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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Taking a Break to Sew

The Bears Project
By Kristina Knight

This winter instead of frigid temperatures and a lot of snow on the ground, we've had a lot of gloom and rain and cloud cover. Now, don't get me wrong, I like a good rainy day. Rainy days are great for reading or bingeing on a favorite TV show. They're great for movies, and they're also great for writing.

But 67 of these days in a row? Can get a little daunting...to the point you need to head to Home Depot or Lowe's for one of those 'happy lights' to chase the winter blahs away. Which is why, on day 54 - when bebe had a day off from school - I decided to brighten the day with fabric.

bebe is always up for a little craft project - three years ago she helped me pick out fabric for a book quilt for our new nephew and a couple of summers ago, we made a raggedy jelly roll quilt .

What I like about sewing is that it frees my subconscious to think about other things. I'd just received a revision note on my next SuperRomance from Harlequin, and I've been trying to figure out the basics for a new series I want to start, and I'm waiting on edits for another of my SuperRomances, and I need to figure out the conflict elements for the book I have in draft...so there are a lot of characters vying for attention. They don't all talk at once, but invariably when I start thinking about one project the next wants more attention.

Quilting gets me out of the cacophony of characters talking in my head - because I need to concentrate on how cutting the right dimensions, and where I want the seams to go, and which thread is going to add dimension to which fabrics. The characters have to settle down, and invariably while they're settled, my subconscious goes to work.

By the time I had all the squares for this project cut out and put together, I knew what I wanted to do with those conflict elements, and I had a better grasp on the new series...and I still didn't have edits for that other book, but I thought I had a better handle on the revision note, too. Which led to another a-ha moment for the book in draft. And I got all of that when I wasn't actively thinking about any of them - I was focused on seaming and thread and how to arrange each square...and on and on.

I also had a great conversation with bebe, and I won't hear from my editor for a little while yet, but I'm eager to hear her thoughts...all because of a super simple quilt pattern, some fabric and thread.

Do you sew or quilt? When you're not writing, what kinds of creativity inspire you?


Kristina Knight's latest release, Protecting the Quarterback, is available now from Harlequin Superromance: 

This is more than just a game … to her.

Sports broadcaster Brooks Smith has always been more involved with the game than the players. But after she shares the spotlight at an awards ceremony with tabloid sensation Jonas Nash, one night of letting her guard down around the infamous quarterback spirals into many heated days and nights together when she gets assigned to the story of the year…

The hottest player in professional football is hiding a secret that could end his career for good. Now Brooks is caught on the sidelines between the job she loves and the man she is falling in love with.

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You can find out more the book and Kristina on her website, and feel free to stalk follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Jennifer Gracen: Good Advice for Writing and for Life


I subscribe to several blogs, and one is called brainpickings.org – it usually has great posts that appeal to me in several areas, be it writing, the arts in general, psychology, social issues, etc. Last week, I saw a post about Poet Jane Kenyon and Advice On Writing. This quote in particular really resonated with me:

"Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours."

It struck me that this isn’t just good advice for protecting your creative spirit and writing life, but good advice for living your life in general. Especially in these times, which seem more tumultuous than any we’ve seen in a generation or two. The world is in a state of transition, and like all transitions, some serious chaos is accompanying that. It can be downright disheartening and draining to just look at the news every day. It can be emotionally overwhelming, which sometimes leads to physical manifestations of those concerns and anxieties. I keep seeing people online talking about how important self-care is, now more than ever. Those people are absolutely right.

It’s a tough call these days between wanting to stay informed and wanting to stay sane. I’ve had to make good self-care a priority. For me, that’s meant taking a step back from social media/getting online/the news in general, because being bombarded by constant intensity, vitriol, and uncertainty was wearing me down, mind, body and soul. So that quote above? Let’s look at it a little closer.

Be a good steward of your gifts. Manage the keeping of your gifts wisely and with as much passion as if you were telling your best friend, lover, child—someone super important to you that you’d likely be nicer to than you often are to yourself—to take good care of those gifts, and do that. The world needs you and your gifts.

Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Easiest way to do this? Stay offline. Or at least get online less. Read books. Binge watch a TV series. Go to the movies. Sing songs you used to love. Dance while you’re cleaning your house. Do something every day to feed your head. It’s good for you. And right now, it may even save you.

Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. See above tip. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Be by yourself as often as you can. As a writer and a single mom, I’m actually by myself more than most people, and I do treasure that alone time. If it’s not easy for you to come by—and for most people, it really isn’t—you need to fight for some alone time. Make it a priority; schedule it into your day or evening somehow. Even if it’s only fifteen minutes, while your baby is napping or your kids are playing video games or your significant other is scrolling on his/her phone... find a way to have some time all to yourself each day. It is more re-centering than you might imagine. And it also helps you go back to your busy world of demands with a little less... edginess. Try it if you can.

Walk. Take the phone off the hook. My main form of exercise is walking. I love to take long walks outside. Breathing fresh air (no matter what season), a change of scene, reconnecting with nature... some of my best story ideas have come to me on walks, as well as some of my greatest personal epiphanies. Sometimes nothing comes to me at all, but it just feels so nourishing to take a walk and let my mind wander. And I don’t—I repeat, I DO NOT—answer my phone or look at it while walking. (Only exception: I look at it if it rings in case it’s one of my kids’ schools calling. If it’s not them, I don’t answer the call.) Do that for yourself a few times a week, if you can. If not, even once a week can make a difference. Reconnecting with the outside world in this way is so rejuvenating for your mind, body, and soul.

As for the Work regular hours thing... well, easier said than done for many. But coming at it as I think it was intended—as writing advice—yes, if you can get into a regular routine for when you write, making it as much of a priority as doing your laundry or cleaning your house or going for a run, your writing muscles will thank you for that. Humans respond to routines. Make that time every day to write, and before you know it... you’ll have written something.


Good advice for writing, and for life. Take care of yourself. It’s so very important, and we all forget that sometimes. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

How Horribly Lovely by Jenny Gardiner

Hey all!

Happy three days after Valentine’s Day ;-). This winter I’ve tried to make time for a little bit of TV series binge-watching—the latest being The Crown. I thought it started out slow but I quickly became quite engrossed in it—a bit of insight into what is really a strangely rarified world that the rest of us peons could never properly relate to. I did find it quite fascinating to learn about I guess you’d call it the moral underpinnings of Queen Elizabeth—what has motivated her over the years, perhaps why she’s often seemed cold and detached, even why she’s not yet yielded the throne to her son (who sure comes across as neglected in that series!). But it turns out, it’s complicated! Evidently it’s not easy being the Queen…

One of the fun things about writing about royals is the research involved. For Red Carpet Romeo, which comes out today and is centered around a royal wedding in Monaforte with the It’s Reigning Men gang, I started digging around to learn what happens in a palace in preparation for things like State Dinners and other premier royal events, and wow, it’s nuts! The manpower and the elbow grease are staggering. It takes days to prepare, and there is no detail unattended to, right down to measuring the distance between the dinner plate and the edge of the table.  You can learn more here http://bit.ly/2l0Lus0

I suspect I’d make a horrible guest at a royal dinner: guaranteed I’d say the wrong thing, use the wrong utensil, request my dressing on the side, make an inappropriate joke that would render those within earshot dead silent. I feel fairly certain I’d not be invited back.

Once I saw a documentary about Queen Elizabeth in which two girls presented her with a sweater they’d knit for her. The Queen, in her own inimitable way, thanked them. “How horribly lovely,” she said with what looked like a grimace but was probably actually a smile. Not many people can properly use the word “horribly” in a compliment. I thought it was endearing.

We’ve also caught up on movies in advance of the Oscars—so many good ones out right now but a lot of pretty depressing ones. Loved Manchester by the Sea but ugh, it was, to borrow the Queen’s phrasing, horribly sad. La La Land—they had me till the ending, which I hated. Jackie—again, so grim but so well-acted. Lion—amazing. But so sad. Hmmm…there’s a theme here. Hidden Figures was uplifting! Oh but I adored 20th Century Women—it was quirky yet so much fun and terrifically acted. The other night because of a movie ticket snafu, we ended up watching The Nice Guys at home—loved that film! Lots of laughs and slapstick, which I love. Oh and go watch A Royal Night Out if you’re looking for a fun escapist movie.

