Friday, February 29, 2008

Winner of Executive Mother-To-Be!

Happy Leap Day!

Congratulations to Jenny, who is our winner for a signed copy of Nicola Marsh's book, Executive Mother-To-Be!

I've sent you an e-mail Jenny, to get your mailing address.

There's lots of fun in store for March, with a brand new contest - and Spotlight in Six with Jennie Adams - new releases, and more. Stay tuned.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Reviews for February Books

If you haven't picked up this month's releases yet, perhaps this will sway you into making a trip to the bookstore!

Executive Mother-To-Be by Nicola Marsh: “Nicola Marsh is an author who can make two seemly unlikely characters fall in love and show that the path of true love doesn’t follow what anyone thinks is the right one, it makes it’s mind up as it goes along but it does get it right in the end. A magnificent book of how two people travel the route of looming parenthood and relationship woes together.” Cataromance, 4 stars

English Lord, Ordinary Lady by Fiona Harper: "I took one look and thought, "Count me in." Happily, the book was every bit as good as the title's cute as can be. English Lord, Ordinary Lady is a nearly ideal book to read on a dreary winter evening. " All About Romance

“Sublimely entertaining, wonderfully moving and unashamedly romantic, Fiona Harper is an absolute genius when it comes to creating terrific characters and writing superb romances. Warm, witty and feel-good, contemporary romance does not get any better than this!” Cataromance, 5 stars

The Playboy’s Plain Jane by Cara Colter: “…a pair of emotionally complex characters and lots of humour…an entertaining story all around.” Romantic Times (4)

“…a powerful romance about the transforming power of love.” Merrimon Book Reviews

Her One and Only Valentine by Trish Wylie: “…excellent characters…charm and wit to spare.” Romantic Times, (4)

“Trish Wylie at her very best! Emotional, dramatic, witty and moving.” Pink Heart Society Reviews

Cattle Rancher, Secret Son by Margaret Way: “A wonderfully rich romance read!” Merrimon Book Reviews

What are you waiting for? Get reading!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

February Special Releases

The Centenary continues with new special releases, so hold on to your hats as we tell you what's available RIGHT NOW:

First up is a Centenary collection of SHORT STORIES...all with fun retro covers from some of Mills and Boon's most popular authors. Click on THIS LINK to go to the page and see what's offered in this grand collection!

And the MOTHER'S DAY COLLECTION is also on offer...go HERE to see what is in this fabulous collection.

And the third collection available in the Mills and Boon offer of the month section is THE BABY COLLECTION, which has Whose Baby? included by Romance authors Caroline Anderson, Jessica Hart and Lucy Gordon. Just head on over HERE for a peek.

Margaret Way has the book of the month with Cattle Rancher, Secret Son...remember these special editions have a bonus story in them! Margaret's bonus story is called His Heiress Wife. And you'll also get February's promo code to enter to win a Samsonite Travel Bag.

And if you go to THIS Mills and Boon page, you can see what else is available for winning.

Special releases this month include Conveniently Wed, featuring Carole Mortimer, Melissa James and Rebecca Winters.

And also Mothers Wanted, by Sandra Marton and Marion Lennox.
This book is also part of the Mother's Day Collection.


And of course we can't leave you without mentioning that the deadline for entering our OWN contest is drawing have one more week to get your name in for our drawing for Nicola Marsh's Executive Mother-To-Be. Email and put Nicola in the subject line, and we'll make the draw next Friday!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Glamorous Life of an Author....

When we authors hear about the glamorous lives we lead, most of the time we laugh, because we know the truth...the true wonder of writing for a living means sitting in front of your computer in sleep pants or yoga pants with your hair in a sloppy ponytail and a huge cup of coffee (or some variation thereof). But now and then occasion warrants to dress up and be glam, and this week ROMANCE author Fiona Harper is here to give us her first-hand, super-glam report from the RNA Awards and the Mills and Boon Centenary Cocktail Party which happened earlier this month. Take it away Fi!

