Friday 30 November 2012


Just back from an amazingly inspirational trip to Northern Ireland and the Republic.
And here I am, petting one of the stone lions outside the house of fabulous author, Lynne Graham.
She lives in a most beautiful and mysterious part of the world - where mists clear to reveal sacred hills and goats chew happily on the lushest grass you can imagine.

The lions made me think of Aslan and of the White Witch, who turned everything to stone.  The Narnian Chronicles are my favourite children's' stories of all time.
How about yours?

Sunday 18 November 2012


Another cutesy Christmas cover has arrived - this time from Sweden.

I love it.  Although as I recall, the couple were reaching the end of their relationship during the festive season (as so often happens!).  They certainly weren't gazing at each other in a dreamy-eyed way like that.  If you're interested in the English language version it's called SHAMEFUL SECRET, SHOTGUN WEDDING

And if anyone out there speaks Swedish, I'd love to know what "Lynbryllup" translates as.

Thursday 15 November 2012


The Swedish cover of ONE HUSBAND REQUIRED* is just so cosy that I had to share it.
A roaring log fire.  An old-fashioned Christmas tree (with non-matching baubles just like my own tree, which is always a monument to bad taste). Who could ask for anything more?

Today I saw the giant and  pretty fir which has been erected in Covent Garden and which went some way towards soothing my frazzled nerves.  I'd just endured the first half of Uncle Vanya and the acting was so bad it made Chekov's writing seem puerile and flat.  Just awful.  (But at least I didn't have to stay). 

*If you don't speak Swedish and would like an English copy of ONE HUSBAND REQUIRED, you can buy one here

Tuesday 13 November 2012


Still on the subject of hero inspiration - I've finally found a man who can make a beard look attractive.  No.  Forget that understatement of the century.  Who can make a beard look absolutely bloody amazing.  Emun Elliott is that man and the charismatic star of the BBC costume drama, The Paradise which I've been completely hooked by and which you can read about here.  

Sadly, the programme has just finished its run but catch it if you can.  It's a superb example of gripping sexual tension and intense romance - portrayed with little more than longing looks, punctuated by kisses which seem almost chaste but are packed full of emotion.

I've never written a hero with a beard before (other than the mystery beard which turned up on Titus Alexander on the UK cover of BACK IN THE HEADLINES)
But Mr Elliott has made me rethink my strategy.

Would you like to read about a man with dark, soulful eyes like his - even if he has the kind of jaw which has no real relationship with a razor?

Monday 12 November 2012


Over at iheartspresents I'm talking about my latest release - a sizzling story about a Duke and a once famous member of a girl-band, The Lollipops. 

BACK IN HEADLINES is out in the USA now.

I'm also talking about sexy men and inspirational men - and the man I had in mind when I wrote Titus Alexander was Damian Lewis.  Damian is currently very famous indeed thanks to his gripping and often harrowing performance in Homeland.

He has steely eyes and the coppery-coloured hair which I find incredibly attractive....

Do you?

Saturday 3 November 2012


Regular readers of this shockingly irregular blog will be aware of my huge passion for Italy.
I love Italy and have done ever since my twenty-first birthday when my parents asked if I wanted a ring or a watch and I replied, "No, all I want in the whole wide world is to see Michelangelo's David!".

So off I went to a magical place called Firenze where I hunted out the David, ate rather a lot of cheese omelette (omelette alla formagio was one of the few things I could ask for with a passably good accent) and bought myself a gorgeous handbag, in the dark green colour of one of those paintbrush-tip-shaped conifers you see all over the country.

I've just been reading that provincial capitals in Italy are about to be merged for reasons of cost-cutting, including the Tuscan cities of Pisa and Livorno.  They are only fifteen miles apart but they have been separated for centuries by a relationship of "cordial loathing" (don't you just love that expression?).   Which goes some way to explaining the Livorno saying "Better a death in the house than a Pisan at the door."  Am trying to imagine this being said about two places in England (say, Bath and Bristol) and somehow it just doesn't seem to work with the same degree of reasonable passion.

I'm off to Umbria very soon and Venice - and in 2013 I shall be taking my Tuscan writing course at the glorious Watermill .  I think there are a few places left.

In the meantime, here's a picture of the very best soup additive in the world.  Chuck a handful into a pot of vegetables and stock and you have yourself a feast.

So which country makes your heart beat a little faster?