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April's Affections and Intrigues: Love and Mystery Bloom

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Investigating a conspiracy really wasn't on Nikki's very long to-do list.

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Escape to the Scottish Highlands in this enemies to lovers romance!

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It�s not the heat�it�s the pixie dust.

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They have a perfect partnership�
But an attempt on her life changes everything.

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Jealousy, Love, and Murder: The Ancient Games Turn Deadly

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Secret Identity, Small Town Romance
Available 4.15.24


1 - 20 of 2087 ( prev | next )

Secrets of a Scottish Isle
by Erica Ruth Neubauer
"An occult circle and a poet in a 1920s Scottish mystery"
Posted April 9, 2024

Fans of historical crime fiction in interesting locations may recall the murder at a hotel near the Great Pyramid in Cairo. The Read more...

The Orchids of Ashthorne Hall
by Rebecca Anderson
"A spooky coastal manor, a budding romance"
Posted April 8, 2024

I love that this historical romance features middle-class people, the up-and-coming, well-placed, if not well-off, of the day. In 1887, the eager young botanist Hyacinth Bell accepted a position caring for THE ORCHIDS OF ASHTHORNE HALL. She travels alone to Cornwall – the upper Read more...

Trapped in Yosemite
by Dana Mentink
"Mountainside exposure and an earthquake don't faze this K9 team"
Posted April 7, 2024

Yosemite National Park is the setting for a suspenseful romance tale in which everything that could go wrong, does, and then some more besides. An unheralded earthquake leaves a small group of people TRAPPED IN YOSIMITE, and somewhere in the vicinity is a man who is armed and dangerous Read more...

The Amish Quiltmaker's Unlikely Match
by Jennifer Beckstrand
"An outsider on an Amish farm means life starts to change"
Posted April 4, 2024

The fourth book featuring Amish Quiltmaker Esther Kiem brings us a highly unusual story, about an outsider coming among the Amish folk. This isn’t a suspense Read more...

Where They Lie
by Claire Coughlan
"A haunting crime in 1960's Dublin"
Posted April 4, 2024

Nicoletta Sarto, is, in 1968, among the few women journalists in Dublin. This is a Dublin my older relatives would recognise, a smaller city, in which transport options are few and social circles are restricted. WHERE THEY LIE is set between Christmas Eve and Read more...

The Book of Doors
by Gareth Brown
"Step from New York to Italy in a second - but there's a price to pay"
Posted April 4, 2024

This debut novel resembles Jumper, a great film. THE BOOK OF DOORS is unusual in the tale, given to Cassie Andrews by an elderly customer in her New Read more...

A Spartan’s Sorrow
by Hannah M. Lynn
"A mother is left behind when the ships sail to besiege Troy"
Posted April 4, 2024

The tale of Clytemnestra, a Queen of Ancient Greece, has been told many times, having come down to us through Homer’s Iliad, the story of the Read more...

The Book of Ile-Rien
by Martha Wells
"War against dark dimensions"
Posted April 4, 2024

Ile-Rien is a fantasy land featuring in a five-novel series by award-winning Martha Wells. For 2024, the first two instalments have been updated and merged to form THE BOOK OF ILE-RIEN.  

The Element of Fire is part

What's Left of Me
by Karen Foley
"Make friends in Bittersweet Harbor"
Posted April 4, 2024

This highly entertaining romance looks at people in the middle of their working years, with not a second chance relationship, but a first time to see more than friendship. WHAT’S LEFT OF ME is a strange title, I don’t love it, but this reflects how Read more...

The Night of the Storm
by Nishita Parekh
"Which is worse, a hurricane or a possible killer?"
Posted April 4, 2024

This new twist on a country house mystery, should really be called "The Night of Hurricane Harvey," but that might be too long. THE NIGHT OF THE STORM follows an Indian American family including a grandmother and two children, as they live through a horrendous time.

With

Life, Loss, And Puffins
by Catherine Ryan Hyde
"Two teens take off an a road trip"
Posted April 1, 2024

Here’s an unusual YA book which features Ru Evans, who graduated high school early and is about to start college at thirteen years old. Her mom Mitzy insists she must board at a home off campus and not in the dorms with adult students. Money is scarce Read more...

Murder Most Owl
by Sarah Fox
"A new Oregon coastline mystery series"
Posted March 29, 2024

Georgie Johansen returns to her childhood home to help her aunt Olivia, but Twilight Cove, Oregon, is no longer so peaceful. MURDER MOST OWL is a slightly paranormal cosy mystery – with no ghosts, but some unusual occurrences. Since Olivia broke her leg, she Read more...

Murder She Meowed
by Ruth J. Hartman
"A cosy mystery where cats sniff out clues"
Posted March 29, 2024

This fun Bookshop Kitties mystery features Christy Bailey, and her lovely cats Milton and Pearl. We start with a wedding in Green Meadow, Indiana, in which even the Read more...

Bones Under the Ice
by Mary Ann Miller
"A wintry set of crimes in rural Indiana"
Posted March 22, 2024

Jhonni Laurent is the sheriff of Field's Crossing, Indiana, and not everyone accepted the election of a woman to the job. But there aren’t any murders in farming country, so her relative lack of experience didn’t matter. Now, everything Read more...

To Slip the Bonds of Earth
by Amanda Flower
"The Wright Brothers have a crime-solving sister"
Posted March 22, 2024

Straight after two historical crime stories about poet Emily Dickinson, Amanda Flower leaps to another historical heroine for inspiration. Katharine Wright may not be as familiar a name Read more...

Barks, Bikes And Bodies!
by Lucy Emblem
"An English mystery on a lighter shade of pale"
Posted March 18, 2024

Tamsin Kernick lives in England’s gentle Malvern Hills in this New Year’s Eve mystery, which features BARKS, BIKES AND BODIES! With her friend, yoga instructor Emerald, Tamsin heads up the snowy hills to watch a fireworks display. She sensibly leaves Read more...

That Others May Live
by Sara Driscoll
"First responders comb the debris of a building for survivors"
Posted March 18, 2024

This extremely well-written thriller, and evocative cover, describe the aftermath of a major building’s collapse, when FBI dog handler Meg Jennings is among the first responders. Meg with her clever K9 Hawk, suit up and search the scene so THAT OTHERS Read more...

In Sunshine or in Shadow
by Rhys Bowen, Clare Broyles
"Summer in the Catskills in 1908 - and an untimely death"
Posted March 15, 2024

I enjoy historical detective fiction with female leads, and even though book 20 of a series has well-established characters, IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW is easy to read for a newcomer. New York, 1908 is the setting, and Read more...

The Irish Matchmaker
by Jennifer Deibel
"All the fun of the matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna"
Posted March 11, 2024

I so enjoyed reading the delightful tale of a Lisdoonvarna matchmaker. This County Clare town still trades on its famous festival of matchmaking today. After the harvest was gathered rural people could travel and meet, and they often needed to marry outside the village or get guarantees of a Read more...

The Silver Moth
by Carol Lefevre
"A Great War evacuee girl finds a valley full of secrets"
Posted March 9, 2024

Anyone who has enjoyed The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge will want to read the newly written sequel. The original book featured Maria Merryweather who finds her way around Moonacre Manor in a valley in the West Country of England. THE SILVER MOTH revisits the location, as the Read more...

Clare O'Beara


I am a tree surgeon and author, living in Ireland. I write science fiction, crime, romantic suspense and Young Adult books. I have qualified in ecology and journalism.

Formerly I have showjumped my own horses at national level. I have been a member of the Royal Dublin Society's Forestry And The Environment Committee.


Reviews Published Challenge Participant Frequently Auto-Approved 80% Professional Reader 2016 NetGalley Challenge500 Book Reviews


Features & Posts

Spicy and sizzling this summer
June 19, 2012

502 comments posted.

Re: Phantom Wolf (11:43am June 21, 2014):

Hi Kia,

I enjoyed the first book and I'll be looking out for the second one. Phantom Wolf is a good title!

Re: Have You Any Rogues? (8:55am November 14, 2013):

Ladies are better at seeing details than men. Sounds like a good story.

Re: Shenandoah Crossings (8:54am November 14, 2013):

Wow, this sound like a great read. And we share a love of horses and girlhood history of mucking out stables. Have a good Christmas!

Re: Texas Tango (8:52am November 14, 2013):

Well done on this book, and you look great in the bright hat!
I don't think being a teen in difficult circumstances necessarily equates with being a jerk, but then I'm a girl and a boy might find it harder to cope and to express himself.
I'd love a cowboy ornament for my tree!

Re: Scion of the Sun (9:50am November 7, 2013):

Well done on creating so many books. YA books can be excellent reads but do not have to be paranormal. Try Fifteen Days Without A Head, This Song Will Save Your Life and The Elephant Of Surprise for a non-fantasy feast.

Re: What the Bride Wore (9:47am November 7, 2013):

Seems like you have to learn focus. Today's net-hopping lifestyle means people have shorter attention spans, which is why they check mail all the time or send updates when they should be immersed in an experience. Try living net-free and phone-free for a week.

Re: Promise Me Texas (9:45am November 7, 2013):

I'm sure plenty of people have done something because they believed someone's lie - calling it a white lie doesn't excuse hurtfulness or manipulation.

Re: In for a Penny (9:43am November 7, 2013):

Mature women can have a great store of knowledge so I'm sure this is a good mystery. Sounds like fun!

Re: Upon a Winter's Night (9:41am November 7, 2013):

I enjoyed reading Dark Crossings and like reading about a simpler way of life. I must look out for this book too. Christmas is a great time to relax and give gifts and meet friends and family.

Re: A Cadence Creek Christmas (9:38am November 7, 2013):

I enjoyed this book and the contrasts shown. I did think the character was getting carried away with little touches of décor when a wedding is meant to be about celebrating love! But we could see why she was such a perfectionist.

Re: Norse Jewel (9:50am October 27, 2013):

The Norse had a tiny amount of arable land and long bitter winters, so they raided other lands to sustain themselves. When they got the chance, of course they settled in better farming lands such as Ireland, England and Normandy. But they often had to do it as invaders, because the locals were there first.

Re: Christmas Quilt (11:16am October 20, 2013):

Who wouldn't want an extra quilt at Christmas time! Sounds like a great book.

Re: Run The Risk (10:32am October 17, 2013):

Six novels a year? that's a lot of inspiration and a lot of typing!

Re: Bare Knuckle (10:30am October 17, 2013):

Well done on such a happy collaboration! if any series appeals I am sorry to se it end. But if readers like it well enough the author may return. Some series should be left alone though, not dragged out forever to milk the loyal readers, so I would not say continuation is good in every case.

Re: Behind the Shattered Glass (10:28am October 17, 2013):

In large houses the staff at least ate well and were provided with clothing and beds. The Great War took staff away, for soldiers and for factory work, and regular wages with different standards for women began to eat away at the base of works for service. if I was around at that time I'd probably have tried to work with horses, though women weren't supposed to do that. Maybe I'd have trained them for side saddle.

Re: Snowbound With The Soldier (9:24am October 11, 2013):

Food is part of life, and taste, texture and aroma are part of writing a vividly real book. So it's no surprise you're adding food. My husband has put on dinner for us when I've been working late at writing - he could just ask me to come and do it but he goes and puts on pasta.
My big boy cat brought us home a mouse the other evening. That was a kind gift which showed us he loves us and wants us to think well of him! Since we weren't hungry, he ate it himself.

Re: Marry Me, Cowboy (9:21am October 11, 2013):

My husband has been known to wear a pink tie, he doesn't care what anyone thinks of him. It's only in recent generations that we adopted pink as a feminine colour - some other countries see any shade of red (including pink) as masculine and pale blue as feminine.

Re: The Patterer (9:30am October 8, 2013):

I love the concept and it must have been the originator of today street newspaper vendors. Sounds like some character Terry Pratchett would work into a Discworld book!

Re: Secrets Of A Scandalous Marriage (9:28am October 8, 2013):

Nope, this aspiring author couldn't stop writing and wrote a five-book mystery series before shopping them around to publishers. We're all different. Well done on getting your dream!

Re: Newton Neighbors (2:49pm October 6, 2013):

I love the book cover! I prefer not chaos and try to plan ahead, get in things we will need and so on. Though life sneaks up on us all.

Re: Love and Other Games (2:48pm October 6, 2013):

Sure enough I'm seeing a lot of Christmas romance books out already! They are not really a two-person hobby though, the men prefer something else so we have to go along with them when we want to be romantic. Like walking on a cold breezy beach on a fine winter's day.

Re: Bite Me, Your Grace (2:46pm October 6, 2013):

Nope, sorry, I don't watch horrors. Apart from The Lost Boys. Excellent, and good music too.

Re: The Seduction of Lady Phoebe (9:03am October 3, 2013):

Secondary characters show us a lot about the main characters, with interactions, comments and past history to bring to the story. Look at 'Groundhog Day'! And in a longer piece of writing, the reader actually does want to know if it worked out okay for the secondary characters too.

Re: Long Shot (9:01am October 3, 2013):

My husband is Scottish but I couldn't possibly comment on his kilt....

Re: The Rebel Fairy (12:12pm September 28, 2013):

We've seen such beautiful paintings of the Flower Fairies - the harebell fairy, acorn fairy and so on - inspired by those two naughty girls. So it worked out well! Good luck with your book.

Re: Bran New Death (10:24am September 27, 2013):

I would find your juggling act very hard because I get completely immersed in my characters' lives and their surroundings and the forthcoming plot points. I have to finish one work and take a break, then start another.

Re: To Wed A Wicked Highlander (10:23am September 27, 2013):

No I would not like to go back to school... it was so boring and I had nothing in common with most girls. I did go to adult education a few years ago and got college qualifications, which was interesting and thrilling! I made some good friends.

Re: Severed Trust (10:22am September 27, 2013):

The Rangers sound so interesting and tell such a great story of the state.

Re: Dark Road Home (10:21am September 27, 2013):

Yep, your research is very important! But remember to tell a good story too and develop interesting characters. I am sure Ellis Island has many fascinating stories to tell.

Re: Gideon's Call (10:19am September 27, 2013):

We have lots of books, it's one of our shared interests. But we do try to put the ones we won't read again back in circulation. What an amazing offer on the Penguins!

Re: Declan's Cross (10:18am September 27, 2013):

Since I live in Ireland I just have to read this book. Thanks for visiting us in literature!

Re: One Lucky Vampire (10:17am September 27, 2013):

I'm not really into horror but well done on such a successful series.

Re: The Grand Opening (10:16am September 27, 2013):

I hope no mooses were harmed in the making of this book.... Sounds like a good read!

