Christmas Awards 2011

Thursday 28 June 2007

Review For Helen Ravell

Helen Ravell/Summer Wine/Dark Eden Press/ebook/182 pgs

Claire Graham works for a tour company, taking people to sample Australia’s best wines. It has been a hard tour, especially because of one man who keeps pestering her. She escapes to the rest room, but when she hears an American voice she tells him to go away and leave her alone. His laughing protest makes her turn her head and instead of the creep she had been avoiding, she sees a handsome stranger. His name is Sam Bennett and the attraction between them is instant.

Sam soon gets to know and to love Claire’s family, but when it comes to his own he doesn’t want to discuss them. When Claire tries to find a job so that she can stay at the vineyard to be near him, she fails but Sam sends in her CV and she lands a job with more money that she could dream of earning.

Sam has a secret. What will happen when Claire discovers the truth? Will she still want to be his wife, and can she stand up to his domineering mother? Only true love will find the way to happiness for them both.

This is a sensual, enjoyable love story. Helen Ravell is a great storyteller! It was my first from Dark Eden and I hope they are going to be publishing more like this! 4.5 red roses, Anne

Wednesday 27 June 2007

Spinning Wildly

Spinning Wildly/Elle Fredrix/ The Wild Rose Press/Sweetheart Rose/ebook

A day out at wonderland, Canada''s premier amusement park with her son Cody looks doomed to disaster when Megan Dempsy spills mustard from a hotdog on to her chest. Her attempts to sponge it out only make her wet tee shirt cling more to her breasts, embarrassing both her and her son. However, Mitchell Carter isn't embarrassed when he meets her, and then meets her again, and again. Is he following her? I am not going to tell you the answer but this short novella is written with style. I enjoyed it a lot. 4.5 red roses, Anne

Monday 25 June 2007

Interview with Anne Bennett

I met Anne for the first time at the RNA lunch some years back. she was in a wheelchair then, and now she is walking. That is something remarkable I think, but Anne also writes fantastic books

Tell us a little about yourself
Hi , My name is Anne Bennett. And I am 58 years old and I have been married for over forty years. I have four children, three daughters and a son, now all grown up. Two are married and I have four grandchildren, three grandsons and a granddaughter, the eldest fifteen and the youngest six. I live in a very beautiful part of North Wales, which I love dearly. Unfortunately, my eldest daughter and son do not live close and as the children are now all school age, I see them only in the holidays.

Before I was a writer, I was a teacher... An accident in 1990 put paid to my career and landed me in a wheelchair. It was said I would never walk again, and we moved to our present house in 1993 and I began to write in earnest.

My first book was taken by Headline in 1997 followed by three more. In 2001 I parted company with Headline and was taken on by Harper Collins that same year. My eighth book with them, my twelfth over all and called "A Sister’s Promise" will be out in paperback ion 16th July 2007, followed by "A Daughter’s Secret" next year.

Meanwhile in August 2006, a special vibrating machine that I was using at a fitness centre I was attending broke through the fibrosis that was trapping the nerves running down my legs and I began to have feeling and then movement in my legs though it was many many painful weeks before it could be said that I was walking properly. Now, thankfully I am fully fit once more.

What do you write?
Historical Sagas. They sometimes span a number of years for example "A Daughter’s Secret" opens in 1901 and closes in 1943. My books are all based in Birmingham and/or Ireland as I was born in Birmingham of Roman Catholic, Irish parents.

Why do you write?
Because I must. There is a compulsion within me.

What are you writing now?
The books mentioned above "A Sister’s Promise" and "A Daughter’s Secret" are the first two books in a series about an Irish family called Sullivan who hail from a small town in Donegal in Ireland called Buncrana. Each book is about a member of that family and so at the moment I am writing the third in the series.

What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
Depends what I am doing. I like wearing my oldest jeans, boots and possibly waterproofs to walk my dog each morning and usually jeans and a tee shirt or sweater to work. I wear more stylish clothes when I am socialising or out with friends and I love the opportunity to really dress up.

Are you in love? Have you ever been?
What a question. Hasn’t every woman been in love at least once? I was lucky I married the man I fell in love with. Forty years on, the magic is still there,

Do you have a dream lover – and what does he look like?
I haven’t really though I thought Aragon from "Lord of the Rings" very tasty

What kind of comfort food do you like best?
Red wine, cheese and chocolate.

What makes you laugh? Cry?
Loads of things make me laugh. I might cry when I hear of the cruel things happening to ordinary human beings and the awful trials people have to cope with, like the parents of Madeleine abducted from her bed. Sometimes these things don’t make me sad. They make me angry.

What do you do to amuse yourself when not working?
I have to produce a book every nine months and that together with the research needed for each book and the promotion means I have little free time. However, but I do walk my dog for an hour plus every morning on the beach and sand dunes near my house, I go to the gym once a week and love to read. On the other hand I enjoy all aspects of socialising with friends and I love having my family visit

What is it in a man or woman that turns you on? The clean version please
Looks are not that important but I like men with a strong personality, though they also have to be kind and considerate and have a good sense of humour.

