Tuesday, August 20, 2013

40 for 40 - final winners and Thank you

So the 40 for 40 celebration has finally come to an end. I hope you've enjoyed meeting so many of my friends. The '40 for 40'  ended up at 45 for 40 so there has been a lot of posts to read and plenty of fabulous authors to meet.


I have the final  set of winners to announce so that these readers can claim their prizes. So here goes:

Sandra Marton has chosen Kaelee
Helen Bianchin picked Laney4
Sophie Weston's choice was Kaelee
Michelle Smart  chose Eli Yanti
and Victoria Parker chose Julie M

Please will the winders make sure that I have an email ( katewalker AT ntlworld.com)  with your postal address so that I can forward that to your author and then can sort out your prize for you.

and that, I think, is it!

Except that to round up this very special celebration, I have to send a great big thank you to to all the special guests who came, blogged, and offered giveaways.
So thank you to:
  1. Dee Tenorio
  2. Holly Jacobs
  3. Melanie Milburne
  4. Anne McAllister
  5. Sally Quilford
  6. Michelle Styles
  7. Scarlet Wilson
  8. Jane Jackson
  9. Louise Allen
  10. Zoe Sharp
  11. Anna Campbell
  12. Kate Hardy
  13. Donna Alward
  14. Kate Walker
  15. The Babe Magnet
  16. LoveCats Downunder
  17. Janet Gover
  18. Fiona Harper
  19. Margaret Mayo
  20. Julie Cohen
  21. Liz Fenwick
  22. Nell Dixon
  23. Lynn Raye Harris
  24. Jane Porter
  25. Annie West
  26. Susan Stephens
  27. Anna Louise Lucia
  28. Anna Sugden
  29. Pamela Hartshorne/Jessica Hart
  30. Chantelle Shaw
  31. Tawny Weber
  32.  Liz Fielding
  33. India Grey
  34. Danica Favorite
  35. CC Coburn
  36. Lesley Horton
  37. Heidi Rice
  38. Helen Bianchin
  39. Sandra Marton
  40. Janet Laurence
  41. Sophie Weston
  42. Michelle Reid
  43. Trish Morey
  44. Michelle Smart
  45. Victoria Parker
And thank you to everyone who came by, read, commented and joined in.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Winners

I have some 40 for 40  winners to announce.

Here goes -

Danica Favorite's  winner is Petite 

Janet Laurence has picked Kaelee

The winner of Michelle Reid's prize is Shirley Buchanan

and I just heard from Trish Morey that she has chosen  Sally  "for her 'love second time around' story"


So will the lucky winners please contact me, putting your address in the email so that I can forward it to  the generous author who has donated your prize.

Contact me  katewalker AT ntlworld.com 

There are still  some prizes unclaimed - so if you have answered any of the authors' questions over the past month, do check back over the Winners announcements in case you missed your name.

Still time to chat with Michelle Smart and Victoria Parker  until I hear from them who has won their prize.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

40 for 40 - Victoria Parker


So today's post comes from the very last guest blogger in the  40 for 40 celebrations - and once again I want to introduce you to one of the newest Modern Romance/ Harlequin Presents authors.  Not quite as brand new as Michelle because Victoria Parker  has her second book out now. Which means she's got past that difficult 'second book blues; time - Congratulations, Victoria!

I read and enjoyed Victoria's first book - The Princess in the Iron Mask so I'm looking forward to her new title -  A Reputation to Uphold.  As I said, when introducing Michelle, the new writers are the 'new blood' of the line and I hope that Victoria has a long and successful career ahead of her.  I'm really happy to introduce her to you here today -
And to round off the 40 for 40 celebration in  true style - Victoria is celebrating her own wedding anniversary today.

So welcome Victoria. And  Happy Anniversary.


Firstly, huge congratulations to Kate and Steve on 40 years of wedded bliss! My hubby and I celebrated our 10th anniversary last summer so 40 years seriously boggles my mind and leaves me completely awed. I was very young when I first met my husband and little did I know then, we had a rocky road ahead of us. Lots of ups and down and wrong turns but we always found our way back to each other. I like to think our hearts were driving us and we were destined to eventually meet in the same place. And if I’ve learned one thing from our youthful encounters and subsequent marriage it’s that you have to love hard. We all change through the years and it takes a deep loyal friendship and mutual respect to grow together. That’s one thing I noticed most about Kate and Steve when I first met them – they are great friends as well as a truly loving couple.

 

It’s that perfect blend of two people coming together – being destined – that is always the starting point for my Modern Presents and oddly enough my latest release ‘A Reputation To Uphold’ was born around the time of my own anniversary.

 
On a whim we decided to fly out to Thailand to celebrate with my rather wonderful sister and her family and I knew I had the perfect setting for my next book. Question was; who could I picture here in paradise? Then, one day, we were all relaxing on James Bond Island, soaking up the sun and lush scenery and we all got to chatting about love at first sight – was it even possible or was it merely wishful thinking, a fairy tale of sorts? Naturally, the guys decided it was lust-at-first-sight wrapped in a pretty bow but here’s the thing… I’m a die-hard romantic, so of course I believe it is entirely possible. Then as always, I started thinking, what if. What if my heroine grew up wrapped in the arms of her parents love and always dreamed of finding The One? What if her fairy tale was a beautiful courtship and a white wedding with vows from the heart? What if she met her hero in the form of her older brothers best friend, was struck by the power of love at first sight and began to build castles in the sky? Then, what if life threw her off course and dealt her some hard heart-wrenching cards that meant she would forever be alone. Gone were the dreams as she crashed into reality. Life was not a fairy tale, she discovered. It was hard and love was a lie. Happy ever afters, she decided, did not exist – at least not for her.