Well, I’ve had a wonderfully glamorous week. Most of my writing life is spent slumped over my keyboard in jogging bottoms or pyjamas and I can’t remember the last time I put make-up on, but this week I got to do the glitzy side of being a writer. Call her my alter-ego, if you will – Fiona Harper got to go out and party!
Here in the UK, Monday Feb 4 was the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual awards lunch. There are two prizes that are given out: The Romantic Novel of the Year and the Romance Prize. The former is for mainstream, single-title fiction and the latter for shorter romantic fiction, such as category romance and magazine serials. This year, Mills & Boon, the UK face of Harlequin, took all six places on the shortlist, and I was overwhelmed that two of my books had made the list!

The nominees were: Driving Him Wild – Julie Cohen (Modern Heat/Promotional Presents), The Secret Life of Lady Gabriella – Liz Fielding (M&B Romance/Harlequin Romance), Breakfast at Giovanni’s – Kate Hardy (Modern Heat/Promotional Presents), Her Parenthood Assignment – Fiona Harper (M&B Romance/Harlequin Romance), English Lord, Ordinary Lady – Fiona Harper (M&B Romance/Harlequin Romance), The Mediterranean Rebel’s Bride – Lucy Gordon (M&B Romance/Harlequin Romance). (The books made the centrepieces, aren't they lovely?)

Yes, that was four Romance titles on the shortlist, which just goes to show what a strong line we write for. I know most of the other authors on the shortlist personally, and they are all lovely, and all of them are on my ‘autobuy’ list, so I was incredibly honoured to have a spot amongst them.

As you can imagine, I arrived at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington feeling a little nervous. But when I walked in on the red carpet (Why where there no waiting paparazzi to snap my photograph? Why?) and found a host of friendly faces gathering before the ceremony I forgot to be too jittery. I was just having too much fun catching up with old friends and fellow authors. Although it really should have been handbags at dawn, fellow shortlisted author Kate Hardy and I were far too busy sipping champagne and admiring each other’s Radley handbags to get the claws out. All the shortlisted authors were whisked away to have their photographs taken along with their editors and Harlequin Mills & Boon executives. As you can see, we were all having a pretty good time, even if we did have to put our champagne glasses down for a couple of minutes!

Lunch was small but perfectly formed: tomato and roasted cumin soup, guinea fowl in a port wine jus with fondant potatoes and confit cabbage cake (was much better than it sounds!) and mulled wine soufflĂ© with plum ice cream. Just as we were finishing our coffees, the award presentations started. My heart rate went from 0 to 60mph in a matter of seconds. Judge Trisha Ashley summed up the books and then they announced the winner was…Kate Hardy! The judges felt it had real warmth and a lovely realistic ending. Kate was completely flabbergasted, having convinced herself that the award was definitely going to go to either Liz Fielding or Lucy Gordon, and her heartfelt acceptance speech brought a lump to everyone’s throat. The Romantic Novel of the Year went to Freya North for her book ‘Pillow Talk’.
After all the tension, it was great to relax and chat with other authors and friends. Although I didn’t go home with the trophy, I did come away with a lovely red rose from the RNA to congratulate me on being shortlisted and the warm feeling from knowing I was the first person in the history of the award to have two books on the shortlist at the same time – I can’t be too upset about that now, can I?

I didn’t have much time to recover from all the excitement before it was time to get myself all dressed up again for the party to celebrate Mills & Boon’s 100th birthday. Mills & Boon was founded in 1908 by Gerald Mills and Charles Boon and in the early days they produced a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, but the section that really took off was romantic fiction, which they are now famous for. Apparently, one book is sold every six seconds in the UK.

I arrived at the party with fellow Romance authors Trish Wylie and Natasha Oakley, instantly lost them in the crush and didn’t see them again for an hour or two! But there was plenty of socialising to do. All of the UK-based Romance authors had made it to the party and I managed to chat briefly to Liz Fielding (seen here bookended with butlers...oh my!) and Jessica Hart. I saw Lucy Gordon at a distance, but never quite managed to work my way into that corner of the room to say hello.

The party itself was fabulous. The venue was The Wallace Collection, a national museum containing works of art and furniture, housed in a large townhouse in the heart of London’s fashionable West End. We entered through a grand hallway and walked through a couple of the galleries before emerging into a large square courtyard which had been covered over with a glass roof. Waiters carrying trays of champagne cocktails appeared out of thin air and two ladies on stilts dressed as pink flamingos tottered above us. There was a stand serving candy floss in one corner and we were offered pink and white ice creams to eat.

