Tuesday, 30 July 2013


but really, he's my super-sexy Sheikh Kulal.  
I hope you like him....

Friday, 26 July 2013


There are few things lovelier than walking through a field of ripening wheat.  So here, for a taste of English summer - drum-role - I give you a view of the Hampshire countryside.

While weaving my way through the bosky lanes, I spotted something I hadn't seen for years....a peacock butterfly.  Terrible to think I used to capture them and then put them in a jam-jar.  Which was probably why this one kept flitting away - informed by the spirit of some long-lost relative.  
Eventually, I managed to take a picture from a distance - which I didn't think was too bad for an iPhone.  Isn't it pretty?

Thursday, 25 July 2013


Either nobody guessed or nobody worked their way through William Blake's long poem to find the title of one of Agatha Christie's books (and one of my more haunting favourites) in yesterday's blog.  So I've given you a whacking great clue in today's title.

Today, I'm flagging up a book cover which arrived this morning.  The very sweet man who delivered it said, "Sign here, girly" which I know would have infuriated some of my more radical feminist friends - but I am shallow enough to have smiled (particularly as I hadn't even washed my hair!).

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


While out walking over beautiful St Catherine's Hill, I came across this thistle.  As thistles go, it's pretty big - but when photographed against the panoramic view - it becomes enormous.

Like many things, it's all a question of how you look at things; of perspective.
It reminded me of the poem by William Blake - which talks about the beauty of small things, and of looking closely...

It's a gorgeous (and very long!) poem and includes some lines near the end which Agatha Christie used to title one of her haunting murder stories.  Any idea which one I mean?

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour
A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage 
A Dove house filld with Doves & Pigeons
Shudders Hell thr' all its regions 
A dog starvd at his Masters Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State 
A Horse misusd upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood 
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fibre from the Brain does tear 
A Skylark wounded in the wing 
A Cherubim does cease to sing 
The Game Cock clipd & armd for fight
Does the Rising Sun affright 
Every Wolfs & Lions howl
Raises from Hell a Human Soul 
The wild deer, wandring here & there 
Keeps the Human Soul from Care 
The Lamb misusd breeds Public Strife
And yet forgives the Butchers knife 
The Bat that flits at close of Eve
Has left the Brain that wont Believe
The Owl that calls upon the Night
Speaks the Unbelievers fright
He who shall hurt the little Wren
Shall never be belovd by Men 
He who the Ox to wrath has movd
Shall never be by Woman lovd
The wanton Boy that kills the Fly
Shall feel the Spiders enmity 
He who torments the Chafers Sprite
Weaves a Bower in endless Night 
The Catterpiller on the Leaf
Repeats to thee thy Mothers grief 
Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly 
For the Last Judgment draweth nigh 
He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar 
The Beggars Dog & Widows Cat 
Feed them & thou wilt grow fat 
The Gnat that sings his Summers Song
Poison gets from Slanders tongue 
The poison of the Snake & Newt
Is the sweat of Envys Foot 
The poison of the Honey Bee
Is the Artists Jealousy
The Princes Robes & Beggars Rags
Are Toadstools on the Misers Bags 
A Truth thats told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent 
It is right it should be so 
Man was made for Joy & Woe 
And when this we rightly know 
Thro the World we safely go 
Joy & Woe are woven fine 
A Clothing for the soul divine 
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine 
The Babe is more than swadling Bands
Throughout all these Human Lands
Tools were made & Born were hands 
Every Farmer Understands
Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity 
This is caught by Females bright
And returnd to its own delight 
The Bleat the Bark Bellow & Roar 
Are Waves that Beat on Heavens Shore 
The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath
Writes Revenge in realms of Death 
The Beggars Rags fluttering in Air
Does to Rags the Heavens tear 
The Soldier armd with Sword & Gun 
Palsied strikes the Summers Sun
The poor Mans Farthing is worth more
Than all the Gold on Africs Shore
One Mite wrung from the Labrers hands
Shall buy & sell the Misers Lands 
Or if protected from on high 
Does that whole Nation sell & buy 
He who mocks the Infants Faith
Shall be mockd in Age & Death 
He who shall teach the Child to Doubt
The rotting Grave shall neer get out 
He who respects the Infants faith
Triumphs over Hell & Death 
The Childs Toys & the Old Mans Reasons
Are the Fruits of the Two seasons 
The Questioner who sits so sly 
Shall never know how to Reply 
He who replies to words of Doubt
Doth put the Light of Knowledge out 
The Strongest Poison ever known
Came from Caesars Laurel Crown 
Nought can Deform the Human Race
Like to the Armours iron brace 
When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow
To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow 
A Riddle or the Crickets Cry
Is to Doubt a fit Reply 
The Emmets Inch & Eagles Mile
Make Lame Philosophy to smile 
He who Doubts from what he sees
Will neer Believe do what you Please 
If the Sun & Moon should Doubt 
Theyd immediately Go out 
To be in a Passion you Good may Do 
But no Good if a Passion is in you 
The Whore & Gambler by the State
Licencd build that Nations Fate 
The Harlots cry from Street to Street 
Shall weave Old Englands winding Sheet 
The Winners Shout the Losers Curse 
Dance before dead Englands Hearse 
Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born 
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight 
Some are Born to sweet delight 
Some are Born to Endless Night 
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night 
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light 
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in Night 
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