 

That was how Eva St George was born. A series of what if’s. And as I painted her past I watched her bury that beautiful youthful innocence. I watched her make mistakes, just as we all do, but that makes her real and one of the many things I adore about her. When the story opens she’s fought past her turbulent years and is on the brink of becoming a hugely successful wedding dress designer. In truth, she makes other women’s dreams come true, happy to live vicariously through her clients. So there
she is, on the verge of success, creating a gown for the next Duchess and who should swagger back into her life to reap havoc and destruction but super sexy, inordinately powerful, Dante Vitale – the cynical brooding Italian who crushed her youthful heart. The man she’s always wanted. The man she can never ever have.

 

As soon as I started writing this book, I knew it would be chock full of romance, of all the wondrous elements love has to offer that Eva has denied herself for so long. I knew it would be teeming with a passion that has never died and I knew Dante needed to show Eva the light, even as he lived in the dark. They bring out the worst in each other but also the best and theirs is a true love story that will stay with me always as they both learn that life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. Life isn’t a fairy tale but dreams do come true – you just need the courage to fight for them, have faith and believe.

 

I’m giving away a signed copy of ‘Reputation To Uphold’ to celebrate the power of love and life. Of making every second count.
 
All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me; What is the most romantic thing your partner has ever done for you?
 
Like Dante, did they drive miles out of town for your favourite ice-cream or vividly remember their first glimpse of you so many years ago. Or maybe they whisked you away for a secret rendezvous just to say ‘I love you’. The romantic in me would love to know!

Friday, August 16, 2013

40 for 40 - Michelle Smart

 I promised that I would introduce you  to some of the newest published authors in the M&B Modern/Harlequin Presents line. So here's the first of them - Michelle Smart.  I met Michelle at the Romantic Novelists' Association conference in Sheffield in July and asjed her to join in the 40 for 40 celebration here.

 I'm always happy to learn about the new authors  - new authors are the lifeblood of the line, the ones who will take it into the future.

Michelle's very first Modern/Presents title The Rings That Bind was published on August 1st - so you should be able to see it on the bookshop shelves now. 

Or you can be in with a chance to win a copy by chatting with Michelle today - about romance of course!

Welcome, Michelle.
 

“It’ll never last.”

Those were the oft repeated words imparted to my twenty year old self when I got engaged to my now husband. Indeed, my own mother gave us two weeks. In fairness, we had only been together for a couple of months. When we married a year later, she generously gave us two months.

Two kids and fifteen years of marriage later, and we’re still together, still happy. I so wish I’d put a bet on us!

I have no magic formula to give but I knew he was ‘the one,’ simply because he made me feel the way I’d always hoped a man would make me feel, the way the heroes of my beloved Mills & Boon books made their heroines feel. Okay, so my hubby isn’t a billionaire (shame) but he is tall, dark and gorgeous (to me). He’s an alpha male but happy to be bossed around by little old me. Through the years there have been occasions when I would have gladly throttled him (and vice-versa) but I’ve never regretted a minute of it.

When I think of all the romantic gestures he’s made, all of which I could count on one hand (I never said he was perfect!), the one that stands out the most was when he proposed. I was working shifts in a pub to bring in some extra money and had been asked to help out in the kitchen of another pub whose staff had all walked out – two weeks before Christmas. My boss and I spent the day cooking Christmas dinner for around fifty pensioners and by the end of it, we were shattered. I remember sitting in the restaurant in my filthy chef whites, stinking like a chip-pan, my hair a greasy mess, just taking a breather, when my boyfriend walked in. He’d been working in the same locale and decided to pop in to see me. He joined me at the table, which was littered with rubbish from the dinner, including cracker hats and toys. Nestled in amongst the mess was a plastic cracker ring. He simply smiled at me, passed me the ring, and said, “Marry me.”

How could I refuse?

It always makes my heart sing when I remember that moment, when the man I loved saw me looking
my very worst and knew he wanted to marry me.

 


What’s the most romantic gesture you’ve experienced? What memory makes your heart sing the most? I’d love to hear your stories.

There’s a copy of my debut Mills & Boon Modern / Harlequin Presents, The Rings That Bind up for grabs – a winner will be selected at random from the commentators.

 

Contact Michelle at

http://www.micheller-smart.com                            https://www.facebook.com/michellesmartauthor

and on twitter @chellebellwrite

Thursday, August 15, 2013

40 for 40 - Trish Morey


Writing romance has brought me an unexpected benefit in that it has introduced me to a lot of wonderful writers  - people I would never have met if I didn't  do this job - many of whom have become friends for life. You've met so many of them over the past  weeks. 

The problem is though that I have met people I would want to see so much more of - but  the fact that they live  thousands of miles away , on the other side of the world, has meant that I never see anything like enough of them.   One of those friends is  today's guest - the lovely Trish Morey.

I met Trish at her very first RWA National conference in New York when she had just had her very first book accepted. I remember being introduced to her  during the literacy signing  and then later enjoying her company at a fabulous  author dinner where the fact that  several glasses of red wine were spilled over the immaculate white linen table cloths (not by either Trish or myself, I hasten to add!)  was just another moment that made our first meeting memorable.  Since then we've shared as much time as we can at RWA conferences - Romance Writers of Australia / RW New Zealand conferences  and of course AMBA. It's never enough.  Email helps but  there's nothing to compare with chatting face to face.  

But until the  next time we meet, I'll make do with enjoying seeing Trish here on my blog.

Welcome Trish -




First off, I have to say how happy I am for Kate and Steve - 40 years! - how awesome is that? So super congratulations to them both.

