I really couldn’t believe it was six years since Jen first welcomed me to Romancing the Book. Time has a nasty habit of slipping by without you noticing it – and suddenly, here you are, celebrating your 6th anniversary. Congratulations X6 to Jen and Romancing the Book.
What happened in that time? Lots – I know that!
6 years ago, according to the post I wrote then, I was celebrating the publication of Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife. Then, reading through my second post on a visit to the blog, three years later, I was talking about my current title (then) The Proud Wife. Now, for this special 6th anniversary, I’m just marking the publication of my 61st title – A Question of Honor (or Honour if like me you live in the UK!).
But this year I’m also celebrating a very special anniversary myself – a publishing anniversary. But I’ll tell you more about that in my post – because when Jen asked me to write about my Top 5 list, and I was looking for a subject – well, to mark this special anniversary celebration, I thought I’d talk about my Top 5 Writing Celebrations .
1. December 1984 – this is the date on which my very first book ever was published. This was called The Chalk Line and it was the story of a couple, Leo and Rowena, who had once been lovers then separated. Now they are forced to share a house – a bungalow together and Rowena tries to keep as much of a distance between here and Leo by drawing a line straight down the middle of the house, dividing it in two. Of course when the line is only drawn in chalk, it doesn’t last very long, or work as any sort of real division.
I did wonder about choosing my second special celebration as 1986 – this is when I had my very first book published in America but I decided instead to go for:
2. My ‘silver’ anniversary as a writer- this is when published my 25th book. I’m not quite sure exactly what date to use to mark this particular publication – because Wife For A Day came out in the UK in 1998 then it came out in Harlequin Presents in 2002. But this was that ‘silver book.’ It’s a revenge story – Lily thought her life with Ronan was a dream come true. The day after their wedding the dream turned into a nightmare. Ronan had pursued Lily with only one purpose in mind. Revenge. Ronan’s plan is complete, now he just has to sit back and wait for it to play out. Only his plans didn’t include falling in love with Lily.
One of the things that has happened to change my writing life a lot in the time since I was first published, has been the advent of ebooks. Where once my titles were only out for a month and then it wasn’t possible to buy them again after that, now they are reprinted and republished in ebook form and I’ve been delighted to see that the new kindle edition of Wife For a Day has been appearing in the best sellers list on Amazon UK.
3. So if that was silver, then the next one has to be gold – right? My 50th title published was The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge. This was part two of a duo I’d written called The Sicilian Bothers. The two brothers were Guido and Vito Corsentino and the books told their stories. The Sicilian’s Red Hot Revenge was the story of Vito Corsentino and his heroine Emily. They shared one night of passionate lovemaking. Then in the cold light of day, her secret tore them apart. Now Vito has come back – and he’s determined to have his revenge.Emily Lawton never expected to see him again. But Vito Corsentino has tracked her down and he wants Emily. This time he’ll take her and he’ ll be the one to leave when it’s over.
When you’ve written 50 books for Harlequin you get a special gold pin which I’m always proud to wear. I also had a wonderful celebration for the publication of my 50th title, when lots of friends and fellow writers joined me for a fabulous dinner to celebrate. Another thing I’d like to celebrate about The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge is that it has one of my favourite ever cover designs – also known as The Man With the Gorgeous Back!
But Emily has one last secret for Vito . . . She’s having his baby and if he finds out, he’ll want more than revenge!
4. Several of my books have earned Top Pick accolades from Romantic Time Magazine – and been shortlisted for one of their awards. But 2011 was the year that my book actualy won. The Konstantos Marriage Demand was awarded the Best Presents Extra in the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards that year, which was a thrilling moment for me.
Sadie Carteret and Nikos Konstantos were once blissfully in love. They planned the wedding of the year, and their union would create a powerful dynasty. But business and pleasure should never be mixed. Nikos was accused of scheming for Sadie’s money and title, and was systematically destroyed by her family. The wedding was cancelled, the relationship in tatters. Now the ruthless billionaire has built himself back up from scratch. He will clear his name and demand what was rightfully his… Sadie must love, honour and…obey….
5. 2014 – so now I can talk about that extra special celebration – and an extra special anniversary that I’m celebrating this year. If you noted the date for the #1 celebration I wrote about at the beginning of this blog, you’ll be able to work it out. December 1984 was the date my very first published book ever appeared in the shops – and now we’re heading up to December 2014. That makes it my 30th anniversary of being published. No, I can’t quite believe it myself!
30 years, 62 books (along with the ‘how to’ guide – the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance) – it’s only when I look back that I realize how far I’ve come since that very first novel and all the words I’ve written since then. It’s amazing really because when I first said that I wanted to be a writer, my parents and teachers all said that that was just an impossible dream. I would do better to put that aside and have a sensible plan, to take up a sensible occupation. Well, I did – I trained as a librarian and worked as a children’s librarian for four years before I had The Chalk Line accepted. And after that I just kept on writing – one word after another and it’s all mounted up to those 62 titles (and another one on my editor’s desk, waiting for her opinion on it.) Amazing! And this month I’m celebrating again – celebrating seeing that 62nd title, A Question of Honor appear in the shops. It’s been a long, satisfying and enjoyable writing journey to get here. Later in the year I plan to do some more celebrating – to mark that 30th anniversary as it gets closer to the actual date in December. I hope you’ll come along on my blog to join in the event.
