Friday, November 30, 2012

blog tour!

Off on a blog tour next week! More details to follow...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

new author picture

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Muse and Athlete
Reading: next on TBR (and yes, I’m bad, I added more to the Kindle yesterday)

Mills & Boon had a photographer at the lunch in London, the other month, and we all had an official photograph taken. So this is mine (copyright M&B). I'm quite pleased with it as it reflects how I am (on a scrubbed-up day, and Louise Allen and Caroline Anderson had to lend me a comb and sort me out beforehand because - well, I'm just a natural scruff).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And some excellent news

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Muse and Athlete
Reading: next on TBR

I had the loveliest email from my ed, yesterday – she’s really pleased with the revisions, loves what I’ve done, and so A DATE WITH THE ICE PRINCESS will be published in July next year (UK and US Harlequin/M&B Medical Romance). I have a Pandora bead in mind :o) And I have my customary bottle of chablis so DH can help me celebrate, though we’re not going to have time to open it until the weekend. (And actually that’ll be nice to share, as it’s the first weekend in December = Godmother weekend = early Christmas, if you read my bit on the USA Today blog yesterday. So yes, this weekend is all about playing board games, talking, laughing – and Christmas dinner.)

Today: well, after all those squats yesterday, I’m a wee bit creaky, so I did the random programme rather than interval training on the cross-trainer and treadmill this morning. (350 calories worth. Which is good.) And now to work. Funny how I can never settle properly to a book until the previous one is done and dusted. But I’m definitely settled now, and ready to work :o)

Have a nice day! Oh, and if you'd like to go and like/tag/buy Baby It's Cold Outside, it's available as an ebook at Amazon UK, Amazon US and Barnes & Noble...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Coreilli
Reading: Trisha Ashley, Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues (enjoyed)

Busy weekend - Christmas shopping and then hitting the art shops because daughter needs to make a model of a cell. (I am HOPELESS at art – can’t draw a straight line with a ruler – and she asked me to help. Arggh.)

Cold outside? Well, yes, but at least it’s stopped raining, and we’ve been very lucky compared to some parts of the UK. But really it’s an excuse to talk about our anthology, because Heidi Rice, Amy Andrews, Aimee Carson and I are over at the USA Today blog today, talking about holiday traditions. And my fellow anthology contributors are saying they’re not at all surprised by mine… If you want to know more, do go over and see what we have to say. And the book’s available at Amazon UK and US, should you wish to buy it. (Liking and tags are also appreciated!)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Win a book!

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Corelli
Reading: next on TBR (and I was a bit bad last night and bought a few Kindle books – um, it IS normal to read different books in different rooms of the house, isn’t it?)

Busy day today. Tough session at the gym; meeting with my accountant to sign my tax form; and the majority of my Christmas shopping. I did behave and didn’t buy the blingy turquoise reindeer in Paperchase. (But, I mean – my joint favourite colour and it’s a reindeer…) Daughter has opted for lots of little girly pressies (I spend the same amount on the kids, but son wanted one big thing – obviously he’ll have something else to unwrap, but daughter will have a lot more to unwrap because she hasn’t gone for one big thing). It’s going to take me for ever to wrap them, and I HATE WRAPPING. I tried using giftbags last year, but apparently that’s disappointing and takes away all the fun of trying to guess what’s in the parcel. So there was a nice request for ‘proper’ wrapping, this year. (I might make her help me wrap everyone else’s pressies, just so she understands why I hate it. Or maybe it won’t be so bad, doing it with company.)

Late start for work, but it has to be done. In the meantime, do pop over to see Sara at HarlequinJunkie, as she’s giving away a copy of the Baby It’s Cold Outside anthology – AND you can read a bit ☺

And a special thank you to Desere and Fiona for their lovely reviews of the book so far :o) Glad you enjoyed it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: next on TBR

You might’ve noticed from the squeaking on Twitter and FB that I have a new book out this week – and it’s with three good writer friends (adjective applies to both nouns, there). One of them, Heidi Rice, just so happened to tag me in the Next Big Thing blog event… so here goes!

What is the title of your book?
Tis the Season to Kiss Santa, which is one of four novellas in the Baby It's Cold Outside anthology from Entangled Publishing.

