Monday, November 30, 2009

John O'Groats to Land's End . . .

(In case you don't know that means going from the most northerly point on mainland Britain (in Scotland) to the very southernmost spot at the end of Cornwall)

Well, perhaps not, but it almost seems like it. I spent yesterday organising the updates for myweb site and one of the things I had to fo was to revise and bring up to date my Events page. I've had some comments in the past from writers wishing that I might do a workshop or a coure closer to where they live- with Scotland particularly being the place that was missing out the most. But yesterday as I listed the events coming up between now and next November, I realised that I will be travelling the length and breadth of the country and hopefully if you're interested you will find a course or at the very least a talk that will be within your reach.

So I thought I'd give you some advance warning on these so that you can look out for the ones that are going to be closest to you - sorry to everyone in America and Australia and all other countries. But there's only one of me and I'm stretched pretty tightly as it is!

February 15th - belated Valentine's Day event.
An Evening With Kate Walker
Place: Central Library . Surrey Street, Sheffield S1 1XZ
Time: 6-8pm
Date:15th February
More details when I get them

February 19th - 21st
Course: Contemporary Romance
Details can be found here

March 25th and 27th
Highlands and Islands Arts
I will be running a couple of events/seminars on romance writing organised by Highlands and Islands Arts. At the moment, things are still being finalised, but the probable dates/venues I have are:
Thursday 25th March 2010 (evening) Inverness
Saturday 27th March 2010 (afternoon) Ullapool
Full details and venues to be announced - watch my web site Events page for more information

Event: a two day residential course on Writing Romance held in the beautiful surroundings of New Place Shirrell Heath, Southampton.
Dates: 24th - 25th April 2010
Venue: New Place, Shirrell Heath Southampton Hampshire SO32 2JH

Place: University of Greenwich in SE London
Dates: Friday 9th July - Sunday 11th July 2010

Dates: 25th July - 30th July 2010
I will be teaching a five part course on The 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance.
Further details and booking forms can be found here:

With the Babe Magnet teaching Writing True Crime

NAWG (National Association of Writers’ Groups) Festival of Writing
Place St Aidan's College, University of Durham, Durham,
Dates:September 3-5
More details when I get them

Hopefully one of these will be manageable for many of you. I'll look forward to meeting you somewhere. some time!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving and RNA Golden Anniversary Poll


I wanted you to know that I'm very thankful for you all.

Romantic Novelists' Association Golden Anniversary Poll

Choose Britain's favourite romantic novel of the past 50 years

Eligible titles published between 1960 and 2009.

Threads of romance run through many forms of fiction; general and historical, sagas, chick lit, even thrillers and science fiction. From the early days of novel- writing romance has featured strongly. Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters provide us with a romantic heritage.In the romantic novel the love story is a major part of the plot, whether in Regency romps, sagas crossing the generations, light-hearted city scenarios or serious contemporary fiction as well as the genre of romance itself.

What do we need? A hero, a heroine, a mutual attraction, emotional upheaval, tragedy, despair, a happy ending – some or all of these will be in your favourite romantic novel.

Nominate your favourite romantic novel by emailing the title and author to:

Or send to:RNA Goldenpoll, PO Box 9230, Market Harborough LE16 0FG

Closing date 31 January 2010

The poll is being conducted in conjunction with Women's Weekly magazine, libraries and reading and writing groups all over Britain.

The top 30 titles will be published in Woman's Weekly in May for the magazine readers to vote on their favourite, with a shortlist of 3 for the final voting in July.

The winning novel will be announced in September 2010.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Split personality and Hecks

I sometimes find that one of the things about being a writer is that I have to develop a sort of split personality. When I'm working on a book - specially when it's on the revsions for a bok that have to be back in a very short space of time - I concentrate so hard and so totally that a lot of other things get pushed aside for a while. Then when the job is done, I'm scurrying about trying to ctach up and get the other stuff done.

