Saturday 29 May 2010


The must-see event of May beckons....
It's my first ever trip to the Chelsea Flower Show.

There are crowds. I mean, this is like Cup Final day (only the people are smarter and the only scarves they are wearing are fashioned from pure silk).

This unusual display of beautiful glass blooms caught my eye because it's called Isfahan - and I've been there. The colour of these flowers is one of the many shades of blue which abound in that amazing city.....

To be honest, most of the plants were past their best (it was the end of a long, very hot week).
Lilies wilted and only the spooky carnivorous plants looked completely comfortable in the humid atmosphere. But the Dutch hyacinths were exquisitely-scented and I discovered a magnificent display of a flower I adore.

It's the same flower which Harriet Vane carried in her bouquet when she married Lord Peter Wimsey. I love it but can never spell it and am going to have to go and look it up.

What's your favourite flower, and why?

Monday 24 May 2010


Dan has kindly sent me one of his photos of a foggy morning in (or near?) Chicago, taken at his local train station.
It's moody and atmospheric, don't you think?

He says that everyone thinks he's strange because he likes to take the train and thinks there are far too many cars on the road.

Dan, guess what? SO DO I!

It drives me (sic) bananas that people get behind the wheel at the drop of a hat. I love the train - watching the world go by. Watching people. Reading a book. Eating a sandwich. Very simple pleasures.

One of the best-ever train journeys I've ever done was travelling as a teenager from Milano (where a porter refused a tip, but gave me his address and implored me to let him know I'd arrived safely! And a young soldier shared his lunch with me. Oh, the hospitality of the Italian people....). The train snaked all the way down to the Cote d'Azur - past the glitter of a blindingly-blue sea. It stopped in Nice and I thought I'd arrived in paradise.

Recently, my daughter and I took the train to Avignon, where my son is working and where I shall be this time tomorrow.

What's your most memorable train journey?

Friday 21 May 2010


In July, a brand-new continuity series is being launched by Harlequin Mills & Boon. It features a flawed and fantastically rich dynasty known as the Balfours.

The series kicks off with the fabulous Michelle Reid's book entitled MIA'S SCANDAL and my own story follows in August. It's called KAT'S PRIDE and here's a sneak preview of the cover.

It's gorgeous, isn't it?
Kat is nothing like my usual heroines - she's rich and she's spoilt and she can be petulant. Writing her was a big challenge. But when I dug deeper, I was able to discover the reasons why she hides behind a brash and glitzy bravado....and to find the real person beneath.
In a way, she reminds me of Amy from LITTLE WOMEN (one of my all time favourite books) - who was probably the least popular of the sisters. But I like my characters to be a challenge - the more difficult the journey they have to take in order to find true happiness - the more satisfying the conclusion.

Do you have a favourite heroine from childhood books?

Thursday 20 May 2010


Today, I'm blogging over on iheartspresents - so I hope you might join me there.

I know that Dan (now a regular visitor to this blog - hurrah!) - is only just about to embark on his first-ever romance novel, so it's a fairly safe bet to say that I don't think he'll have ever clicked onto the ihearts site!
So go on, Dan - and please feel free to comment.

Tuesday 18 May 2010


couldn't drag me away......

Well, that's not quite true. Eventually, I was forced to leave the Tuscan idyll where I was revealing the secrets of writing romantic fiction to lively group of women at The Watermill - and to head for home.
But I shall miss the silvery-green olive trees, the cute cows with bells hung around their necks and the masses of wild flowers which were everywhere. (Do you suppose that the famous rock-band Deep Purple named themselves after the orchids which studded every available field?)

I'm in love with Italy.
Which country makes your heart beat a little faster?

Monday 17 May 2010


Forgive my blog absenteesim (that doesn't look right, but what the hell?).
I've just spent time in beautiful Umbria and then onto magnificent Tuscany (Quick! I need more superlatives!), where a daily walk gave me views like this....

I was teaching romance writing at the Watermill in Posara - of which more, later. For now, I have just sent off some urgent tweaks to my latest ms and am rushing around, burying my nose in lily-of-the-valley during it's brief, sweet spell, which gives us that wonderful smell. My favourite, actually.

What's yours? Chanel No. 5 or freshly-laundered sheets?