How did you come by the idea?
The three other authors in the anthology – Aimee Carson, Amy Andrews and Heidi Rice – and I decided to write four stories set over the Christmas and New Year season, linked by a freak snow storm on America's Eastern Seaboard. I begged to do the Christmas Eve Santa one because I lurrrrve writing Santa stories. And then I thought, what if Santa didn’t want to be there and hated Christmas? And what if the Chief Elf loved Christmas, but was four thousand miles away from where she should be? And what would happen if they got snowed in together? (Yup, it’s one of my opposites-attract stories.)

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary romance. Oh, and it’s Christmassy!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?
That’s a tough one, because my automatic response to my hero would be Antonio Banderas… (Sorry, but he is utterly gorgeous and comes across as such a nice guy and clearly loves his wife to bits. Real romance hero material.) I think possibly Ben Affleck. He’d do a great uptight workaholic hero. And my heroine needs to be English, quirky and cute - I think Kate Beckinsale.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
With the help of a sprig of mistletoe and some snow angels, a recently single pastry chef teaches a highly successful and sexy Scrooge the true meaning of the holidays on a snowy Christmas Eve that quickly heats up.

Will your book be self-published or traditional?
Entangled are primarily an epublisher, so the anthology's going to be an ebook in their Indulgence line.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It’s a novella, so – um – do I have to admit to this? Let’s just say I write quickly, and this was done in proportion to my M&Bs :o)

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I think I should refer you to Heidi’s answer for this one! (I love the idea of us being a cool 60s girl group. Y’know, actually, we could do it…) Ahem. It did start out as my chocolate book, but then it worked better with the heroine as a pastry chef. And I did grill some of my American friends about Christmas baked goods (thank you in particular to Julie Cohen and Kimberly Lang). And Philadelphia is on my travel wishlist, so... it all worked together.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Snow angels. The differences between UK and US Christmas traditions. Gingerbread. Sexy man in a suit getting very wet (think Mr Darcy in the pool - except it's snowy). And, most of all, it’s in an anthology with three other cracking stories about the holiday season, from writers I love. (You just cannot miss the sex-and-shopping in Heidi’s, the strip Scrabble in Amy’s, or the hot toyboy in Aimee’s!)

Oh, wait. I forgot something. The COVER. :o)

It's available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

To close, I've nominated three other authors to tell us about their NEXT BIG THING on Tuesday 27th November. (It would have been a couple more except I messed up the dates, and lovely Fiona Lowe is going to be in the middle of a very impressive 591km bike ride.)
Scarlet Wilson
Shirley Jump
Lucy Gordon

Monday, November 19, 2012

joining the 21st century

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: Ali Ahearn and Ros Baxter, Sister Pact (loved it – not just because Al’s my mate, though the author note put a real lump in my throat); Louise Candlish, The Day You Saved My Life (a real pageturner)

Did some Christmas shopping this weekend. Son finally decided what he wanted for Christmas, so I made him come with me to try on said long black coat, and we need to order it in the right size. Daughter needed a new school bag (I note that Gola has completely ignored my email to them saying how disappointed I am in the quality of their products, and that I expect a bag that’s looked after to last for more than two months without the stitching going). And Santa also arrived for me – via the postie, just before we went out.

DH said I was allowed to check the screen (given that there are issues with some batches) and then had to hand it back for unwrapping. I think he knew that wasn’t going to happen, as I'd already bought a case for it :o) (He’s had his main pressie early, so what’s sauce for the gander…) And I’m very pleased with it. I don’t mind not having anything to unwrap on the day. I get much more fun out of giving than receiving, in any case. (Though if you’re reading this, O lovely husband, do remember that I am very partial to Fortnum & Mason’s choccies. Or a tin of their violet biscuits, though you’ll have to make that a joint present between me and the kids because they are total locusts.)

I also managed to sneak in a couple of reindeer for the tree. My Fortnum’s peacock, however, is NOT going on the tree. That’s my office peacock. (Dear ed. I think you ought to be worried. I have plans for that peacock.)