Re: Dirty Trick (10:14am September 27, 2013):

Thanks for the amusing post! Here we say autumn, not fall, though the leaves still fall. I couldn't do without an extra layer of clothes and a good book.

Re: The Sheik Retold (6:58am September 14, 2013):

Quite a fantasy even today.

Re: It Takes Two To Tangle (6:57am September 14, 2013):

Some less smart girls in school used to try to nickname me but nobody else was interested.

Re: True Spies (6:56am September 14, 2013):

I've recently read a modern novel of a couple who fall in romance again after their three kids and work life have exhausted them for years. The love was there but the romance and passion was missing.

Re: Tempt Me, Cowboy (6:55am September 14, 2013):

I'm sure a cowboy could tempt anyone! Sounds like a good storyline.

Re: Virtual Heaven (10:17am September 6, 2013):

I love the tired cat! The game you mention reminds me of Jumanji. I don't play many computer games; ones like Oblivion with a vast world and scattered storylines are best. Or world-building ones like Civilisation.

Re: Luther: The Calling (10:14am September 6, 2013):

I haven't seen the series and might try the book if it is not too dark.

Re: The Highlander's Desire (1:08pm August 31, 2013):

My husband is Scottish and we have been to Stirling Castle, the gateway to the Highlands, as well as Aberdeen.
Romance based on a fairytale - are we allowed to say Shrek!
Otherwise the Irish tale of Oisin and Niamh is beautiful and tragic.

Re: Love Him or Leave Him (1:06pm August 31, 2013):

I really like your five reasons, especially the dentist! Today's grandmas may be a bit more lively than they let on, who knows what's on their e-readers?
And I completely agree that a book without gratuitous scenes has a good forward narrative. For this reason - and the descriptive element - I enjoy Amish and inspirational books. The main characters have to have a lot in common before they start a relationship.

Re: Love Him or Leave Him (10:14am August 30, 2013):

The only romances I really read at a young age were Georgette Heyers, but if a book didn't have horses in it I wasn't very interested anyway. Today's romances are very varied and can be historical or suspense, a wide variety.

Re: The Mysterious Death Of Miss Jane Austen (10:11am August 30, 2013):

I believe that a lot of people did ingest poisons in some way at that time, because everything from face powder to wallpaper had mercury, arsenic, lead or something else horrible in it. This is one reason why people felt so much better when they went to visit a spa town. So a deliberate poisoning would not necessarily be the case, and who would want to think of that happening to Jane Austen? I hope your book works out happily.

Re: What the Bride Wore (10:08am August 30, 2013):

I agree, if that lady had not read romance in a long while she's in for a treat! The genre has really moved on and includes so many sub-genres from inspirational to suspense. A reader is a reader and it's always good to try something new.
I can recommend The Rosie Project, an often hilarious look at how a professor in genetics tries to establish who would be the right woman for him, while brash Rosie has her own agenda and teaches him to live in the real world.

Re: Unforeseeable (10:03am August 30, 2013):

I love to read mysteries in unusual settings or time periods, because we can learn so much while enjoying a good suspense or mystery read. I am sure this will be a splendid read. Dark Crossings was a suspense book about three Amish women, that was excellent.

Re: Apocalyptic Moon (9:33am August 26, 2013):

I'm not into zombies but that's a nice cover.

Re: The Arrangement (9:32am August 26, 2013):

Your heroes sound like true individuals and I hope they enjoy happy outcomes.

Re: A Rancher's Christmas (9:27am August 26, 2013):

I don't know what's most important in a Western town, maybe a tack shop and a forge? An equine vet?

Re: Beneath the Dover Sky (9:29am August 20, 2013):

I read a lot of social history fiction, the two World Wars are popular settings for British books. I am sure you did a lot of research for an authentic voice.

Re: Written in the Stars (9:28am August 20, 2013):

That's a very atmospheric book cover, and it's by reading about subjects such as reincarnation that we can learn.

Re: Strung Out To Die (9:26am August 20, 2013):

I think cosies are great fun as we get to learn as well as solve a murder. I love mysteries featuring animals or crafts, unusual jobs or locations. There is usually something practical going on in a cosy.

Re: Once Upon A Tartan (9:28am August 16, 2013):

As a lawyer you will have skills of both precision and embroidery in words!
I have just independently published a romance and I based a lot on my experience of horses and modern business. As I am self-employed I make my own hours so I had time to write, and the recession has helped with that aspect. As a lifelong reader I being a good standard of English and enjoyment of books.

Re: A Cursed Embrace (2:22pm August 14, 2013):

Well done and I am glad you kept working and pushing. An overnight success usually comes after many years of hard work!

Re: Death on the Greasy Grass (2:21pm August 14, 2013):

I always loved the Tony Hillerman books as they are written with such respect for the land and for the people who live on it. If your books are like his I am sure I will enjoy them.
I recently reviewed The Inconvenient Indian which makes similar points to yours.

Re: Taken by the Vampire King (2:19pm August 14, 2013):

I don't read much horror so a vampire story has to be just edgy enough but not into gore. I definitely do not like silly teenaged girls falling in love with violent older men. Which is what a lot of vampire stories are about right now. When I hear vampires I think Salem's Lot.

Re: The Guest House (2:16pm August 14, 2013):

Sounds like a story with depth.
Barbara Cartland said she fell in love with all her leading men, but she turned out a novel in a week or so, dictating to a secretary. I don't think it would be the same!

Re: Italian Affair (6:25am August 10, 2013):

I agree that some characters are very real and stay with you afterwards - Connie Willis wrote Doomsday Book about a future student who time-travels back to research the Black Death. That was a great read.

Re: A Little Bit of Charm (8:40am August 9, 2013):

Love comes to Paradise is a great read so I hope I can get hold of your other books soon.

Re: Winter in Full Bloom (8:38am August 9, 2013):

People always have a lot of layers and sides to their personalities; someone who gets on your bad side for something might be very likeable in other situations.

Re: Love On A Midsummer Night (8:34am August 9, 2013):

Lovely cover, I hope your book does well.

Re: Between (8:33am August 9, 2013):

I'm with Peggy, that's a great cover and now I'm curious about the book! As for your character taking over - yes, they do that, don't they.

Re: Jaguar Fever (9:56am August 5, 2013):

I learnt to drive in a Jaguar car, and I love big cats - well all sizes of cats!
Shapeshifters make for great reads and I look forward to this one.

Re: Death Al Dente (9:53am August 5, 2013):

I've always lived in Dublin, but my husband is from Glasgow and we occasionally visit Scotland. He's made his home with me however...

Re: Date with Destiny (9:52am August 5, 2013):

Mistie Seaton in Fabulous, a girl/horse/ranch story, was a tremendous heroine and example. Most adventure stories of the time were written about boys, and girls had to stay at home and help in the house. So I liked a lot of male protagonists too, such as Paul Atreides in Dune.

Re: A Father For Her Triplets (9:47am August 5, 2013):

Well done on the commitment needed to lose some weight as well as keeping to a writing schedule! It's been said that for every book, a writer puts on half a stone. Healthwise I don't think that would be very good, so let's all take dance classes!

Re: Second Ride Cowboy (9:12am July 31, 2013):

I am sure getting back can work in some cases, but if you have lost trust in a person that will not return so you are better to call it a day.
Great covers, good luck!

Re: Pipe Dreams (9:10am July 31, 2013):

I knew another author who wrote a book called Pipe Dreams here in Dublin, it was donated to an adult literacy project. Seems to be a good title.

Re: Baden-Powell's Beads: London (9:08am July 31, 2013):

Well done for getting your work written and out.
I am interested in the titles as I was a Girl Guide, so Baden-Powell catches my attention. Did you know that Scouting For Boys is the fourth best selling book in the world ever? After the Bible, the Koran and Thoughts of Chairman Mao.

Re: The Eskimo Hunts in Miami! (9:05am July 31, 2013):

You certainly give a good cultural clash, which I really enjoy reading, so I'll look out for your works.

Re: The Sweetest Hallelujah (9:04am July 31, 2013):

Reading your intro I felt so sorry for the child. I'd recommend they join the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts.

Re: The Officer And The Secret (9:41am July 23, 2013):

Good idea for a book, I read one about a milblogger and a journalist who were keeping in touch although they didn't know each other.

Re: Nora Roberts Land (9:37am July 23, 2013):

I read and enjoyed one of Roberts' books, got another waiting. I'm just wondering how your book will be shelved in a bookstore - it'll confuse someone no matter where they are put!

Re: An Open Heart (9:36am July 23, 2013):

I think I would phrase it as suspending disbelief rather than convincing the reader. No matter what you get them to accept in the story, they are not going to close the book and expect to see people walk through walls.

Re: Raspberries and Vinegar (9:31am July 23, 2013):

Sounds like a fun read and I like the idea of a culture clash - city girl comes to live on farm - rather than have a farming background for everyone.

Re: Kissing My Old Life Au Revoir (9:28am July 23, 2013):

I live in Ireland so I'm delighted that another author has come to live here - we have many! If you spend most of your year here you can submit your books for assessment for cultural and artistic merit, and should they pass, you won't have to pay tax on your artistic earnings up to a good high threshold. Now you see why so many writers, musician and other artists make their homes here.

Re: Emeralds of the Alhambra (10:53am July 17, 2013):

Good fortune indeed to be surrounded by these ladies! Keep up the historical writing, the research is just so interesting and then you get to bring it to life!

Re: Charm and Consequence (10:52am July 17, 2013):

I've just read a YA book called This Song Will Save Your Life about a girl so lonely at high school that she almost kills herself. Bullying can go too far, even if the bullies don't see it that way. Especially today with online bullying, sarcasm and lies can go a long way further.

Re: Magic Rises (10:48am July 17, 2013):

That's a fantastic cover! Well done.

Re: Rancher to the Rescue (10:47am July 17, 2013):

Well, it wasn't that he's Scottish, the accent gives him away!

Re: Ignited (2:45pm July 12, 2013):

Well done, you must do a lot of research and address some difficult topics.

Re: Winning a Bride (1:03pm July 8, 2013):

Staring to write is an adventure, it would be very boring to know exactly how it was going to turn out!

Re: My First - Jason & Katie (1:02pm July 8, 2013):

Yes indeed, we do hesitate and procrastinate. I should go ahead and take a fork - oh but suppose I should try the other way....

Re: Love's Peril (1:00pm July 8, 2013):

I expect your character lived in Port Royal some of the time - the wickedest city in the world! Sounds like a great excuse for some action stories.

Re: The Medic's Homecoming (12:59pm July 8, 2013):

No, I don't like zombies, I prefer something that exhibits intelligence. A zombie is a static character; it can do nothing but shamble and rot. A living thinking character can grow and change. I do take your point about people not interacting with one another.

Re: South Of Surrender (12:56pm July 8, 2013):

Well done, I have known a couple of people with RP and their wonderful Guide Dogs.
Never hurts to reach out to people with a different way of experiencing the world.

Re: Prince of Secrets (9:45am July 5, 2013):

Writing drives me crazy, especially entering contests for short stories or articles and waiting ages to know if I'm even longlisted. But it's worth it to put together and police a piece, it's worth it even more if I do get a placing.
Well done on the releases, don't blow a fuse!

Re: Final Sentence (9:43am July 5, 2013):

I wrote a cryptic cheeseboard puzzle some years ago, people had great fun trying to hunt down all the cheeses in it. Great idea for a series.

Re: It Happened One Midnight (9:42am July 5, 2013):

Very romantic covers, what gorgeous dresses! I am sure the writing is just as elegant.

Re: Paradise Valley (9:41am July 5, 2013):

58th published novel? Well done! Love the cover. Sounds like you are at a stage where you can write any message you wish to get across.

Re: Breathe Again (9:33am July 5, 2013):

I don't normally read medical romances but the backdrop of a war would make for a very interesting situation.
I read all the Cadfael books about a returned Crusader who joined a monastery and put his knowledge of healing and herbs to good use, solving murders along the way.

Re: Luck of the Dragon (11:13am June 28, 2013):

That's a great cover! Good luck with the series.

Re: Smoking Hot (11:12am June 28, 2013):

I notice angels getting into more stores, I think as long as they are interesting angels that is fine!

Re: Wish You Were Here (11:11am June 28, 2013):

Horse books were a fantastic way for me to learn about other countries and ways of life. I read anything with animas in it - nature stories, dog tales - and thought school stories were so boring by contrast. We didn't have a lot of choice when I was growing up so I read my mother's fifties school tales which never featured any boys or men, and read my own books over and over.

Re: One Night (6:01am June 25, 2013):

I don't do one night stands - didn't, as I'm married now. But deciding that this was the right man for me led, of course, to a first night, and we've never looked back, so that changed my life.

Re: Just Beyond the Garden Gate (5:59am June 25, 2013):

The Time Traveller's Wife might fit... Henry travels back in time and meets Claire as a child. But when she's a young woman she encounters Henry at a time before, from his point of view, he has travelled to her, so she meets a younger version of him and he doesn't know her.

Re: One Night With A Rake (11:20am June 22, 2013):

All my pets have improved the quality of my life! We currently have four lovely cats. But when I was single it was so good to come home to cats who welcomed me at the door and kept me company.

Re: The Lady Mercy Danforthe Flirts With Scandal (11:19am June 22, 2013):

The Act didn't apply in Scotland, which is why eloping couples crossed the border and got legally married by a blacksmith at the first town, Gretna Green. But given that the fastest most people could travel was eight miles per hour in a coach, and it could easily be a few days' travel, the girl's relatives could try to catch up with them....

Re: The Look of Love (11:15am June 22, 2013):

Those look like lovely covers. I didn't realise they had that much rain in the Napa Valley, but I suppose that makes it all the more likely that drivers could be caught unawares.

Re: The Guardian's Witch (11:13am June 22, 2013):

I tend to agree that what goes around comes around - you call it paying it forward. Good luck with the book.

Re: He Belongs to Me (11:49am June 16, 2013):

I don't know that you're right, because nowadays a couple has generally lived together for some time before marrying so we know each other's likes and dislikes, have got used to cooking for them and so on.

Re: The Fireman's Homecoming (4:03am June 14, 2013):

Writing is good for me! Cheers me up no end, unless the characters are having a big emotional breakup.
Gardening and other around the house work helps work out problems and is good therapy in case of bad news.

Re: It Had To Be You (4:01am June 14, 2013):

You are a busy lady! Great to get the chance to write all the stories down. I often have cats around me too.

Re: Billion Dollar Cowboy (4:00am June 14, 2013):

That much of an excerpt would make me interested in reading further, but not enough to buy the book without having read some more or checked out a review. If this girl is going to be stuck as a kitchen assistant all book, maybe it's not for me. I don't know what she does yet.