What do you hate about life?
I hate nothing about my life. My glass is not just half full, it is overflowing. What I hate about life generally is violence of any kind and it is incomprehensible to me why people are so cruel to one another.

What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success?
I have already achieved so much in life. As a child I had two ambitions, to write and to teach and I have managed to do both, and I would be happy if this series of books really takes off.

What are you going to write next?
The next book of the series. After that, a new contract will be under negotiation and the books I write them will be in the general area of what the publisher wants

Family Secrets

Family Secrets by Patricia Fawcett
Published by Robert Hale

Josie and Ray have been married for over 25 years. With their son, Matthew, having spread his wings, Josie feels the need for some excitement in her life, but Ray is seemingly happy with the way things are. Then, one Christmas, Matthew brings home his first serious girlfriend, Alice. Much to Josie’s shock and surprise, Alice is the daughter of her first love, Jack. New Year and Matthew is invited to meet Alice’s parents when her mother, Valerie, is equally shocked to learn that Matthew’s mother is her old love rival. Matthew and Alice’s relationship develops and they intend to marry, making it inevitable that their parents should meet. Valerie takes the plunge and invites Josie and Ray to spend the weekend with herself and Jack. Josie is filled with anticipation at meeting her old lover, but Valerie is anxious that their love will be rekindled. Is this the excitement that Josie has been looking for?
This book is a great read. Its characters are very likeable and easily identifiable and there are many twists and turns from the main plotline to keep the reader intrigued. I award this book four red roses. PS

Friday 22 June 2007

The Crimson ZA Compendium

The Crimson ZA Compendium of the Paranormal by Robert Cloud, Lee Rush, Richard Savage/Black Velvet Seductions/ebook
This book is a bit long but definitely worth the time it takes to read it. It is written with several short stories that contribute to the overall story. Each one could stand alone and yet when put all together you get a book that flows together very nicely and keeps you reading to the next story. The book starts out with Zachariah and Melanie and these two along with Lilith are the characters that tie all the stories together. Lilith keeps you guessing as to who and what she is and what her motives are. This book has all the elements of a great paranormal romance. You have your usual paranormal characters: vampires, shape-shifters, ghosts, and a dragon but you also have some that are different and unusual. I loved how the characters were brought to life and you feel like you are right there with them throughout the whole book. You also have Virginia who is a ghost that has a great sense of humor and a mischievousness that is a lot of fun and will have you laughing out loud at her antics. The story of Evelyn, Peter and James will bring tears to your eyes with its poignancy. It also has all the elements of a great story with murder, mayhem and magic. Each story is short which makes the book easy to read despite the length. One constant throughout the book, in each story is the love that each of the characters have for each other. Each story has a satisfying ending leading to a super climatic and unexpected ending. I would definitely recommend this book. I give this one 4-1/2 red roses, Larena
And I want to thank Larena for her review. Anne

Thursday 21 June 2007

Unwritten Romance

Unwritten Romance/Jenna Bayley-Burke/The Wild Rose Press/ebook/rosette
A health scare makes Mindy Thomas decide to change her life. She's going after what she wants - and that's Jarad Salazar, the boss of Salazar Advertising. Will she get him?

This is a short story but very readable, and this author writes well. I like these shorts from The Wild Rose Press. They are fun. I would still like to see something longer from this author! 4.5 red roses, Anne

Interview For Anne Whitfield

Ane Whitfield wrote Long Distance Love, which we featured on red roses.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m an Australian author, married with three children. I write historical mainstream novels with romantic elements, contemporary romance novels and short stories. I enjoy reading medieval fiction and doing research for my novels, plus I like genealogy.

What do you write?
I write historical mainstream, contemporary romance and short stories all usually set in either England or Australia.

Why do you write?
I write because I couldn’t survive not to. I cannot imagine a life not writing. There are too many characters in my head and if I don’t write them down, I’d go mad from them all buzzing around in there.
What are you writing now?
I’m in the middle of writing a historical set in East Yorkshire, England during Word War II titled, Broken Hero.

What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
Comfy clothes! Basically jeans or three quarter pants and a shirt most days, but I do like to wear flowy skirts, as they make me feel feminine.

Are you in love? Have you ever been?
I’m in love with my husband, and I also experienced love before meeting him.
Do you have a dream lover – and what does he look like?
I think my husband does a pretty good job of being a dream lover – could I say anything different? LOL

What kind of comfort food do you like best?
Chocolate! Good quality chocolate will see me through anything, though I do like ice cream too.

What makes you laugh? Cry?
Lots of things make me laugh. There are members of my family who have that comic ability to make me laugh. My best friend makes me laugh when we talk of our escapades when younger.
I cry at my kids’ school concerts or award days – very embarrassing for them. I cry watching sad films or seeing other people cry, like at airports!
What do you do to amuse yourself when not working?
Apart from reading, I do like gardening and taking the dog for a walk. Also going to the movies and going out for a coffee with family or friends. I’m also addicted to the computer game, Age of Empires.