The other stuff is usually practical - things like cleaning the office, doing the ironing, the accounts, updating the web site . . . So that's what I've been concentrating on recently. There's also been a flurry of activity connected to the C(Christmas) word as the result of which there was a lorry load (well - a basket full) of parcels that went out from the Post Office yesterday. With family and friends in many different parts of the world, that 'Post Early For Christmas' slogan is important - so at least I can relax and know they're on their way.

The office/accounts bit of the equation is still a work in progress. As are the web site updates. That's because there is a special celebration coming up in December that means I have extra updates and a new contest etc to work on but those will soon (I hope) be ready and posted.

I'm also thinking about maybe doing another writing Q&A - I've had several questions I would like to answer here as well as in emails so that everyone can read the answers. I have a topic- or 3 - in mind but if there's anything you'd like me to look at please let me know.

And thank you to everyone for your comments on the new style title for my next book - it was great to see the overall impression was favourabel with lots of interest in what that title implied. Joanne, for example said -
I want to know why she's a 'good wife' as opposed to a 'forbidden' or a 'bought' wife etc..

Of course that 'good wife' does have that question mark after it, Joanne. . .

There will be lots more new-style titles coming up in the next few months. I'm hearing from friends who have some very different tiles from the ones they were expecting for new books - look out for them and I'll probably be commenting on them more as they become more common.

Finally - about the Hecks - after I posted the picture of the little hedgehog on November 15th, I received a very helpful email from a lady called Cristina who was concerned about the little one. She points out that - as I already knew - the fact that it was out in the daylight isn't always a good sign. It was a very mild day with a lot of sunshine that may have been what brought him/her out. But it is a often a warning sign too.

Cristina offers such good advice that I'm going to post her email here in case anyone else had hedgehogs around that might need help.

Dear Kate

I just came across your interesting blog from Lesley Cookman's. I was looking through your November entries when I came across the beautiful pictures of your young hedgehog (dated 15 November). Is he/she still okay?

I noticed in the photo that he has three large ticks behind his right ear and there may have been a fly lower down his body. This together with he/she being out in daylight, may point to him being ill or struggling (maybe also underweight).

I have had a little experience with hedgehogs and currently have two that were rescued. I believe that having a lot of external parasites (such as ticks or fly eggs) will be a strain on their immune system. I don't know that your little one is suffering from anything but it may be advisable to remove the external parasites to give him/her a chance of survival.

It's great that you have provided a home for the hogs. May I suggest permanently placing some of those hog biscuits and water nearby for them to eat should they require it? A hog needs to be a minimum weight of 600g in order to hibernate successfully during the winter. If not, they may come out to 'top up' and get too cold or starve in the search. Hopefully in your garden (with access to plenty of food) if the little one is underweight, he should survive as then he won't have to roam for food. I believe that they can cover as many as ten gardens in an evening!

Below is a link to a hedgehog forum that I have found to be very helpful and a list of hedgehog carers. Not all vets will help out with hogs and may put them down rather than assist properly. If your vet is willing, he might be able to remove the ticks for you. I removed a large amount of them once from a little hog by purchasing a tick remover from a pet store.

Sorry to be so forward in this. Just a little concerned and thought you should know that your little one might need extra help.

Please don't hesitate to e-mail me if I can help any further. My knowledge is limited but I will try to assist if I can. I'm not sure in what area you're in, but you may have a hedgehog carer nearby and they are usually happy to give advice or assist.

Thanks for your time!


Cristina - thank you - I don't regard this as being forward, just helpful. I was concerned as well as delighted to see the little hedgehog out and about. My policy with the wild life in my garden is usually to leave well alone and the thriving colony of Hecks we have had in the 20 years we've lived here tended to make me feel that was the best policy.

Let me assure you that the hedgehog food - either that or chicken cat food - and a supply of water is always down by the Hog House. They nalso have free access to the peanuts which are left on the ground for the ground feeding birds, so I hope the little one - and the rest of the family including the big mature hogs have plenty of nourishment in easy reach.

But on your advice I will also find some tick remover and if he/she is seen wandering again I will use that to give him - and any others - extra help.