The butlers for the occasion were hired from a company called Butlers in the Buff – although thankfully rather than wearing only a strategically-placed apron, they were fully dressed with their top buttons and bow-ties undone. One butler circled the room presenting deep pink roses tied with a bow to every woman. Any of these guys could have starred as a cover model on a romance book. I’m surprised there wasn’t more of a stampede, honestly. I saw a twinkle in more than one author’s eye (and even editors’ eyes) as they contemplated kidnapping one and taking him home. The party went by so fast. I wish it could have gone on for a couple more hours, just so I had a chance to catch up with more people that I only managed to wave to or exchange a few words with. But this is only the start of the celebrations here in the UK. Events planned for later in the year include an exhibition of M&B memorabilia that will be touring libraries, events at various literary festivals and publication of special edition books to mark the centenary. So, Happy Birthday, Mills & Boon! Let’s hope they are still publishing great feel-good books for another hundred years.

Thanks Fiona! And click on the following links for more photos and information!

Don't forget...if you haven't already, send an e-mail to with the subject line NICOLA to win a copy of Nicola Marsh's latest book, this month's special prize!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day with Trish Wylie

To celebrate the most romantic of days, Trish Wylie is here to talk about her February release, HER ONE AND ONLY VALENTINE.

It's the day the world over celebrates romance so to be asked to
write a story involving St. Valentine's Day was a gift for any romance writer! And the best excuse I've ever had to write the kind of scene I've loved the very idea of since I was a little girl...

“Dance with me.”

His hand felt wonderful. And yes, she was fully aware that he’d just walked in unannounced looking the way he did and she’d reacted like a shy teenager with a crush, but she needed the physical contact. She needed to be able to be with him like this, to let her guard down enough to prove to herself that she could still get along with him, spend time with him, and not allow the fact that she was in love with him to get in the way.

So she turned her head and looked up at him with a challenging quirk of her eyebrows, “How do I even know you can dance? You might have two left feet.”

Kane turned round, switching his hands as he leaned a little closer to her face, h
is deep voice low and deliciously seductive, “Let’s find out shall we?”

Her One And Only Valentine is set in an old Irish Country House, so it was the perfect setting for a Valentine's Day Ball. Flowers, candlelight, couples all around highlighting my heroines sense of heartache that she isn't able to tell the man she loves how she feels. Sigh. And dancing...

Oh the dancing.

When I was a child my mother was a fan of musicals and classic old movies. The first time I saw Fred Astaire dance with Ginger Rodgers I was transported. So I guess I can thank Mum for the number of times any of my characters have danced together in my books. In Her One and Only Valentine it's a theme the characters themselves think about:

“See, I don’t have two left feet.”

She smiled back at him, “Its early days.”

“Time will tell,” He leaned a little closer, “How come we’ve never danced together before?”

Oh they’d danced. They’d danced more than he probably realized. It felt like she’d spent most of her life dancing with him and around him.

It takes St. Valentine's Day to make these two strong willed people finally give in to something that was inevitable for them a decade before the story begins. And in that sense I've been thinking recently about Pride & Prejudice; the standard to which all romance novels are continually held up. In a way I guess Her One And Only Valentine is my modern day version of that story. Pride gets in the way so much, neither of them willing to be the first one to take a second chance on the other and prejudice not only getting in the way at the beginning of the book but proving a barrier between them for such a long time. I wonder sometimes if Jane Austen could have had any idea of how her themes would carry all the way into the 21st Century... And there were so many wonderful ballroom scenes in that story too, weren't there?

Gentlemen filling the ladies's dance cards, bowing, this their one chance for physical contact - even if it was merely the brushing of fingertips. Romance personified really. And romance like that on St Valentine's Day? How could a girl resist? Even if my poor heroine made her realizations looking in from the edges of the crowd while my hero and their daughter took to the dancefloor:

He bowed, Lizzie giggled and Rhiannon smiled affectionately at them both. They were just so very alike, the two people she loved the most.