I also wait anxiously each week for a new episode of This is Us (the best!) and I can’t resist that evil Corinne on the Bachelor, which has me tuning in for all their mindless nonsense ;-). Oh and now I can’t help but watch Riverdale—it’s totally not my thing, but the girl who plays Veronica used to live across the street from us and was my daughter’s best friend when they were little girls, so it’s fun to watch her all grown up and all girl-powery while being slightly villainous.


On a sad note, we lost our beloved Labrador Sassy a couple of weeks ago after nearly 14-1/2 wonderful years. It’s been really hard; I miss her like mad. I set her picture as my phone wallpaper, but it made me cry every time I looked at her so had to switch it out. I’ve now taken to stalking the most gorgeous Labrador retriever on Instagram here—his name is Camden and he belongs to a friend of a friend of a friend. He’s so a handsome boy! Oh, and if you love him, check out these insanely adorable white Lab puppies here—makes my heart jump for joy to watch them! I really need a puppy…

Here’s to royal weddings and puppies and good guys and villains, and while we’re at it, springtime being just around the corner.


 Check out my Royal Romeos series, which is a spin-off of my wildly successful It's Reigning Men series--I hope you'll be able to check them out!
  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Falling In Love With a Seal...



Not that kind of SEAL, although there's certainly enough reasons to fall in love with them, too. And I actually got to train with those SEALS once, too. Well, kind of. But that's a story for another day!


This time, I mean real seals. Or rather, sea lions. Yes, I'm talking about those sleek majestic creatures that plow through water and make those cute woofing-barking sounds.


My husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a few weeks ago—our first trip there. And yes, we did the sightseeing and tequila tours and the whole beach-and-pool thing. But I wanted to do something else, a bucket list item: I wanted to swim with the dolphins.


You see, I used to work at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and got to see the dolphins every day. But I ran the retail operations there so that was all I got to do: see them, wave to them, play with them through the glass. So yes, a bucket list item was to actually swim and play with the dolphins, up close and personal.


So we did. And yes, it was wonderful! A real dream come true. If you get a chance to do it—do it!




I know, you're asking yourself what this has to do with sea lions. Well, when we checked in for the dolphin swim, they asked if we wanted to add on the sea lion adventure. I glanced at hubby.


                Me: You want to do the sea lion thing?


                Hubby (giving me a weird look): Really?


                Me: Yeah, it'll be fun.


                Hubby (rolling his eyes): Not really, no.


                Me (maybe kind of pouting): But I want to!


                Hubby (shaking his head and trying not to laugh at me): Then go ahead. I'll just watch.


                Bingo! One sea lion adventure coming up.


I really had no idea what to expect. Maybe a quick intro to learn about them; maybe lean over and toss them some disgusting raw fish or give them a quick pet. I was honestly clueless. I mean, everyone talks about the dolphins but I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about swimming with the sea lions.


Let me tell you: I am so glad I did that impulsive add-on because I had more fun with the sea lion than I did with the dolphins!


Maybe it was because I didn't know what to expect. Maybe it was because I was the only person there. I don't know why, I just know it was way more fun than the dolphins!


It started with meeting the trainer, Jesus. He went over everything, gave me a lesson about sea lions, talked about conservation and rehab, told me what we were going to do. Then he introduced me to Marina, the female sea lion. A quick jump in the pool (which was a lot colder than I was expecting!) and it was play time!


Marina was the perfect hostess: cute and cuddly, smiling and winking, giving me hugs and kisses. Seriously. And we're talking real hugs here—there aren't any other kind when a 450-pound sea lion decides to give you a bear hug! And maybe she had fish-breath but with her diet, I can't really blame her.
 Marina giving kisses and lots of hugs!

I left the sea lion adventure with a new best friend, and memories of a lifetime. I also walked away with a lesson: bucket lists are great and I think everyone should have one. But never underestimate the lure of an impulsive adventure!


Oh…this has nothing to do with anything but I thought I'd do a shameless plug here as well. My newest release, PLAYING THE GAME, just came out on February 14. PTG is the launch title in a new hockey romance series, The York Bombers, and is already getting some great reviews! You can read more about it by checking things out here.