Re: One Day in Apple Grove (3:58am June 14, 2013):

I've attended Octocon which is the October SF convention in Ireland. Many great authors and between panels, signings, trade stands, film screenings and so on, it's a busy weekend!
If your characters really all don't want to do something, you need to either find a new character who does, or rewrite the scene.

Re: Opposing Forces (3:55am June 14, 2013):

Reunion - I first met my now husband at a convention in Ireland. I was single but he was with a girlfriend. We got on well and became friendly but did not keep in touch because he was in a relationship. He was working in Britain and I lived in Ireland. Some years later he accepted a job in Ireland and met me again. We were both single and we were quickly friends again, after which we gradually drew closer and started a relationship - to this day!

Re: Lord of the Hunt (8:56am June 10, 2013):

If the character is good to begin with and has an interesting dilemma, yes. Not if it's just a soap opera situation.

Re: Flirting with Disaster (8:55am June 10, 2013):

A fatal flaw for me would be control-freakery. The kind who puts a woman down to make her insecure, isolates her to make her dependent on him.

Re: The Elephant Of Surprise (8:53am June 10, 2013):

Hey, I loved The Elephant of Surprise! This made my day and I intend to go back and read all the earlier books. I thought the cover shot looks too old for the book however - early twenties, say, and it looks like he's in a bar. But I live in Ireland, maybe that is what teens look like in America. Although there was no bar in the book.

Re: Dream Nights with the CEO (7:52am June 6, 2013):

I prefer to write when I feel that if I don't write I'll explode. Sighing and flicking through other stuff wouldn't be a good writing day - I would rather get the housework done if I didn't have words inside me scraping their way out.

Re: The Firebird (7:49am June 6, 2013):

Reading books about horses in different parts of the world, such as the Silver Brumby and the Black Stallion series, showed me drama and travel not possible in Ireland. Reading science fiction, I got into Asimov around eleven (because the books weren't available earlier) and then fantasy with The Lord of the Rings at twelve, opened my mind completely.

Re: Tainted Angel (7:46am June 6, 2013):

The spy is ultimately selfish, out to survive and evade capture, finding whatever information or item he has been told to get. So love life is a temporary thing as far as he is concerned - or she!

Re: Katie's Choice (7:35am June 3, 2013):

I like reading about another culture and world view. I like the farming and homey lifestyle, the horse, the contradictions they face daily. On the other hand I think it must be soul-destroying to be told that you keep falling into sin and that is why the crops fail. And I believe women deserve a better deal than the Amish community give them. So while I enjoy reading the romances I would not wish to live that life.

Re: South Of Surrender (8:13am June 2, 2013):

I've known people with RP, they had wonderful Guide Dogs even when not fully blind. They find it hard to see at night and the dog takes over then.
Yes, it's good to include all the community in the cast and major characters are made far more interesting by being less than perfect and adapting to their circumstances, be that a physical challenge or any other.

Re: True (7:38am June 1, 2013):

I've just read and enjoyed True!
I didn't get a chance to go to university as a young adult so I went more recently and had a great time, making friends of various ages, improving and updating my skills and learning so much.
I think the problem with college for young people is that they are still growing and maturing, learning about life. Some young adults use college as a way to gain a qualification for a job; others go as a way of staving off the day when they'll need to earn a living.
I'd recommend taking a degree in a subject you really enjoy as a mature student to anyone!

Re: Until She Comes Home (8:59am May 30, 2013):

I love dogs but have cats at present and they have their own territories and relationships too!

Re: Long Simmering Spring (8:58am May 30, 2013):

What fixable mistake?
Well, I rented a house when I could not get a mortgage, and then stayed renting for four and a half years, after which my landlady told me she wanted to sell and I had a week to get out. I got a solicitor and told her this was not legal, and got my accountant to help with a mortgage advisor, and we got me a house.
Yes, I should have gone sooner, but that house suited me. And it took me the time to build up business cred and personal creditworthiness.

Re: Dead, White, And Blue (8:54am May 30, 2013):

I'm delighted that you have sustained a series for so many books. And you show us that perseverance is everything. I'm sure your earlier books were good too, just not what was marketable at the time, or not even read by agents. E-books have opened up so many chances for reissues and getting early books published, it's fantastic.

Re: That Old Flame Of Mine (7:31am May 27, 2013):

When you write a book you part with a piece of yourself. Your inspiration, creativity, heart. Your fear and love. If someone recognises that book as special, no wonder you are blown away by the moment.
I love the cover art!

Re: The Secret Life of Lady Julia (7:29am May 27, 2013):

I've read the James Thurber story on which the film was based.
Secret life - I'd love to go back to being a kid and start from there, with the advantages of what I know now and some modern aids like computers.

Re: Reign (7:27am May 27, 2013):

I'm dying to know: what turned out to be your blind spot? I always thought Jezebel got a bad press. She wouldn't get a second glance in a modern city. The times were very strict and she stood out.
Challenges? Think for a couple of days how best to approach them, consult my husband for advice, research if needed. Then go for it.

Re: Paige Torn (7:24am May 27, 2013):

My garden would be bigger if I had the chance! I have fruit bushes and shrubs, so no lawn to mow, but while this is easy care and great for wildlife, there isn't much room for flowers except climbers, roses and spring bulbs.
I like the title of your blog, I was thinking, I've heard of a gingerbread house but....

Re: Lighten Up (7:22am May 27, 2013):

I've read inspirational fiction which was in a historical pioneer setting, and modern western settings; and one where a single mother was supported and treated as having made a mistake but worth helping to lead a fine life and raise a fine girl.
So many things can go wrong in anyone's life and they are not all our fault. Nobody is ever going to be perfect, and maybe trying to appear perfect is one of the things we do that's wrong.

Re: The Sword Dancer (7:38am May 25, 2013):

One I like is the good girl and the slightly bad boy, or boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Somehow we never get it the opposite way around.

Re: The Summer I Became A Nerd (7:35am May 25, 2013):

Why do Americans (some of them) feel they need to insult intelligent people?
In Ireland we call smart kids swots meaning they read and know the answers at school, or brainboxes, which is not that insulting. We've learned the word geek off television. Tend to use it for people who like messing around with computers. And we all need those, yes?
This nerd word, you seem to use it like for someone who lives in a box. And it seems to be the ultimate person who wouldn't get a date.

Re: Lady Vivian Defies A Duke (7:31am May 25, 2013):

Dukes do tend to own a lot of land so I imagine the area would be as important as the family for him.

Re: The Begonia Bribe (7:30am May 25, 2013):

What gorgeous covers, especially the little cat! In Ireland we call that colour tricolour or tortoiseshell and white.
Yes it can be very distracting when you know what is going to happen in a story and can't write it down. I went away for a week last winter and when I came back I spent a day solidly writing to get it all out of my head.

Re: A Magic King (7:05am May 19, 2013):

I think WW 3 would be so devastating that it would take a very long time for the survivors to rebuild enough to repeat the mistakes. But it's always good to see alternate world stories.

Re: Undone (7:04am May 19, 2013):

Four top qualities - I'd want them myself! I would add intelligence as if a guy is too slow I may like him but could not love him.

Re: Past Due (7:02am May 19, 2013):

I learned many things but mainly I would say that if I put my mind to something and work hard at it, I will get to be very good at it and succeed in what I want. However other people's input cannot be taken for granted, and may in fact cause inertia or lack of opportunity. At that point, I need to change my methods to succeed.
I saw this encapsulated recently in a slogan - If you do what you've always done you'll get what you've always got.

Re: Seducing Charlotte (6:59am May 19, 2013):

Clearly the seduction is not going to lead to instant, eternal happiness for the two concerned, or there is no story. So if the scene comes at the start and creates tension for the rest of the plot, then there is a point to be made by using it.

Re: Last Chance For Justice (6:55am May 19, 2013):

I definitely believe it is good to vary your genre and style - when the time feels right. Your writing can only benefit as you create new neural pathways and do different research.
I like books that impart information about location, period, occupation... some action is needed, but we do not spend our lives in a permanent adrenalin rush, or if we do, we soon suffer for it. So a balance is realistic.

Re: A Highland Werewolf Wedding (9:30am May 12, 2013):

Sounds like an intriguing set of ideas and characters. Going off to secondary characters is a good way to keep it fresh.

Re: Stuck On You (9:27am May 12, 2013):

Someone intelligent, kind, thoughtful and with a good sense of humour, who treats a woman with respect.

Re: A Taste of You (9:26am May 12, 2013):

Sounds like you enjoy your music! I usually have a commercial radio station playing for music, news, weather and comment. If it goes to sports hour or something I might put on a disc instead.

Re: The Practice Proposal (9:15am May 12, 2013):

I would have to pick a showjumper or jockey because I love horses.

Re: Angora Alibi (9:14am May 12, 2013):

What gorgeous colourful covers! And I love the cat.
I enjoyed reading your story about the photos and it shows how good graphic artists are today.

Re: Against The Edge (6:07pm May 8, 2013):

My husband was a fine rugged hero when we met, not that his job showed it...he works with computers, but he had been parachuting, bungee jumping, horse riding, karate fighting and many more. Once I got to know him it became clear we had a lot in common! Yes, we both loved horses!

Re: What A Mother Knows (6:05pm May 8, 2013):

Well done for bring true to yourself and your craft. if your daughters don't appreciate your work, that could happen over a violent scene, a balancing chequebooks scene, a car maintenance scene, anything. If they don't like the love scene they can skip to the next page.

Re: It Stings So Sweet (6:03pm May 8, 2013):

I was thinking that this book is quite topical with the remake of Gatsby - if it needed remaking. A new story of the twenties is more interesting than one we already know, and will have different sidelights. Well done!

Re: Stealing Harper (6:02pm May 8, 2013):

Everyone has different reading interests. If you were made to read Bleak House and Lord Jim and Titus Groan, yes that could put you off creative writing all right. Glad you came back to the writing you love.

Re: Ours To Love (6:00pm May 8, 2013):

This sounds like a hot suspense novel, and I don't believe I've read about a girl called London before! Wouldn't even have thought it was a feminine name. I'm sure it's a great read.

Re: Father By Choice (11:31am May 4, 2013):

In historicals there are nannies only in rich families. I much prefer reading historical tales of ordinary women, the ones who toiled in china clay producing firms or went into service or worked on farms or mills or canal boats, or factories making matches or needles, the women who waited for sailors to come home from whaling or herring fishing, the women whose work made the country. Compared to their lives the lives of rich kids were stultifying dull!

Re: Midnight Sacrifice (11:28am May 4, 2013):

The reformed bad boy is gong to be a lot more interesting and streetwise than someone who's been a goody or lived in a gilded cage!

Re: Read Humane Rescue My Heart (11:26am May 4, 2013):

Lovely tale of the pup!
I support animal rescue charities and I looked after my own two mares, paying livery, until they died of old age in their twenties, unlike many people who just get horses put down that are not ridden any more.
You may not be aware that one of Texas's major exports is horsemeat. Here in Ireland we are carrying out DNA testing of all processed meat products to determine exactly what animals were used to make them, as horsemeat has been turning up in supposed beef dishes.
I enjoyed your Lucky Harbour series and must give the animal rescue ones a try.

Re: With a Vengeance (11:19am May 4, 2013):

Yes of course I have loyal friends who mean a lot to me! Male and female friends who have seen good and bad times with me. But they have partners, I have a husband, so nothing will develop, no. My husband has to be my most loyal friend though!

Re: Lord of the Mist (11:15am May 4, 2013):

The Meeting on The Turret Stairs won a vote to become the most popular painting in Ireland. This beautiful depiction of a doomed love affair shows a man in chainmail and a woman in a long robe. There must be an image of it online and it would inspire any number of historical romances! We all love a castle.
I wouldn't mind time travel if I could go back and forth. Who would want to be stuck in the time of plague and cholera?

Re: In Rapture (7:08pm April 22, 2013):

Don't you just love it when you get into the mindset and work, and not be disturbed? Takes a few hours in total doesn't it? Not worth setting out if you've only got an hour.

Re: Loving the Rain (7:06pm April 22, 2013):

Well there is the genuine form of Irish lawyers called Argue and Phibb!

Re: Temporary Roomates (7:04pm April 22, 2013):

Historical settings are great. We get to learn about how people lived in a different era as well as a different country!

Re: Guardian's Alliance (7:15am April 19, 2013):

You've certainly put a lot of detail into your writing. I do read SF and I hope this goes well for you.

Re: A Method to Madness (7:14am April 19, 2013):

Good luck with the latest in your series. I am not much into gangland crime but this does sound an interesting read.

Re: Speak No Evil (7:12am April 19, 2013):

Great to write in the setting where you grew up! You share not just observations but personal memories that way.

Re: The Summer He Came Home (7:11am April 19, 2013):

Living in Ireland I have to say U2 of course - but also Thin Lizzy with Phil Lynott, a Dubliner as well.

Re: Mr. Perfect (7:10am April 19, 2013):

I read years ago a quote I've never forgotten:
A library is like a garden - It needs constant pruning and weeding.
Pruning means encouraging growth in new directions, while weeding refers to out of date material or less good writing - or doubles, which we all get!
So think of your precious collection as a garden, a garden of knowledge.

Re: A Man for All Seasons (7:07am April 19, 2013):

No I don't believe in supernatural angels; I do believe that sometimes we are helped by other people and some might consider them to be angels. Because if there are angels why are there murders and disasters? And would Buddhist or Taoist people have angels to care for them? Would Hindus? Or are angels racist? No, I'd rather just believe in people.

Re: Abby Road (3:22pm April 14, 2013):

Our home is near Bull Island, a UNESCO World Conservation Site. Naturally formed sandbars at the mouth of Dublin Bay enclose two lagoons and the variety of habitats from saltmarsh to marram dunes etc. is amazing. We walk on the beach on Christmas Day and in summer, enjoying the wildlife and the kite-surfers.

Re: Far Beyond Rubies (3:18pm April 14, 2013):

Thanks for sharing your interesting story! It must have been very disheartening to get novels accepted but never published. Well done for keeping going.
I've been through Kent on the Eurostar train but otherwise know it from Robert Holdstock's fantasy works and The Darling Buds of May, also a book called Wild Hops about Londoners who would go hop-picking to Kent each year. It sounds like a beautiful part of the world. Recently I researched the Isle of Sheppey as well, a very interesting place.

Re: Night Demon (3:13pm April 14, 2013):

An intelligent man is more interesting and funny, can think up new ways to please you and new things for you to do together. If his life falls apart he's resilient. Why would I want to read about a man who wasn't intelligent? Tortured, now that could be another matter. This challenging life will build character, but my current gripe is against male characters who expect women to do as they say, just because they were beaten until they were six. You don't have to drag a bad childhood around with you. So tortured but resilient would be a better hero.