What is it in a man or woman that turns you on? The clean version please!
I like beautiful eyes in a man, a good body never hurts either! I also like a sense of humour.

What do you hate about life?
That there is no cure for cancer. I lost two members of my family to cancer, my brother-in-law and my mother, and it devastated us.

What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success?
I hope to achieve (with help from my husband) to produce three children who grow into adults who are kind, caring and generous.

With regards to my writing I hope to always keep producing good stories and I guess I’ll know if I’ve been successful by the kind letters and emails I get from readers.

What are you going to write next?
I’m going to write another Victorian historical set in England and another historical set in Australia, plus hopefully more contemporary short stories and perhaps another novel set in WWII.

An Apology

Some of the reviews on Red Roses are for Triskelion authors. We understand that the publisher is closing, and that some of these books may not be available in the future. We apologise to any reader who would like to buy them. However, the reviews will remain on site, because the purpose of the reviews is mainly to publise authors, and many of them will find other publishers. They will be featured here when they do, and we want to say how sorry we are that a lot of authors are losing their publisher, and to wish them well in the future. Anne

Wednesday 20 June 2007

Beloved Captive

Melanie Atkins/ Beloved Captive/Triskelion Publishing/ebook/156pgs
Becca Daniels has made a friend of Meg, a little girl who saw her parents murdered. It is while she is talking to the judge about making the court testimony easier for the child that a man bursts into Judge Boykin's chambers and kills him. Becca might have been killed herself had not Detective Kevin Jacobs arrived in time.

The murderer – Alan Fowler – wounds Kevin with a knife, who shoots at him. He now has Fowler's gun, and because of an earlier miscarriage of justice, Kevin is forced to kidnap Becca to escape before the police arrive. Becca is scared at first, but soon learns to trust and care about the man who claims to be the good guy. They are on the run together, desperate to bring down the boss of an evil syndicate before he gets to them. Becca and Kevin have to stay alive to save Meg and clear Kevin's name.

This is an exciting, nail biting suspense/romance. The love scenes are good, and the story is a
page-turner from first to last. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and shall look forward to more by this excellent author! Five red roses. Anne


Kris Eton/Moonlighting/Triskelion Publishing/ebook
Kara Hadley is under caution because the security guard thinks she has been trying to shop lift a dress, but it was a mistake. Kara is unhappy because of her husband's infidelity but when the sparks fly between her and Jack it results in a feverish interlude she didn't expect. Afterwards, Kara thinks that it was just a one off but she is in for a surprise.
I don't want to tell you anymore about this book for fear of spoiling the surprise. It is a very sexy read and starts off with a bang! I give this book four red roses. Morna

Sounds fun, Anne

Desire And Dishonour

Juliet Landon.
ISBN 978-0-263-85182-3. /PB
HMB Publishers.
Miss Caterina Chester lives at 18, Paradise Road with her father, stepmother, her sister Sara and brother Harry, when he is at home, also with two pairs of twins from her father’s second marriage.

The house is extremely over-crowded and Caterina’s father; Stephen Chester has been desperate for her to marry for years. She was forced into two engagements, which she broke off before the weddings and now at the age of twenty-three her father has almost given up hope of her ever marrying.

Arriving home one day with her sister Sara she realises that her father has a guest as besides her Aunt’s Phaeton standing in the yard there is a large grey horse which she doesn’t recognise. Calling the groom she asks if her father has a visitor and also why her Aunts Phaeton is so muddy. He tells her that her brother Harry took out the carriage and that is how it was returned. Caterina is very angry, as Harry had no permission to take the carriage out, as it was loaned to her and not Harry. She storms into the house to see her father and encounters Sir Chase Boston with her father. She demands to know where Harry is but instead finds that Harry has lost the carriage in a bet to Sir Chase Boston. Her temper flares and she demands answers from Sir Chase. With her eyes flashing and her flame coloured hair flying Sir Chase Boston is intrigued. Suddenly hearing the children making a loud commotion upstairs she sweeps from the room.

Tell me about your daughter? Sir Chase asks Stephen Chester. Having just been told that Harry has lost five thousand pounds to Sir Chase Boston as well as the carriage Stephen Chester is feeling bitter and angry. He tells Sir Chase of Caterinas two broken engagements and says that he has no hopes of her ever getting to the altar.

Sir Chase amazes him by offering to forgo the money and the carriage if Caterina will marry him. This delights and surprises Stephen Chester who readily agrees to the offer but doubts that Caterina will agree to such a bargain. When told of the bargain Caterina is outraged and refuses to have anything to do with Sir Chase Boston.