She swallowed hard, tears stinging her eyes again while Kane lifted Lizzie up into his arms, her slender arms around his neck and legs swinging below his waist as they started to dance. It was the most beautiful thing Rhiannon had ever seen, heartbreakingly beautiful. And agonizing - because the need to walk over and join them, to dance with Kane with Lizzie held between them - was so strong it almost killed her.

This was the way her life was going to be from now on; standing on the outside looking in.

I think one of the best things about the Harlequin Romance line is that we can take the elements of classical romance into modern times and show that the value of love hasn't diminished any. We celebrate romance every month with six wonderful stories - not just the one day of the year for us, oh no. And that's just a little bit wonderful, isn't it? So while I leave you with the music I listened to while writing the ballroom scene in Her One And Only Valentine I say a heartfelt THANK YOU here on St. Valentine's Day to all the writers and readers who help us celebrate romance every day of the year. May we never lose the stars from our eyes. Or forget to dance every time we get a chance...


So She Dances

Trish Wylie is the only Irish Author for Harlequin Romance and her first book for the line won a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award in 2005. She has also been nominated for a 2007 Reviewer's Choice Award for Rescued: Mother to Be. The magazine had this to say about Her One And Only Valentine:

Inheriting an old country house gives Rhiannon McNally a purpose -- and a place to start over with her daughter, Lizzie. Then Rhiannon finds out Lizzie's father, wealthy businessman Kane Healey, owns the property the house stands on. Rhiannon's hated Kane for a decade, thinking he abandoned her while she was pregnant, but Kane never received the letter she left for him. So they both have negative feelings to overcome, for Lizzie's sake. Rekindling their passion is unexpected -- as is falling in love, again. Trish Wylie's Her One and Only Valentine (4) has excellent characters -- particularly the larger-than-life hero. It also has charm and wit to spare.

To find out more you can visit her Website or Her Blog

And don't forget to enter our contest to win a copy of EXECUTIVE MOTHER-TO-BE by Nicola Marsh. Just send an e-mail to and put NICOLA in the subject line! We'll be drawing on LEAP DAY!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Spotlight in Six - Nicola Marsh

Welcome to February's Spotlight in Six! This month we welcome Aussie author Nicola Marsh, who is giving away her latest release! Read on....

Where do you find new and fresh ideas?

New ideas spring from everywhere…and usually when I least expect it. Want to hear something strange? A lot of my ideas come to me in that half awake/half asleep state; you know, the drowsy time just before you drop off to sleep? I’ve had ideas and the exact starting line or paragraph for several books happen this way. Weird, huh?

Writers often use photos of celebrities as “casting”. Do you do this, and who has inspired some of your characters?

I didn’t do this for my first 5 books, then discovered other authors did it and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Now, I’m hooked! Mind you, I’m not a visual writer so despite doing loads of research for the perfect hero (and yes, maybe it’s just a poor excuse for me to ogle great looking guys!) once I’ve ‘cast’ my characters, I don’t often look at the pics.

Though I find doing this helps get my creativity flowing before I start the book and is great during the revision process too, when you’ve had time away from the story and want to jump back into the ‘mood’ of the book.

As for who has inspired some of my characters, let’s focus on the heroes, shall we?
Pierce Brosnan, George Eads, Wentworth Miller, Rodrigo Santaro, Scott Speedman, David Beckham, Matthew Fox…I could go on but maybe it’s worth googling pics instead? J

What are your favourite and least favourite parts of writing a novel? Is there a particular section that you struggle with?

My favourite part of writing a novel is the beginning. There’s nothing like that initial burst of creativity when the words fly from your fingertips and your characters can’t leap onto the page fast enough.

My least favourite part would have to be the insecurity. With every book I write, I wonder if my editor will like the story, then whether my readers will like the story.

As for struggling, I think the dreaded sagging middle is the hardest part of a novel to write. To keep the tension escalating, to build towards the black moment, to make sure you’re staying on track and not going off on too many tangents…the middle is tough work!

When you are not writing, what do you do? How do you pamper yourself?