 
I’ve been loving the stories of how couples got together on this blog. I didn’t meet my husband scuba diving and him without a clue, like CC Coburn so funnily related a couple of blogs ago. We didn’t get married in Manhattan, as Heidi Rice and her hubby so fabulously did, and it’s we’re certainly nowhere near that fantastical achievement that is the golden wedding anniversary of Lesley and Brian Horton (we’re not even close to Kate and Steve’s awesome number).

 

But what we are is close on our heels to our 25th wedding anniversary and the 30th anniversary of when we first met.

 

And how we first met? I was living in a horrible impersonal hostel in Canberra, Australia,  after moving there and knowing absolutely nobody. I wanted out. So I answered an ad in the paper - “Girl wanted.”  It was an ad for a room in a share house of 4 and I applied. And the first thing that struck me about this one guy when I got there who would one day be my hubby? He made me laugh. It was no overnight romance. It was a few months before that magic spark between us ignited, and went whoosh. It was a few years being sensible about that whoosh before we realised that whoosh was here to stay and that maybe we were meant to be together.

 

We’ve certainly had our ups and downs along the way (we’ve had four kids, so naturally we’ve had our ups and downs) but we’re still together and now the kids are growing up, it’s better than ever.

 

And I think that’s why I love writing romance. Because it might be fiction, but it’s not make believe. Because it’s fiction based on the best kind of life’s experiences - and that’s love, and love and all its iterations has to be the best life experience there can possibly be

 

I love what I do for my work. I am incredibly blessed doing it. I love that it’s made me the best friends in the world (and I certainly count Kate amongst them) and I love that my hubby is still making me laugh.

How fabulous is romance?

How great is love?

 

It’s the best.

 

So tell me, how did you meet your partner/spouse? Was it a whirlwind romance, or more of a slow burn or even a friends turned lovers story? I’d love to hear. And one lucky commenter will win a copy of my May Modern, A Price Worth Paying. Now there’s a prize worth winning:))

 

Can’t wait to hear your stories!

With love, always,

Trish

xx

 

 

 




 

 

 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Last guests finalised

Hurray! My last guest on the 40 for 40 celebration blog has finally managed to get her post to me in spite of technical difficulties. So I can now confirm that the last few guest spots will be taken by:

Michelle Reid (see today's post below)
Trish Morey
and brand-new Modern/Presents authors
Michelle Smart
Victoria Parker

And  don't forget you can still chat with Sophie Weston, Janet Laurence and Sandra Marton until I hear from them who they have chosen as their winner.

40 for 40 - Michelle Reid

Does anyone really need to be introduced to today's special guest?  If you haven't read a Michelle Reid book, then you really should sample one.   I know because her books reached me  and went on to my 'must buy' list  before I met Michelle in person.

But then  at one  Harlequin Mills & Boon  Author Day - the very first author day - I met Michelle in person for the first time. I struck lucky that day - I not only met one of my favourite authors, but I made a very special friend  for life.  As Michelle herself mentions in her post - we've been friends now for a long time. We've seen each other through a lot of writerly moans - the 'I'm stuck' -  or 'This is rubbish' - or 'I just can't make this hero behave'  - moans. The things only another writer can really understand.   Our phones calls are legendary - I think we keep the phone companies afloat all on our own.

It wouldn't be a celebration of any sort without Michelle being here  - so I'm  truly happy to have her here to join in this special celebration.


Welcome Michelle!



From Michelle:

I’ve decided that there must be a gene in my family DNA that makes us pick out our life partner very young.  Most of my (numerous) siblings met and married their life partners quite young. I was just 17 when I met mine, we married when I was 20 and we are still here going strong 45 years on with never a cross word spoken between us (what a big lie!) In fact I think the occasional spat helps to refresh our relationship - me being the fiery one and the DH being the stubborn one, we need a good spat now and then to clear the air. And talking about stubborn, my eldest daughter met her husband when she was 14 and no matter how anyone tried to advise them to live a little before they committed to each other, they did not listen, and are about to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary. So yes, I’ve decided it’s definitely in the family genes.

Many - many congratulations to Kate and Steve for reaching their 40th. I would not have wanted to miss celebrating here with two of the most caring and loving people I know.


And Kate, Steve, on a personal note, our 20 year friendship is worthy of note. We’ve seen each other through some great times and some tough times over those 20 years and like both our marriages, our friendship has stayed strong and true. Thank you for yours and Steve’s wonderful support through my recent tough time, it would have been so much tougher without you.

 

Do any of you have a special friendship that you cannot imagine being without?

For a giveaway I have a copy of my Hot Blooded Husband Series, newly released and very nicely  
packaged in one volume.

 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

40 for 40 - Sophie Weston


 
The romance writing world is an interesting network.  So often I've found that if I've read and enjoyed someone's books, then I usually like them when I meet them. This rule of thumb applies to today's guest -  Sophie Weston . And it's intriguing to see that in her post she mentions  the same sort of thing  - reading my books before she met me.

If I'm honest I can quite recall exactly when I met Sophie - she seems to have been part of my writing life for so long. We've connected at so many RNA events - conferences, award lunches . . . and then there are the AMBA lunches.   I've been lucky enough to visit her in her London home and meet her cats. Though I haven't met the present feline incumbent Tom Kydd who like Flora and Charlie  is a glorious Maine Coon.  

I had to smile reading Sophie's post - it brought back such  memories of the time I ran the Conference Virgins - ahem - Conference First-Timers network.  I made so many friends through that. You've met several of them here in the 40 for 40.  Thanks so much for the memories Sophie - and welcome to the blog.
 
Here's Sophie -
 
I cannot say what a pleasure it is to congratulate Kate and Steve on achieving their 40th. We have shared a lot over the years – the anxieties of professional authorship, the delights and woes of living with cats (we are now both under the paw of Maine Coons), the frustration when a book hits a snag and, lo, the euphoria when it shakes free and heads to the end at full speed.