Caterina has a wonderful voice and is asked to sing at many grand houses where she invariably meets Sir Chase. At first she ignores him when ever possible but finds against her will she is strangely attracted to him. With many clashes of will and some adventures ahead of her, has Caterina finally met her destiny?
This is an exciting read with twists and turns, I highly recommend this book and award it 4
roses. As
Sounds like a good book! Anne

Thursday 14 June 2007

Interview with Wendy Perriam

Wendy Perriam hasn't been reviewed by us yet, but we hope to have something from her soon, Anne
Tell us a little about yourself
I live in a top-floor flat in Pimlico, with a reclusive husband and an imaginary dog. Real pets are forbidden. I spent most of my life in the suburbs (where many of my novels are set), so I’m delighted to have moved to central London. From my study window I can see the top of Westminster Cathedral and the flag on Buckingham Palace.
I reckon I’m a cross between Woody Allen (worried) and Walter Mitty (escaping into fantasy), with perhaps a dash of Jane Eyre (surviving a strict boarding school only to struggle with the perils of love).
Although I wrote from early childhood and finished my first "novel" before I was twelve, I wasn’t published till the age of forty. Lots of things got in the way, including the loss of my Catholic faith (which proved extremely traumatic), two miscarriages and several bouts of illness. But, paradoxically, those things were fruitful in the end, by giving me experiences I could utilise in my fiction.
What do you write?
I’ve published 15 novels and 4 short-story collections. I used to write poetry and also articles for newspapers and magazines, but my favourite form is the short story.
All my fiction tends to feature characters who are living on a knife-edge, or struggling with inner conflicts. I’m fascinated by the secrets in most people’s lives, the private fears or longings we often hide even from our nearest and dearest. Love and relationships are important in my books, but I’d never describe them as romances, because for me love is a dangerous force.
Why do you write?
I find writing wonderfully therapeutic. Constructing a novel is a process of bringing order out of chaos. By drawing on experiences that might have been dark and difficult in reality, the writer can transform such things into satisfying plot-lines, or use them for character development. And the actual process of writing is so thoroughly absorbing, it distracts one from day-to-day problems and is the perfect cure for loneliness or boredom.
One of the reasons I wrote my new short-story collection was to explore the way that people use the power of the imagination to provide solace and satisfaction, or compensate for lacks and limitations in their lives. We may not always have the courage to be "the person we were born to be", to use a phrase from my novel, "Second Skin". Instead we often follow precepts laid down by our parents, school or society, regardless of the fact that these don’t fulfil our needs or honour our individuality. But at least we can live out the role in fantasy, as many of my characters do in "The Biggest Female in the World", indulging in fantasy food, fantasy romance, and even fantasy weddings and babies.
What are you writing now?
I’m halfway through my fifth short-story collection. One of the joys of the short story is that it can be prompted by the smallest thing – an odd item in the newspaper, a conversation overheard on a bus, a dusty old book in a junk-shop. Something of that nature will jump out at me spontaneously and I’ll suddenly feel a narrative building up around it, taking me way beyond those particular circumstances.
Several of the stories in "The Biggest Female in the World" sprang from personal experience: a wasp sting that swelled my arm to twice its normal size; a train halted by a suicide on the hottest day last year; a visit to the Hackney Empire to see a production of "Paradise Lost" featuring a naked Adam and Eve.
I have a sense of almost playing when I write short stories, compared with the more serious business of plotting and constructing a full-length novel. However, I do have a new novel planned, and hope to start it soon.

What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
I loathe fashion and its dictates, and am not keen on clothes at all! I’d happily be a nudist, were the British climate more favourable. Failing that, I wish I could spend all day in pyjamas – even wear them to smart parties, or the grandest of grand balls.
I can’t write if I’m all dressed up, and in fact I wear a full-length quilted dressing gown to work in – perhaps the nearest I’ll ever get to a nun’s habit, although it’s not black but brilliant red. I love bright colours and have a whole range of dressing gowns in purple, puce-pink, emerald, turquoise ... As for the famous ‘little black dress’, I don’t possess one and never have. There was too much black at school.

Are you in love? Have you ever been?
Oh, dear, yes, I have been, but usually with highly unsuitable men. I’m attracted like a moth to a flame by dominant, controlling males who invariably spell trouble. My best period, as regards love, was when I was a devout little Catholic girl who loved only God and ponies.
Sometimes I fall in love with my own male characters – for example, Caldos de Roche, the protagonist of my first novel, "Absinthe for Elevenses" (which was re-titled "Bourbon for Breakfast" when it was published in America!) And, yes, he’s dominant, controlling, and makes life pretty difficult for the woman he’s involved with, yet also sweeps her to the dizziest of heights.
Do you have a dream lover – and what does he look like?
My dream lover is an ex-priest – someone who has suffered and struggled and fought his inner demons. He’s not young – indeed he looks rather ravaged, but in a lean and handsome sort of way. He’s controlled, contained, scholarly and deep, but capable of sudden romantic tendernesses, such as kissing the inside of my elbow or the spaces between my fingers. Aaaaaah!