I'm still on a bit of a high after this year's RWA conference which was held in Atlanta.
This southern city provided some amazing memories: fried cheesecake, the biggest aquarium in the world, unbelievably friendly people and some magnificent storms.  

Oh, and the discovery that the legendary Margaret Mitchell also wrote about Sheiks - so I feel I'm in very exalted company!

Here's an article she did for The Atlanta Journal (which still exists today as ajc.com)
Don't you just love the illustrations?

Today I'm back at work, creating the story of Catrin and Murat.
Catrin is - or rather, was - an innocent from the beautiful region of northern Wales - before she fell in love with Murat The Magnificent.
And Murat?  
Sigh.  Where do I begin?
He's a Sultan.  Actually, he's first Sultan I've ever written.  He's ruthless, hard and utterly magnificent and no woman can resist him - Catrin included.  
Many women have brought pleasure into this autocratic royal's life, but no woman has ever managed to tame him...

Like the sound of him?

Monday, 22 July 2013


Just back from Atlanta - a totally rocking city of futuristic skyscrapers, whose streets are lined with beautiful flowering trees called Crepe Myrtles.  
Their latin name is Lagerstoemia (which sounds like a small, fictional country) and they bring the place alive with colours of rose, cream, peach and purple.  I loved them.

The city has the most amazing houses in the mid-town area.
Like this one:

Doesn't that look peaceful?  Who wouldn't like to be sitting out on the veranda, drinking sweet tea?

Friday, 19 July 2013


Today, in an attempt to actually leave the conference hotel and to see a little of Atlanta which didn't involve adding yet more carbohydrate to my plate, I took a little trip to the local aquarium.  
It is actually the largest  aquarium in the world, with 6.3 million gallons of water and a lot of freaked-out looking fish.

Here's a piranha, which wasn't a bit how I've always imagined this particular fish to be (writhing around in swirling red water, crazed with blood lust as those razor-sharp teeth tear off  flesh).  But no, at least - not here in Georgia.  The piranha are docile; they looked stoned.

And here are some unidentified fish in a photo you can just tell is destined one day to be used as a screen-saver over on Facebook.

Last of all, here's me - by a flowering tree, close to the Coca-Cola factory.  It was a very American day.

In other news, I attended a breakfast meeting with two high-powered academics and some other writers of Sheikh romance.  We were discussing the appeal of the desert warrior hero.  
I know why I like Sheikhs.  
Do you?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Kicking off my book signing shortly at the Marquis Marriott hotel at 5.30 today (Atlanta time!), when I'll have copies of A SCANDAL, A SECRET, A BABY in my hot little hands.

Come on by and say hello (and eat a Cadbury's chocolate while you're there!)