Re: Bite Me, Your Grace (7:56am April 12, 2013):

The social climber mother is definitely still out there, but maybe their children do get more opportunities in life, just because the mother looked around for them. I could have participated in youth award schemes but I never knew anything about them or how to apply or how to find out about them! No internet in those days and I was too shy to go asking myself. So your heroine can take good and bad from her mother. Good title, and I am sure the story is a fun read.

Re: Flirting Under A Full Moon (7:52am April 12, 2013):

You're right about that's why we have editors - mainly they say that the author has spent too long setting a scene up and should just jump into the action, especially at the start of the tale. But maybe the lost material can be re-used in another book or short story. Don't dump anything! Love the interesting, quirky style and characters, I hope you do well with this one.

Re: Tactical Strike (7:48am April 12, 2013):

I've only read one military heroine so far, and she was a decoy - dressed like a good-time girl to lure a rich Arab playboy. So even though she had full military training she wasn't in a real warzone. Your tale would be an interesting comparison.

Re: What She Wants (9:32am April 9, 2013):

I am sorry Carla that you have only encountered that sort of men. Perhaps the current education system has something to do with it? James Joyce and William Butler Yeats should be the only examples you need of men who lived for intellectual stimulation as well as emotion.

Re: March With Me (9:30am April 9, 2013):

Well done on producing this book and I hope it helps some people. I have no particular story, since I live in Ireland, but I have read 'Small Island' where British Jamaicans came to Britain after the second world war and could not get proper work although they were qualified teachers and aircraft mechanics. They found it hard to rent rooms in London and many people would not speak to them. This was just ignorance, and fear of the strange. For many English people the GIs were the first coloured people they had ever seen.

Re: What She Wants (11:44am April 7, 2013):

What do men have to do to get our attention? Cook! That's what my boyfriend did and women kept telling me to hang on to that one! Yes, we married, and we split the cooking.

Re: Sinner's Heart (2:09pm April 6, 2013):

It's better to get introduced to the characters from the start because otherwise you know too much about them by the time you do read the first one. But I first read Elizabeth George in one of her more recent books, and it was a very good one. That got me reading her earlier ones which lacked the same level of detail because she had improved as she went along, like we all do.
If I pick up Book Eight of a series and I have not read earlier ones, I won't buy it! Crime is the exception because each case is different even with recurring characters.

Re: Darius (2:06pm April 6, 2013):

I talk over a problem or need for detail with my husband, who is good at offering solutions, details, support. I read up on what I need, I try something out, I look at it and see if I'm happy before committing.
If I sleep on something my subconscious often produces the answer I need!

Re: Sweet Madness (2:02pm April 6, 2013):

I like looking at colours that I don't necessarily wear as they would not suit my colouring. Light purple is nice to look at, blue, silver grey - which goes with most strong colours!

Re: Last Chance Book Club (2:00pm April 6, 2013):

In the Girl Guides in Ireland we played a game called rounders, similar to Baseball. This might have been the fore-runner of the American game you mention. Mainly in the Regency the wealthy men showed off on horseback or driving curricles. And a lot of them went to sea and learned to be officers on board ship from the time they were seven.

Re: Second Chance (11:12am April 1, 2013):

I was on line in 1996 but most people weren't, similarly there were mobile phones but the size of bricks, and they didn't text... quite a lot of change! I think the TV was better though.

Re: Revenge On Route 66 (10:29am March 29, 2013):

Your books sound really interesting!
Two of my characters vaguely told me their birthdays because they needed to turn eighteen to sign some papers. Didn't need the exact date.
Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st.
Never been really surprised by a character's birthday, why would I be? I think a Feb 29th birthday would be an interesting one to write about.

Re: A Shot Of Sultry (12:33pm March 28, 2013):

Thoughtful as opposed to romantic? My younger brother made me a wooden jewellery box and his then girlfriend made watercolour pictures of horses for the sides and a satin-lined drawer for the inside. It was a fantastic project as we were all just out of school.

Re: The Forsaken (1:00pm March 26, 2013):

I think unknown people are likely to help us and people may take them for angels. And luck will play a part in survival stories.

Re: Evidence Of Life (12:58pm March 26, 2013):

How beautiful and personal! And what a great achievement on getting your book published. Enjoy your wine and writing.

Re: Sins of a Ruthless Rogue (12:56pm March 26, 2013):

Oh the joys of long-distance travel!
A friend who visited Russia some years ago said there were no basin plugs as people stole them, the sugar cubes didn't melt in tea and the chocolates fell apart. Maybe it's better now....

Re: Lord of the Keep (10:30am March 24, 2013):

What a fantastic cover image, and I think it's great to re-release books so a second set of readers can have a chance to read them! Covers do make a difference.

Re: If You Give A Rake A Ruby (1:20pm March 21, 2013):

Well, for me the only man I would want is an intelligent one. But after that come the other qualities you mentioned - sense of humour and loyalty being high on the list. Intelligence is sexy!

Re: Shadows And Strongholds (1:18pm March 21, 2013):

You're describing the period of the Cadfael mysteries, and the marvellous book The Pillars of the Earth.
A hugely turbulent time.
I've visited many ancient sites from Newgrange and Stonehenge onwards, including the last home of the Neanderthals at Gibraltar. But no, I don't feel a presence there - yet! maybe I will.

Re: When She Was Gone (10:06am March 20, 2013):

I have moved home a few times, and always I found that once the cats were brought to the new house, that became home. So home for me is where my cats and family are.

Re: Trouble In The Tarot (11:56am March 18, 2013):

I read several cosy series and am always willing to try another. I do not like to read quirky characters who are added just for the sake of being quirky. The town or neighbourhood has to function and it can't do that if every doctor goes fly-fishing instead of working and every receptionist gossips constantly instead of working, or whatever. But an interesting character, who contributes to the story, yes.

Re: Buried In A Bog (11:53am March 18, 2013):

Cead mile failte!
A very appropriate book for the day that is in it.
I live in lovely Ireland and have visited Cork several times. Cork floods a lot as it is set on the River Lee where it enters the sea. A high tide and a lot of rain together floods out the city centre which is low-lying. Good luck with your books!

Re: Falling Into Paradise (11:50am March 18, 2013):

People grow up, sometimes, and that changes them. What happens to cause this will vary from person to person, so maybe your character could have a life-changing event and realise he needs to sober up / settle down / stop gambling or whatever.

Re: Her Knight's Quest (11:08am March 16, 2013):

Secondary characters are not, in their opinion, secondary! They are living their own lives and are the primary people in their lives! So if they do anything interesting- why not give them a book to tell their tale?
When writing I have an endpoint in mind like you and how the characters get there is often up to them.

Re: The Geek Girl And The Scandous Earl (11:05am March 16, 2013):

Smart girls have fun too! Who needs dumb girls?
I'm sure bright men have long since worked that one out!

Re: A SEAL's Surrender (10:56am March 13, 2013):

I enjoyed Nice and Naughty, where the cat kept wrecking Christmas decorations and stealing items. Animals are very much a part of my life and I enjoy reading about them - when it's done well.

Re: Assaulted Pretzel (10:54am March 13, 2013):

What a great piece of inspiration from your research! Well done and - how did you get Harlan Coben to give you a quote on the cover?

Re: A Killing Touch (1:34pm March 11, 2013):

I tend to be truthful, but will add that it is my own opinion, if the truth might offend.

Re: A Risk Worth Taking (1:33pm March 11, 2013):

I like people I can relate to in some way, but ideally outside my own environment, perhaps in another time or an interesting location or with a fascinating job.

Re: Stranger on Raven's Ridge (1:31pm March 11, 2013):

Well done on your achievement and on seeing into your own heart.

Re: Out Of Circulation (1:31pm March 11, 2013):

I enjoyed the true tale of Dewey Decimal the library cat. I'm sure your fiction would be just as good! No reason we can't read about a man in amateur sleuth stories. And in my nearest library the staff are half male and half female.

Re: Hunted (1:28pm March 11, 2013):

A disease is ravaging the vampires? Would that be porphyry by any chance?
I'm not really into horror so this might be a bit strong for me.

Re: The Blue-Ribbon Jalape?o Society Jubilee (11:53am March 7, 2013):

I'm sure this is a great small-town tale. I like the idea of the recipes!

Re: Lord Of Darkness (10:16am March 6, 2013):

Great period to write about, so much going on in England and France, the fact that London was then the largest city in the world. I'll look forward to reading it!

Re: The Survivor (10:14am March 6, 2013):

Fascinating course you attended! I am sure it will add details to your works for the future.
Noticing your surroundings is hugely important and not being seen to draw money from a cashpoint. Do this inside a shop or bank.
Each night as I go to bed, as well as checking door locks I look out the front window. If everyone on the street looks out as they go to bed this provides the street with some hours of coverage and any suspicious activity can be noted.
Over the years I have prevented a few crimes by keeping my eyes open - men on a garage roof next to a partially open house window, for instance.

Re: The Turncoat (10:08am March 6, 2013):

Two people can find each other attractive without agreeing on politics. I'd like to read more about this period.

Re: Into the Spotlight (7:44am March 3, 2013):

Rain Man. Where the two brothers, one with Asperger's, drive through Vegas and then the younger realises that his strange older brother (Dustin Hoffman) can 'count' four decks of cards. Swing around, hock the watch, set up for a card game!
My favourite series of books set in Vegas is the Midnight Louie mystery series by Carol Nelson Douglas, about a publicist and her smart black cat.

Re: Protector (7:40am March 3, 2013):

I can't read while driving so don't always bring book on journeys, but my husband does and lets me drive! We bring books on trains, on holidays - and we'll eventually have an e-book each to save weight. Read a tale recently of a group of young people whose e-books broke one by one on holiday and they all passed around the same tattered paperbacks they'd found. Also we tend to keep books that are good enough to read again but my husband is the one who actually does this and I'm the one who brings in new ones.

Re: The Family Way (7:34am March 3, 2013):

Nope, I don't do the phone stuff. I check my mails at home, leave them at home. If I want entertainment I read or watch the nature and the people around me.
I enjoy your Royal Spyness books, good luck with your latest!

Re: The Christie Curse (7:30am March 3, 2013):

My mother once tried writing a mystery for a murder mystery weekend, along with a friend of ours who is a journalist. They had to stop the partnership halfway. Mum was making all the characters very nice, and our pal was making them all very nasty! Mum also wanted to insist on a Miss Marple character, but we had no elderly ladies available to play the part! The basis they had established was turned into a great mystery and our pal is now the author of a few books.
So going by that experience, no I don't think it would work out!

Re: Cowboy Tough (7:08am March 1, 2013):

A broken pelvis? how could he walk? I know a man who had a colt rear up and fall over on him, crushing him against the concrete yard. He broke his pelvis in three places. He was in intensive care for two weeks.
Sorry, but that guy is not tough, he's stupid.

Re: Hot Ticket (7:06am March 1, 2013):

Someone you can always count on, male or female.

Re: An Encounter at the Museum (7:04am March 1, 2013):

Along with my husband, who was then my boyfriend, we met a bunch of friends, some of whom had kids, in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. The rule was that we were having a Teddy Bear's Picnic so everyone including adults had to bring a teddy of some sort! We had a great time, took photos of all the kids and teddies together. Then we picked up our litter and went into Dublin Zoo for the afternoon, enjoying the breeding programmes for the Amur Tigers and so on. A wonderful day and great locations.

Re: Wait Until Dark (7:00am March 1, 2013):

Wonderful to bring so much experience to your writing. You must have really gone into the different aspects in depth to create such a multi-layered and detailed story.

Re: The Marriage Bargain (8:35am February 28, 2013):

Yes it's always about the story! And sometimes the story takes you in directions you didn't expect. Good luck!

Re: The Chieftain (8:32am February 28, 2013):

What a beautiful photo of the ash trees and foxgloves!

My husband is Scottish so I am looking forward to this book.

Re: Greta and the Goblin King (7:22am February 26, 2013):

I like your photos! Along with most people I think spring is a great season as it revives life and sunlight after winter. But I also really enjoy summer as my husband and I can go camping and exploring the country in good weather.

Re: Jake (7:21am February 26, 2013):

I enjoy western romances and the guys on your covers look like genuine sturdy working men, not oiled and buffed bodybuilders. You get my vote for that alone!

Re: Silence Of The Llamas (7:19am February 26, 2013):

Research is absolutely necessary for an author. It adds so many details even when you think you know a subject inside out - there is always someone doing it differently!
Hope your book does well, I enjoy practical craft mysteries and love animals.

Re: Gold Fire (6:46am February 22, 2013):

You could try the method used by Iain Banks: he writes Scottish fiction under that name and science fiction as Iain M Banks. So we all know who he is and what kind of book we are buying.
If your readers really enjoy your writing style and plots, they will want to read more by you no matter what genre. Try again with the publisher, who seems very narrow-minded. Good luck with your new departure, you don't want to get stuck in a literary rut when there is so much creativity in your head!

Re: X Marks The Scot (6:43am February 22, 2013):

My husband is Scottish and I love the Rebus detective novels by Ian Rankin. Set in Edinburgh, they are very gritty. At times Rebus himself is no squeaky clean cop, but only in a good cause.
Bad boys can have an air of glamour and excitement about them, but I'm usually thinking - no you don't want to fall for a man who'll treat you badly. As they often do. So I might like reading about them at times, but not for a partner.

Re: Checkmate, My Lord (6:38am February 22, 2013):

Good strong secondary characters with their own lives fill out a book and make it more real for us. They also show us that life doesn't revolve around ourselves any more than it does around the heroine!
In The Merchant of Venice I liked Nerissa who was the friend of Portia the heroine. She dresses up as a lawyer's clerk to help her friend, and in Shakespeare's day this would have been a young man dressing as a woman dressing as a man.
In The Lord of the Rings, the choice has to be Eowyn, the real hero/heroine. She dons armour and sword and goes out to battle, facing up to the lord of the Ringwraiths.
In Black Beauty, look at the only pony mentioned, Merrylegs. The grey pony opens bolts with his teeth and lets the other horses out of their stables for fun.
These stories would all have been a lot poorer without the characters.

Re: The Mistress Memoirs (1:17pm February 20, 2013):

Definitely sounds lively! May have to read it and find out what went on behind the scenes!

Re: Murder Hooks a Mermaid (7:52am February 19, 2013):

I have been lucky enough to visit Scotland, Paris, Switzerland, Turkey, London, Sherwood Forest, Arizona, Nevada, Chicago and Racine. And I live in Ireland! So I cannot complain of not having travelled. However I'd love to visit the ancient Egyptian sites, see Australia and the Mayan temples, the beautiful islands of Hawaii. I love seeing other ways of life and other natural environments.