What kind of comfort food do you like best?
I adore rice pudding – the old-fashioned kind with brown skin on top. One of the characters in my stories imagines herself floating face-down in a vast rice-pudding lake, tonguing up its sweetness, having first chewed a hole in that delicious caramelly skin.
Another of my favourites is peanut butter, eaten straight from the jar in large gloopy spoonfuls, not spread thinly on bread. I prefer the unhealthy variety, full of sugar and palm oil, which makes it voluptuously bland and creamy.

What makes you laugh? Cry?
I love Roman Catholic jokes. There’s something about nuns and priests, sacraments and sins, that lends itself to humour.
David Lodge is my favourite funny author, and a Catholic, too, of course. If I have to fly, I always take one of his novels with me on the plane, to distract me from my fears.
What makes me cry? Old people struggling with loneliness and ill health. Long ago, in my twenties, I used to work with the elderly and, ever since then, I’ve been saddened by their plight.
My father, who died last year at the age of 97, was wonderfully courageous, despite the fact that his legs had begun to weaken and he’d had several nasty falls. Returning home from seeing him, I often used to sit and cry, thinking of his grazes and bruises, and the valiant way he’d dismiss them as ‘nothing’, so as not to worry me.

What do you do to amuse yourself when not working?
I love gatherings with friends, especially old friends from my school and college days who know the real me. I also enjoy going to the gym, although less on account of the exercise than because I meet such a wide variety of people there – every size, shape, type and profession. My third short-story collection was called "Virgin in the Gym"!
However, reading is my greatest love. I derive great pleasure from losing myself in different worlds and living vicariously through the characters. Reading is the perfect escape.

What is it in a man or woman that turns you on? The clean version please!
Despite my own hatred of smart clothes, I’m attracted by men who are elegantly dressed, preferably in a suit and a crisp white shirt, worn over their bare skin. Vests are a real turn-off, as are anoraks, and yes, pyjamas. (How inconsistent I am!) Voices are very important. The perfect male voice is a mixture of Cognac and black velvet. And I like short hair, superbly cut. Ponytails on men are anathema to me. I’m intrigued by enigmatic men who possess depth and subtlety, and are full of internal contradictions.

What do you hate about life?
Its injustice – the way some people have to endure extremes of pain and suffering, while others romp through life with barely a graze. This is all the more upsetting when it applies to children – those, for example, who’ve had no proper home and been passed from pillar to post, moving from one set of foster parents to another, or landing up in care. I intend to deal with this subject in my new novel.
On the more trivial side, I hate computers that crash (mine did last month), buses that never come, and mail-order-companies that keep you hanging on for hours, yet continually play you recorded messages saying, "Your call is important to us". One of the stories in my new collection, called "Happy Ending", is my attempt to get revenge on such a company!
What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success?
I’d like to feel that I’ve made a difference to at least a few people’s lives, whether these be the students I teach, or friends and relatives. I’d like to publish many more books and be still writing on my deathbed.
I don’t think I’ll ever feel I’m a success, having been told so often in my Catholic childhood that I was a sinner and a worm.

What are you going to write next?
Well, it should be that new novel I’ve planned, but I may get tempted to do another book of short stories. Short stories may be short in actual page-length, but they’re "long in depth", to use Flannery O’Connor’s phrase, containing a whole world in a restricted space. In fact, I can echo John Updike, a much greater writer than I’ll ever be, who said of his own short stories, "More closely than my novels, these efforts of a few thousand words each hold my life’s incidents, predicaments, crises, joys."

Saturday 9 June 2007

Step By Step

Step by Step by June Francis
Publisher - Allison & Busby

Hannah Kirk and Alice Moran are best friends, growing up in the backstreets of Edwardian Chester. Their family lives are rather different in that Hannah comes from a seemingly loving family, whilst Alice, who lives with her mother and mute step-brother, Kenny, lives in fear of her violent father, Mal. Unfortunately, one summer day, their lives are changed forever when Alice’s mother, Florrie, dies in childbirth. Hannah’s mother, Susannah, offers to "dress" the body, but when she, Alice and Kenny, arrive at the Morans’ home, Mal Moran is already there, desecrating his dead wife’s body. Susannah angrily confronts Mal, who does not welcome her interference. He hits her in the face, causing her to fall to the bottom of the stairs, where she lays unconscious. Realising the trouble he is in, Mal grabs both children and flees the City, leaving Susannah for dead. Susannah survives the attack, but is so traumatised that Hannah is now forced to become the carer for her father, brothers and sisters. As if she isn’t burdened enough, she also has to contend with the unwanted and improper advances of her older brother, Bert. Will Hannah and Alice ever see each other again? Will either of them find happiness or are they both destined to continue to suffer at the hands of abusive men? Read on and you will not be disappointed.
This is an excellent story, which kept me gripped to the very end. It does not spare the reader’s sensitivity and surely reflects the downtrodden lives of women before the First World War. I award this book four roses/ PS

Cupid's Shaft

Cupid’s Shaft by Desiree Holt

This is a great, quick, hot story. I loved the way it showed the instant attraction between Jessie and Riley and how their forced close proximity makes that attraction burst into flames. It has some humorous moments which helps keep it from getting too heavy while showing Jessie working through her insecurities due to past relationships and learning to trust again. It gives you some great ideas when you are snow bound and some very unique ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. If you like them hot, heavy and fast this is the one to try. This is a very fun read. Definitely worth it to take a quick break and read this one.
This is a reader's review!