So there you are – my 5 special Writing Celebrations – but if I can add just one other, extra special celebration, I’d need to give a mention to truly personal anniversary that I’m celebrating. This year my husband and I have been celebrating our Ruby Wedding anniversary. 40 years! (I can’t quite believe that one either.) We’ve been celebrating it all year long – we decided to do 40 lovely things or things we’d always wan ted to do to mark this special year. So that’s what we’ve done. We’ve seen plays/musicals/even operas we’ve always wanted to see – seen films that we saw together all those years ago – visited places that have meant a lot to us . . . It’s all been wonderful. And the best thing is that, whether for my wedding anniversary or my writing anniversaries and celebrations – I’m looking forward to doing even more – heading into more years of enjoyment and happiness .
So I’m thrilled that one of the things I can do as part of these celebrations it to wish Jen and Romancing the Book a very happy anniversary.
What about you? Are you celebrating anything special this year? If you are, I’d love it if you’d share.
I live in Lincolnshire, UK, with my husband and grown up son nearby with his lovely fiancée – and 2 cats who think they run my life (they do!). I was the middle child in a family of five girls, growing up in a home where books were vitally important, and I read anything I could get my hands on.
Even before I could write she was making up stories. At the age of four I was telling the tale of The Three Little Raindrops — Drippy, Droppy, and Droopy — to my two younger sisters. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t scribbling away at something, and I wrote my first “book” when she was 11.
But everyone told me that I would never make a living as a writer, and that I should work toward a more secure career. So I decided that if I couldn’t write books, at least I could work with them, and settled for becoming a librarian.
I went to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth to study English and librarianship. While there, I met my husband and we married and moved back north, eventually settling in Lincolnshire, where I worked as a children’s librarian until my son was born. After three years of being a full-time housewife and mother I decided to try and write professionally and so I started trying to write romance. I sent off some submissions to Harlequin Mills & Boon. The first two were rejected, but the second one had a letter from an editor telling me that she had liked what I’d written and asking me to try again. So I did – and that books was accepted. In 1984 my very first book, The Chalk Line was published by Mills & Boon. Since then I’ve had 61 titles accepted and I’ve just sent in my 63rd to my editor. I’ve also written the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance – and I’ve recently self-published the newest edition of that on Kindle.
When Clemmie was very young, her father arranged for an official betrothal to the young Prince Nabil, the marriage to take place when Clemmie was 23. Now that time has come round and she must meet her arranged bridegroom – but Clemmie has found out a family secret that means she’s run away to England to find someone very special. Crown Prince Karim is given the delicate mission of bringing her back without creating an international incident and keeping her safe from the threat of possible danger from enemies who do not want the marriage to go ahead. He thinks he is going to deal with this task very quickly – but he finds that his overwhelming attraction to the woman he’s been sent to collect complicates things terribly , especially when she is clearly equally attracted to him.
‘YOU know why I’m here.’
The man’s voice was as deep and dark as his eyes, his hair . . .his heart for all Clemmie knew. He filled the doorway he stood in, big and broad and dangerously strong. Worryingly so.
She didn’t know what put that sense of danger into his appearance. There was nothing in the way he stood, the long body relaxed, his hands pushed deep into the pockets of the well-worn jeans that clung to narrow hips and powerful legs that spoke of threat or any sort of menace. And his face, although rough-hewed and rugged, did not have the type of features that made her think of black shadowy novels about serial killers or vampires rising from the dead.
Not that serial killers conformed to the myth that evil had to be ugly as well. And this man was definitely not ugly. He was all hunk, if the truth was told. Those deep brown eyes were combined with unbelievably luxuriant black lashes, slashing high cheekbones, surprisingly bronze-toned skin. He was a man for whom the word ‘sexy’ had been created. A man whose powerfully male impact went straight to everything that was female inside her and resonated there, making her shiver in spite of the warmth of the spring sun. But once the image of a vampire, dark devastating and dangerous, had settled into her brain there was no way she could shake it loose.
It was something about the eyes. Something about that cold, direct, unflinching stare. Dead-eyed and unyielding. She couldn’t understand it. And because she couldn’t find a reason for it, it made her shiver all the more though she forced herself not to show it and instead pasted a smile that she hoped was polite but not overly encouraging on to her face.
‘I beg your pardon?’
If he caught the note of rejection and dismissal she tried to inject into the words then not a sign of it registered in that enigmatic face. He certainly didn’t look discouraged or even concerned but flashed her another of those cold-eyed glances and repeated, with obvious emphasis, ‘You know why I’m here.’
‘I think not.’’
She was expecting someone. Had been dreading his arrival for days – weeks. Ever since the time had approached when she celebrated her twenty-third birthday. If ‘celebrated’ was the right word for marking the day that would mean the end of her old life, and the start of the new. The start of the life she had known was coming but had tried to put out of her mind. Without success. The thought of what her future was to be hung over her like a dark storm cloud, blighting each day that crept nearer to the moment her destiny changed.
But she had prayed he wouldn’t come so soon. That she would have at least a few more days – just a month would be perfect – before the fate that her father had had planned for her when she had been too young to understand, let alone abject, closed in around her and locked her into a very different existence.
The person she had been expecting – dreading – was very different from this darkly devastating male. He was much older for a start. And would never have appeared so casually dressed, so carelessly indifferent to the demands of protocol and security.