Monday, 20 July 2015


has an enigmatic and unbelievably gorgeous Irish billionaire hero, which gives me the perfect opportunity to post photos of my Irish muse - Cap'n Poldark aka Aidan Turner

A sublime definition of brooding....

Perfect, don't you think?

Thursday, 16 July 2015


I took this picture when I was walking through Winall Moors - an area of outstanding natural beauty right in the middle of the city.  It's magical.

In other news, I have several new books out (and perhaps I should do the sensible thing of posting pictures of them).  But actually, for now - I think I prefer the feathery fronds which line the river Itchen...

Sunday, 17 May 2015


On my phone are stacks of amazing photos from sculpture parks to Tuscan mountains, which I am planning to post here, but in the meantime there's a chance of winning an advance copy of my forthcoming book THE RUTHLESS GREEK'S RETURN.  Just click on this Goodreads link and it will take you straight there 

I won't tell you about the sizzlingly sexy Loukas Sarantos - I'll leave you discover him all by yourself...

*Have attempted a rather weak play on computer terminology to draw your attention to this competition!

Thursday, 5 March 2015


if you're feeling lucky and would like to read my RT Top Pick story about a sizzlingly sexy Greek billionaire (with major hang-ups!) - then head right on over here to Goodreads for your chance to win a copy.

Yesterday I was most definitely not feeling lucky because my USB stick gobbled up four thousand words of my latest story as I was backing it up and all the IT intervention in the world couldn't get it back.

Sometimes I wish I still used a typewriter...

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


This has been an amazing week, so far.  My 95th book was accepted.  My March/April 2015 release has been chosen as a Romantic Times TOP PICK.  Oh, and I was on holiday in Cornwall.

Picture the scene.  It's February.  It's England.  The worst cold snap in aeons.  Yet I get this...

Beautiful, isn't it?  The photo was taken at the Lizard which is a secret backwater,  an area of outstanding natural beauty - and the most southwesterly point of the British mainland.  

It is also the stunning backdrop for the eagerly anticipated new series of Polldark, starring Aidan Turner.

So, not exactly on TOP of the world - but feeling pretty damned good.

All I want to know is how that bat has managed to fly onto my left hand without me noticing...

Monday, 26 January 2015


The UK cover for my April 2015 release arrived today and the jury is still out...
There's no sign of sexy Alek Sarantos, the powerful Greek billionaire hero - and the heroine is wearing a rather dodgy dress.

So I ask, do you like a book cover without a hero?

Or do you prefer the more conventional US version of the same title?

Monday, 19 January 2015


Recently, an editor asked me to complete a Q&A for a new blog and one of the questions she asked was:  Which is more difficult to write - the first line of a book, or the last?

I didn't have to think about it for more than a nano-second.  For me, the end of a story practically writes itself.  By that stage you know your characters inside out and you've shared every step of their unique journey.  You've witnessed all the heartache and heartbreak and all the different highs and lows along the way.  You need to tie up all the loose ends in an emotionally satisfying way and you also need to leave your reader wanting more.  To have them think:  "I like the way this writer tells a story."

But the beginning?  That tantalising first line we call The Hook?  Now that's a completely different ball-game.
There are almost too many choices to make about how to open your story.  Do you start from his POV?  Or hers?  Do you use narrative, or dialogue?
As always, it depends on the characters.  Ask yourself who has the most to lose and then put yourself in their skin and try to convey some of their fears.  Hook the reader right in by getting all those big emotions and feelings on the page, so that they can experience them vicariously.  Create characters who have real guts.  Give them a heart and a soul, as well as all the frailties and flaws which make us truly human.

With SEDUCED BY THE SULTAN (I've shown the yummy French cover above) the story starts from Catrin's point of view.  She's is the ordinary girl who has undergone a Cinderella-type makeover so that she's worthy of being the mistress of a hugely wealthy King.  The story starts when she realises that she's broken the number one rule of being a mistress - by falling in love!

I used narrative to convey Catrin's innermost thoughts and turmoil.  There was no way I could have started the book with dialogue since she is alone in the Sultan's luxury apartment and I'm not crazy about characters who talk to themselves (because it makes them sound crazy!).

It seems like an impossible love-affair and those are the ones I like best.  So that love can do the thing it's supposed to do and conquer all.

Think about the most memorable first lines you've ever read and then analyse why they've stayed with you.  For me, "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents." is one of my favourites.

What's yours?