Re: The Moses Quilt (1:26pm February 16, 2013):

I'm glad you are keeping this woman's memory alive. When I was at school I learned that history books were full of men. There were no women anywhere in the history of the world.

Re: Wildcat (5:48am February 14, 2013):

Shapechange and animal instinct stories are great. I'm just wondering if you're a circus trainer that you can get a horse to canter happily beside a leopard!

Re: A Howl For A Highlander (5:49am February 13, 2013):

My husband is Scottish but from Glasgow, so that makes him a Lowlander. I still love the accent though! If we went to Grand Cayman we'd probably have to get into t-shirt and shorts right away from the heat, he'd slap on sun lotion - Scots have fair skin - and we'd head for some place we could sip a cool fruit punch and look over the beautiful scenery while planning our explorations, water sports, barbecues... now I want to go!

Re: The Boss?s Fake Fiance (5:44am February 13, 2013):

Excellent thoughts from you, really interesting ideas and characters. I want to read about the mountaineer! She sounds like a great girl facing a formidable challenge.

Re: The Eldritch Conspiracy (5:40am February 13, 2013):

Today we are time poor so who wouldn't choose a two-hour film of War and Peace over having to read the novel for a class? Also when an old book such as a Dickens tale is filmed, it removes the long heavy prose paragraphs which can deter people from reading. So yes there is very good reason, and value, in keeping old tales alive for new audiences.
Newer books are subjective and so some will like the adaptation and some won't. Salinger never wanted Catcher in the Rye to be filmed, but as he's dead the copyright will expire and then it'll be made, almost certainly.
A film can be a great way of introducing audiences to a book which they may then read, such as October Sky or Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. And the rights help to support the author who may need that boost to keep writing.

Re: A SEAL's Seduction (5:03am February 12, 2013):

I used to read a lot of horsey books as a young person and I loved judging them by the cover! A good author and publisher turned out fantastic cover art of horses.
Never had a cover I wouldn't be seen reading, but then I don't work in an office or use public transport very often. Wouldn't want people thinking I was a geek, now would we.

Re: Hard Ridin' (9:37am February 10, 2013):

Hmmm! Sounds like trouble ahead for these folks!

Good luck with the book.

Re: Treacherous Temptations (6:01am February 9, 2013):

Many history students have gone on to write about the period that interested them, in novel form... I've read many great historical mysteries. So why not romance?

Re: Seven-Night Stand (6:00am February 9, 2013):

My favourite setting vary - SF settings can be good and lots of fun. Historical settings are very interesting because they bring a period to life. In contemporary I prefer outdoorsy settings but a culture contrast with a city, like your work above, is good for reader interest.

Re: Fly Away Peta (7:28am February 8, 2013):

I really liked a New Zealand film stuntman in Kiss and Makeup. Intelligent and physically talented.

Re: Once Again A Bride (7:11am February 7, 2013):

We have cats, which are not furniture but have quite an effect on our living space! I also brought some items from the house where I grew up and they help me to remember those times. Such as paintings and this computer desk.

Re: Lady Eve's Indiscretion (7:07am February 7, 2013):

You look and sound like a lady I'd love to get to know. I'm also a horsey girl and yes, they need exercise every day, and yes, you can do just a little and suddenly it turns into fun and you're enjoying a jump or six. I also recommend re-reading yesterday's writing, it gives you a place to start and overnight your brain will have shook some detail loose to include.
I must check out your latest book as I feel sure I would get on with it!

Re: Soul Deep (6:32am February 5, 2013):

I was good friends with my husband before we became a couple. We just got on so well and found each other interesting. We had books in common! I think that has to be a good sign, rather than just a hormonal rush of fancying someone who turns out to be less fascinating in a few years' time.

Re: To Brie or Not to Brie (6:23am February 5, 2013):

I love your cheese shop newsletter and recipes.
The only trouble with using music for inspiration is that if someone feels really down they tend to choose music that reflects their feelings, so it comes across in the book, making for a depressing tale. Ian Rankin did this for a few books and even mentioned his playlist as that's what his character was listening to - he was going through a bad time personally.
I think if you are placing your writing in a particular locale or time it would help to have music which reflected that setting to inspire you.

Re: Secret Santa Baby (6:19am February 5, 2013):

I like that term, full-bodied romance! Good luck with your books. Great that you write something that so many people enjoy.

Re: In From The Cold (4:00pm February 3, 2013):

Good cover - but the gorgeous dog team would sell it to me! If you have a unique selling point that is what you should use!
I've read dogsledding books but they have always been mysteries such as Murder on the Yukon Quest. Good luck.

Re: The Billionaire's Baby SOS (9:43am February 2, 2013):

I recently read Redwood Bend as a standalone but it came from a large series which I hadn't read. The town came across as a family and the actual family in the story had been through some adventures, but there wasn't enough to make it difficult to read a standalone. Once it is done well I think ths can be very successful. Good luck!

Re: Beyond Valor (9:40am February 2, 2013):

I read a good military romance recently, about a soldier in Afghanistan and a journalist who has been reading his blog. This was called A Prince Among Men. The best part of it was the setting and spartan conditions of the army base. Not much point reading about soldiers who have a cushy lifestyle!

Re: The Autumn Bride (6:04am January 31, 2013):

I really enjoyed The Autumn Bride!
I have been invited to join a book club within a society of which I'm already a member but have not had time yet.

Re: Deck the Halls With Love (6:02am January 31, 2013):

I was really pleased when Eowyn, the real hero (for me) of Lord of the Rings, got a happy ending with Faramir. If the secondary characters are so good you see them come to life and feel they deserve a happy life, that makes the book so much more solid.

Re: Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match (1:07pm January 28, 2013):

As I'm happily wed there is zero chance of my trying online dating though I am all in favour of meeting people online who have similar interests.
There are a fair few books now using Jane Austen as a heroine so she clearly still inspires!

Re: Murder for the Halibut (1:05pm January 28, 2013):

While I haven't yet read any of your books I do read a lot of Berkely Prime Crime and so does another pal. They are quirky and interesting crime stories with quality production. So I am sure your tales are excellent and look forward to seeing them here in Ireland.
Over here the BPC tend not to be sold in the major chain bookstores but only in places like Murder Ink and Forbidden Planet. So they can be hard to come by and the smaller shops can't stock every author. Maybe you could ask Berkely to get the books into places like Easons and Hodges Figgis.
What makes me insecure is publishers who never ever return contact.

Re: Blue Ice (7:06am January 26, 2013):

I think Michael Connolly has a book called Black Ice. One of his Harry Bosch ones.

Re: Rosemary Opens Her Heart (7:05am January 26, 2013):

Lovely cover art.
I do find the life of Amish people interesting as they prefer natural farming methods and community support. However in one book I read recently the community kept being told that they must be falling into sin and that was why the weather kept ruining their crops. Firstly, the people didn't seem to have a single opportunity to carry out any sins, and secondly don't intelligent people understand that weather is nobody's fault?

Re: Undercover Wolf (5:18am January 25, 2013):

The pet rescue book sounds and looks very interesting!
Good luck with both your releases.

Re: Falling for her Fiance (5:16am January 25, 2013):

Yes, a sense of humour is a must.
And because we're all readers here, naturally we'll want our men to be intelligent. And readers. How many people in novels ever pick up a book? How many books are shown on the covers of books?
If by nerd you mean obsessed with statistics and minutiae on a topic, well provided it's a useful topic that's fine. Miniature railways may not be so useful as world history.
I happen to think cooking skills and willingness to use them are high on my list of male attractiveness, I expect many women agree!

Re: Real Men Don\'t Break Hearts (5:12am January 25, 2013):

Certainly a great title! I have a feeling that once a cheat, or committment shy, the person (male or female) may stay like that. Old habits are hard to change. But men cetainly do get less testoterone as they get older so their behaviour does alter. Women just get wiser (and perhaps sneakier).

Re: The Officer Breaks The Rules (5:07am January 25, 2013):

Friends will have something in common, which means the romance is far more likely to last and become a good marriage/partnership through the years.
In many books the suspense and passion are built up at once for the romantic interest but in some the two people have some reason not to jump into a romance and become friends, the romance developing gradually over time. 'Hitched' which I read recently is one such.

Re: After the Rain (5:44am January 21, 2013):

What a beautiful cover! I'm so glad you have got your rights back and are able to make the most of your hard work.
If I would change anything it is not being a bit braver so losing out on opportunities or wasting time waiting for others to get back to me.

Re: Fall Into You (5:40am January 21, 2013):

I like series books because they let characters develop and they can show us a lot of a world that the author is creating rather than try to rush it into one story. However I recently read the third of a series without having read the earlier ones, and I had no idea what was going on, and the author wasn't telling me. Given this was a fantasy I was wondering why the armour-wearing heroine referred to sandwich bags. About halfway through somebody made a remark which explained that she wasn't originally from that world. There should be a certain amount of backstory if a book is to be read out of sequence, or a reader could just be put off by not knowing what's the situation.

Re: Beeline To Trouble (10:34am January 19, 2013):

I like some romantic tension in the mystery. There is one series where the main characters are very mature and fluttering around whether to get involved or not. But there is no passion there, so I really couldn't care less. It's all about where they would be most comfortable to live and so on. Another series has two contrasting female characters, again quite mature. No spark whatsoever as they don't have any romances.
So I guess there doesn't have to be a hugely juicy moment in every story, because after all this is a mystery, but I do like to feel there is potential and if there is a romance, I want it to be passionate in some way.

Re: The Wicked Wedding Of Miss Ellie Vyne (7:07am January 18, 2013):

You sound a lot like me growing up except that instead of Jane Austen it was science fiction. But then you were in the midst of all the Austen settings!
Good luck with your books.

Re: Doomed (10:51am January 15, 2013):

My favourite creation of Greek mythology has to be the winged horse Pegasus - I'm a horsey person.
Your comment about high-tech ruling our lives is a good one and we do indeed find it hard to sort out our lives when something like a bank computer goes down.

Re: Finding Home (9:03am January 13, 2013):

Wonderful photos, and I love the horses! I have many happy memories of growing up learning to ride at a riding school just down the road from my home.
They say you should write what you know, so good luck with the book about your memories!

Re: Hollywood Holiday (10:47am January 12, 2013):

If you like your character it shows, the reader empathises with them, and their attitudes, likes and dislikes come across however subtly. If you don't like them they come across as cardboard cutouts. So good for you!

Re: Kiss Of The Betrayer (10:45am January 12, 2013):

If your kids are now old enough to do some housework for pocket money or otherwise, that is great training for them. Don't fret if they don't achieve the same standards as you would if you cleaned something. They'll improve. Share it out and make it fair. With your book successes you should make a point of being happy.
Balance for me is trying to do a bit of everything every day. That way I keep up.

Re: Birthright (10:41am January 12, 2013):

If you don't immediately give your protagonist a background, this means the character is free to develop and pieces of the background will emerge in the telling. So that is a very interesting device.
My mother researched our family tree and found out far more than I'll ever need to know.
If I could reinvent myself I'd be me, a little younger and richer, so I'd be better able to do the things I love doing now. I'd want to bring my husband along on the same basis though, or it wouldn't be fair!

Re: Waking Up With A Rake (9:42am January 10, 2013):

A hero is only human and if her occasionally does something less than ideal, it just makes him one of us. What lady could live up to perfection, and wouldn't he become insufferable after a time, even if he was too polite to point out how great he was.
What would put him beyond the pale? Heroes tend not to be cruel to animals or children, though ranchers and woodsmen might occasionally put animals before people. Half the world believes that animals do not have feelings or feel pain or fear. Yeah, right. But look how Regency gentlemen attended cockpits and bear-baiting, aside from hunting and treating horses with casual cruelty. So standards change with the times.

Re: South Of Surrender (12:13pm January 9, 2013):

Those are great covers, I am wondering what the East title will be! East of Excitement, East of Extreme, East of Ecstasy? Good luck with the books!

Re: A SEAL's Seduction (12:01pm January 8, 2013):

When a book has a complex plotline and subplots which are all woven together by the end and make a rich, satisfying ending for the characters, then that requires re-reading. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet is one such. I lent it to a friend and when she next saw me she said the book was so good that as soon as she finished it she had to start reading it again.
If a book is straight-line and simplistic then I am unlikely to read it again.

Re: Chance Of A Lifetime (11:57am January 8, 2013):

The characters are what really make a story so if the characters have written this one for you, I'd enjoy it!

Re: Flirting with Disaster (8:58am January 6, 2013):

Ooh, I think I'd like to read about the hacker. He sounds like a very interesting alternative to the musclemen heroes in many other series. Not that there's anything wrong with the other guys, but variety is the spice of life!

Re: For The Love Of A Goblin Warrior (8:39am January 6, 2013):

Only Goblin King I can think of is David Bowie's character in Labyrinth. That's one goblin we could all fall for!

Re: Seven Days Normal (8:37am January 6, 2013):

Very well done on competing your first novel (I feel sure there will be more) and on getting it to a receptive publisher. Would you have gone the self-publishing route if one had not come along? I hope the book goes very well for you and I expect you are already at the stage of thinking up another one.

Re: The Missing Manuscript Of Jane Austen (8:33am January 6, 2013):

Wow, you have a different process to mine! I would worry that if the layout was so regimented there would not be a chance for plot and characters to evolve naturally - because they do don't they. The research usually suggests connections and is very helpful for any type of background.

Re: In His Brother's Place (8:29am January 6, 2013):

I read a very wide range of genres and have written crime and contemporary romance, currently writing SF alternate worlds. The wider range you read, the more fun you have and the more you learn. Historicals, well researched, teach us a lot about the past. While contemporaries can teach us a lot about the lives of people today - who knew US cattle are so dosed with hormones that they cannot calve naturally and ranch workers have to pull the calves out? This hormone dosing is banned in Europe. So I didn't know it was that bad until I read a modern western recently.
And there is always historical with a twist - such as the Naomi Novik books about the Napoleonic wars where each side also fights with dragons.
But whether reading or writing it is always great characters that hook me and keep me going.

Re: Prince Of Power (11:24am January 3, 2013):

The cover art is eyecatching but I personally don't like tattoos, I just think it looks like the person needs to wash. But if your character had a tattoo I am sure the model didn't mind getting body paint on and washing it off.

Re: Gabriel's Inferno (7:55am January 2, 2013):

New Year is a strange time, an ending and a beginning in one. A time of reflection and also of hope. Might be a good time to start a relationship. However I wouldn't pick that night to start a relationship with someone I had never seen before who is picking up girls in bars. Just not me.

Re: A Taste Of Ice (12:30pm January 1, 2013):

Historical settings are great because we can learn about a period as well as a location. Extreme locations such as Alaska or Hawaii are very interesting, because the environment will affect the plot and characters.