 

Before I met Kate I already knew and admired her books, with their enviably passionate heroes.  But I really got to know what a thoroughly good egg she is when I ran my first (of three) conferences for the Romantic Novelists’ Association.  The conference had been growing in scope and popularity for some years and that year a high proportion were going to be attending for the first time.  Kate, bless her, volunteered to be den mother of all the first timers.

 

And what a service they got! Her pre-conference briefings were so informative and, above
all, so friendly, that those first time attendees – conference virgins as they called themselves – knew each other well before they even arrived on campus.  They had come from all over the country and never met before. Many, though by no means all, were unpublished. One, dear Bev, was very ill. She told me that she had almost not come because she would know no one, had not been writing much recently, and was feeling down about her treatment. But she knew the others, after Kate’s first timers’ loop, and they all urged her to give it a whirl. I remember the hug Kate gave her when Bev arrived;  we sorted out disabled parking for to get about campus;  Steve was always unobtrusively on hand with calm, unhurried support if she needed it; the whole group – Kate’s group – buoyed Bev up the whole weekend, so that she went home zinging with enthusiasm on fun and friendship, as well as writing. Magic!

 

So Happy Anniversary, Kate and Steve, life enhancers both.    


******************************         

 

Sophie Weston has written lots of Harlequin Mills and Boon; GETTING THE POINT, basically punctuation for the petrified as Jenny Haddon with Elizabeth Hawksley; and  TO MARRY A PRINCE, as Sophie Page for Arrow books. She is currently 100,00 words into the Book of her Heart. She has been running away from it for 10 years and is scared to death.       


OOPS - sorry - I forgot to post Sophie's question  - so here it is:


Question - I've got a sequel to TO MARRY A PRINCE in mind. I keep asking myself, how much of your own life would you be able to hang onto, once you'd married your prince? What do you think? 


 
Prize: signed copy of TO MARRY A PRINCE

Winners - and a new guest

I have  a few winners to announce
Heidi Rice  picked  Jo's Daughter

Lesley Horton picked  Traveler

Anna Louise Lucia picked Mary Preston  (who wins her choice of a book from my backlist)

If you don't know the drill by now,  you should!
Email me at katewalker AT ntlworld.com  with your postal address and the name of the donor of your prize, and I'll send the details to them.

I don't know if anyone's been counting, but I think we're over 40 guests now - but still they keep coming! Just yesterday I received a new post - and a new prize - from another author friend who wanted to join in - so , it's taken a little shifting around of the timetable, but now the timetable looks like this

14th - Presents author  Michelle Reid
15th  - Presents author Trish Morey
16th - Brand new Presents author - Michelle Smart

And today's unexpected guest  Sophie Weston  is coming up

Monday, August 12, 2013

40 for 40 - Janet Laurence


Some of you will already have met lovely Janet Laurence. She did a mini interview   here on this blog back in  May last year. I was delighted to introduce her to my readers as she's a  special friend I've made through my wonderful weeks at Writers' Holiday  and the Fishguard Writers' and Artists weekend. She even came along and signed up as a  student in my Advanced Romance Writing course in  Fishguard one year.

I've just spent a delightful week in Janet's company at the last Writers' Holiday   in Caerleon and it was, as always, so good to meet up with her and enjoy talking with her about almost every aspect of writing and  publishing  and - well, life. I only regret that I wasn't able to return the compliment she paid me and to sit in on her teaching Crime Writing course because we were both teaching at the same time in the week.

Last year Janet brought out her new historical crime novel Deadly Inheritance  - a great read - and she's offering a copy of this book to one of the commenters today.

Welcome back Janet - it's lovely to see you again.

From Janet:

The idea that you and Steve are celebrating forty years of marriage is ridiculous. Did you get wed in the cradle! And raise a son when you were hardly out of the nursery? You met at uni? I don’t believe it!
I just don’t notice time whizzing past. Not these days. So I missed posting a proper message on your 40 for 40 site. Mea Culpa! So here’s a slightly more studied contribution to your celebrations.
You and Steve are the most lovely couple, gold standard all the way through, loving and supportive just as wife and husband should be. Your double act at Caerleon last week when you stepped in at the last moment to cover a gap in the programme when poor Irene Yates had to return home to her sick husband, showed all of that. I can’t comment on your performance as parents but would take a hefty bet that you’ve shown all the right qualities there too.

What you, Kate, have taught me is the bringing of love and passion into creative writing. Love in all its aspects runs as a sub-text in DEADLY INHERITANCE, my historical crime novel that came out last year.  You’re the Queen of Romance – and I love your A THRONE FOR THE TAKING, so tightly plotted and written yet throbbing with passion and sheer romance. DEADLY INHERITANCE has more
romance in it than any other crime book I’ve written and I’d like to offer a copy to the reader who can nominate who in their opinion is the Queen of Crime Writers.

We will all stand by to celebrate your and Steve’s Golden wedding in ten years’ time.  It will come round quicker than we can write:  Congraulations. Meanwhile hope you and Steve are relaxing after all your efforts at Caerleon and continuing to enjoy your remarkable anniversary. Except that you are probably deep in forging another romance. Hooray!

LOVE


JANET

Winners

I have more winners to declare -

Tawny Weber's winner is girlygirlhoosier

India Grey has picked   Jane

And CC Coburn has chosen Sally Bearneathy

Winners please contact me  kate AT kate-walker.com or using the link at the bottom of the page.

I'll be collecting up a list of new winners from

Danica Favorite
Lesley Horton
Heidi Rice
Helen Bianchin

at the end of today - so get your answers to them if you want a chance to win.

