Current Release

Current Release
The Warrior's Viking Bride

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mushrooming

It is the right season for going out mushrooming, and I took sometime offwriting yesterday to just that.
The fields and forest at this time of year sport an array of mushroms. Most are not worth eating as they are either only margianlly edible or sometimes highly poisonous. But it is good fun to try to find mushrooms and identify them. And such proved the case yesterday. However, down a steep bank on the top of a birch tree clustered a horde of beautiful white Oyster mushrooms. Now I have never found them in the wild before, so I was very excited. We picked afew but left the vast majority gow undisturbed.

I shall dry them and eventually add them to stews and/or sauces.

I always go with a field guide to identfying mushrooms. Roger Philips' are probably the best. And unless one is absolutely postively sure, one never eats a mushroom. it takes a slight leap of faith, but my dh has done mushrooming since he was a boy. The first several times, he collected horse mushrooms, I made him eat them and watched to see what would happen. As he survived...I became a convert.

Last year, I found parasol mushrooms and field blewits -- both excellent, but thus far neither has reappeared.... still October is the best time for gathering mushrooms.


I had a lovely email today from a reader, asking to be put on my email newsletter list. Thus I suppose I needto get one sorted -- certainly in time for A Noble captive hitting the shops in the UK. From little acorns, mighty oaks grow and all that.


The wip is within touching distance of the end.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stop press!

My very dear friend Anna Lucia has recieved an offer for her book MCWife from a US RWA PRINT publisher.
My fingers are firmly crossed that it works out, but do go over and congratulate her!!!

At the coalface

I am within sight of my goal -- under a hundred pages to go. I know the ending. BUT sometimes, it seems the closer I get the further away the end is.

And why does the middle of October suddenly seem to be so close?

Time is a very funny thing.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

And some did eat cake!


I had a thoroughly lovely time at the AMBA day yesterday. The plane was relatively painless, as was the tube. It was pouring down with rain when I got off at Green Park but luckily I had put my blue mac and so off I went to the RAF Club for lunch. The guests this year were the managing editors from Germany,Holland and the UK. They provided lots of interesting info about how they did a variety of things. It was also a chance to catch up with friends and meet a few peple that I had not met before. It was not nearly as intimidating as last year as I think I felt much more confident. It was lovely to see such people as Kate Walker, Anne McAllister, Thrish Wylie, Natasha Oakley and Jessica Hart.

After the lunch and discussion, a number of us went off to Fortnams in search of CAKE. Having eaten rather a lot at lunch, I was content to have leon refresher. Julie Cohen (see picture with enhance cleavage) had a glass of milk and a Victoria sponge. Abby Green, a new presents author joined in with a brownie and Lucy Gordon had ice cream --Dusty Rose which looked absolute delish..

As you can see from the picture of author with handbag, Kate Hardy was looking v. glam with her new Radley handbag. After that rbrief respite, we trooped off to Brook's (as in the club where the Earl of Sandwich used and Charles Fox used to gamble) The interior is to die, BUT photography is forbidden. The sofas downstairs are large, burgundy and leather. Prints of the Prince Regent were hung on the stairwell. We were in the Gaming Room and it has been carefully restored to its Regency splendour. The original gaming table is now in the library. Brooks has its own private label champage that I drank rather too much of. Liz Fielding received her well deserved RITA, and one of the authors got her silver 25 book pin.HM&B give out pins for 25 and 50 books published. The editors were all looking lovely and conversation swirlled. I spoke far too much, and was once again one of the last to leave.

It was a thoroughly good day, and I trust that I managed to stay out of photos...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Roman's Virgin Mistress -- blurb

I have just received the blurb for The Roman's Virgin Mistress (M&B Historical paperback July 07) and I love it!!!

Scandalous!
Silvana Junia knows what the gossips say about her – and doesn't care! Until a mysterious, dangerous stranger rescues her from the sea, and she's instantly drawn to him.

