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Pure Passion

I've just seen the longlist for the Pure Passion award 2011 (the Romantic Novel of the Year award, to be awarded in March) . It seems a bit early in the year to be awarding the annual prize, but that's the way the publishing industry goes.

So far, I've read a grand total of one of the books: 'The Queen of New Beginnings' by Erica James, which I picked up on a recommendation from Angela Wren on 'Book It', and absolutely loved. I'd be tempted to say I'm rooting for that one, except that a number of others on the list were (or are now) on my wish list. Other authors on the list whose books I've enjoyed in the past include Katie Fforde, Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Chadwick and Christina Jones, while yet-to-be-discovered treats include 'Amazir' by Tom Gamble, who seems to be the sole male presence on this year's list.

You can see the whole list here:

http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/index.php/news/entry/pure_passion_2011_romantic_no…

Getting Lucky Part II

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a competition on Christina Courtenay's blog, and received a nice little goody bag of books from Amazon: Nell Dixon's 'Just Look at Me Now', Sue Moorcroft's 'All That Mullarkey' and of course Christina's 'Trade Winds'. My to-read pile has been shrinking more slowly than usual during November thanks to NaNoWriMo. However, I've now read all three, so it's time to report back on some great romantic reads...

'Just Look at Me Now' was first up, and I loved the sparky, surprising heroine Tia. Tia is the glamorous fashion editor of Platinum magazine, but she has a big secret, in the form of a past life as fat, frumpy Barbara. When school bitch Juliet shows up at Platinum and sets her sights on Tia's gorgeous boyfriend, it's a no-holds-barred catfight to the death. Tia and Josh make an adorable couple, but Juliet is one determined lady and so far life has dropped pretty much everything…

Remember, remember the fifth of November

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Yesterday I was waiting at the traffic lights, and as I watched and waited for the lights to turn green, an unexpected flash of colour in the night sky caught my eye. Right in front of me, a huge firework exploded in a shower of ruby sparks. Beautiful! I love going to watch organised firework displays, but sometimes it’s even more magical when you’re faced with a starburst completely out of the blue (or black).



I love fireworks so much that I chose to set the grand finale of ‘Desperate Bid’ at a firework party. Here are a few tasters to get you in the mood for bonfire night…

Like a firework itself, the tiny spark of their idea had caught a fuse, travelled through the dark city, and sent a shower of fizzing, cracking light bursting outwards through hundreds of lives.

Tonight it was alive and electric. The air sang with voices and music from stalls and car radios. The hiss of sparklers and burgers grilling added to the fizzing atmosphere. Alex was exhausted, but he loved every second o…

And the winner is...

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Last week I asked what readers would like to ask Alex, the hero of Desperate Bid, and this week, as promised, I put your questions to him. So here, in order of posting, are the questions and his replies:

Why do you like Sarah? What makes her special?
Sarah’s special because I’ve never met anyone else quite like her. At work she’s super-professional and very impressive, but she can also be really funny and gentle, and she has a good ear for music and likes some very cool bands, which I wouldn’t have expected from someone who seems so serious. She’s pretty, kind, and full of surprises, so life is never dull with her around.

In an ideal world, what would your perfect date with Sarah be?
I think our first real date was just about perfect – we went to hear a great new band in a local pub and just talked and listened to music all evening, then walked home together in the rain. OK, maybe the perfect date wouldn’t have the rain, although it did give us a good excuse to ‘get out of those wet …

Getting Lucky

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I got lucky this week... no, not like that! I won a competition on the website of the lovely Christina Courtenay by sharing my favourite ChocLit hero - Ratty, from Sue Moorcroft's 'Starting Over'. So now I'm rushing downstairs whenever the postie arrives, in the hope that today will the day my parcel of books arrives. I can't wait to read Christina's 'Trade Winds' or Sue's latest, 'All That Mullarkey', both of which had been on my wish list, but hadn't quite made it to the top yet. Now they have!

Anyway, having been reminded how much fun it is to get something for nothing, I thought it would be nice to share some luck. This week's blog post was going to be a character interview with my hero, Alex, from Desperate Bid. Now it comes with an added bonus... post a comment with the question you'd like me to have asked, and next week I'll answer some of questions. And the person who posts my favourite question will get a free …

Music to Write By

If you’ve been following my blog or facebook posts lately, you’ll know that I’m lucky enough to have been featured several times on Sine FM’s book show, ‘Book It.’One of the fun things about appearing on the show is having to choose a song to go along with the interview or story.Sometimes the choice is obvious – naturally, I couldn’t resist the 'Habanera' from Bizet's'Carmen' to go along with my Spanish love story.Other times nothing too obvious springs to mind, and then I get to have fun playing with lyrics, titles and obscure connections – that’s how I ended up with Gerry Rafferty’s haunting song ‘Baker Street’ to accompany a review of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’, in which the protagonist, Christopher, is a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
It’s also always interesting to see what music other writers pick to accompany their stories.Some people write to music and pick their favourite writing music for the show, while others prefer writing …

Two treats

I've just returned from a wonderful trip to Dublin - the inspiring home of all kinds of fabulous folklore and literary delights, including the bizarre National Leprechaun Museum and the almost too-informative Writers' Museum. I'm hoping at some point to get to work on a folklore-inspired paranormal in the vein of Helen Scott Taylor's delightful 'The Magic Knot', but first I'm looking forward to preparing a piece on Literary Dublin for Book It.

On my doormat when I got back was a second treat: a copy of 'Romance Matters', complete with pages of photos and conference reports. Thanks again to everyone who made the conference so wonderful, especially as always Jan Jones and Roger Sanderson. Coming back to reality after a holiday can be a bit of a let-down, so it was nice to get back to this reminder of a wonderful weekend.

More on Dublin later, but first I must finish unpacking!

RNA Conference

I've just been reliving the delights of the Romantic Novelists' Association Conference by reading the fascinating session reports on the RNA Conference Page. I've reported on the panel discussion 'Writing for the American Market', and you can also find out about all sorts of writerly subjects, from planning and research to submitting to specific publishers, like Samhain. If you didn't make it to the conference in Greenwich, this page is definitely the next best thing.

Romantic Novelists' Association Conference

As always, this year's conference was wonderful. Met old friends, made new ones, and the icing on the cake was that my story, 'Bluebell Day', got an honourable mention in the Elizabeth Goudge Competition, judged by Katie Fforde.

Review

Romance news

Some good news for romance writers, and a mention of my book, from my friend Imogen Howson...

http://imogenhowson.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/quick-updates/

New blog

With a new book out, it seemed like a good time to start a new blog. But I spent far too long playing with layouts, so useful content will have to wait... Story of my life...