Re: The Ravenous Dead (6:56am December 31, 2012):

If you live in Canada I can understand why you're pleased not to have a white Christmas!
I'm thankful that we made it through 2012 and are in a slightly better position than when we started. The news is so continually depressing that it is good to value little victories.

Re: The Seventh Victim (11:45am December 30, 2012):

Of course the setting is a character - and influences the character of the book! How much time do people spend indoors or outdoors? What influences them... weather, bears in the woods, city muggers? Are they steeped in history or covering vast distances? Read Nevada Barr's books about a National Parks Ranger in various parks to see the difference it makes.

Re: Fallen Angel (7:03am December 29, 2012):

Time travelling romance sounds great to me - I'm grateful that I can and do enjoy reading, and that all my extended family are in reasonable health right now.

Re: Live And Let Love (8:00am December 28, 2012):

I have to think it would be very tough to be in a realtionshp with an assassin. The first rule of hiring an assassin, we're told, is to kill the assassin afterwards to sience him (or her). And the CIA or whoever is always going to deny the person works for them. So he must have known it wasn't a good career choice - not if he wanted a wife and family.

Re: The Billionaire's Christmas Baby (7:55am December 28, 2012):

My year started off like the economy, in a state of depression but keeping head above water. Then it picked up and my family made progress all year. Now I am making positive plans for 2013. So to those above who are having bad times, I respect what you are going through and hope your life improves quickly in 2013.

Re: Christmas On Mimosa Lane (7:41am December 27, 2012):

I used to like hunting out books for my mother - she was collecting a few of the fifties schoolgirl series by English authors and during the year I'd happen upon one in the secondhand shops and sneak it into my room to wrap for Christmas! Now she has all the series so I collect books for my husband instead.

Re: Secret Santa Baby (7:38am December 27, 2012):

Yes, I've read a good many Christmas stories ... some romances, some mysteries, some kids' books (of course) and some historicals. Seems we all can identify with the themes at ths time of year and we may like to see the origin of customs we now regard as usual, or we may like to share an adventure with a cast who go off to do their own thing and escape the forced festivites.

Re: What a Texas Girl Needs (5:36am December 26, 2012):

Decorating can be complicated as there are cats here .. which love to play with trees, baubles, strings and parcels! So some we years we put up a tree and some we don't depending on the age of the cats. I love to unwrap the presents on Christmas Day - we are only allowed to do this when we're both there - and give the wrapping paper to the cats. They have wonderful games ambushing each other from behind bundles of paper, scrunching it up and attacking it. They get a present too but the paper is definitely a big feature for them.

Re: Renegade (8:46am December 25, 2012):

Happy Christmas!
There are unread books in this house and each Christmas brings new books in, so we don't revisit many old friends. Though the best books are always kept.
As for films, each year my husband gives me a DVD of films about horses or dogs, so while they don't necessarily get watched on the day I have them to look forward to. Recent years we've had Because of Winn-Dixie and Dreamer.

Re: Deliver Me From Temptation (10:24am December 24, 2012):

Many thanks Tes for your cheering words. With my small business I worked a lot for householders, many of whom were women, so I always felt it was very supportive.

Re: Perfect Misfits (7:42am December 23, 2012):

I've just read a book set in twelfth-century Ireland, Warriors in Winter, where the people celebrated a mixture of Christmas and winter solstice. This was very good as it shows the origin of customs such as bringing green boughs indoors.

Re: Waltz With A Stranger (6:28am December 21, 2012):

I'm in Ireland, but I've just been reading a great story set in Montana. This is Montana Sky by Nora Roberts and three girls who share a father but have different mothers meet on a ranch they are inheriting. One of the girls has a brother not related to the others, and she says late in the story, "It's not everyone whose sister and brother are gettng married. Not in Montana anyway!"

Re: Deliver Me From Temptation (6:22am December 21, 2012):

Sounds very interesting.
I was used to working in a pair and when I set out to run my own business it took me a while to get the balance right between turning away work (which I could ill afford to do ) and taking on only work I could handle by myself. So a time or two I was doing more or bigger work than I should, but somehow I always managed.

Re: Against The Odds (12:09pm December 19, 2012):

We have a tradition of going out on Christmas Day for a stroll along the local beach just outside Dublin. We watch the kite surfers and board sailers trying out all their new gear. Water is too cold for me! Dog walkers and families are also out and the migratory bird life is in a nearby lagoon and reed bed. Then it's home to make phone calls to relatives around the world - after some hot soup or coffee.

Re: Betrayed by Shadows (10:54am December 17, 2012):

Complex characters are more fun than transparent, easily led ones. Male or female. That doesn't mean that to be interesting a character has to have accidentally killed their parents or something; but bad girl can take a lot of different meanings. A bad girl who is a serial kiler probably deserves any bad press she gets. One who's just determined to get things done her way may be excused for cuting a few corners, if it's in a good cause.

Re: Deadly Patterns (10:50am December 17, 2012):

I make my own mince pies - full sized pies too - and I add thick-cut orange marmalade to the mincemeat, stirring it in a bowl to mix in well. This is a wonderful tangy change. Gorgeous with whipped cream. Once I managed to find a jar of vegetarian mincemeat for a veggie friend, the suet was replaced, so even veggies can eat this.
I love craft-themed mystery books and when I've read them I pass them on to my mother who will probably make up all the patterns!

Re: Just A Cowboy And His Baby (7:24am December 14, 2012):

This is the great debate for women - they have to give up their career, put their own lives on hold, and raise a baby or more. Then by the time they can breathe again, they're too tired to achieve at the same level as before, so they wait until the kids are at secondary level school or college. Then, of course, their skills and employment history are so out of date that they can't get hired at anything like the same level as previously. Hence the male bronc rider in your tale can keep riding all he wants, but the female is doomed to a very hard choice.
I think that's plenty of scope for conflict right there!

Re: Fortune's Hero (7:19am December 14, 2012):

How about a device to alter the weather (sitting in Dublin where it's raining).

Re: Wanting Sex Again (5:33am December 12, 2012):

Sounds fine until one or other partner is suffering from a long-term illness which makes lovemaking difficult or impossible.

Re: Love Thy Sister (5:23am December 12, 2012):

Well done on working so hard and following your dream. I hope the book goes really well for you.

Re: Holiday Buzz (9:18am December 10, 2012):

I enjoyed Decaffeinated Corpse although I don't prefer decaf!

Re: Rancher's Son (9:17am December 10, 2012):

I'd like to visit the Everglades and see the mangrove swamps. I know the alligators are most usually found on golf courses and when they wander near homes, may have to be collected carefully and removed to safety so they don't eat dogs. I know the avocado pear which grows there was first named alligator pear!
No I hadn't heard much about cattle but I guess the tough ones would do okay. Andalusia is a very warm part of Europe.

Re: The Bridegroom Wore Plaid (9:13am December 10, 2012):

The facts are lovely, and reflect the difference a respected woman can have on society... pity she had to be queen first.

Re: Too Close For Comfort (9:11am December 10, 2012):

I have never fired a gun, in Ireland they are not legal unless you have permission from two landowners to use a shotgun on their lands and the police approve you. But I have tried laser shooting yes. I expect the bullets would be more exciting because you would feel the recoil and smell the combusion. To do exciting things here, we tend to go skydiving or windsurfing.

Re: Wish Upon A Christmas Star (9:08am December 10, 2012):

A wish is for my husband to be well and me to get some more organising done here before we get the house insulated in January.

Re: Under the Mistletoe (9:07am December 10, 2012):

My brother once made me a wooden jewellery box and his then girlfriend painted pictures of horses on each face of it and lined a drawer with satin. Best present ever. I had no idea they were making it.

Re: Counterfeit Cowboy (9:05am December 10, 2012):

I could go all soppy and say my ideal hero looks like my husband... other than that I don't have a fixed idea. I do think he has to look intelligent and decisive, and his hair or eye colour is less important than that. His skin colour is going to be related to the book in some way, whether he is part-Comanche say, so that depends on the plot and location, it does not stop him being an ideal hero to me for the situation.

Re: Heart Of A Texan (12:16pm November 30, 2012):

I've just read a book called Rodeo Rebel about a young woman who is a champion bull rider. She's a great, intelligent, strong hero! So it isn't just the men.

Re: Double Time (12:15pm November 30, 2012):

There is a good blues series - Leaving Trunk Blues, Crossroad Blues etc. by Ace Atkins. It's a crime series but blues lovers will rave about it. Shows the seedy and exploitative side of the business though.

Re: How I Came To Sparkle Again (9:19am November 29, 2012):

I often get directions on the phone from people who ask me to come look at their trees. Sure enough, the ones who say turn at the convenience store just past the church, or whatever, are better than third right, second left. And often they say - and you'll see the trees!

Re: Christmas Confidential (7:27am November 28, 2012):

Our traditions are phoning relatives abroad and walking on the beach to watch the kitesurfers. Sometimes one or other of us is working the next day so we can't put too much in place, but we always relax and enjoy the day.

Re: A Christmas Bride / Christmas Beau (7:22am November 28, 2012):

Christmas is such a special time of year, has been since our pagan ancestors noticed the days starting to lengthen again midwinter and held a festival. So anything magical could happen for sure! Read Pratchett's 'Hogfather' for more details!

Re: The Prince's Gamble (8:47am November 26, 2012):

Well done on your efforts for the relief fund. The devastation will take a long time to clear and I am sure many people are going to be out of their homes for months to come.

Re: The Clue Is In The Pudding (8:45am November 26, 2012):

Your great tale of the hotel reminded me of a book called Skinny Lizzie, about a girl who works as a clippie on the buses during the War because all the men were away. She and her husband buy a hotel after the war and improve it, go from one hotel to the next doing that.
I am sure you have enough material in your head for several books like yours and would enjoy reading them.

Re: Taming the Outback (8:41am November 26, 2012):

Of course we like a feisty heroine, who wants to read about a shrinking violet! I enjoy tales where a heroine who may never have had to depend on her own resources is put in a position where she has to fight (in some way) and stands up to the challenge. That inspires us all to keep going, even when our own challenges may be a lot more domestic.

Re: Evil Without A Face (7:46am November 24, 2012):

I read a lot of crime and write some as well, it makes for more interesting conflicts than 'what pair of shoes to wear' or 'does that guy fancy me' while providing puzzles for intelligent life forms - sorry, I also write some SF. The great thing about well-researched crime stories is that they can provide historical information or social comment just woven into the story. If you write a good novel with interesting plot and characters and believable dialogue, there is nothing to apologise for!

Re: Holiday in Crimson (7:39am November 24, 2012):

Wow, that's an interesting theme and cover! I suspect a dead Santa will attract a few Grinches as well as Christmas fans.
My husband and I love to go walking on the nearby beach outside Dublin city on Christmas Day and watch the windsurfers and kite surfers trying out all their new gear. They are kitted up in neoprene outfits so they don't feel the cold. We do and the sea looks very cold to me!
Another thing we like to do is to invite someone who would otherwise be alone that day to have dinner with us. One year we had a girl from Latvia who was in college with me to dinner and for a few days, as she was renting a flat. It is great to have company.

Re: Wolfishly Yours (7:29am November 24, 2012):

I'm wondering if you read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. Her premise was that among the many engineering feats of Victorian England, a Channel Tunnel was dug, and wolves crossed back into Britain from the continent. But the wolves alluded to in the title are far more human.
Werewolf stories are usually great fun and this sounds like a winning combination.

Re: Untamed (8:05am November 23, 2012):

In Ireland the tree is a Christmas feature as are decorations of holly, ivy and other green boughs. Christmas is on the date of the ancient midwinter festival when the sun was at its lowest point and would return in strength after that date. Do you have to give presents at Thanksgiving and then again at Christmas? or do you give gifts at Thanksgiving to family you may not see at Christmas?
Here we often take November as an abstemious month. We are saving for winter fuel bills and for the Christmas gifts and party season followed by New Year parties, and many people wind down drinking for all November.
I do feel it is unfair of society to 'force' a festival on those who may not be able to afford it, but Americans always seem to enjoy Thanksgiving and to be glad to be united with family maybe only one time in the year. Memories are made that will be important in years to come.

Re: Unmasked (6:57am November 21, 2012):

What a strange question... I don't feel ashamed of any part of me. I wear glasses and they give great protection to me eyes while cycling, riding, cutting hedges, felling trees etc. But they didn't look great in photos and even thouugh mine were plastic lenses they were quite heavy. Then the new high-density lenses came along so I could have thinner smaller lenses and still see as well. Now I look better. I kept the larger glasses and use them to protect my eyes while working.
Good luck with your new book.

Re: Playing at Love (7:38am November 20, 2012):

My sport was showjumping, anything with well-cared for horses in it is good. I do like reading books involving horses and I review them so other potential readers can get an idea of whether the details are authentic.
I don't think anybody outside the US actually watches or understands American football or baseball, can't help you there.

Re: Let It Sew (7:06am November 19, 2012):

Sewing is such a practical craft. I really admire those with great sewing skills and of course in a club, they are passing them on to others. I read a good many such mysteries, my favourites so far would be Maggie Sefton's knitting shop mysteries. Then I pass them to my mother who loves them. This looks like one I'll have to get hold of!

Re: Rogue Rider (7:04am November 19, 2012):

Sounds interesting and a little scary! The covers are very impressive. Good luck!

Re: The Bracelet (7:02am November 19, 2012):

Well done on both your work and your writing, you deserve to succeed. Keep on being a voice for women.

Re: Ashes Of Twilight (6:04am November 18, 2012):

Impressive sources of inspiration... your book deserves to go a long way. Anything written from the heart is so much more powerful. I have not read much steampunk yet, as it's still a comparatively new genre, but I have read SF and historicals set in times when coal was everything, and it's great to combine the two concepts.

Re: The Wrangler (7:47am November 17, 2012):

Missed that one, and I don't do Facebook anyway. But thanks for letting us know.

Re: How To Tame A Willful Wife (7:30am November 17, 2012):

I enjoyed your list... sounds like a young lady I'd like to meet!
Some people need to be with a partner and will 'settle for less' but you know, that can work out for them too. I don't need to be with anyone and got very lucky finding a great match, took my time getting to know him before deciding. I think there is a lot of unreal expectation put in the way of girls. Young men in particular can be so immature and the girl doesn't understand why the lad isn't devoting hs life to her rather than watch the sports and hang out with his mates... She should wait until she and he are more grown up. Then real romance can come along.

Re: A Wedding In Apple Grove (7:21am November 17, 2012):

I have never lived in a small town but I've read plenty of books set in such places. I think the good part would be knowing that people cared about neighbours and would help if needed. Bad part of course is that everyone would know your business and gossip!
It's great to take a break from your usual style of writing, your ususal characters. It gets the creativity woken up again. Good luck with the books.

