Thursday, 28 October 2010


I've never been very good at sums and although I had a very good relationship with my maths teacher (Mr. Barrett!) - I wasn't allowed to sit my Maths G.C.E because it was accepted that I would fail.

But authors are supposed to keep a tally of the books they've written. For a start, when the numbers accrue, some of those numbers become milestones - like 75, for example - and you get something silver and rather gorgeous, from Tiffany. Yum!

I was sure I'd written 75. So I asked one of our editors if she could find out - and she did. Turns out that I'd actually written 81!

From the very first, back in 1988:

To the one which is out this month:

She also told me that I had sold ten million books - which means more to me than anything which comes in a turquoise box.
In fact, it seemed unbelievable.
It still does.
I might just have to write it down as numbers to see what if that helps...
No. That really IS unbelievable!
So thank you to all you lovely readers who keep buying the books and telling me how much you enjoy them - you're the ones who really count.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


I'm absolutely THRILLED that one of the aspiring authors I was mentoring for the New Voices competition has made it through to the
final four. And commiserations to those who didn't make the cut - the standard was unbelievably high and I hope that each and every one of you will complete your manuscript and send it in.

Carrie Spencer's HELP WANTED: APPLY FOR LOVE has everything you'd want from a romantic novel. A feisty heroine in Gabby and a hero who is more than her match - the delicious Finn. A sparky and intelligent office romance, it was one of those stories which engaged me from the get-go and which made me desperate to read what happens next.

The last part of the competition is for the four finalists to write a pivotal moment. This is a big, emotional point in the book - maybe that dark time when they lay their souls bare and you think that there is no hope left....

I hope you'll read the entries, which will be on the website next week. And I hope you'll

Good luck to you all - and Carrie - you're brilliant!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


is out in the U.K AND in the U.S right now!
In other words, it's out ON BOTH SIDES OF THE POND!

It's a great cover and I think it's a great book (well, I would, wouldn't I?).
Have you bought it? Read it?
And do you have any idea who first named the massive and imposing Atlantic Ocean, "The Pond"?

Friday, 15 October 2010


The other day I had lunch at one of my favourite restaurants in London.
The Criterion is a few short steps from bustling Piccadilly Circus Tube and the nearby statue of Eros. But into what a different world do those steps lead honestly feels as if you've stumbled into a picture book.

Inside you'll find marble, mirrors and mosaics. The intricate and glittering ceiling is a little like being in church.
Here's my friend Katrina bathed in gold from the reflected light.

You'd never find it - not unless you knew it was there.
So do you have any secret places you'd like to share?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Hope you've been following the exciting writing competition being run by Mills & Boon.
There were LOADS of entries of an impressively high standard and Romance HQ had a tough time trying to decide who should go through to the next round.

Congratulatons to all you who were successful - and I include those of you who didn't make the short-list. To enter is to prove that you're serious about your writing - so DON'T GIVE UP. There is a long list of successful authors who had to try and try again before they got published.

The ten short-listed then had to produce a second chapter. These will face the public vote to be whittled down to a further four.

Below are the three books I am mentoring - and you can click on the links to read the fantastic writing on offer:

by Cady Phelan

by Carrie Spencer

by Lucy Snowe

I love, love, LOVE them!
Have you read them yet?
And more importantly: HAVE YOU VOTED?

Saturday, 9 October 2010


The production I saw recently at the National Theatre was in modern dress (the Prince of Denmark was wearing a hoodie!) which I know isn't to everyone's taste....

And I know that director Nicholas Hytner changed some of the text....

But for me, as a first-timer at this play - it was an utterly captivating and moving performance. I loved it.

So I give you this enduring image of Sir Laurence Olivier with the skull of (poor) Yorick.

And leave you with the play's most famous soliloquy - which I now "get".

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

And wonder which is your favourite speech or quote from Shakespeare....

Friday, 1 October 2010


An email and photo arrived from Rachel this morning which really made me smile - and with her permission, I've included it in today's blog.

It's Rachel having just purchased a copy of SHAMEFUL SECRET, SHOTGUN WEDDING and it really cheered me up on a morning where the rain is coming down in a relentless grey torrent and I'm trying to learn the plot of Hamlet before seeing the play tonight for the first time in my life! I know. How can I have lived this long without experiencing it?
Yesterday, I talked about coincidences and most of you will know that the opening scene of Hamlet is set at Elsinore - the Danish royal castle. Well, I grew up in a street called Elsinore! How's that for coincidcnce?

So....have you seen Hamlet - or are you doing something new this weekend?
(Oh, and if anybody else wants to send in a photo of one of my books in an interesting setting, I'll gladly feature it here).