Notorious!
Lucius Aurelius Fortis is rich and respected. But his playboy past could come back to haunt him if he cannot resist his attraction to beautiful Silvana. And in the hot sun of Baiae their every move is watched…

Outrageous!
Tempted beyond endurance, Silvana will become his mistress. But she has one last shocking secret…which will change everything between them!


Rome, 69 B.C.

Under the surface

I was rereading Robert McKee's Story as my before going to sleep reading.

A the moment he is my favourite author on writing. Possibly because much of what he says is very advanced, and he uses graphs and logic tables.

In any conflict, it is the dilemma that is important. A choice between an obvious yes or no, is not really a choice. It is the choices that are less clear cut that make for an interesting story. Can someone want two irreconciable things at the same time? Can the character actually fail to complete the circle? How is the character going to change? Dilemmas create tension, far more than clear cut choices.

The other thing that jumped out a t me last night was that the same reaction, the same beat does not change anything and you go into a holding pattern. Action/reaction shouldresult in a gap and then a change.

And another thing: the old maxim -- it is a scene is ony about what is shown on the surface, the writer is trouble as there is no tension.

Tomorrow I am off to London. It will be fun, and thre will be CAKE involved or so I have been informed. Me? I am a great cake eater. I see no problems with cake. Ice cream can be good too.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Better today

The sun is shining. My fever appears to have stopped or at least I am not breaking out in a sweat every time I move -- although I still have a bit of a cough.

Tonight at 9 pm on BBC 4 is the first part of a four part series entitled Reader I married Him -- Daisy Goodwin presents a look at romantic fiction. Already from the press releases I have learnt that a M&B book is sold somewhere in the UK every 2 minutes. M&B represents 40% of the paperback market. And hopefully with well researched statistics, getting an airing on the BBC, Romance will be taken more seriously. I will be trying to glean any statistics I can, because whenever you do media presentations, you do get ask certain questions.... I know they did some filmng at the M&B offices so I shall be looking for familiar faces. They also interviewed some members of the RNA. I am really looking forward to seeing it.

I am also looking forward to Friday and AMBA day. It starts with lunch.This year, the speakers are foreign editors. Then some friends and I are retiring to Fortnams for a cup of tea. Later there is a toast to the authors at a very old established club...With all the editors. I am especially looking forward to seeing the historical team again as I am very fond of them. Champagne will be drunk by those that can, o.j. by those who are on the soft stuff... Then I get to go to dinner with two very good friends. It is one of the days that I do feel like -- I am a Glamorous International Award winning Best selling Author and so are my friends, thank you very much.

As generally I sit around in jeans that are somewhat worse for wear, old sweaters and t-shirts, I think I deserve a bit of glam...

Better today

The sun is shining. My fever appears to have stopped or at least I am not breaking out in a sweat every time I move -- although I still have a bit of a cough.

Tonight at 9 pm on BBC 4 is the first part of a four part series entitled Reader I married Him -- Daisy Goodwin presents a look at romantic fiction. Already from the press releases I have learnt that a M&B book is sold somewhere in the UK every 2 minutes. M&B represents 40% of the paperback market. And hopefully with well researched statistics, getting an airing on the BBC, Romance will be taken more seriously. I will be trying to glean any statistics I can, because whenever you do media presentations, you do get ask certain questions.... I know they did some filmng at the M&B offices so I shall be looking for familiar faces. They also interviewed some members of the RNA. I am really looking forward to seeing it.

I am also looking forward to Friday and AMBA day. It starts with lunch.This year, the speakers are foreign editors. Then some friends and I are retiring to Fortnams for a cup of tea. Later there is a toast to the authors at a very old established club...With all the editors. I am especially looking forward to seeing the historical team again as I am very fond of them. Champagne will be drunk by those that can, o.j. by those who are on the soft stuff... Then I get to go to dinner with two very good friends. It is one of the days that I do feel like -- I am a Glamorous International Award winning Best selling Author and so are my friends, thank you very much.