Thank you

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tweaked Greeks

Well, the intensive concentration on tweaking Zarek Michaelis last week had the desired effect. Yesterday I heard from my lovely editor and the book is bought and will be published in July 2010.

Yes - July - that's why there was that tight turnaround necessary.

Two interesting things about this book that make it a bit different from the usual -

1. It's the special project I was asked to do where four authors - myself, Lucy Gordon, Robyn Donald and I think Catherine George (need to check on that one) - were asked to write books that updated one of the Greek Myths. The story I chose was Odysseus and parts of his story form the background and some elements of Zarek's story. I've even stolen the name of his wife - Penelope - for my heroine.

2. This is my first book to have been given a title under the new policy for creating titles - so instead of - what? Maybe The Greek Tycoon's Something Wife? I have - A Good Greek Wife?

So what do you think? I think it's about time the plethora of Italian/Greek/Billionaires etc etc came to an end and some more interesting and imaginative titles were used and it looks like this is starting to happen.

Any comments? Thoughts? Would that make you buy the book more? Or intrigue you? Or not?

I'm off out into the rain and wind. I'm going to York because now that Zarek and his Good Greek Wife are dealt with there's somehting called Christmas looming on the horizon and I have a list of gifts I need to buy.

Then tomorrow my editor and I will be discussing a new 'exciting project' that they'd like me to be involved in. More when I can tell you.

Oh yes- and the count of countries visiting this blog has hit the magical 150 mark - with a visitor from Jersey! Funny, I never actually thought the 150th would be so close to home. I've spent some fabulous weeks in Jersay and have some wonderful memories of the beuatiful island. I love islands and this one of my favourites.

Welcome Jersey! What took you so long?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kate's Corner etc

Well, that was a week - the revisions for the Greek Myth book had a very fast turnaround date on them to catch a slot that had been saved so I concentrated on that for most of the week. I felt like I barely looked up from the computer. Now I'm hoping to have a little time to breathe. And maybe to read.

But I have to catch up with so much - and clean out my office so that I can find the floor - it's in here somewhere. And I have emails to answer . . . and blogs to write. . . which reminds me

Today is the day that I start my brand new monthly blog - Kate's Corner - over on We Write Romance. So if you're looking for me on the 15th of each month, that's where I'll be. I posted my first blog there today.

Last night, my treat to myself for finishing the revisions was a lovely indulgent read - I have a TBR pile that is taking on a life of its own - I swear those books are breeding. So I'm going to grab the chance to read one or two - or more. First up (and I've been longing to read this) was the latest Anne McAllister - One-Night Mistress . . .Convenient Wife. And it didn't disappoint.
The Savas brothers are great heroes. I don't think I can pick a favourite - This was Christo's book. I can't wait see what happens with George. (OK I admit, I' ve been getting hints from Anne about what happens to George - and I really can't wait to see what brings him out of his laboratory!

Today was wonderfully mild and sunny, unusually for November. So we were out in the garden, weeding and planting wallflowers. And we had an unexpected visitor.

A tiny, mini Heck. This must be the latest of the Heck the hedgehog family and officially he's a nocturnal creature so he really shouldn't have been wandering around in the garden in daylight. In fact he should have been curled up safe and warm in the hedgehog house and busy hibernating. But there he was, bright and active. I suppose the sunshine had brought him out.

Or perhaps he was hungry. He would need plenty of food to fill him up and fatten him for the hibernation so we fetched the left over cat neat and some hedgehog crun chies and put them out on the lawn near to him so he could fill up quickly and easily. He loved the hedgehog crunchies and we could hear him munching his way through those. Then he scuttled back to the hog house at the bottom of the garden.
I managed to get some photos of him before he want - so here are two of them. Seen up close, he (she? I don't know how you tell with Hecks) he doesn't look that tiny - but he was - so I've posted a pic of him with the Floozie and as you can see, by comparison with Flora he is small.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Reasons to be Cheerful - 4

I've been looking forward to doing this for ages . . .

Well, it seems like ages because I've known about this from the beginning and I've watched it grow and known that today - the Big Day - was coming soon.

So today I'm really thrilled to let everyone know about a brand-new, very special web site (to me) that goes live today.

