Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RNA Anthology Blog

Anna Jacobs' terrific post is now up on the RNA anthology blog. Please stop by and have a look RNA Anthology Blog

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Trusty Office Companion by Kate Hardy

Lots of romantic novelists will admit to having an office companion – sometimes more than one. No, not the invisible person we talk to. (That’s usually the hero or the heroine.) This is the one who keeps us to a schedule and also keeps us in the real world: the one with four legs, fur and a tail.

This is Byron, my English Springer spaniel.

He reminds me when it’s time for lunch, or time for a break (aka walkies) because I’ve been sitting staring at the screen for too long. He also lets me know when there’s someone at the door because I’m deep in book world, have my hearing aid switched off and don’t realise that the doorbell’s just gone.

He’s very sweet-natured and kind – but he’s also a bit of a character, so he’s had a walk-on part in several of my books. Occasionally I turn him into a Labrador (as I did in my RNA Romance Prize shortlisted novel, Sold to the Highest Bidder – but the teddy-carrying habit is definitely his. Usually one he’s stolen from my daughter), but most of the time he’s just himself. In my current US release, Playboy Boss, Pregnancy of Passion, he’s one of the heroine’s family dogs – doing exactly what he does best. Stealing shoes. Only one from each pair, but there will be one from every person in the house piled up on his bed; and he doesn’t chew them, just cuddles them.

Nosey minds (well – mine, at least) would love to know: who’s your office companion?

Kate Hardy

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Here's a link to an great article from the Dumfries & Galloway Standard on Gillian Stewart (Gillian Villiers). You can read her post on why she writes here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why Do I Write by Gillian Stewart (Gillian Villiers)

Why do we write? Is it just to get published? If so, I should be very happy, as my first novella ‘Rachel’s Coming Home’ has just been published by People’s Friend Pocket Novels. And I have to admit it is exciting, seeing this piece of work actually in print. Holding it was thrilling! And telling friends and family was both exciting and embarrassing, as I’m not very good at self-publicising.

But to get back to my first question, why do we – or I – write? And I’ve come to the conclusion that wonderful as publication is it is not the reason I do it. I write because I love it and I can’t stop.

I write at a very messy desk in the corner of the sitting room in our farmhouse in southern Scotland. I used to share an office with my husband Dave until he evicted me for being too untidy. It seems piles of books and papers are more acceptable in the sitting room than in his (immaculate) office. And I love the sitting room because from here I have a view across farmland to the Forest of Ae. Even in today’s rain it’s beautiful. This may be one reason all my stories so far have been set in the Scottish countryside. I don’t think there is any better place to be and nor do my characters!

So sitting here, alternately admiring the view and losing myself in the lives of people who engross me every bit as much as my family, is something that I hope to do for years to come. Of course I wouldn’t say no to being snapped up by a major publisher, but the here and now is pretty good.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


While the rest of us eagerly await the release of the RNA's anthology of short stories to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the RNA in 2010, LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT, several lucky authors received their contributor copies at the RNA Cambridge Chapter meeting this month.

LtoR Sue Moorcroft, Jan Jones and Louise Allen

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Imogen Howson - A Holiday TBR Pile

I don’t normally have a TBR pile—everything lives on my Amazon wish list until I buy it, and then it doesn’t wait to be read long enough to live in a pile. But for once I really, genuinely do have one. We’re going away on holiday for a week in a few days, so when this order from Amazon came I put it aside to read only once we’re on holiday.

I have an eleven-year-old and a thirteen-year-old, so this pile is a mix of books for all of us. I love young adult books—and write them myself—so my thirteen-year-old and I do a lot of sharing. And, in her case, very useful beta-reading of my stuff!

Wings is a young adult fantasy, the debut release from Aprilynne Pike, about a girl who (I think) discovers she’s a fairy. The publisher had the good sense to put a whole lump of the book up to read online on their website. I read, I got hooked, I put the book straight on my wish list.

The Prophet from Ephesus is for my thirteen-year-old. She’s been reading this series, The Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence, for several years now, and swears she’s learned more about Ancient Rome from them than she could ever learn from school.

The Tin Princess by Philip Pullman is also for her. It’s the fourth in his Victorian mystery books. I’ve read and enjoyed these as well.

The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder is for my younger daughter. I loved these books as a child, and enjoy reading them to her now. Like the Roman Mysteries, you learn an astonishing amount of history from them—in this case about Frontier America.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a young adult futuristic, set in a scary-sounding dystopia. I read a great review of this at and have been waiting for it to come out in the UK so I could buy it. I’d have got it as an ebook (instant gratification!) but for some reason the publisher didn’t release it as one so I had to wait.

False Colors is a historical gay romance by Alex Beecroft. I read another book by her, Captain’s Surrender, and loved it. There’s a lot of m/m romance in the epublishing world in particular, but a lot of it is more erotic than I really like, whereas Alex Beecroft’s writing is much more about the emotions and developing relationship—and she only includes the sex scenes that, after lots of sexual tension, you really want to see!

Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr is another young adult fantasy, the third in a series that began with Wicked Lovely and continued with Ink Exchange (the titles are as beautiful as the covers!). These have dark, scary, sexy fairies, emotion deep enough to drown in, and stunningly beautiful writing.

I can’t wait to get on holiday and start reading. The only trouble will be which to choose first!

Imogen writes romantic fantasy and science fiction for young adults and adults. Her next book is Heart of the Volcano, releasing as an ebook on September 15th from Samhain Publishing. To find out more about her work visit her website –

Friday, August 7, 2009

An American View of the RNA Penrith Conference 09

At the Penrith conference this year the attendees were lucky enough to have the pleasure of US author Jodi Thomas in their midst. She presented two sessions which were brilliant and those lucky enough to be there will have taken away valuable tips from a pro. We asked her to share her experience of attending and RNA conference. Her thoughts follow:

Once in a while it’s good to step out of your comfort zone. I’ve been writing and selling since 1987. I’m in the RWA Hall of Fame (in twenty years there has only been twelve admitted). I’m the Writer-in-Residence at one of the biggest universities in Texas and I rarely walk into a group of writers where I’m not recognized. Two years ago, that happened in England . What fun! I felt like I was just beginning.

Then, this year something even better happened. I returned and was greeted like an old friend. Tom and I had been wandering around for almost a month and when I walked into RNA I felt like I was home. All of you do have an accent I have to listen closely to understand sometimes, but you are writers and that makes us sisters. I find the longer I write the harder it seems to be for me to talk to people who are not writers---and I’ve decided people who do not read are lower life forms entirely.

I wish I’d had time to visit longer with so many of you and if you ever want to come to Texas, we have a Writing Academy June 14-18, 2010, that will change your writing life. If you’re interested e-mail me at jthomas at mail dot wtamu dot edu.

Oh, I almost forgot, while I was on the way home my editor flew from New York to Washington DC and picked up National Readers Choice Awards on both my books last year. She said she thought I as the only writer, ever, to win in two categories. TWISTED CREEK won best Main Stream with romantic element and TALL, DARK AND TEXAN won best Historical Romance.

Happy Trails to you all and thanks for the wonderful welcome.

Jodi Thomas

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Breaking News - Linda Gillard's Novel, STAR GAZING, has been Shortlisted for Inaugural Robin Jenkins Literary Award

Linda Gillard's novel STAR GAZING has been shortlisted for the inaugural Robin Jenkins Literary Award for new writing about the Scottish environment. See

The award is sponsored by the Forestry Commission Scotland. The winner will be announced at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 24th August at a ticketed event where the shortlisted books will be discussed.

Linda says... "It's long been an ambition of mine to be involved in an event at the Edinburgh Book Festival. I never expected my first appearance would be as a shortlisted author! I must say I'm very chuffed - and a little amused - that STAR GAZING has been shortlisted for Romantic Novel of the Year and a literary award for environmental writing. Not bad for a love story about a grumpy, middle-aged blind woman. "

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August Releases

Amanda Grange - MR DARCY, VAMPYRE
11th August (US) 1st September (UK)
An immortal sequel to PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Harlequin Presents
1st August $5.25
PA teaches workaholic to smell the roses

Mills & Boon LP
Library Edition£13.50
Grace and Josh are worlds apart until they are brought together by a very special baby.

Allison and Busby
August 24th, price £7.99
This is the story of a mother's love and a secret kept for twenty-two years, and two people caught up in the conflict of WWII with conflicts of their own to deal with.

Gill Stewart writing as Gillian Villers - 'Rachel's Coming Home'
People's Friend Pocket Novel No. 633
13th August 2009
Rachel returns home to help her parents run the family dog kennels, where brother Anthony is being less than helpful and tv celebrity neighbour Philip may or may not be the cause of their many problems.

Arrow Books
6th August 2009 £19.99
Would she always be unlucky in love?

Lynne Connolly - RED HEAT

Ellora's Cave
29th July Cost - $6.99 (electronic
Jillian thinks she's someone else - Chase has to use all his Sorcerer powers to seduce her and bring her back, or they're both dead.

Harlequin Mills & Boon
7 August 2009 (Hardback)
Carlotta refuses to become the baron's next conquest - but what if he won't take no for an answer?

Portia Da Costa - KISS IT BETTER
Virgin Black Lace
4th August [USA] $12.95
Jay Bentley's fantasies are haunted by a beautiful woman he met briefly in his youth, while Sandy Jackson dreams of the handsome Prince Charming who once comforted her with a kiss. Will the magic still be there fifteen years later?

Kate Johnson w/a Cat Marsters - Empire: City of Lust
Changeling Press (ebook)
14th Aug $4.99 (approx £3)
In a harem in the steaming city of Carnalis, the Empress and the Revolutionary are about to turn the world upside down.

On Monday the return of the Digital Debate - Thoughts on why it may be best to wait until Christmas to take the plunge into the world of e-readers if you haven't already.