As generally I sit around in jeans that are somewhat worse for wear, old sweaters and t-shirts, I think I deserve a bit of glam...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

On being sick

First things first My good writing friend Michelle Willingham has finally sold her first book to M&B historicals.It is an Irish Medieval, andfull of hunky warriors. It is wonderful news and I am sure she will be a great addition to the M&B stable.

This weekend, it finally hit -- I am sick. My children have been sick, my dh has been sick, and then it was my turn. Yesterday, I went to bed at 5pm without supper with a headache that would not quit. My middle made me a hot water bottle, and I woke up an hour later --drenched as the hot water bottle had leaked everywhere and being out of it , I hadn't noticed! I still have a bit of temperature, but feel much better.

I was able to work on my wip and I am not so depressed about its progress as when my headache was nearly blinding me. It is getting there. Over 50k now and the deadline a little less than four weeks away. If I keep going at my current rate I WILL make it. I know what is happening next and have really looking forward to writng this part. It is basically five to six more chapters. Or about a hundred to a hundred and twenty more pages, then editting which always adds because I have a tendency to need to layer.

Oh and I have finally got ALL the honey in. Something else I don't reccomend doing with a fever but it had to be done. My eldest and I went out and brought the last three supers in yesterday. Because the Porter bee escape had been on, and the bees could not get to the honey, once we had taken the first super off, the bees rose up -- stinging mad. In the end , I had about five stings and my son about three. The honey was easy to spin off. And we ended up with 18 lbs.
So that is a grand total of 206 pounds off two hives. Which I think will take some beating.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My cave

Cheryl St John had a blog yesterday about her cave, her inner sanctum and I was impressed. This is what my writing space currently looks like. I stitched the unicorn picture when I was sixteen. Underneath are my covers such as I have them. On the top of the bookcase, you can see the champagne bottles from my celebrations of my first two M&B contracts. The red heart shaped box next to them is where I keep my reader letters. It was originally a box of chocolates from my dh, but I loved the shape and thought it the perfect place to keep reader's letters. And you can see my mug. There is generally a mug of something on my desk and I tend to drink it either lukewarm or cold as I go into the kitchen to have a break, wander back, start writing again and then remember...
And also in the room, but in the picture was my yellow labrador who was lying alseep, and whom I nearly tripped over as I triedto take the picture.
And I am in mid-book. I thought it was in a mess , until Cheryl point me in the direction of Writer's Caves and I saw Jennifer Cruisie's. Then I realized what mess could really be like!
So go on tell me what is YOUR cave like or better yet post a photo on your blog so the world can see!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Gladiator's Honor's cover

I adore the cover of Gladiator's Honor but had no idea which artist had done the illustration. I know it was commissioned as HM&B do not have any ancient Roman set artwork.
But I had no idea about who the artist.

Thanks to Victoria Bylin who was searching for the artist who did the artwork for the UK cover of Abbie's Outlaw. I now know -- James Griffin. You can take a look at his gallery here and if you scroll down a bit you will see the orginal picture of Gladiator's Honor. He also did the artwork for Juliet Langton's The Warlord's Mistress. Anyway, I thought it rather exciting.

In other news: After I got my first reader letter, I made a decision that I would write to those authors whose books I really liked and thank them. It is something I had never thought of doing before. Anyway, I was very impressed with Loretta Chase and in particular Mr Impossible. So I emailed her and recieved a nice email back. She was in deadline frenzy and apparently my letter helped give her the impetus to finish. Always a nice thought. Her next book, the final book in the series Darius's story -- Not Quite A Lady will be published by Avon in May 2007. So there is some of my May reading sorted then. And if you have not yet read Loretta Chase and like Regency, do -- you are in for a treat.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Part of the Hugh Jackman Tour




The Pink Heart Society has declared it a Hugh Jackman day and has invited members to post pictures as part of a tour and I am doing my bit. Personally I think this one is fairly good... I found it at Jackman's Landing which has a marvellous compendium of photos...