And just so I'm kind of tying things in here: comment below with some of your bucket list items (planned or impulsive) and I'll choose one random winner to receive a digital copy of Playing The Game. I'll post the winner's name in the comments on Tuesday morning, 2/21.


Until next time!


Lisa



Friday, February 17, 2017

Susan Stephens: February in a sub-tropical climate.



Hello again, and thank you so much for inviting me to be here again, Lee!

As the roof is, quite literally, being taken off my house back home in the UK, I thought it would be a great excuse to get away, so here I am, in one of the places I love best, a tiny Spanish island called La Gomera in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa.


I thought this month, instead of talking exclusively about books, I'd share some of the fabulous scenery with you. 

You can see the volcano Teide on the neighbouring island of Tenerife in the shot above


Basically, La Gomera is volcanic rock. Early morning walks are fabulous, if strenuous. Those ravines you can see are called barrancas, and they really are as steep and tricky to navigate as they look. But the weather is usually fabulous, apart from today, when we had a tropical rain storm attempting to take the roof off this house too!

Because the ravines are so steep, the people who live here have developed a whistling language over the centuries in order to communicate with each other without the necessity to climb for miles to stand face to face. The whistling language of La Gomera is now a protected language, and is taught to children in all the local schools.

And yes, I'm finding time to write - firstly,  a new Harlequin Presents set in Italy, due for a Christmas release, which features a prince plucked from the gutter as a child, and a poor girl who has just had the most enormous stroke of luck. I absolutely ❤️ Christmas stories, so this one is really flying.

After that I'll be writing the fourth book in my polo series, Blood and Thunder.



 If you haven't tried this series yet, the first three books have been bestsellers. Maybe because the guys are smoking hot 😉



Anyway, wherever you are, I hope the sun shines on you and those you love, and that you enjoy plenty of good reading in the month ahead.

I look forward to chatting with you again really soon,

With my warmest hugs and good wishes,
Love
Susan xx

Thursday, February 16, 2017

All About Siblings

I swear it's no reflection on my parents, but my sisters and I ran pretty far afield the moment we were old enough. I left to live in a ski resort for a year, then my middle sister married and emigrated to New Zealand for several years.

She and her husband came back to Canada and she's now remarried, living in Winnipeg. My youngest  left for Vancouver Island until she married an Aussie and now she lives in Brisbane.

Despite all that, we're very close. Here we are together with my kids last summer. I'm on the far left. Do you see any family resemblance at all? It looks like we can barely stand each other, doesn't it?


My kids also fled the nest soon as they could. It's called 'school,' but it feels like payback. My daughter, however, will cop to being homesick. Thus, when her brother was leaving for school, she and her boyfriend made a point of moving to be closer to where my son is taking his classes. I have to admit, it's really nice to call one of them and discover they're hanging out.  

This closeness between siblings is something I love to reflect in my writing. I don't know if I could write about siblings who loathed each other. The closest I've ever come is in my February release, Only In His Sweetest Dreams.

It's Book Two in a duet about siblings who grew up on the wrong side of town and find love in the most unlikely places.

In Only In His Sweetest Dreams, Mercedes doesn't hate her sister, Porsha, but she is awfully frustrated with her. She even has to take steps against her, after Porsha abandons her children in favour of partying.

Mercedes can't get pregnant, so it's a doubly big decision to take custody of her sister's children. She doesn't even know how to be a mom, and taking them jeopardizes her job at a senior's complex.

Fortunately (I say that ironically) she has L.C. He's the new handyman. He took this job to fix the damage done by his son, who pulled a B&E on the place. Yes, stellar parenting on his part, but he and Mercedes are drawn to one another despite that. Too bad L.C. has a painful secret that she may not be able to forgive.

In keeping with my theme of siblings, I have just completed a quartet for Harlequin Presents called The Sauveterre Siblings. They're two sets of identical twins. The youngest, Trella, was kidnapped when she was nine.

All four siblings are extremely close, with unique relationships and personalities. In Book One, Pursued By The Desert Prince, (March 1st) Angelique is torn between protecting her sister and her feelings for Kasim while Kasim has sibling troubles of his own!