You've heard about him a lot on here, - that's the Babe Magnet aka the writer of the Grim and Gruesome - Stephen Wade.

You know the wonderful designer who designed and runs my web site - Heather Reed from We Write Romance and HR Web Concepts

So put the two of them together - and no, in this case, I haven't minded at all that my husband has been in close contact with another woman! - and you get - fanfare and trumpets :

And the site goes live today. Just in time for the publication of his latest book - DNA Crime Investigations - on cold cases solved using DNA.

Why not take a look and see what the Babe Magnet gets up to. There will be more to add soon, but today is launch day so I'm celebrating.

Congratulations Babe Magnet - and thank you Heather.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Blogging elsewhere

I'm over on the Pink Heart Society blog today, talking about one of my favourite TV programmes. (I have time to watch TV??)

Well, it's also research as it stars this man who is of course the inspiration for Ricardo in Kept For Her Baby.
Somethimes this job is just so hard . . .

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Reasons to be Cheerful 3

People have been wondering where I am so just to reassure you - I'm busy tweaking the Greek into submission (almost) but I also have some more good news to share so I thought I'd just report in.

First I welcomed my first visitor from yet another country - Guadaloupe - on to my blog this week. That brings the total of different coiuntries to 149. I wonder if and what will make it to 150.

Then I had another wonderful review for Kept For Her Baby. this time from Romance reader at Heart

Kate Walker's KEPT FOR HER BABY is a story about love, commitment, and the scars deceptions can leave. It is more than a quick read; this tale has depth and emotional connections that are admirable given the brevity of thebook.

Lucy will do anything to see the little boy she's left behind-including rowing a boat to a secluded island, stealing on shore and hiding in thebushes to catch a glimpse of the little guy. Her love is so real and unrestrained that the reader can't help but realize the pain she endures watching the man she left behind holding their son. Of course, Lucy is discovered, and Ricardo exacts his own sort of revenge for her having lefthim. They both harbor serious misconceptions about each other, but when they begin to listen-really listen-to each other, they find they have both been wrong about things concerning their marriage. I inhaled this short book. The mix of cultures, and the beautiful setting,captivated me.

Well done!
Kay James

Thank you Kay!

Thirdly, as you know I often work with the great romance web site We Write Romance. Well, recently Harlequin Digital asked them to sponsor a special ebook bundle of their choices of books. The first one to be issued will be WWR's Presents Choices - and one of my backlist books (The 12 Month Mistress) is in the bundle. If you read your romances as ebooks then this collection will be available from January 1st.

And also with WWR, they have asked me to do a special monthly blog called Kate's Corner over on the WWR site on the 15th of every month. This is a place where I hope to answer questions and talk about things that readers have specially asked me to comment on - so I hope I'll see you there. And if you have a specific question, then you can let me know about it here.

One of the questions already is for me to talk about my cat - adding that I will know which one. I wonder if that came from a certain Sidney ACOSB (a cat of superior breeding.)

But talking about cats and all pets, of course tonight is Bonfire Night here in the UK so I hope all pets will be safe indoors with the curtains drawn so that the bangs and crackles will not upset them. I know that my three will be staying well inside. And the only fire that Flora the Floozie will get close to will be the one in the grate - like this -

That is, if she can beat Dylan to the fire-spot which is not something he willingly relinquishes to any cat, even is she thinks (knows) she is a princess.

And Sid? He doesn't do fires indoors or out, so no doubt he will be helping me to tweak the Greek all evening.

Tomorrow I'll be blogging over on the Pink Heart Society where I'll be talking (in part) about the man who was inspiration for Ricardo in Kept For Her Baby and the heavy duty research involved - ie watching one of my favourite TV programmmes.

Have a fun Bonfire Night if you celebrate it - but keep safe.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Blogging around again

It's November 1st - the first Sunday of the month, so I'm in my usual spot over on Tote Bags 'N Blogs today.

This time I'm talking about your favourite place to read - and what's on your TBR pile. Why don;t you come and join me and tell me what you're reading - and where?

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