24th July
conf goody bag

Last weekend I was lucky enough to get away to the Romantic Novelists Association annual conference. This year it was held at Harper Adams University in the heart of rural Shropshire. The moment I got out of the car, I could tell it was the heart of the countryside, without even opening my eyes.

However, the wind was brisk, so the rural aromas did nothing to spoil the weekend. First up, I went to register and collect my goody bag which contained all this:

The rest of Friday has receded into a bit of a blur. I have the impression of a whirlwind of meeting up with old friends, culminating in a drinks party held by the lovely editors from Mills & Boon (which probably accounts for the blur).

gala dinner

Saturday, though, I was much more sensible, and spent practically the entire day going from one workshop to another. I felt as if I learned an incredible amount of incredibly useful stuff. Time will tell how much of it has stuck.

The evening was the gala dinner, where I took the opportunity to pose with fellow Novelista Sophie Clare before dining with the ladies from the liberta blog.

On Sunday morning I attended my final two workshops.

Firstly, I went to one given by Laura E James in the course of which I learned how to do a facebook live video. I shall let you be the judge of whether this was a good thing or not.

Then, my final session, was given by Fiona Harper on building character. It was amazing. It was worth the entire conference fee just to attend that one talk, and I’ve got to say, if ever you get a chance to attend a workshop given by her, then you should go!

(note to self, buy her latest book “The Other Us”)

11th June
tramontana websyz

Recently I attended a wedding in Sorrento.

Being a history buff, I was thrilled to discover that the next hotel over to mine once hosted Lord Byron! As well as Shelley, Scott, and James Fennimore-Cooper. Here is a picture of the Imperial Hotel Tramontana (as it is known nowadays)– with Vesuvius just visible in the background. It began as a private villa, and only became a hotel in 1812.

I then went on to find out that Lord Wellington stayed in the area too – funnily enough in the same hotel as General Murat (though hopefully not at the same time!). That was further round the bay, at the Grand Hotel Cocumelia.

june lunch websyz

And then just this Friday, I went off for lunch with my Novelista friends in North Wales. Here we all are posing for photos again – this time to promote a new magazine which showcases all things Welsh. And which contains this month a competition to win tea with Trisha Ashley, as well as a signed copy of her latest book, The Little Teashop of Lost and Found.

18th May
book launch websyz

May already! Where has this year gone? I’ve been so busy writing my regency romances that time has just flown by. And I haven’t shared with you about becoming a grandmother, or the “having-to-read-Lolita-for-my-book-group-debacle.” (Although, to be honest, it’s probably better to draw a veil over the entire episode.)

But just last week, I went off to North Wales to meet up with some fellow writers to celebrate the release of my 23rd story for Harlequin Mills & Boon, and with that being writerly newsworthy, I thought I really ought to share with you.

I ordered this fabulous cake from Marks and Spencers. I was looking online for a Colin the Caterpillar cake, when this one caught my eye, and I couldn’t resist. You see, there is a bit of a theme of butterflies running through “The Debutante’s Daring Proposal,” so it seemed perfect.

cake websyz

And now I’m off to pack for a trip to Sorrento where my nephew is getting married. I should be finishing my next book, which has a deadline of May 26th, but I keep thinking of things I want to put in my suitcase…

5th February
rub parure

Yes, I know it’s February already and I have woefully neglected this blog. But the good news is that’s because I’ve been busy writing. Just before Christmas I completed my 24th book, and sent it in to my editor. After a brief respite (hah!) for Christmas, during which I did lots of entertaining, eating, drinking and generally enjoying myself, I got down to the revisions and then line edits for this book. It’s going to be called “The Major Meets his Match” and is the first of a trilogy which will appear under the banner “Brides for Bachelors”. I would love to have called it, “Where have all the rubies gone?” or “Annie gets her buns” but those titles were just not romantic enough.

Meanwhile, here is a picture of the kind of jewellery set, known as a parure, which go missing in "The Major Meets his Match", and set my bachelors off on their quest to find the culprit by book 3.

6th January

I hope you all had a good Christmas and are looking forward to what the New Year will bring.

I’m currently working on my 24th book for Harlequin Mills and Boon, which is the first of a trilogy featuring a crime that has to be solved by the efforts of each successive set of heroes and heroines.

And I’ve been wondering what to make as a New Year’s resolution, and have blogged about it at the Novelistas Blog.