You can read more about Pursued By The Desert Prince on my website here, or it's available on Mills & Boon now.

Do you have brothers and sisters? Are you close? Geographically? Emotionally? Why do you think some siblings don't get along?

Dani Collins is a USA Today Bestselling author writing for Harlequin Presents, Tule's Montana Born, and herself. 

Would you like a free sample of Dani's writing? Join her newsletter! You'll auto-magically get a link to download Cruel Summer, a short story romance she wrote exclusively for her subscribers. 

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Michelle Styles: Upending history

One of the things about history is that while we think it is very settled and we know what went on, every now and then, a new discovery changes things.
So it proved earlier this month when my copy of the Smithsonian magazine arrived. My sister has had  it sent to me for about 15 years because she became tired of thinking  oh Michelle would find this fascinating and sending me the article.
This month's magazine had an article on a recent archaeological dig that had supposedly up ended what  was currently known  about the Minoan civilization and Mycenaean and their relationship to each other..  Because I have a long standing interest in this time in history, I rapidly read the article and my jaw dropped. A bit like how Howard Carter found the  tomb of  King Tutankhamen, this dig led by a husband and wife from the University of Cincinnati found an undisturbed tomb of a high ranking early Mycenaean  back in June of 2015 at Pylos on the Greek mainland.
Bull's head from Crete
The problem with looking at anything in this time period and trying to figure out what went on is a bit like trying to  do a jigsaw puzzle with about 40% of pieces missing. The resulting picture depends a great deal on the skill of the person interpreting  the pieces and sometimes what was though to be a piece of  sky is actually a piece of water or even something else entirely. This tomb adds greatly to the number of pieces that are available.
The story of how they found it  reads a bit like an adventure story   problems with permits meant they were unable to dig where they wanted and settled for what they thought was second best, the season had been okay but not great and was coming to a close and then they discovered it. Rather than finishing at the beginning of June, the dig was completed in November.
Throne room from Knossos
Because context is all, they painstakingly recorded how the grave was set out and what grave goods went where. (This is something that  was missing from many of the early digs -- for example Harold Evans at Knossos) And what grave  goods they were --- gold and silver cups, a variety of rings, beads made from precious stones and more than 50 seals with a skeleton of a man at the bottom, more than 1500 object in all. Included In short, it is probably the most significant find in Greece in the last 50 years.
One of the enduring mysteries about this time is  how much interaction is there between the Minoans on Crete and the Mycenaean on the mainland. Of course, the story of how Theseus  conquered the labyrinth, and destroyed the Minotaur is one of the world's great legends.  But no one knows the precise relationship between Mycenae and the Minoans. There has been much speculation, particularly after  Linear B was  finally decoded in the 1950's, but no one knows for certain. 
Because of how the grave goods were placed, it shows that the people doing the placing knew what the Minoan objects from Crete were used for. That is probable, the two civilizations co-existed together peacefully for a time and there was much trading.
Then in the summer of 2016, the same team made more discoveries on the site, including fragments of wall paintings which were done in the Minoan style. In other words, maybe the experts have had it wrong and that Minoan civilization wasn't completely wiped from the face of the earth. It seems probable with the new evidence that is emerging, the ancient Greeks owe their unique brand of government or democracy to  both the Mycenaeans and the Minoans intermingling. If so, then the roots of civilization will be altered. However, if one is writing historical fiction, one sometimes cannot use the cutting edge theory because it is more about creating a believable world.
So if writing about Theseus and the Minotaur, the old norms would still have to prevail. Even if this discovery holds the tantalizing possibility of upending everything we thought we knew.

Michelle Styles writes witty, warm and intimate historical romance for Harlequin Historical. Her latest SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR is out now. You can read more about Michelle and her boks on www.michellestyles.co.uk 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Christina Hollis—Have A Wooden Heart!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Exchanging beautiful cards isn’t the only tradition linked to St Valentine’s day. In days gone by, before an email greeting could be sent with the click of a mouse, and every town sold all sorts of trinkets, lots of thought and even more work went into impressing your lover. 