The last few 40 for 40 posts will appear this week - last chances to win books from some very special authors.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

40 for 40 - Sandra Marton

I don't think today's guest blogger needs much introduction - not to anyone who  reads Modern Romance/Harlequin  Presents novels. I know I had read so many of Sandra's books before I was lucky enough to meet her in person. That was at one of the RWA conferences I went to and Sandra had invited her fellow Presents authors to her room  for pizza after the literacy signing - a wonderful idea that has now become a well-established tradition at this event.

Later, Sandra and her lovely husband came over to the UK  to attend AMBA  and we were able to build on our friendship - with the added bonus that my husband and hers also got on so very well  together. Good friends are like that, no matter how long you have to spend apart, you can pick up again when you do meet up. We have also been able to add Michelle Reid and her husband into the group  so that we can call the husbands The Three Musketeers.

So how could I enjoy the 40 for 40 celebrations without these two special friends  to share it? You've already met Michelle Reid - and I'm delighted to include today's very special guest - the lovely

Sandra Marton



What a joy it is to wish Happy Fortieth Anniversary to Kate and Steve!  I'd read Kate for years before I met her and when I did, I was delighted to learn that's she 's not just a wonderful writer, she's also a wonderful woman. And her husband... He's such fun to talk to! Steve is absolutely the right man for Kate: he's interesting and knowledgeable about  a whole variety of things.  They're the perfect couple. When you're with them, you can feel the love and respect they share. Isn't that what we all want in our relationships? Isn't it what readers want in the stories we authors write? It's lovely to see that the happy couples Kate brings us in her books have a solid grounding in the reality of her own life. I'm proud to be one of Kate's sister writers, and proud to be a friend of these great people.

My latest book, Emily: Sex & Sensibility, is the story of two people who discover what I'm sure Kate and Steve already know. If  love is strong,  nothing can destroy it.  Emily Wilde falls head over heels in love with Marco Santini and Marco, who's never loved anyone, falls equally hard. But Emily is trapped in a network of lies and she fears what will happen when those lies are revealed. I can't tell you any more but I can tell you that I loved creating Emily: she's so real, so flawed and, at the same time, so good and generous of heart that, in many ways, she is Everywoman--or, at least, Everywoman who becomes the lover of a sexy, gorgeous, powerful

Italian billionaire.  So, what do you think?

Can a love affair that has a rocky start still end happily?

Let me know and you might be the lucky winner of a signed paperback copy of Emily: Sex & Sensibility.

Happy Anniversary, Kate and Steve! And may you have many, many more.

Love,
Sandra

Saturday, August 10, 2013

40 for 40 - Helen Bianchin

 
 The 40 for 40 celebration is drawing to a close - but there are still some wonderful authors for you to meet - and there are some real superstars amongst them.

One of these is today's special guest - the wonderful  Helen Bianchin.  Sadly, Helen is one of the special friends that I have yet to meet in person and as she lives on the opposite side of the world to me, in Australia, achieving my ambition of meeting her face to face isn't going to be easy. 
Helen has been part of my romance writing life for far long than I (or, I'm sure, she) care to remember.  Way back when, before I was ever published, I used to read Helen's books to learn about the intensity, the sensuality and the passion that went into writing  M&B Modern/Harlequin Presents novels. She has been part of my journey to publication, through my time as a published author  and now, when I'm proud to call her a friend even if that friendship is sadly the long-distance one it has to be.

Thank you Helen for all those years of romance through your books, and friendship through your emails.  I'm crossing my fingers that one day we will be able to make that face to face meeting.

Welcome, Helen!
 
 
Wedding anniversaries reflect fond memories of the day the marriage took place. The excitement, love, hope for the future, joy, pleasure shared with family and friends.

I met my future husband walking towards me on a pavement in the city of Cairns, Australia (we won't say exactly how long ago). My initial reaction being hmn, not bad.

Strangers going in the opposite direction who looked but didn't speak. Little did I imagine I might meet him a few weeks later in the small country town of Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands. Long story short, he was an Italian tobacco share-farmer, we did speak (he in fractured English, which improved over time with some hilarious results), the courtship led to marriage, the highs and lows of tobacco growing life, family, a move to Auckland, New Zealand for several years, followed by a return to Queensland, Australia, where the family expanded with the addition of a son-in-law, two daughters-in-law, and now six young grandchildren.   

 
During my writing career I have formed many friendships with fellow authors around the world,
and Kate's  friendship is one I highly value. 
 
A 40th wedding anniversary is very special, and I wish Kate  and Steve my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes, with many more wedding anniversaries to share.  I hope you celebrated the day in style,  with fun, laughter, high spirits and lovely memories.
 

 
I have a giveaway to offer .. An autographed hard copy of "Alessandro's Prize",  to the person who answers the following question:
 
"What are your favourite flowers for a bridal bouquet?"   

Friday, August 09, 2013

40 for 40 - Heidi Rice


I have  to admit that I've not been quite sure how to introduce Heidi Rice to you all. She's written some great books - and they all seem   to have appeared in differently (named)  lines!

So do I say she writes for Modern Extra/Modern Heat/RIVA/KISS . .  . or Modern Tempted! (I think the last two are the current USA and UK names for the lines - so we'll go with those!)

   I first met her at an RNA Awards lunch and I've been reading her work ever since. It doesn't matter what you call the lines she appears in, though though - whichever line she writes for,  Heidi's books are great fun  and sexy as can be.

So I'm delighted to welcome Heidi to my blog to tell you about the new  name for KISS in the UK  - and the special mini-series -   The Wedding Season.

So here's Heidi:



First off a big congrats to Kate and the Babe Magnet... 40 years of togetherness is so AWESOME.