I give this one 4 red roses.

Monday 4 June 2007

Precious Things

Precious Things by Katelyn Hughes
Triskelion Publishing
May 2007
163 Pages
Contemporary Romance

Katelyn Hughes has written an enjoyable contemporary romance that I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the final page! Engrossing, poignant and unashamedly romantic, I look forward to reading more novels by this writer who also writes under the name of Gail Delaney!

Precious Things is the story of Benjamin Prescott Roth, a man who refuses to let anyone get too close to him and who has always shut himself off from the world in order not to experience pain, heartache and rejection. But things for Ben are about to change when feisty Jewell Kincaid comes into his life and begins to show him how to love.

But just when the two are getting closer together, Ben’s world is shaken to its core when his sister is killed. Is Ben about to retreat in his silent and austere world? Or will he let Jewel’s strength, compassion and love support him in his time of need.
Katelyn Hughes has written a terrific romantic novel that’s emotional, moving and very difficult to put down. If emotional romances are your cup of tea, then add this novel to your must-buy list!

Two Special Edition Romances from Harlequin

Two five star romances from Harlequin!

Their Secret Son by Judy Duarte
Silhouette Special Edition
February 2007
224 Pages

Their Secret Son is the first book I have ever read by Judy Duarte, but it shall certainly not be last! Gripping, romantic and moving, Their Secret Son is absolutely wonderful!

Joe Davenport was Kristin Reynolds’ first love, but her rich family prevented them from pursuing a relationship. However, little did Joe know that Kristin had his baby. Joe may not have been able to be a proper father to his son years ago, but this time he is not going to let anyone get in his way of being a proper father.

As the two get to grips with parenthood, they realize that they still are attracted to one another and when the flame of passion reignites, Kristin and Joe find themselves unable to resist one another.

Their Secret Son is a tender romance which you will not be able to put down. Judy Duarte is a talented storyteller whose characters leap off the pages and whose passions and emotions are brought vividly to life so curl up on a comfortable chair, put your feet up and indulge in this captivating romance.

The Baby Deal by Victoria Pade
February 2007
224 Pages

The Baby Deal is a charming contemporary romance about a spoiled playboy who finds himself having to face up to his responsibilities.

Andrew Hanson has spent most of his life living off his family’s fortune and not doing a single day’s work in his entire life. He’s on holiday to Tahiti where he meets a beautiful woman called Delia whom he subsequently seduces, however, the holiday comes to an abrupt end when he is called back to New York and is told that he’s going to have to join the family business or risk going bankrupt.

But things are about to get a whole lot more complicated for Andrew because Delia soon turns up as a potential client and what’s more she’s pregnant with his baby!

The Baby Deal is a wonderful romance which will delight fans of category romances everywhere! Don’t miss it!


Sunday 3 June 2007

Interview For Amanda Grange

Amanda writes wonderful Regency books for Robert Hale, Anne
Tell us a little about yourself
I live in Cheshire, a pretty county in England, and when I’m not writing, I enjoy gardening, cooking and reading. I also love to shop!

What do you write?
I write historical romances, mainly set in the Regency period, although one or two of them are set in the Edwardian period.

Why do you write?
I write because I have a lot of stories in my head and I want to tell them.

What are you writing now?
I’m writing Col Brandon’s Diary, which is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility from Brandon’s point of view.

What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
When I’m writing I wear something comfortable, usually jeans and a T shirt or jumper. When I go out I like to dress up. My favourite clothes are cotton sundresses, probably because I associate them with good weather.

Do you have a dream lover – and what does he look like?
My dream lover is Mr Darcy. I see him as tall, dark and handsome.

What kind of comfort food do you like best?
Anything with chocolate in it.

What makes you laugh? Cry?
Lots of things make me laugh. Comedy on TV or in books, joking with friends. As for crying, the usual things.

What is it in a man or woman that turns you on? The clean version please!
A good sense of humour and a positive outlook on life.

What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success?
I’m not really driven by achievement or success.