Carving lovespoons is a traditional craft that dates back to the seventeenth century. The earliest one, dated 1664, was made in Germany, and both Scandinavia and parts of Eastern Europe have a tradition of carving spoons to give as gifts of love. 

Created by young men eager to impress their prospective fathers-in-law with their skills, the original lovespoons were given to young women before marriage. Different symbols carved into each lovespoon had different meanings—a lock for security, hearts for love, horseshoes for luck and if the suitor was a sailor, he would incorporate an anchor into his design. The more symbols, and the more intricate they were, the better the chance that the young woodworker would win the girl of his dreams.

Wales is famous for its lovespoons and there is a big collection at the National Museum of Wales at St Fagans, near Cardiff. You can find out more here: 


The museum also offers lovespoons created by contemporary woodworkers  in its shop. The more decorative these love tokens look, the less practical they are, but who would want to use something so beautiful? These are gifts to be treasured and admired, not subjected to the rough and tumble of daily life!


Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women. Harlequin published six of her historical novels under the pen name Polly Forrester, then her first Mills and Boon Modern Romance, The Italian Billionaire’s Virgin, was published in 2007. Since then, she has written eighteen contemporary novels, sold nearly three million books, and her work has been translated into twenty different languages. When she isn’t writing, Christina is cooking, walking her dog, or beekeeping.

You can catch up with her at http://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com, on Twitter, Facebook, and see a full list of her published books at christinahollis.com


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

Monday, February 13, 2017

In time for Valentine's!

Not Precisely Pregnant is this month's release! I pitched this romantic comedy to my editor as Shrek meets Pollyanna!  It features two reporters...one who covers hard hitting news stories and one whose reports use the tagline Nice News Matters. To be honest, I do love nice news and think the world could use more of it!

Here's the blurb:

Nice News matters to reporter Paige Montgomery, aka Pollyanna Paige, reports on news that makes you smile. When she finds herself (not precisely) pregnant and in trouble, she’s rescued by an unlikely savior...cynical newsman, Riley Calhoon. Paige is intrigued with this unprecedented heroic streak, but Riley prefers to keep that particular scoop to himself.

Riley might doubt Paige’s reporter’s instincts, but she’s following his story with a tenacity that even he can admire. The problem is, whenever she’s around he finds himself being assaulted by hockey pucks, killer cats and even a run-away trucks. He either has a chronic case of heartburn… or maybe it’s love?


Reviews:

"...guaranteed to provide plenty of entertainment, and more laughs than should be legal." ~Kelley A. Hartsell, Love Romances Reviews

"Holly Jacobs returns with NOT PRECISELY PREGNANT, a wry, warm-hearted screwball comedy featuring an appealing pair of lovers...and an attack cat." ~Romantic Times

"Ms. Jacobs has done it again!...Her books are lighthearted joy to read..." ~Carol Carter, Reviewer

"In "Not Precisely Pregnant", Holly Jacobs spins a marvelously funny tale about love, ratings, sex and stubbornness." ~Women on Writing

"I picked up this book with the intention of reading the first couple of pages to see what it was about. I didn't have time right then to read it. Well, it got read sooner than I thought! Ms. Jacobs grabbed my attention and kept me reading. " ~Lydia Funneman, Writers Unlimited

Other News:

Honor Roll:
I'm so excited to announce that I'm on Romance Writers of America's Honor Roll now!!  And I want to thank you all...I'm there because of all your support and all the books you've bought,  Thank you!

Subscriber Only Giveaway:
 I'm so glad that everyone enjoyed the giveaway last month!!  I wanted to do something for all my subscribers this month, not just a lucky few.  So, I've put up a short story that only you can read for free before it goes up for the general public.  It all started with a book.  I went to a house sale and found a copy of Gene Stratton-Porter's The Harvester.  I've always loved her books and had never read this one.  Imagine my excitement!!  I picked it up, took it home and found...  



I know...sad, wasn't it?  But, this maimed book did inspire a story.  Newsletter subscribers read it for free last week. It will be up this week for readers on Kindle, Kobo and Nook.