Probably not a good time to ask me this, as I spend all day running after 2 boys, one an active preschooler, the other a 8 month old baby. So when I’m not writing, I’m a busy mum. Pampering is something I’m looking forward to when life gets a bit quieter…I’d love a massage…and a pedicure…and a few blissful hours curled up in bed with a great book from my TBR pile…

Imagine you’re stranded…where are you and who are you with?

If we’re talking real life, I’d have to say anywhere private with my hubby.
But if we’re talking fantasy, please strand me on Capri with Don Hany (I’ve just rediscovered this Aussie actor through a fab 6 part gritty TV drama. He’s little known so I’ve attached a pic for you all. He oozes charisma on the screen…mmm…)

Finally, Nicola, please tell us what’s up and coming for you in the months ahead!

February sees the release of EXECUTIVE MOTHER-TO-BE, my Harlequin Romance featuring a high-powered TV exec producer who doesn’t have time for anything else but her career, let alone kids. So imagine Kristen’s shock when she discovers she’s pregnant…to her boss!

(I also have PURCHASED FOR PLEASURE, my first Harlequin Presents out in Feb so I’m thrilled about that. This is my Navy SEAL book and I love it!)

July sees the release of my next Romance, THE DESERT PRINCE’S PROPOSAL. Think modern sheikh without the robes: alpha, strong, sexy and you have Prince Samman. He meets his match in Bria Green, Australia’s top architect who gets more than she bargains for when she travels to the exotic desert kingdom of Adhara.

Thanks Nic! Nicola has generously offered a copy of EXECUTIVE MOTHER-TO-BE to one lucky reader! Send an e-mail to with a subject line of Nicola and we'll draw at the end of the month!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Reading for A Cause

The following is excerpted from a press release from Harlequin Books.

National Center for Family Literacy to receive up to 100,000 books with estimated valued of $700,000

Toronto, (February 11, 2008)— (, the online site for Harlequin Enterprises Limited, is challenging its community members to read an astounding 100,000 books in one year in the 2008 100,000 Book Challenge. When the reading challenge ends on December 31, 2008, Harlequin will make an unprecedented donation of an equivalent number of books to the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL). The estimated retail value of a 100,000 book donation to the NCFL by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. is $700,000 U.S.

In addition to promoting literacy, the 2008 100,000 Book Challenge encourages readers to discuss the titles they have read on the website in their own blogs. Those participating in the challenge share their thoughts, reviews, opinions, recommendations and progress. Another remarkable and unforeseen aspect to the challenge is that many people who were not bloggers—or who even knew what a blog was—are now passionate blog hosts and are spearheading online discussions in the forums.

“Our readers are very passionate,” says Jayne Hoogenberk, community manager for “They read, talk, think and dream about books 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. The median number of paperbacks read in one year by Americans is 12. The median for Harlequin readers is 30. Since we’re always looking for ways to inspire and challenge our community members, we wondered if, as a group, they would be able to read 100,000 books in a single calendar year and through our donation of 100,000 books, share that love of reading with others who don’t have such easy access to entertaining and engaging literature for women.”

“The response of the past two years was so overwhelmingly positive that we had to keep going,” states Hoogenberk. “We also knew that we had to up the ante. And so the 2008 100,000 Book Challenge for literacy was born. Last year we capped the number of participants and still easily surpassed our target. Since the event has generated such positive feedback, and in order to reach our goal of 100,000 books read, we’ve decided to leave registration open-ended this year.”

There are no hard and fast rules other than participants being asked to have at least 50% of their list be novels published by Harlequin. This allows readers to discover the outstanding breadth of editorial Harlequin has to offer. The other 50% of books can be any genre by any publisher. Likewise, all formats—
print, eBooks, audiobooks, etc.—are acceptable, and readers are encouraged to seek them out and give them a try.

The range and diversity of Harlequin readers is not confined solely to the type of books they read or the medium in which they enjoy them. The online nature of the community illustrates the significant power of books to unite readers in a global way. Geographic boundaries have become meaningless in this venture as the challenge brings together readers from countries as varied as Germany, France and the Philippines, as well as Harlequin editors in Toronto, New York and London and
Harlequin authors from around the world.

This is such a great cause! Just YOU reading you can help someone else have access to books and LITERACY.

