all my books are set in the same dark streets of Whitechapel, the London docks and riverside area. Places that I have known all my life but no matter where I am, Europe, mid-west of America, Mexico or even Japan if someone asks me where my books are set I just say ‘Whitechapel, East London, where Jack the Ripper operated’ and immediately all those images of seedy alleyways, Victorian Policemen shining lights on a body and Mary Kelly’s blood splattered room flash into their minds. Job done!

To celebrate Kate’s wonderful 50th book release I’m giving away two copies of my latest book Hold on to Hope. The villain, Freddie Ellis, is the leader of the Black Eagle gang who operated out of the notorious Blue Coat Boy beer shop in Dorset Street so you can have a little stroll around the area yourself.

You can find out more about Jean at her website or on her blog at's-Blog Or talk to her on Facebook at
Or follow her on Twitter @EastLondonGirly

Winner (Carol Townend - Chained to the Barbarian)

First name drawn from the hat for a copy of 'Chained to the Barbarian' - Celia Anderson, Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your snailmail addy, Celia, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

50th party blog guest - Louise Allen

Louise Allen is another of the M&B authors that I can talk to for hours about history. (And she doesn’t live that far from me, so now that my school run is a bit more manageable we’re doing lunch…) I’ve been privileged to see some of her collection of Regency costume prints (and a shoe that gave me a bit of a lightbulb moment), and her books are autobuys for me because they’re cracking stories and she REALLY knows her history. Oh, and I have desk envy. (You’ll see why in a minute.)

Over to Louise:

Thank you for inviting me to blog, Kate and huge congratulations on your 50th title! Now there’s a reason for a party if ever I saw one.

Where does all that inspiration come from? It’s a question I get asked all the time. The answer is that usually I haven’t a clue – and I guess that’s the same for many fellow novelists. C S Forrester said that his brain was like a swamp: things fell in, sank to the bottom and every now and again after they had decomposed enough they’d float to the surface again, transformed into a plot or a character.
I’d like to think my brain isn’t quite so swamp-like, but I suspect it is closer to a bag full of knitting wool or embroidery thread. It starts off tidy, with everything neatly in balls or skeins and somehow, by a mysterious process, when you open the bag there is a multi-coloured tangle.

Very, very rarely I can trace where a plot idea has come from. Usually they arrive out of nowhere, what my husband calls a “what-if”. What if a ship was wrecked - how would the survivors’ lives be changed? That became the Danger & Desire trilogy. What if someone needs a bodyguard but doesn’t want one? That became The Dangerous Mr Ryder. Sometimes a character arrives – Mr Ryder himself strolled into another book altogether instead of the middle-aged Bow Street Runner who was supposed to arrive, so I had to give him a book of his own before he took over. Occasionally there is a snatch of dialogue, quite without a plot to go with it. I write them all down and hope one day I’ll discover where they fit.

I ought to get my ideas in my writing studio/library in the garden. Actually I spend an awful lot of time in there gazing blankly at the flowerbeds, the view or the bird feeders. Real inspiration usually comes in bed, in that lovely halfway stage between waking and sleeping. Then I can go to the studio and write it all down (when I’m not admiring the weeds). As I’m not Tracey Emin I’ll show you a picture of the studio and not of my bed!

Where’s your most creative place? I’ll send a signed copy of one of the Danger & Desire trilogy to the writer of whichever comment Kate draws from the hat.

Louise Allen
An Earl Beneath the Mistletoe in Snowbound Wedding Wishes anthology. Harlequin Historical November 2012
Forbidden Jewel of India Mills & Boon and Harlequin Historical January 2013

Winner (Heidi Rice - PS I'm Pregnant)

First name drawn from the hat for 'PS I'm Pregnant' - Charlotte. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, Charlotte, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Friday, August 17, 2012

50th party blog guest - Mira Lyn Kelly

Mira Lyn Kelly’s one of the Modern Heat/Riva authors, and I’ve known her since she sold her very first book too M&B. And she amazes me because she manages to write despite having four children… now that’s organised! Her books are great fun (which ties in with my theory that authors in person tend to be quite like their books - because Mira is, too).

Over to Mira:

Kate, thank you so much for letting me share in your blog party to celebrate book 50!! You are a total inspiration and I bow to all you’ve accomplished!

This is a pretty exciting month for me too, but on a much smaller scale. My fourth book (I know, I know, only number four!! But you have to start somewhere, lol!) has just hit the shelves, and it’s definitely my favorite by far.

Why? Well, what’s more fun than throwing two people who are totally incompatible in every way but one together for a single night’s exception to every rule they have…

As distractions went, Levi couldn’t have done better than this smoke-eyed, soft laughing, yogilates instructor reveling in a one-night exception to the rules she lived by.

Sexy. Unexpected. Elise.

Arching beneath him to graze her teeth over the tendon at his neck, she moaned softly, “You are so wrong for me.”
“Completely,” he assured with a gruff laugh.

…Okay, more fun than that?? *rubs hands together in wicked delight!* How about ensuring a few choice relatives find out, to start…

“You did it in a car!” 
A week already and still with this.

Elise pushed a windblown curl from her brow and stared, disbelieving, across the hood of the Volvo Wagon at her sister. “That is not an explanation for setting me up on a blind date.” 
Ally Porter-Davis shook her head, disappointment coloring her words. “A car, Elise.”

Yes, well, more accurately, she’d done it in a bed. And then a car. And then against the door just inside her apartment. But somehow she didn’t think the clarification would win her any points. 
“The car part was an accident.”