What are you going to write next?
Another Jane Austen retelling, I think. I love doing them, in fact I’m hooked, retelling Austen’s novels from the heroes’ points of view is better than chocolate

An Interview with Jacqueline Diamond

A new author for me, her book Touch Me in the Dark was well reviewed on here by a reader - reader's reviews are worth their weight in gold! Anne

From: Jacqueline Diamond
Current books:
Daddy Protector, May release, Harlequin American Romance, ISBN 978-0-373-75167-9.
Touch Me in the Dark, Triskelion Publishing (e-book), ISBN 1-60186-168-0.
Next book:
Twin Surprise, September, Harlequin American Romance, ISN 978-0-373-75181-5.
Twin Surprise is a particular favorite of mine. The hero is a police officer with Parkinson Disease who discovers his life isn’t over – it’s just beginning.

Tell us a little about yourself
The boring but important part: I’m married (happily, for nearly 30 years), with two nearly grown sons and an ailing cat. The more interesting part: My mother, Sylvia Hyman, is an internationally renowned ceramic sculptor who will celebrate her 90th birthday this year and who just became the subject of a half-hour documentary by Curt Hahn. It’s screening at film festivals around the world and will soon be available on DVD.

What do you write?
During the past twenty-five years, I’ve published eighty novels. Most are romances – romantic comedy, romantic suspense, and contemporary romance – but I’ve also sold several hardcover mysteries, five Regencies, a fantasy novel and a horror novel. My first e-book, Touch Me in the Dark, is a paranormal romantic suspense.

Why do you write?
I always knew I was meant to be a writer. Fortunately, nobody in my family ever told me you can’t make a living at it, so I didn’t have to postpone pursuing my dream. That doesn’t mean it came easily. I could paper my two-story house with rejection slips if I’d saved them all, and that’s not counting the rejections that came by phone and e-mail. But there are stories I need to tell, and writing them is both a challenge and a joy.

What are you writing now?
I just finished a new romance for Harlequin American, the first of a trilogy that’s coming out next year, set in the Southern California community where I live. The working title is An Unexpected Family, and it’s about the interconnected lives of a group of neighbors.
Also, I’m writing my first novel of women’s fiction, a humorous take on two women rediscovering their friendship after a twenty-year estrangement.

What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
That’s a scary question! Truth is, since I work down the hall from my bedroom, I prefer jeans and casual tops. Sometimes I get really dressed up – in slacks and nicer tops.
Are you in love? Have you ever been?

After what felt like a long search, I found Mr. Right and married him at the age of twenty-nine. That may not seem old today, but twenty-nine years ago – that’s right; I’ve been married for exactly half my life – I was practically an old maid. It was worth it, though! To me, love is about friendship and mutual support.

Do you have a dream lover – and what does he look like?
A lot like the way my husband looked when we got married. Tall and dark with a twinkle in his eyes.

What kind of comfort food do you like best?
I love Chinese food. That’s first, followed by Italian (I used to live in Italy. After college, I won a writing fellowship from the Thomas Watson Foundation and spent a year in Europe, mostly Florence, working on a play). Oh, and my between-meals passion is Caramel Praline Crunch frozen yogurt.

What makes you laugh? Cry?
My kids and my cat make me laugh. Also, some of the wonderful writers in my longtime critique group. As for what makes me cry … losing someone I care about.

What do you do to amuse yourself when not working?
I read! Also, vegetable gardening is a lot more satisfying than it probably ought to be, considering the work involved and the constant battle with evil insects. Still, I find something deeply satisfying about harvesting food and sharing it with my family. Or just eating it myself!

What is it in a man or woman that turns you on? The clean version please!
Integrity. Curiosity. Enthusiasm.

What do you hate about life?
How many obstacles we have to overcome to get to the good parts. On the other hand, those obstacles are how we refine ourselves, so they’re necessary.

What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success?
Mostly, success is a daily process of trying to make the best choices and be the most productive, constructive person I’m capable of. On the other hand, being human, I do set goals, and I’m fortunate enough to have been able to reach some of them. One was having children, after years of fertility and pregnancy-related problems. Another was, with my husband, raising our two boys to become fine young men. In my writing, I’m still working to expand my readership and develop new depth and greater range. When will I know I’ve succeeded? Maybe when I make the top ten of the New York Times bestseller list, if ever.

What are you going to write next? I’ve contracted to write two more Harlequin Americans, continuing the stories I started in An Unexpected Family. These should be published in 2008
Jacqueline's books can be bought from

Interview with Mary De Laszlo

Mary De Laszlo writes powerful books that will hold you to the end! Anne
Tell us a little about yourself
I have always told stories even since I can remember, I went to boarding school when I was seven and found making up stories in my head helped alleviate homesickness. I still do this if I cannot sleep or am too anxious.

I was bought up on a farm in Suffolk and my parents were great readers and encouraged us to read from an early age. My father insisted on us reading a classic every holidays and though we sometimes complained I am forever grateful to him for introducing me to such wonderful plots and writing and such a rich vocabulary.

I trained as fashion journalist, working in London and Paris in the 60’s. Then when I married and was ‘house bound’ with small children I started to write by doing a correspondence course. I had a few short stories published and broadcast on the radio. My ninth novel, A Kind Of Legacy has just been published.

