Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful for Wine!

Happy Thursday! And Happy Thanksgiving to all those in America. I hope you're having a wonderful day.

Well, this week I'm giving thanks, because I've finished my edits for The No-Kids Club! Until the copy edits come in, of course, but I'm not thinking about that. It's set to be released in June, and I'm so excited to get this novel out there.

I've also been looking at cover ideas for the re-launch of The Pollyanna Plan. Amazon Publishing will be releasing it in mid-March, complete with a shiny new cover and paperback copies, too. They've pulled together some wonderful ideas and I'm looking forward to the next versions.

And on top of all that, my novella Last Christmas is now number one in short stories on Huge thanks to everyone who has bought, read, or reviewed it! There's a chance to win a copy over at The Book Chick and Fictionella, too.

In other news, the lovely Laura of Daily Dodo and Chick Lit Love has launched an event on Kickstarter for a one-day celebration of chick lit, including me, Carole Matthews and Alexandra Potter. Pop by to check out the details and make a donation.

As I mentioned, last week I was out at the Romantic Novelist' Association annual winter party. This year, I was determined to take some photos, but of course I left my camera/phone at home! Argh! However, here is a picture of me in action.

I hasten to add that only one glass of wine was mine!

Have a lovely week, everyone. See you next Thursday!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Little White Lies

Hello! After spending last evening cavorting around Westminster for the Romantic Novelists' Association party, I'm feeling ever so slightly delicate today. So I'm pleased to turn the blog over to the wonderful Kat Sheridan!

Take it away, Kat.

Little White Lies

I write historical romance, which means I probably spend as much time researching as writing. I not only need to know the big things like current events of the period. And it’s not just about the clothes, either, although that’s important. Woe the writer who errs in writing a love scene with a heroine who’s wearing gloves, a bodice, a skirt, multiple petticoats, drawers (in certain time periods—in others the ladies went “commando”), a corset, chemise, stockings and garters. And shoes. I always forget shoes. And don’t get me started on men’s clothes and the question of wigs, beards, sideburns or handlebar mustaches (and whether or not the lady shaved!)

But after reams of research are complied and sorted (clothes in that stack, politics in this one, carriages and how fast trains in that one), the writer needs to make a final decision on which facts (or misuse of fact) will throw a reader out of a story, and which ones can safely be elided, or perhaps just carefully shaded.

Food, for instance, can be problematic. An author friend once got a nasty email from a reader annoyed that a character was eating potatoes in a time when they were not yet a popular food (the author, stung, revised the book so the characters consumed the more accurate turnips). I ran into a similar problem with a plot thread concerning peaches in my debut release, luckily caught just weeks before publication. I discovered they were rare and expensive at the time, eaten for dessert, and not likely to be made into jam. I hastily swapped peaches for Gillyflower apples.

One scene involves the hero washing the heroine’s hair. She’s been through a bad time, and the scene is used to show the hero’s tender, protective side. The problem is that during the mid-19th century, hair-washing for ladies was an arduous task, undertaken only a few times a year. Forgetting for the moment that a peer of the realm would be unlikely to know the first thing about washing a lady’s hair and hardly likely to do it himself, it was simply too large a chore, and could be quite injurious to hair, given available washing ingredients of the time. Ladies, whose hair was often long enough to sit on, did keep their hair clean with daily brushing with clean brushes, and the use of oils to keep hair and scalp healthy, and with powders similar to some dry shampoos we use today. But there was no such thing as “shampoo” as we know in the time period of my story. Soap was used. Soap which was based on lye and other chemicals that could be outright dangerous to healthy hair.

But I wanted that bathing scene. So I deliberately and with malice aforethought ignored all the research I’d done on 19th hair washing and soap. My heroine got her hair washed by the hero. If you’re a reader, would that be enough to make you fling a book across the room? And if you’re a writer, have you ever glided over fact for the sake of a story?


Kat Sheridan is a former project manager whose very serious exterior hides a secret romantic. She is fond of books, bourbon, big words, coffee, and shiny things. Kat splits her time between the Midwest in the summer and the South in the winter, sharing her home with the love of her life and an exceedingly dignified Shih Tzu. She loves to hear from readers, and can be contacted at


When Jessa Palmer journeys to a castle in Cornwall to rescue her niece, she discovers the past still haunts Tremayne Hall and its brooding master, Dashiell Tremayne. Then the accidents begin. Soon Jessa must choose: abandon her mission to rescue the child or surrender to a dangerous passion.


Thank you, Kat!

I'll see you all next Thursday when I shall be fully recovered. Have a lovely week, everyone.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Edits, Romance, and Leaves

Happy Thursday!

I've no idea where the weeks are going. In exactly a month, I'll be jetting off to Canada with Mr and Baby TR in tow to celebrate the babe's first birthday and Christmas in one go. Crazy.

In the meantime, though, there are loads of edits to get through. Structural edits for The No-Kids Club plopped into my inbox on Monday, and I've been hard at work since. And next week, I get another rounds of edits plus the copy edits for The Pollyanna Plan! Plus the RNA Winter Party! It's all systems go here, I tell you.

Last weekend provide a bit of R&R from the usual routine, though. I was off to Bedford, just north of London, for the Festival of Romance.

The lovely river running through Bedford Town Centre.

A building I'm too lazy to identify.
I was up for an award which I didn't win (third year running I've been shortlisted and didn't claim a prize, but hey! It provided an excuse to drink lots of wine to drown my perceived sorrow).

The highlight of the festival was meeting writer friend Glynis Smy. Finally I was able to give her a huge hug -- and she gave me signed paperback copies of her novels, too.  Sadly, we forgot to get a photo of the two of us together. Massive fail!

Lizzie Lamb, Adrienne Vaughan, Tracy Bloom and me on a panel discussing author publishing.

And in weather-related news (because I'm obsessed), autumn has finally arrived. Here is a photo of the glorious leaves in Kensington Gardens.

Gratuitous baby shot!

And that's all from here. Have a great week, and a huge thanks to everyone who continues to leave comments despite my inability to return them as swiftly as I used to!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Twilight Zone

Hello, all!

Ever since submitting The No-Kids Club to my editor and publishing my Christmas novella last week, I've been in the Twilight Zone: that grey area where you're awaiting a huge chunk of work (in my case, edits and more edits) to fall into your lap, with no writing projects to occupy your time.

Not that I haven't been busy! I've been over at Deniz Bevan's blog, showcasing the South Bank, the location of my novella. And on Kate Lord Brown's blog, I list five of my favourite things.

These weren't on the list, but they should have been! Yummy yummy pancakes at Jamie Oliver's Recipease, our weekly breakfast locale.

Last Christmas, my novella, has been getting some lovely reviews, too. Just My Bucking Book, Handwritten Girl, Joo, and Book Geek Wears Pajamas have all had some nice things to say! Plus, there's a chance to win a copy over on Chicklit Club and Chick Lit Chloe.

Phew! I'm all linked out.

This weekend, I'm off to Bedford to be all romantic at the Festival of Romance. The Pollyanna Plan is up for an award (yay!). It's the third year I've been shortlisted, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

I'll be back next week with lots of pictures, I'm sure. Until then, have a great week!