Several of the Harlequin Romance Authors have a team in the challenge, including Jennie Adams, Donna Alward, Claire Baxter, Ally Blake, Fiona Harper and Nicola Marsh.

Come and join the fun, and hey, grab a Romance while you're at it!

Monday, February 04, 2008

February Releases...with love!

Ah, is there any better month for Romance than February? These releases are sure to warm your heart....

Executive Mother-To-Be by Nicola Marsh

From employee to mommy-to-be…Career-girl Kristen Lewis is at the top of her field. She's driven, sensible—and her spur-of-the-moment decision to have one perfect night with sexy Nate was totally out of character! She puts it behind her…until she's faced with two shocks: she's pregnant…with her boss's baby!

Nathan Boyd, one of Australia's leading entrepreneurs, buries himself in his work to forget his private torment. But now he's faced with a dilemma: the first woman to tempt him in a long time is his employee.

Read Excerpt

English Lord, Ordinary Lady by Fiona Harper

Romance Novelist Association Romance Prize Finalist

His unconventional bride!

Will Radcliff is the perfect English lord. He's handsome and honorable, but a stickler for convention. And he's just inherited Elmhurst Hall.…
Rebelling from her stuffy, controlled upbringing, Josie has never followed the rules. She's a waitress at the stately home, and is like a breath of fresh air. But her new boss, Lord Will, thinks she's nothing but trouble!

Then one moonlit night, Will and Josie share a kiss which, for a moment, makes them feel not so very different after all.…

Her One and Only Valentine by Trish Wylie

He's back—for the valentine he never should have let go…

When Kane Healey had to fight the hardest battle of his life, he learned the true meaning of "if you love someone, you have to let them go," and decided to face his future alone.

Young and afraid, Rhiannon discovered she was pregnant. But Kane had gone, unaware of the precious miracle he'd left behind.…

Now they have one last chance to put past mistakes behind them. As the Valentine's Day ball approaches, will Kane get down on one knee and make his valentine his bride?

The Playboy's Plain Jane by Cara Colter

The playboy

Good-looking and confident, sports hero Dylan McKinnon simply has that indefinable thing that makes him irresistible to the opposite sex.

His plain Jane

Florist Katie Pritchard knows all about Dylan's effect on women—he's her best customer! And the wary divorcĂ©e is captivated by his charm, in spite of herself.

A perfect partnership?

They seem an unlikely couple. They are. But Katie realizes there's more to this playboy than meets the eye.…

Rescued by the Sheikh by Barbara McMahon

Riding into the sunset with a sheikh!When photographer Lisa Sullinger injures herself while exploring alone in the harsh desert of Moquansaid, she thinks it's pretty bad luck. Then a sandstorm strikes!

Handsome, enigmatic Sheikh Tuareg al Shaldor shelters Lisa in his desert tent before whisking her to his stunning, palatial home.

Lisa can't help but fall for Tuareg—but she knows he has built barriers around his shattered heart. Can Lisa dare to dream she might be the one to bring light—and love—back into the brooding sheikh's world?

Cattle Rancher, Secret Son by Margaret Way

He's the toast of Australian society…

Cattleman Cal McKendrick is under pressure from his family to produce an heir for the magnificent McKendrick homestead that lies deep in the Outback. Then he discovers he's already a father!
She's the mother of the son he never knew he had.
Gina Romano had loved Cal with all her soul. But in her heart she'd known she'd never be good enough for him or his society family—so she'd kept her pregnancy secret. Now that Cal knows the truth, he demands she marry him. But Gina wants Cal's love, not just to be his convenient bride.…

Read Excerpt

Friday, February 01, 2008

Winner of MOTHER IN A MILLIION and coming soon....

The winner of Melissa James's MOTHER IN A MILLION is Joy Isley! Congratulations Joy, and keep your eyes on your mailbox for your prize! And thanks to everyone who entered!

February has even more fun in store. We have the usual releases, good news, and a fabulous Spotlight in Six coming your way with another opportunity to win a signed book. We also have a special guest for Valentine's Day and rumour has it another author who is attending some very posh author-type events will be giving us a full report! You're not going to want to miss it!