Have to admit I'm not quite there yet with my OH, but given our exceedingly low-key wedding - involving a weekend elopement to NYC and nuptials at Manhattan City Hall - I'm pretty impressed with how long our marriage has lasted.

As it happens, a very similar low-key wedding at Manhattan's wonderful Art Deco marriage bureau provides the setting for the big resolution scene in my next book for Harlequin KISS, Maid of Dishonor - the third book in The Wedding Season quartet which I wrote with the fabulous Aimee Carson, Amy Andrews and Kimberly Lang.



It's not my hero and heroine - gorgeous Southern hottie Carter Price & British bad girl Gina Carrington - who are getting married... But rather geeky astrologer Cassie Barkley and hunky ex-quarterback Sam Tucker - the hero and heroine from Amy Andrews super-sexy second book, The Girl Least Likely to Marry. But I couldn't think of a better place for Carter and Gina to finally declare their Happy Ever After - after their very rocky road to love and romance - than the place where I found mine!

If you want more info on the other books in the series you can check out our Wedding Season fanpage on Facebook.... Or our Wedding Season boards on Pinterest, featuring all sorts of fabulousness inspired by the stories of four former college roomies and how they found love, and re-found each other during one very eventful summer. And to get you in the mood you can also download Aimee Carson's FREE prequel novella, The Wedding Dress Diaries.

If you're not in the US, the books will be coming out in Modern Tempted (the new home of RIVA) starting in September!

I'll be giving away a copy of Maid of Dishonor to one lucky commentator on this wonderful Kate Walker Anniversary blog. All you have to do is answer the following question:

What is the MOST romantic wedding ever and why?

 It could be yours, a friend's, one you dreamt of doing one day, or even one you've seen on TV, in a movie, or read in a book. I'd love to know, as it might be great inspiration for my next book!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

40 for 40 - Lesley Horton


Now today's guest is a very special one - and that's because she's sharing  her (and her husband's ) truly special day with me - and with you.

I'm celebrating my Ruby Wedding but Lesley and Brian are a truly golden couple as they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. I'm cheering and celebrating as I say this  - I'm so happy for such a lovely couple.

I just spent a wonderful week with Lesley at Caerleon Writers' Holiday where she was teaching the Novel Writing course. We had a lot of fun together, talking about writing, about life - and highlighter pens (wonderful for editing your manuscript!).

From Lesley to Kate

You can imagine how grateful I am to Kate for giving me this particular slot because by chance today is my Golden Wedding anniversary. Brian and I were married on this very date in 1963.  In fact it turned out to be quite an auspicious one since it was the day of what is now known as The Great Train Robbery. Without going into detail, the men stopped the Royal Mail train on its way to London and stole £2.1 million. It was, and still is, considered one of the most infamous robberies of all time and no doubt this year we will have to share our fiftieth anniversary with that of the fifteen who carried out the raid. Is it any wonder I write crime novels?

My husband, Brian, and I met on holiday – at least he was on holiday and I was a student teacher spending my vacation working as one of the sports hostesses at the holiday camp in north Wales. The first night he asked me to dance and when the week was over, we kept in touch. He is originally from the Midlands and I was at college in Bristol and we were able to see each other most weekends. Of course everyone said it wouldn’t last – holiday romances never do – but we became engaged in 1960
and were married in a village chapel about a hundred yards from where I lived. I could have walked to my wedding, but I was determined to arrive by car, so I asked the driver to take the scenic route – past the chapel, up the hill, turn at the top and back down.  It was fun as to see the faces of the bridesmaids waiting outside the gates when we didn’t stop and the relief when we reappeared. They must have thought I was leaving my fiancĂ© standing at the altar. Yet here we are fifty years, three children, six grandchildren, one great grandchild and three cats later celebrating our golden wedding.

We have more in common with Kate and Steve than an anniversary and our love of writing.  They met at the University of Aberystwyth; my daughter was a student there for several years while we spent much of our time hunting for rogue change behind the cushions of the settee while she gained her first degree, her Master’s and her Ph.D.  Of course we also share our love of cats. Where would be without our cats, Kate and Steve? They keep us sane – or do they?  I sometimes wonder. They know the house is theirs, that we are there only to serve them and without a doubt they keep us poo
r when they visit the vets. But we wouldn’t be without them would we?  

What more can I say Kate and Steve, except that I am so pleased to be part of ruby wedding celebrations and that Brian and I are richer for having met you. We love you both.


Lesley's question - with her memories of her wedding day in mind  - is this -
Is there some special event - historical - dramatic - funny - that was in the news in the year you were married?  Share you memories with her.

Lesley will give away a copy of Twisted Tracks to one lucky commenter.
Once again Lesley - Many Congratulations on this very special day to you and Brian.

Caerleon thoughts . . .


I've been so busy with the 40 for 40 celebrations that I haven't had a moment to pause and reflect on the fact that this Writers' Holiday was the last one at its usual venue on the Caerleon Campus at Newport.  Naturally, it was a sad and nostalgic occasion - but at the same time  the thoughts of everyone - students, tutors, speakers  and of course the organisers Anne and Gerry Hobbs have now to turn to Writers' Holiday 2014 in Fishguard   which I'm sure will take the same special Writers' Holiday spirit to a new and very relaxed situation.


But there are some great reminiscences about this wonderful writers' event  all over the internet right now - starting with this one by tutor Simon Whaley which you can find on his blog   Simon Says.   Some great writing advice  there.

And if you want to know more about the new venue and the dates of next year's writers holiday - then check out their web site here.   But if you're interested - you should know that the holiday is already booking up fast!