Re: Texas Wide Open (2:17pm November 14, 2012):

Don't dismiss what you have written, just because it isn't dark! Providing material that people enjoy reading is a wonderful achievement and for your own sake it is good not to get stereotyped as a writer.
Good luck with the book, great cover!

Re: The Fangover (8:36am November 13, 2012):

I'm currently writing about characters and including mentions of the kind of music they listen to, or dance to, and a nice scene of Christmas where songs are sung to entertain a crowd, first carols, then after a meal local specialties. Music is part of our lives so yes, some of it should be included in how we describe our scenes.
Built a character from a song - no. Characters tend to walk in fully built.

Re: The Twelve Clues Of Christmas (1:07pm November 11, 2012):

I enjoyed your book about Lady Georgiana in Scotland, at Balmoral and meeting the lady aviator. I passed it to my mother and she enjoyed it too!
We've had good Christmases in this house, my husband and I, but best has always been when we've invited someone who would otherwise have been alone. One year we had a young mother and daughter, it was great fun to have a child here! Another year we hosted a girl from Latvia who was at college with me and would have been alone in a rented flat. She brought a Latvian cake and we had a good time all weekend.

Re: What The Cat Saw (8:14am November 10, 2012):

I can recommend 'The Witches of Worm' for a cat book with a difference. The lonely girl in a flat has to raise a kitten without wanting it, and her mother is usually off trying to snag a new husband. The girl read about the Salem witchcraft trials and starts to think the cat, Worm, is encouraging her to harm other people. From a cat owner's viewpoint this so so well observed.
Most cat lovers also love reading about cats as characters in books!

Re: Heart of Danger (8:10am November 10, 2012):

No, sorry, I don't like depressing stories. I don't like zombies in particular, I like characters. I did see the Terminator films but I am not keen on post-apocalyptic worlds.
The Day After Tomorrow was a good film and a good story. Okay they overstated a few weather features, but sure enough if the ice dropping off Greenland shuts down the North Atlantic Current, or Gulf Stream, the northern hemisphere will get a great deal colder.

Re: Enslaved (8:05am November 10, 2012):

A tangent: a showjumper in Britain said that the girl grooms in his yard inevitably fell for the handsome but unco-operative or untrainable horses. He said he couldn't see why, because the horse was better to be sold and replaced by one that would train well and win prizes. So it seems that there is some element in us females that seeks a flaw...
I think if the hero of a story is to be damaged in some way there have got to be compensations. Looks might be an obvious one, but are we really that shallow? Maybe has has learned extra skills or accumulated knowlege, or he is highly intelligent and can be kind, but has panic attacks crossing a bridge....

Re: Christmas On Mimosa Lane (5:22am November 8, 2012):

She's wearing Tinker Bell on her robe, if that is the same as pyjamas, which I don't see specifically mentioned.
Sounds like a good way to start Christmas, helping others.

Re: The Hoard (5:18am November 8, 2012):

Now I may be the wrong person to comment here, since I don't read horrors. I just don't like books that go on about corpses and blood and slime and dying horribly and bodies and haunts and the rest. I also got the idea from the few I did read, that there is not much character progression. Well a dead or evil thing is not going to grow and change is it? And the characters don't get time to do more than run a bit and scream.
I do however respect an author who has taken the time, and used his/her craft, to create a believable plot and characters. One film I think was very well done was 'The Lost Boys' - and King's 'Salem's Lot' I saw with David Soul, excellent. Also when a genuine motivation is included such as 'The Fog' where the ghosts of drowned seamen came from the fog 100 years later, to wreak revenge on the descendents of the villagers who lured their ship onto the rocks.
So I understand that it must be a labour of love for you when not everyone is a fan, and provided you are creating a well crafted book, then I say well done and good luck.

Re: Renegade (7:42am November 7, 2012):

My first impression of someone - if it is positive or neutral, that may change later because some people put on a polite mask. But a negative first impression is a warning from my subconscious to me, and I don't change that one.

Re: Refuge (7:39am November 7, 2012):

Thank you for writing about ths topic. I believe that violence against women in some cultures is so commonplace as to be disrgarded, thought of as 'normal'. In Egypt we hear that 98 percent of women still have endured FGM although it is supposedly illegal. There, too, aborting a baby on grounds of sex is illegal and women should not get a scan on this basis. Yet when the baby is scanned for health, the doctor will push a pink slip or a blue slip across the table and the parents then 'decide' - I doubt many women choose willingly - not wanting a girl.
When the Taliban has now tried to assassinate a young schoolgirl in Pakistan for writing a blog about how she wants to go to school, we have to look at her miraculous survival as an inspiration to help other women around the world.

Re: Resurrected (8:00am November 5, 2012):

Sounds like a really interesting topic for a series. I recently read a book about a wagon train during the last days of the Civil War and those were very tough times, from having to give birth in the back of a wagon to Indian raids. Solving mysteries on top of that... admiration to them!

Re: The Snow White Christmas Cookie (8:30am November 4, 2012):

I read 'The Bright Silver Star' and found it a interesting take on the locality and lives involved. Des is a wonderful character.
Sue Grafton started writing her PI books by wanting to kill off her ex-husband; I guess he's doing less well than she is by now. So really we readers have to thank these annoying or rude or cruel people who give writers their inspirations.

Re: The Warrior (7:28am November 2, 2012):

Steve Earle sings Galway Girl... he loves Ireland and visits here often. My brother has attended I think every concert he has given here over the years.
My husband is Scottish but he says he doesn't have a good singing voice; he likes some of the ballads though.

Re: Conspiracy Of Angels (8:22am November 1, 2012):

All the best written books are indeed about relationships. There are two ways of doing it - about the relationships of the narrator or principal character(s) or the dispassionate observation of the relationships between secondary characters, as with many of Sue Grafton's private eye novels.
A well-written book will hook in male or female readers and the thrill ride of espionage, the tear-jerkers of romances or the boredom (sorry, poetry) of literary works is merely an expression of the plot.
So yes, be it male/female, male/male or whatever combinations, father/daughter and other family relationships, love makes a book more powerful and explains actions.

Re: Death In The Floating City (8:45am October 31, 2012):

You have a great reading list above by now! Since you like Venice, try Donna Leon who has written a series of police crime novels set in Venice. Go for the earlier ones first as they are better, but now she is not putting so much work into the plots. I recommend Friends in High Places. Read that and tell me Italy has no corruption.
For Yorkshire read Peter Robinson - police crime novels again.
For Dublin or west of Ireland, read John Brady, crime.
For Jamaica, read The Pirate's Daughter, about a girl who has an affair with Errol Flynn, and her daughter.
For London during the Blitz of WW II try Skinny Lizzie about a girl who gets to be a bus conductress because all the men are off at war.
I could keep this up all day.

Re: Midnight Exposure (8:24am October 30, 2012):

I think Sarah Conners from the first Terminator film sounds like the heroine you describe - an ordinary girl caught up in something taking all her wits, resources and strength to survive. She is a fantastic heroine. By the end of the film she is so strong and determined. We all adapt to our circumstances and as you say, the intelligent person stands a better chance of survival.

Re: Down for the Count (8:20am October 30, 2012):

I suppose being asked if I would go skydiving would be the closest. Normally people don't dare me because they know I can do more than most people. My boyfriend, now my husband, had parachuted before and asked if I'd like to go with him next time.... we went and I jumped for charity.
I might never have done this if I hadn't been prompted, and I really enjoyed it, and now I am so glad I did it!

Re: Kissed By A Vampire (6:46am October 29, 2012):

Readers of paranormals will enjoy suspense mixed in too so I think the first step is to get a nervous reader convinced to try a paranormal. I don't read horror, but I do read some paranormals. If I did not enjoy them I would not continue!

Re: Iced Chiffon (6:44am October 29, 2012):

I've been reading these mysteries for many years now. They generally focus on women sleuths, for one factor to get me interested. Another is that there is often a focus on a location or an occupation which is interesting. We may want to read about Greenwich Village, or Arizona; we may want to read about a woman running a knitting shop or a part-time firefighter, part-time baker.
Police procedurals often tend to be men-oriented because police forces are largely male.
The image of the granny or quiet lady reading cosies probably came from Agatha Christie readers; trhey tended to want life to be set back in the thirties to forties when women didn't do anything but teach and nurse - or war work in which case there would be a very bad spy story involved.
Once the world of the amateur sleuth book got away from this dreary setting, readership exploded! There is also often a romance element, of interest to women and romance readers, and the character-based plots are more interesting.

Re: One Night with a Hero (12:38pm October 27, 2012):

I love a certain amount of realism - the weaponry and logistics should be correct, whether Seals or Napoleonics. But that does not mean I want to see someone being killed in all the gory technicolour details. Because face it, that is what military men and women are there to do, should it be called for.

Re: Night Thief (6:27am October 25, 2012):

I visited Napoleon's tomb while in Paris. The coffin is a huge, strong dark wood casing, with curves upwards at the ends. This is set down in a round well-like smooth-walled basement and we look at it from above. Seems the French wanted to make very sure he wouldn't climb out and terrorise Europe again.
The more real and accurate your historic details are, the better in my view. Unless you are talking future history, in which case, as long as you can make a strong case that it 'might' turn out this way, who can argue?

Re: Losing Control (6:22am October 25, 2012):

Linked stories are great because we have a chance to follow the 'life' of characters we have got to know and like or dislike. But many of those I read, are crime stories with featured police officers, such as DCI Banks or the Stephen Booth books which I'm reading right now. The police officer is usually changed by the investigation or the outcome of the case and modern techniques are explained, so it is not like the old-fashioned whodunits.
A linked series about a community is interesting but could feel like a TV soap opera if it was done poorly. I read one Robyn Carr recently and enjoyed it although I had not read the previous books, so a standalone is a good idea late in a series - or only the dedicated series followers will but the new releases.
However there is a danger that a series or linked books can become formulaic and that turns of the fans. If a new book is the same as the previous seven, just a few changes of name or location, what is the point?
Given that you clearly enjoy your characters and wish to develop them, linking your books is a great way for you to go.

Re: Tempting the Best Man (7:43am October 24, 2012):

I think we all enjoy reading about an alpha male, but logic dictates that every woman cannot find one, or there would be no beta males....
Sure, we are going to be attracted to a strong, confident capable man, who looks like he can do some providing and protecting. That's what cave women and village women needed in order to survive. But the emotional attachment has to be present too, or you're talking about the workaholic sociopath who tramples people to get to the top of a business. Not for me thanks!

Re: Blood Therapy (5:55am October 23, 2012):

Well Dracula is still in print, why shouldn't your books be!

Re: Abigail And Mistletoe (5:52am October 23, 2012):

Sounds like a very interesting read. Hope it does well for you.

Re: Escape (5:31am October 22, 2012):

A very interesting tale. As an Irish person in Ireland the issue of colour does not affect my family - the Irish were the ones who exported their people and labour. But your story will add to my understanding of others.
Some readers might like to read Small island by Andrea Levy about Jamaicans who came to live in Britain after the second world war. Being British they were not prepared for bigotry because of their colour. But few British people had ever seen a person of colour.

Re: Miss Lavigne's Little White Lie (8:58am October 20, 2012):

A first impression of someone as unpleasant or oily or rude - yes, I'll remember and trust that. A first impression of someone pleasant may be perfectly accurate or later I may have reason to revisit it, if something occurs.

Re: Sultry With A Twist (8:55am October 20, 2012):

Oh, so all the secret agent/crime novelists go out and practise each scene before they write it? All the SF novelists actually visit Jupiter or the space station or whatever? And anyone trying to think theselves into the mind of a serial killer for their next novel has to....
Where do these people get their cheek asking you about your intimate life anyway?

Re: Rev It Up (8:32am October 20, 2012):

When you stretch the bounds of a genre you risk not being shelved with that preferred genre in bookshops. Publishers don't know how to market you. They may not wish to publish you at all if you are not clearly in a genre that they want to be producing. So it can be very risky to push the boundaries.
But look at Neuromancer, the book which pushed the bounds of SF so far that it created a whole new sub-genre of cyber punk, from which we got The Matrix. Sometimes books just have to be written the way they come to you.

Re: Return Of The Border Warrior (5:51am October 17, 2012):

I review on Amazon books by my favourite authors and some are dead for decades... however other people are saying my reviews are helpful to them, so I feel I am introducing new readers to the fine books.
I also review books by new authors and hope to get them recognised that way.

Re: Death, Taxes, and a Sequined Clutch (4:10pm October 16, 2012):

Sadly when you break up it may be because you have just found out the other person has been using you. You don't want to keep them around, forgive them or anything: you just want them gone.
If they have done somethgin exceptional and hurtful however it may be worth finding out what was going on.
A scorned wife in Britain got revenge on her well-off husband by cutting up his suits and driving around the village handing out his pricey bottles of wine to all the villagers.

Re: The Red Pony (6:22am October 16, 2012):

I completely agree about The Red Pony - I've read both the short and the long versions and it would put any young person off both reading and horses. My Friend Flicka is much better both for reading and as a horse story. I read a few more Steinbecks incl. Of Mice and Men, my favourite however is Travels With Charley non-fiction.
I've never read the Russian novels, depressing and cold would tally with my impressions of them. Same with Dickens - read a few excerpts. But I do watch these on TV so I pick up the storylines and period - Crime and Punishment and Oliver Twist most recently. Read Robinson Crusoe, Black Beauty, Alice x 2 growing up.

Re: Born To Be Wild (6:14am October 16, 2012):

It's wonderful to read all these riding stories! I just wish some of them weren't about falls and injuries. But these things do happen so always wear a hard hat with the strap fastened down.

Re: Tall, Dark, and Divine (6:09am October 16, 2012):

The Romans had brought piped hot water to Britain two thousand years ago, so I wouldn't necessarily agree that people a few hundred years ago thought piped hot water would be magical. Just wasteful if they realised how it could be done. All that good firewood used up and just for a bath?
The idea of gods still being around us is certainly entertaining and sure, if they're immortal, why not?

Re: Born To Be Wild (9:37am October 15, 2012):

Well done to keep riding. I was a showjumper on my own horses but never owned land so it was very costly to keep them.
I skydived and had no trouble at all getting out of the plane and climbing along the wing. Then I was told to let go. No way! Let go a perfectly good plane!
Eventually I did decide to trust my harness and lessons and it was brilliant, proving that it is worth challenging yourself. I was also jumping for charity.

Re: Shattered Silence (2:38pm October 14, 2012):

Last Texas Ranger I read about was written by JT Edson...
That's a great photo of a modern officer and I also liked the cover of your book. The tale has a lot of very interesting elements and should be a great read.