I live in London but as my husband had a Travel Agency, we travelled to quite a few fascinating places. Before I married I worked and studied in Italy and France and have a great affection for both countries and often bring them into my books.
I have three children and a lovely grandson.

What do you write?
I am fascinated by relationships so most of my novels are contempory fiction exploring the interaction between characters and how it affects their and other people’s lives. I try to see the funny side of life but also work through the sorrows and trials.
I have written historicals - because of the different morals and rules of the times, there is much more drama to use in the plot but I do find them far more difficult to get the right tone in the writing.

Why do you write?
It is part of me and I feel bereft if I am not doing it. There are times when a plot is not working or I cannot get the narrative to come alive and I think I’ll give it up. Or when I have just finished a book and my mind is exhausted and I swear I won’t take on such a task again but then a new idea arrives and I can’t resist it. On a good day when characters I never knew existed appear from my subconscious and take their place in the story – it is magic.

What are you writing now?
I have just finished a novel about three middle-aged women whose older husbands are all behaving badly and destroying the family. Christmas is coming and these women long to have a happy Christmas with their children and friends without their husbands ruining it by their behaviour. They hatch a mad plan to get the husbands to spend Christmas together in an isolated country house.

The novel explores the damage bad behaviour does to a family and the pain of starting out again when a marriage goes wrong. There is a love story too!

What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
I seem to wear trousers or jeans most of the time but I do like floaty skirts and great jackets (not necessarily worn together) sometimes in bright silks or embroidered. I like pretty, well cut classics.

Are you in love? Have you ever been?
I am often in love! Some luscious man in a novel, a film or just seen across a crowded room!
Seriously, I have been very lucky and have had two great loves in my life. Very sadly my marriage has just ended after 40 years but I would like to love again – so here’s hoping!

Do you have a dream lover – and what does he look like?
My dream lover is always the hero in my latest book. They usually seem to have dark hair but as I am getting older, they have flecks of grey too! I love those pale greeny eyes like clear water. I’ve only seen a few people with them. I like lean faces and well defined lips that often smile and hair that curls at the nape of the neck. Tallish and slim, clean and well dressed.

What kind of comfort food do you like best?
Chocolate and new bread.

What makes you laugh? Cry?
I do have a sense of the ridiculous so all sorts of things make me laugh – I laugh a lot. Novels by writers like Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh make me laugh out loud.
Some music, beautiful words, poetry about lost love and farewells at funerals (even if I don’t know the person) and seeing people saying good-bye at airports etc all turn on the tears.
Mary's books can be found at

An Interview with Melinda Hammond

Melinda Hammone wrote The Belles Dames Club, which was well reviewed on here. It has a sesne of fun as well as being slightly wicked! Anne

Tell us a little about yourself
Melinda Hammond – I live in the Pennines (close to Bronte country, which I always hope will help my work). The family are grown up now so I have more time for writing, which is my obsession.

What do you write?
Georgian and Regency romantic adventures – some are more adventurous than others, most have a touch of comedy, but they all have a good dash of romance in them.

Why do you write?

Because I can't help it! I have so many stories inside me and just want to get them down on paper. I love the Georgian and Regency periods and often find a daydream turns itself into my next project.

What are you writing now?
In the 18th and 19th century Italian painters came to England to decorate the great country houses: my latest story features an artist's daughter and a rakish young lord…..
What kind of clothes do you like to wear?

Warm, comfortable clothes when writing. Trousers mostly. I do have the odd party dress for social occasions! Black is my favourite colour – it is usually my choice if I am in a good mood, but I am trying to break out into lighter colours.

Are you in love? Have you ever been?
Very much so, with the man I married thirty-four years ago (I was of course a child bride!).

Do you have a dream lover – and what does he look like?
He changes, depending on my current book! Generally he is good-looking, but in a dangerous sort of way, if that makes sense.

What kind of comfort food do you like best?
A good peppered steak. Chocolates come a poor second.

What makes you laugh? Cry?
Witty comedy and sometimes real –life situations.
The news very often makes me sad, so much suffering

What do you do to amuse yourself when not working?
I suppose reading and visiting historic buildings should be classed as working! I love music, especially musical theatre, and good drama. Also, walking on the moors around my house – very therapeutic.

What is it in a man or woman that turns you on? The clean version please!
Intelligence and wit, tempered with kindness. Power is a turn-on, but not for long!

What do you hate about life?
Very little, but perhaps I have been fortunate. Man's inhumanity to Man. That sound trite, but I think it is the cause of many of life's problems.

What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success?
To carry on being as happy as I am now, and to write many more books! In some ways I have achieved my goal by getting published, but my dream now is to get the next book published, and the next…..

When will I know if I have been a success? I don't think one can put a marker on it – I feel privileged to have so much at this present time.

What are you going to write next?
I have a story bubbling about smugglers and vengeful widows in Sussex…….
Melinda's books can be found at