And today's very special guest on the 40 for 40 blog is another tutor from the Writers' Holiday week.

40 for 40 - winners

I have heard back from some of my earlier posters and they are happy to send out their prizes to their winners so  here is the list of the lucky readers

Chantelle Shaw picked jaganderson 

Pamela Hartshorne  picked Sally

Liz Fielding chose Mary Preston

And  Anna Sugden chose Kimmyl


Will the winners please contact me as usual - Kate AT kate-walker.com with your postal addresses so that I can send  your details to the generous authors who have donated these prizes.

You still have time to chat with CC Coburn and Danica Favorite -

And still coming up  -

Heidi Rice
Helen Bianchin
Trish Morey
Sandra Marton
Michelle Reid

And I'll be introducing you to some brand new M&B Modern/Harlequin  Presents novelists.

But coming up today I have a very special guest on her very very special day. Look out for that!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

40 for 40 - CC Coburn

Here's another brand-new friend to introduce to you.

CC Coburn is so new a friend that I haven't actually met her yet - but then she's been out of the country for much of the time I've known her. She was in Australia when she first got in touch with me. And then when I realised that she was coming to live in the UK, I was able to chat wit her about her new home - and her garden. And things like hedgehogs that she would find in her garden. Which explains the comment about the hedgehogs in the first paragraph.  CC   and her dog Freddie have discovered their very first hedgehogs this summer.

I'll be meeting up with CC later this year when she comes to the AMBA lunch in   September and I'm so looking forward to it.  Until then  - here's CC to chat with you about:

Disasters and Other Stories

Well Kate, firstly I’d like to congratulate you and your lovely hubby, Steve, on 40 marvellous years! I guess the years has flown by – a bit like hedgehogs under the hedges!

I met my husband… um… quite a while a ago.

It could all have ended in tears on our first real date, luckily he managed to hold back his tears, and 33 years and 3 kids later, we’re still together.

Our first date was going scuba diving at Julian Rocks off Byron Bay, Australia’s most easterly point. http://www.julianrocks.net/

Keith had led me to believe he’d done a lot more diving than it actually turned out he had—read: he’d learned to dive in a swimming pool a month earlier.

Since he was so desperate to date me that he lied through his teeth about his prior experience, I figure that what happened to him was entirely his own fault.

I was a member of the University of Queensland Diving Club. They organised weekends away to various scenic dive sites, so on hearing Keith enjoyed diving (obviously he really meant diving through the surf, into swimming pools, onto a rugby ball… but not scuba diving) I invited him on our next trip. We arrived at the dive site about 2 miles offshore in a rubber ducky and the anchor was dropped overboard. I noticed there was quite a current curling around the rocks, but wasn’t concerned about it. Leaving a skipper on the boat, we flopped back over the gunwales and headed down to 70 feet. The current was so strong we needed to haul ourselves down the anchor rope, so we weren’t swept away. I noticed Keith was sinking a lot faster than me. Obviously he had too much weight on his belt. As he hit the bottom at speed, his weight belt came undone and he started floating upwards! I grabbed his hand, pulled him down, indicating he should hug the anchor chain, while I refastened his belt. Except that when I let go of the anchor chain to tighten his weight belt, I started drifting away in the current. Luckily he grabbed hold of me, so while he clung to the anchor chain with one arm and the other holding onto me, I attempted to pull his overweighted belt up from his knees to his waist. By this time I’d realised I had a novice diver on my hands and if I didn’t do something, we’d both end up in New Zealand. I slipped some weights off his belt and after about 10 minutes and half a tank of chewed air, managed to get it up and refastened. Feeling queasy with all the effort and the responsibility of diving with a novice—they’re notorious for being unpredictable!—we headed off to look around the rocks. We came across a massive school of wobbegong sharks basking in the filtered sunlight. In case you’re not familiar with them, they’re quite harmless unless you happen to be stupid enough to stick your arm or foot into their mouth. They’re also rather flat on the top. This school of wobbies were all lying on top of each other about 6 or 7 sharks deep. It was quite a sight, but of course in those days, not many of us owned underwater cameras, so it will have to stay etched in my memory forever—along with the dive from hell.

Since I ran out of air more quickly than planned, I indicated we needed to go back to the surface. We found the anchor chain and headed up it towards daylight. The anchor chain soon turned into rope—both were bent at a curiously shallow angle to the sea bottom. And then the rope turned into a small buoy—suspended in mid-ocean! My alarm at this sight and wondering where the hell our boat was, had my stomach roiling. It was too far to swim to shore if our boat was unable to return to rescue us. I had visions of us floating off to New Zealand, never to be seen again. There was nothing else for it, we couldn’t hang around in mid-water waiting for rescue, we needed to let go of the anchor rope and head to the surface. Clinging to each other, we let go and were swept away in the current. Moments later our heads broke the surface. I cracked my floatation vest and reached over and cracked Keith’s. He had a huge grin on his face and said, “Wow! Did you see all those giant flatheads lying on top of each other?” I wasn’t in the mood to point out they weren’t flatheads, but wobbegongs. The stress of the dive, finding the anchor rope tied to a buoy and his silly grin as if totally unaware of the danger we’d been in, caught up with me. My stomach revolted and I threw up all over him.

I don’t remember much else except being grabbed under the arms and hauled into a dinghy that had miraculously appeared and thinking my dive buddy should be grateful we were in the water and he could wash the vomit off.

A few days later an enormous bunch of flowers arrived at work. Amongst the blooms was a card asking me for another date…

 

What’s your greatest dating disaster?

I’ll pick the best – it doesn’t even have to be yours, maybe it happened to a friend—but if it makes me laugh, I’ll give away a copy of my American Romance, “Sweet Home Colorado”   to the one I judge is best.