There will be exciting news later today. But my publisher is on Mountain Time, which apparently is 7 hours behind GMT (aka my timezone). So right now they’re all tucked up in bed asleep. And I am on a post-gym endorphin rush, the laundry is on and my coffee’s made, so that’s me off the internet for the next couple of hours and focusing on the new book. Have a nice day!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Exciting stuff ahead!

Current work: dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: next on TBR

Gym this morning was great (though I think my arms are going to hurt tomorrow) and I was pleased that I did some pull-ups on the scary machine (scary because it’s really hard to get off it!). Came home, eagerly expecting my Kindle to arrive (Amazon emailed me yesterday) and quite disappointed not to have it, but that’s probably a good thing. Some of my Christmas shopping arrived, however, so that’s good. And son has decided what he wants (so we have to go shopping for it – he wants a long black coat, so that means he has to try it on to make sure it fits). There is apparently an excellent patisserie that’s just opened in the city (according to two of my personal trainers) so we might just have to have breakfast there tomorrow. (And hey, I worked out so hard this week, I have EARNED a piece of cake!)

There’s something really exciting happening next week, but I can’t spill all the beans until Monday. What I can say is that it involves a new book out by me, with three other authors I like very much as people and as writers, and the cover is definitely hot (can’t wait to share that one!). Watch this space... and FB, and Twitter (I am so going to get to grips with social media this year).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

bad bad bad bad bad

Current work: revisions on Med (#54) and dirty draft of new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Beethoven, Def Leppard and Daughtry
Reading: (I have been reading lots)

Sorry – I have neglected you appallingly. I have been busybusybusy, including:

  • Sleepover for daughter (whoever called them that clearly never hosted one because the kids DO NOT SLEEP and then they are horrible and grumpy the next day)
  • Picking up son from Berlin/Poland trip (he had a great time)
  • Sixth form open evenings (yesterday’s was particularly good because I talked to son’s teachers and they gave great advice about his choices – oh, and the chemistry department set off the fire alarm…)
  • Revisions (I have a title… but I’ll share that after the revisions have been sorted because I’m a bit superstitious)
  • Writing
  • Admin (i.e. doing my accounts – and panicking because I’d mislaid my biggest receipt of the year and had to go and get a duplicate – Apple Shop was brilliant and sorted it out for me)
  • Meeting my new accountant (obviously stressful as my former accountant and friend passed away unexpectedly – his widow arranged the transfer and obviously picked someone who had the same kind of attitude as her husband, so the new one is equally nice and am sure we will work well together)
  • Gym – I have been working SO hard, because my fitness dropped appallingly last month when I was off with that cough (two weeks, then a week as normal, and then ANOTHER two weeks). The weight loss is verrry slow, but I'm keeping on with it
  • Christmas planning (I’m in charge of booking all the Christmas meals, plus there’s ‘early Christmas’ weekends to arrange with the godmothers and my closest family, as we won’t see them on the day – and do you have any idea how difficult it is to find presents for a teenage boy? Daughter is dead easy. Son… nooo)
  • Sorting out my parents’ graves (new silk flowers for my mum as it was her birthday last week, and a new vase for the fresh flowers on Dad’s because that went missing) and having coffee with my stepmum
  • Lovely lunch with historical author Louise Allen (I have major envy of her studio, her book collection, her prints and the fact that her husband cooks like an angel – mine doesn’t!) (umm – can I claim that as work? Because it was writer-y…)

There’s probably other stuff in there, too. Note to self: be a bit less hopeless and be a better blogger from now on :o)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

special day

Current work: new Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: will be various dance games on X-box Kinect…
Reading: Raeanne Thayne, Blackberry Summer (will be getting the rest of the series as soon as my Kindle arrives); Lizzie Lamb, Tall Dark & Kilted (lovely debut)

Twelve years ago today, my youngest arrived in the world.

She’s growing up into a lovely young woman – she’s bright, she’s kind, and she’s good company. And she’s still as smiley as she was in this pic, aged 5 months.

It’s also a special anniversary for me in my writing career – ten years ago today, my very first M&B was on the shelves (and eleven years ago today, I got The Call). Odd to think that I’m currently writing my 55th…

Today is more about birthday parties. And cake :o) Happy birthday to my littlest.