The Romance Reader Connection Review of GH

I woke up this morning to another review -- this time from The Romance Reader Connection. Melissa Fowler rated it a 4 1/2 stars. As she is a dedicated reader of Harlequin Historicals, it was a real thrill to get the rating.

She said: THE GLADIATOR'S HONOR is an enticing combination of passion andromance, adventure, suspense and political intrigue. Ms. Styles captivating narrative brings ancient Rome to life in amazing detail.Valens and Julia are well suited as hero and heroine, the type of characters who, despite being knocked around a bit in the past, aredetermined to live as they wish—even if it is outside of polite society. The supporting cast of characters was also quite engaging, especially the more villainous elements.

The Romance Reader Connection is lovely, well thought out site btw and well worth a visit.

I do so love getting feedback from readers whether it is in the form of reviews or letters from readers!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Gladaitor's Honor a B+ at All About Romance

All About Romance has reviewed Gladiator's Honor and given it a B+. It was a thorough review and certainly has given me things to think about. They are notoriously difficult reviewers and so I can take a certain amount of satisfaction from the review.
And even though it did not have that certain something to make a Desert island Keeper for that particular reviewer, she still is looking forward to my next book. Always a bonus.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Yet more honey

I got three more full supers off one of the hives -- this makes 5 full supers thus far from this one hive. It stil has 3 incomplete supers on and so potentially more honey.
It looks like it will be about 100 pounds more of honey. This is to go with the other 100 pounds of honey I have already got off....
At the moment I am heartly sick of honey. There are 6 more supers frames to spin, but the honey tank is at the bottom of the spinner is full as is the filter tank.I have to wait for the honey to drain through into the collection tank before I can complete the job. Luckily the 144 jars and lids arrived yesterday. And I am not going to even begin to think about candles. As the other byproduct of keeping bees is beeswax. Neither am I tempted to make mead -- a fermented and therefore highly alcoholic honey drink popular during the AngloSaxon/Viking period. Lots of beekeepers do make the drink.
But it goes to show what my hives are capable of producing in a good year. But God, it is hard and at times very scary work with the bees pinging all about you. It is good to get the blood flowing though and there is a certain amount of satisfaction, once the supers are in the house and the bees are humming outside.

In other news: My partial was okayed by my editor -- so it is full steam ahead and I no longer have an excuse. My fingers are crossed for an excellent manuscript.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Noble Captive Hardbacks arrive

My hardback copies for A Noble captive have arrived! I love and adore the cover. It just is. My editors who comissioned the cover picked up the elements of the story in far better way than I could.
And it is just as exciting to get the copies for your second book as your first.
Okay, maybe a bit less...
Ironically it was just about a year that the full was requested, and what a year it has been!

Monday, September 04, 2006

The last day before school starts

Today is the last day before school starts for my younger two. It is bound to be a day of searching for lost items, and checking one last time to make sure that everything is there.
The weeks have flown by and it hardly seems anytime since we were getting ready to go to Iceland!
What is worse, the years have flown. Eighteen years ago, I was busy getting ready to go to the UK. Sixteen years ago, I had a really bad night and then my eldest was born the next day by c-section.
Hence the only reason why I know the date I landed in the UK to start my new life -- I had to show my passport when I was registering my eldest's birth and one of the midwifes commented.

At that time I thought I had all the time in the world -- every day seemed to take a year. My life revolved around this newborn. getting ready to go anywhere took hours because no sooner was I dressed and ready, then he had to changed or fed and then ... you get the picture. Then suddenly he was five and starting school, and now he will be sixteen. And in theory next June, he could leave school, and leave home...A Very Scary Thought.

Luckily he is intent on university, so he will belong to me for a few more years yet.

I still remember the crewel work picture I did for a very good friend of mine when I was 16 and she was expecting her first child. It had the words the effect -- Hush to the washing, and ironing go to sleep, I am rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

And they really don't... time is a funny thing and it does slip through your fingers. Even when you think you have all the time in the world.