I’m known for being a bit unconventional, therefore writing Beth, my heroine in “The Cowboy, The Cheat, His Ex-Wife and her Vibrator” was fun. However, I let her do a lot of things I wouldn’t, but would love to!  You can read more about my latest book, my first foray into Indie publishing, on my website www.cccoburn.com or on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Cheat-Ex-Wife-Vibrator-ebook/dp/B00DS86AK0

I’m also published by Harlequin American Romance http://www.cccoburn.com/books.html

Happy reading!

 

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

40 for 40 - Brand New Love Inspired Historical author - Danica Favorite


Today I'm getting the 40 for 40 celebration back on track with a very special guest.  Someone who is celebrating herself  because Danica Favorite is celebrating her very fist sale. I'm so happy for her. I met Danica on line on the eHarlequin  forums - and then in reality when I went to RWA conferences in New York, Denver, San Francisco.

Ten years ago (was it really back in 2003?) Danica and other members of the eHarlequin group the Gonnabeez presented the Babe Magnet and I with  such a wonderful gift - the anniversary scrap book  she talks about below.  It was the loveliest thing. I still have that album, I treasure it - and you can see a pic of Danica's page posted below.
Thank you Danica  (and all the 'Beez') for your friendship, your thoughtfulness  in planning and organising that special gift and  sharing that special day with us.  It's a wonderful memory.

I only wish I could have created another great memory by being at RWA to share your  special day at conference this time. But I was there in spirit - sending you that special hug.

Here's Danica:


Wow! -I can't believe we are celebrating another anniversary for Kate Walker! Several years ago, a group of us got together to make an anniversary scrapbook for Kate and her hubby. So of course I could not resist the opportunity to celebrate again. One of my favorite parts of conferences where Kate and the Babe Magnet are in attendance is getting to spend time with such a lovely couple.

 
This year's RWA conference in Atlanta was special for me because I celebrated my first sale to Love Inspired Historical, and so many special authors who have been there supporting me all those years were there to congratulate me in person. The hug I most missed, however, was the one I know Kate would have given me- she is such a special encourager to me.

 
The journey to my first sale took twelve long years, and I'm so thankful to have people like Kate who cheered me on along the way. Since this post is also celebrating marriage and anniversaries, I should give a shout out to one of my
Danica's page in the album
biggest cheerleaders- my husband. We just celebrated 14 years of marriage. I'm sure when we got married, he never expected the crazy ride of publication, nor that it would take so long. However, he supported me anyway, and whenever I wanted to go to a conference, or take a class, or do something else to further my craft, he always did everything in his power to make it happen. A man who encourages his wife to achieve her dreams- now that's a hero to me!

 
My book won't be out until late 2014 or early 2015. So in lieu of a book prize, I'm offering some tea. My friends and I went to a lovely tea place called Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party (link: http://www.drbombays.com/) where the proceeds from the tea go to supporting women's education in India- I love that we went to a place that believes in helping make dreams come true.

So to all of you with a dream, go hug the people who encourage you! And if your dream hasn't come true yet, keep believing.

You can visit my website at www.danicafavorite.com, like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DanicaFavoriteAuthor or Follow me on Twitter: @danicafavorite

Danica would love you to share with her your stories of the people who encourage and support you - the people who encourage you to believe in your dreams. Do you have a special person like that it your life?  Let her know by writing in the comments section. You could win some of that special tea.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Catch up

The last day in Caerleon, plus travelling home  - staying overnight en route  - have delayed me and put the 40 for 40 calendar out of order. But I'm home now, and working hard to catch up and get things back on track.

I still have lots of wonderful authors to introduce to you. Here's the last line-up
Brand new Love Inspired Historical author Danica Favorite
Harlequin Presents author Michelle Reid
Harlequin Presents author Sandra Marton
Crime Novelist Lesley Horton
Harlequin Presents author Trish Morey
Harlequin American author CC Coburn
KISS/Modern Tempted author Heidi Rice
Harlequin Presents author Helen Bianchin

There might be more - I haven't finished sorting out my emails yet!

Friday, August 02, 2013

40 for 40 - Liz Fielding

Today's special guest needs no introduction - or perhaps I should say that she should need no introduction to anyone who enjoys great well-written enchanting romances. Liz has written so many fabulous stories- won so many awards, the RNA Romance  Prize and TWO RITAs amongst them. Take her look at her web site to see the details of the rest. If you haven't tried her books then you should.

But it's as a friend that Liz is here today. And as a friend, Liz is every bit as lovely as her books. If you look at the banner heading on her web site you'll read the line 'Romance with wit, charm and sizzle' - it's mean to describe her books, but the description would fit Liz herself too.

Liz is another of my dear friends who is celebrating her own personal anniversary today - so welcome Liz, I'm so glad to see you here - and Many Congratulations to you and your Best Beloved.


Here's Liz -


Many congratulations to Kate and the Babe Magnet on their 40 years together.

I hit the same anniversary last year with the Best Beloved and know that holding a marriage together for that length of time has little to do with moonlight and roses (although they do get their moment even after forty years!)

It’s about commitment; hard work, compromise, support and — when the gazing in each other’s eyes gets old (see my earlier comment) — facing the same way to share whatever the future brings. Taking turns to hold each other’s backs when the going gets tough. Not quitting. Kate and the BM have all that.

I can’t remember when I first met them, it must be nearly fifteen years ago, and we’ve partied many times on both sides of the Atlantic. They are both very dear to me and I salute them on reaching this amazing milestone. Such an achievement is worthy of celebration and I raise a glass to Kate and the BM – on to gold, guys. Race you there!

Liz's latest release, His To Command: The Nanny, is available in both paper and digital.
 

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