So what's up next?  Confessions of a Party Crasher.  It's an older book that Harlequin bought for a line that was in its death throes before Party Crasher ever went on sale.  So it made it to very few bookstores, which means it's probably new to you.  So let's call it a new old book! LOL  More on that soon!

Hope you're having a great start of the year!  And hoping 2017 is one of your best years yet!

Have a wonderful Valentine's!! 
Holly
Recent Releases:


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Making Valentine's Day Special - Kate Walker

I  have been busy planning a course  ready for the weekend.   Every February I  teach  the ‘Advanced
Romance Writing Course’ with  Writers’ Holiday.  It’s held in the  middle of Wales, on the Pembrokeshire Coast  in the small town of Fishguard.  The hotel we stay – and run the courses  in –the Fishguard Bay Hotel is  set  right above the bay itself so that we have a wonderful view of the sea, the cliffs and occasionally the ferry  that comes in  to dock  from its crossing over the sea from Ireland. 

I love this place, the hotel, the people who run Writers’ Holiday and the students on the courses  - it’s all very special and warm and  happy.  Just what we need in the middle of dark, wet, miserable February.  And we really need to feel that way because every time, in the few days before we set out – days like today – when I look out at the cold, wet, grey and gloomy day,  I wonder why I ever agree even to set foot outside my home, let alone face a long, winding, rain lashed journey.  But  once  I’ve made the trip and I’m in my  bedroom with its wonderful view of the sea, I  feel  so glad I made the effort – and happy at the thought of the time I’ll spend with friends I already know and  the chance of making new ones over the weekend.

I think that’s why I appreciate the fact that this  weekend is always held just around the time when all the shops are filled with bunches of red roses,. Chocolate hearts and teddy bears that they seem to think people want in order to celebrate Valentine’s  Day.  I’ve never been a great fan of Valentine’s day.  It started out as a secret – and rather romantic way   of letting someone know you loved them,. By sending a card. Usually an anonymous one.  Now there are special Valentine’s dinners, wines, presents . . .   I have to admit that I don’t go in for those sorts of things.  

But when I think about my trip to Wales  and the way that everyone who meets up in Fishguard  after  they’ve gone to the trouble of making that extra effort, travelling that journey so we can all be together, then I sort of understand more about why we need something like Valentine’s Day in the dark, miserable days of February – which has to be one of the gloomiest months of the year.  Christmas is behind us, New Year  Resolutions are forgotten,  Easter is still on the horizon . . .
Because isn’t that what Romance is all about?  It’s not just about love and marriage and happy ever after, at least not for me. It’s about my hero and heroine, making that extra bit of effort,   finding ways to show  each other that they care, that they want to be together.   Real romance isn’t about picking up one of the hundreds and thousands of bunches of red roses mass produced  for the 14th February. Or  handing over a box of chocolates that are piled  high on the  supermarket shelves.  It’s about  finding a way to show the person you care about that you  feel  something special for them – and you want them to know it.


So  that’s really why  this  weekend away in Wales  is  all about the ‘Advanced’ Romance  writing! That’s about finding something special in  your own writing  and to put into the world of your  hero and heroine  to help them forward into that happy ever after.    It’s that that puts the ‘romance’ into their world, not the mass-market cards and gifts. At least that’s how it is for me and that’s what I always hope to put into my books to bring that extra romance into my readers’ lives.

Wherever you are, I hope your Valentine’s Day will be a lovely and a special even for you. I hope that every one of you has someone special who will find a
way to mark this day to brighten up  dark and gloomy February  - and  hopefully the rest of the year.

My  latest Harlequin Presents title was published last year - that was Indebted to Moreno.   Since then I've had another book - my 66th title accepted and bought but I don't yet know its title or exactly when it will be out - but as soon as I have that information I'll share it with you.

What I can tell you is that this  new  title is the first book in a duet of linked stories that I have  given the working title The Scandalous O'Sullivan Sisters.   These two books tell the story of two sisters . The first book - the one that's just accepted is Imogen's st(the older sister) story,.  The one I'm working on now is the younger sister's story - her name is Ciara.


If you want to most up to date news on my books and my writing, check out  my web site  or my blog.  Or you can catch up with me on my Facebook page

Happy Valentine's Day to  you all!