… And then making sure this mismatched duo can’t quite get away from each other so easily as they expect…

“Thank you,” Elise wheezed. Lifting her face from Bruno’s warm fur, she squinted up at her rescuer.

Oh, God, it couldn’t be him. And yet that same frisson of awareness she’d felt at the first bookstore bump told her it was. That and the sheer size of him. The man was big enough that before she could make it past his bare chest to his face she had to start again, beginning back at his oversized running shoes, working up the solid cut of his calves to where the powerful slabs of his thighs flexed and bunched beneath his shifting weight.

Wow, he had a lot of leg. A lot of well-muscled, cut-from-stone, chase-down-a-Great-Dane, Clark-Kent-out-for-a-jog leg, braced in one of those uber-masculine stances that somehow combined total fatigue with a readiness to go again. Leg that ended beneath a pair of steel-gray mid-length running shorts that were just the right amount of loose to— 
“Elise…you’re looking up my shorts.”

Of course, it’s not all fun and games with these two. And the sailing isn’t exactly smooth, but with a wounded hero this hot, I promise the happily ever after is totally worth their work!

NEVER STAY PAST MIDNIGHT is available now. Want to know more? Check out the Harlequin store to browse the book and see why these two characters were so much fun to write…

:-) Mira

PS - Drop by my website for my complete backlist of books and don’t forget, I’m on Twitter (@MiraLynKelly) and Facebook too and love to hear from readers! After hitting a minor bump in the cyber-highway (read: head on collision with Facebook that deleted my old account and friends) I've got a new Facebook page at Hope you'll stop by and check it out!

Mira's giving away a choice of her backlist books to one commentator - just leave a comment to be entered in the draw!

Winner (Susan Meier)

First name drawn from the hat for the Amazon gift token - Princess Fiona. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, FIona, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

50th party blog guest - Carol Townend

Carol Townend is one of the M&B Historical authors and I’ve known her for ages and age. We go for cups of tea after award dos and the like, and talk about history and churches and ruins and – well, you get the picture :o) And I might also mention a particular hero of hers I really fell for – Benedict Silvester in ‘An Honourable Rogue’; how can you resist a man who plays the lute?

Over to Carol:

Congratulations, Kate, on your 50th book! That is some achievement! Sadly, I am some way behind, having only got up to thirteen. I can see I shall have to speed up.

This thirteenth novel (I am telling myself thirteen is not unlucky) is out this month, and it’s called Betrothed to the Barbarian. It’s the final novel in the Palace Brides trilogy, set in medieval Byzantium. One of the best things about writing medieval romances is having an excuse to do lots of research. And since much of the action in the Palace Brides takes place in Constantinople, a trip to Istanbul was top of the list.

It’s always worth visiting a place and exploring, even though, as in the case of Istanbul, many of the buildings that would have been there in the eleventh century have long gone. There’s more to it than simply discovering where the sun rises and sets and what it feel like to stand on the spot where the Empress would have stood to watch the services in Hagia Sophia. Of course it is wonderful to see these things…

But actually visiting a place has a different sort of magic, a magic that is often stronger when you haven’t visited it before, or if you haven’t been there for ages. The unexpected comes into play. Story ideas can spring out from the most usual places.

In the case of our visit to Istanbul, this happened in the Basilica Cistern. The Basilica Cistern is an underground water supply that lies several feet below the city, near Hagia Sophia. It was built in the 6th century by the Emperor Justinian, so the Basilica Cistern was already old at the time in which the Palace Brides are set. The cistern is a cavern of a place, the roof is held up by row after row of great columns. Some of them have faces at the base, like the Medusa. It is very evocative down there, cool and quiet with water dripping and the occasional glimmer of fish in the water. On our visit, a scene sprang into mind for the second book in the trilogy, Chained to the Barbarian.

(Originally, there were only going to be two novels in the Palace Brides series, but the hero of Chained to the Barbarian insisted his story was written.)
This is the cover:

And this is the blurb:


Bound in chains, enslaved barbarian Sir William Bradfer stands proud in the Constantinople slave market. As a warrior, he’s trained in the art of survival. Lady-in-waiting Anna of Heraklea is betrothed to be married—against her will. Catching sight of the magnificent William, she finds a rebellious half-plan forming in her mind. Anna can offer this captured knight freedom in return for his hand in marriage!

Palace Brides
Beauties of Byzantium—claimed by warriors!

Which place do you recommend as being likely to inspire a medieval romance? Would it be an ancient city like Istanbul or Paris? Or a castle such as Carcassonne? A medieval village? Or how about the rolling Yorkshire landscape…?

Everyone who posts an answer will be entered into a draw for a giveaway. A copy of Chained to the Barbarian (US Edition) will go to a randomly selected winner.

Carol’s thirteenth novel, Betrothed to the Barbarian, is out this month.

Here’s the blurb for Betrothed to the Barbarian:


Princess Theodora of Constantinople is to marry Duke Nikolaos, the general-in-chief of the army, a man chosen for her by the Emperor. An imperial princess must always do her duty - be beautiful, obedient and pure.

But Theodora spent ten years in exile in a barbarian land. There, once, she might have forgotten protocol. Forgotten enough to have given birth to a baby in secret. As her wedding night approaches, Theodora finds she wants to share her bed with the Duke, except she knows she's on the verge of revealing her biggest sin...

Palace Brides
Beauties of Byzantium - claimed by warriors!

You can find out more about Carol at her website or on her blog at
Or talk to her on Facebook at
Or follow her on Twitter @CarolTownend