Re: The Shadowy Horses (5:58am October 12, 2012):

Hi Susanna,
I reviewed The Shadowy Horses first time it was released for publications in Ireland and Scotland. My husband is Scottish which does not make me an expert on accents, but he read The Shadowy Horses more recently and really enjoyed it.
I thought the accents and word usage really reflected the locale - it is more problematic when a person is taken out of their environment and placed in a strange city, say.
Good luck with the relaunch and I can recommend the book.

Re: In The Barrister's Bed (6:50am October 11, 2012):

I expect John Grisham would think legal people can be sexy! And look at the pink-clad heroine of Legally Blonde... while not trying to be a blonde bombshell, she joined law school to pursue her boyfriend.
American readers may not realise that in Britain and Ireland, a solicitor prepares a case for court but then engages a barrister to speak in court. Barristers wear black because they are in mourning for Queen Anne. (Don't ask me.) The barrister may be a gentleman but as such he cannot be engaged by a client. The client pays the solicitor, who pays the barrister, thus pretending the barrister is not engaged in trade - which would make him ineligible to be presented at Court. Yes it is pathetic and antiquated and it is still the case today, which is why it costs so much to pursue a legal case.

Re: Run The Risk (10:50am October 10, 2012):

In Britain there has been a storm over one undercover policeman's sleeping with several environmental protestors in a peace camp. He had a wife and family at home. The general considered opinion is that he should not have slept with women while using his undercover identity. This is fact, not fiction.
How about the Stainless Steel Rat, a Harry Harrison creation? Slippery Jim was a future thief and lived by his wits.

Re: Lady X's Cowboy (7:38am October 8, 2012):

Hmm. I don't think I hid anything but my mother, who loved her Georgette Heyers, used to say that romance stories were trashy and not worth reading. That was a long time ago and she was probably thinking of Mills and Boon. I presume she must have read one at some point to make the comparison.
At the same time she had some crime stories of the day which were entirely unrealistic and peopled by the same kinds of characters over and over. Country house type of murders, just a Chinese puzzle to see who was where and when and who was lying about an alibi. I read a couple and they were absolute rubbish.
So I read science fiction. That way I learned astrophysics.

Re: The Hallowed Ones (4:59am October 7, 2012):

I've recently started reading Amish fiction, reading Dark Crossings which like your tale is three novellas of what happens when outsiders bring crime into Amish communities. I find a lot of interest in the lifestyle and I always enjoy reading culture contrast.

Re: Wild Encounter (4:57am October 7, 2012):

I've been told that in a kidnap situation, you should try to get away as early as possible, because the longer the captor has you, the more they will be making sure you cannot escape.
Also if you do a few physical things, like self-defence or even chopping firewood, you will be that bit better prepared to punch someone or get hurt if that is the only way to get out of a tight place.

Re: The Ruins Of Lace (5:24am October 5, 2012):

How were the dogs used? Pack dogs? Why not mules? Where was the activity conducted - one country to another? Seems like a strange and cruel trade. But smugglers today use people for drug carrying and never care about the people who get caught or killed.

Re: Contract For Marriage (5:21am October 5, 2012):

Accidents of any sort bring on the strong reaction you mention - especially if you need to get there fast and help...
One time I had this reaction was when I was cutting a hedge from the garden side and over the top of the hedge I saw a pickup pull up in front of my van on the road outside, the driver get out and walk back to steal my work trailer.... I jumped down off the steps, jumped a low wall and ran yelling Oi! Took him completely by surprise. He ran back to his cab and I was yelling I've got you, I've got your number... gave his reg number to the police but they did not do anything.

Re: Dark Light Of Day (6:20am October 3, 2012):

Sparrowhawk or Ged in The Earthsea trilogy (now with added books!) has to be my favourite because he was made so real to the reader. The land of Earthsea itself was also so real from the dragons to the lack of a moon (so no tides).
I love the concepts you introduce. As a tree surgeon I definitely would not want a power that was destructive to growing things!

Re: Until My Soul Gets It Right (5:00am October 1, 2012):

This sounds like the Maeve Binchy approach - take the characters in a setting and tell each one's story individually while showing how it affects the whole. It's a great way to develop lots of characters without getting people confused in a sequential single tale. Hope it goes well for you.

Re: Construction Beauty Queen (4:57am October 1, 2012):

I live in a city but always have been in suburban areas, not the city centre which is more impersonal. I have read a lot of books about small towns in various countries, they appear to have a cohesion which aids everyone. I think this goes back to how people grew up living in small bands or tribes before developing villages - small was a good community.

Re: Secrets Of A Wedding Night (8:31am September 29, 2012):

Faro was and is a card game, one of the gambling games played by the better-off in Regency times.
I don't know much more as gambling bores me silly, I'm afraid. Went to Las Vegas and never gambled. When I read or watched Casino Royale I switched off every time a deck of cards was produced.

Re: Renegade (8:43am September 28, 2012):

Wow, all these readers sound just like me!
Thanks for coming back with your comments Nancy, this makes it feel like a conversation.

Re: Renegade (5:21am September 27, 2012):

Sadly our keeper books tend to have to live in the attic right now. They migrate down every now and then if my husband wants to read one of mine, say. We have too many new books coming in and not enough shelves. Currently working on renovating and when the extension room is finished boy, will that be a library... when the books come down from the attic that is when we will do the big pruning job! So many will now feel out-dated. But if we don't want books anymore I make sure they get passed on, to other readers, to secondhand book stores or charity shops. We never throw out a book.

Re: A Home For Nobody's Princess (5:17am September 27, 2012):

So good to read so many people echoing that it is the people, the family, the safety that make up a home!

Re: Diary of a Vampire Stripper (5:15am September 27, 2012):

Why is it that every world which has vampires also has werewolves? Apart from the original few vampire stories, today we seem to find them side by side all the time. This tale looks like a blend of The Ivy League Stripper and Sookie Stackhouse, it's got to be interesting!

Re: A Home For Nobody's Princess (6:36am September 25, 2012):

Any time I have moved house, I have brought my cats and the cats think that where I am is home. They sleep tight against me on the bed the first several nights, they sit with me any time I sit down, they follow me around the house. Even now, all my cats have been born in this house, and they like to be with me as much as possible.
So to extrapolate we can say that the people not the place make the home. My husband and I make this house a home for each other, we have many shared interests and both love books. And we care for each other.

Re: Boyfriend From Hell (6:32am September 25, 2012):

That's a fantastic cover and it certainly will catch the eye. Urban fantasy is a great genre so good luck! Yes ideas do come from anywhere but most people never develop a "what if" moment... keep going strong!

Re: Seduction's Shift (7:22am September 23, 2012):

I'm definitely a fan of felines so I would enjoy a read of your latest!
I am wondering why you picked Jaguars, which come from South America - is it harking back to the car? That's a lovely car too!

Re: 4 Bodies And A Funeral (7:20am September 22, 2012):

Some of the finest crime novels are women writers writing about women PIs - my own favourites include Carol Lea Benjamin and Sue Grafton as well as Dana Stabenow. I have not read yours yet but I will be looking out for them.

Re: Got Game? (7:11am September 22, 2012):

Well done to the US ladies! And to all the other ladies in the Olympic and Paralympic teams.
Women are often the world leaders in showjumping and eventing as they ride well. All the horses are required to carry a minimum weight - 12 stone last time I looked - while competing.
Women invented overarm bowling in cricket. Everyone bowled underarm but the ladies who wanted to join in the fun on the lawn, found that their big hooped skirts got in the way. So they bowled overarm and the idea took off.
But maybe Americans don't know what cricket is....

Re: Charming Blue (8:45am September 21, 2012):

Different way of looking at Bluebeard! Why not write your own versions of classic tales, after all every storyteller adds their own interpretation.
I think a reader will vary through their life in how much or little sex is considered appropriate. You have to listen to your editors; they know the current book trade.

Re: Where There's A Will (8:42am September 21, 2012):

You sound to be currently writing fantasy if you have angel beings, fantasy romance - is that more or less acceptable to people? Many SF writers could never say they wrote fantasy because it got them such strange looks, fairytales....

Re: Enemies at the Altar (8:39am September 21, 2012):

Certainly if you have ever loved someone it is a shame to hate them, but you are more likely to hate someone about whom you have strong feelings, than someone who means nothing to you.
About the conundrum in your book, will the man inherit if he marries, then divorces and gets an anullment if that is his wish? Seems sensible.

Re: Resurrection Express (6:33am September 20, 2012):

Thanks so much for an excellently written tale of the Mutanoids! I think 800 pages was just too long and many books of SF at the time were a lot shorter - unless you were Frank Herbert, say.
Style is so important and you do need to read a lot, and a lot of different authors and time periods.
I am very interested in reading your new work and I hope it does very well for you.

Re: Deadly Little Lies (7:44am September 18, 2012):

You need to check for ad hacking, above....
I recently managed to buy on line several of the best books by the best author I read while a teen.
But in general I don't have time to re-read - I do keep the good books though.
The Horses of Petrock by Vian Smith was one I bought online and re-read, published in America as A Second Chance. Even better now I'm grown-up.

Re: Blaze of Winter (7:41am September 18, 2012):

Yes, loading two Thoroughbred horses into a horsebox that did not want to leave their field and go somewhere else (to a retirement field which was even nicer, but they didn't know.)
Luckily my boyfriend, now husband, had done a little riding and was able to help handle them.
I never mind asking for help because I freely give help to people who need it, holding doors, helping lift trollies off trains, filling petrol for people in wheelchairs to save them getting out of the car, offering lifts. This does not make me anything special, it is just because I was a Girl Guide and was well brought up. So fair is fair.
- Clare

Re: Three River Ranch (7:37am September 18, 2012):

Nope, haven't posted embarrassing stuff. I don't do social network sites of any kind.

Your cover art is lovely, I am sure the book is a great read.
- Clare

Re: The Curse (8:05am September 16, 2012):

I have many autographed books and have once gone as far as buying one over the net (author sadly deceased in 1970 but one of my favourites) so yes it does add to the personal value of the book.
I now read a small proportion of e-books which I read on PC. I do not have an e-reader. My husband and I figure we should each have a reader for holidays - one would be useless as we would still need to carry tons of books for the other person!
But the great thing about e-readers is that an author's whole backlist can be easily re-released whereas they would not have been able to persuade a publisher to do this in a print run.

Re: Finding Sarah (7:59am September 16, 2012):

I prefer mystery because I just have not found the same enjoyment from suspense books. In crime books the police procedural is very popular (in Ireland and the UK anyway) and there is just no room in those for the bad guy detailing his every move. I also don't like psychological thrillers much - the bad guy's thoughts are usually detailed. And I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of a mystery.
If there is a romance I want it to be based on more than an immediate sexual attraction. There has got to be a reason for the characters to have a conversation, sustain an interest in each other. The possible or realised relationship has got to work, not just because they are male and female.

Re: Twin Passions (5:39am September 14, 2012):

I love to read a novel set in other places and times, well researched and written. I have read many crime novels of that sort from Cadfael to 1930s Chicago, and romance is a natural way to go because it beings people together. I have also read a good many of what I call social history books, not strictly romances but say, the story of a girl growing up in Liverpool before and during the second world war. Her romantic life is part of the story.

Re: Chasing a Dream (6:48am September 12, 2012):

Of course musicians are great characters! I have read Crossroad Blues and Leaving Trunk Blues by Ace Atkins, a crime series.
What have I done that naysayers opposed? Well I work as a tree surgeon so I often get "that's a strange job for a girl" and once I had priced the job and when I turned up next day to work, the householder, a bank manager, looked at me and said "where are the men?"
When I first looked for a mortgage three different bank managers agreed to give me one but in each case the head office came back and said no. Single woman, small business, seasonal income - that is my presumption anyway. If I could prove I was discriminated against because I am female I could sue. I had to rent for four and a half years but then took on a mortgage and have only a few years left to go.

Re: Pitch Perfect (11:52am September 11, 2012):

I admit to writing character based work myself and often just have to keep going in order to find out what happens to the people!
I do not watch any soaps which do tend to be contrived for the sake of ongoing drama. But these must be the ultimate in character writing.
If I read a book in which the people are just cardboard cutouts I am not concerned about them. So no doubt your people watching is leading you in the right direction.

Re: Temptation In A Kilt (6:44am September 9, 2012):

My husband is Scottish but doesn't wear a kilt, he says you have to have the legs for it. So I will just have to keep reading your books to top up on kilts!

Re: In Rides Trouble (11:44am September 7, 2012):

My brother used to be into motorbikes. But bikers come off worst when a car hits them. He then went into scuba diving and seems a large number of bikers like scuba! I guess it's the technical aspects.

Re: A Cup Full Of Midnight (11:41am September 7, 2012):

Well you are right about not wanting to be sued by real businesses. At the same time adding genuine landmarks, institutions and scenery makes the book come alive for the readers. Sounds like you go to a lot of trouble to bring your books to life.

Re: Return To Willow Lake (5:14am September 5, 2012):

Natural surroundings are ideal for letting the mind rattle around in the subconscious and dig out a plot twist or a true action for a character. Another way can be driving, provided it's a relaxing drive. Just removing the focus on carrying the plot forward allows the subconscious to produce half-formed ideas for your attention.

Re: Treacherous Toys (5:11am September 5, 2012):

I enjoy alternate histories and just slightly alternate worlds.
There is no telling where they might lead....

Re: Death on a Longship (6:47am September 4, 2012):

We had the Tall Ships Race here in Dublin recently, very impressive ships!
Sounds like a great book.

Re: Every Breath She Takes (6:46am September 4, 2012):

How great that you get to reissue your book!
I would love to read the Serve and Protect books, ideally in real book rather than e-book, and I wish you well with the re-release.

Re: Lucky Break (6:34am September 2, 2012):

As an Irish person I am in favour of the Shamrock element!
I've read that in small towns, newcomers often think everyone is so friendly. They don't realise that the longtimers there are so bored by the same faces and stories that they are desperate for new company and a new source of gossip!

Re: Death Where The Bad Rocks Live (6:31am September 2, 2012):

Mmm, the spamming has put me off a sensible reply, sorry. I did enjoy the blog.

Re: Magic Gone Wild (6:09am September 1, 2012):

A genie sounds convenient - put him back in the bottle when you don't need him around - but I sure it won't work out that way. This could be just like the Meg Langslow mysteres, which I love - Murder with Peacocks etc.

Re: Plain Fear: Forbidden (5:59am September 1, 2012):

I think the shift in thinking about modern vampires has so much to do with Twilight. Previously we had the Salem's Lot archetype and there were not really a lot of places you could go with that. The film The Lost Boys was absolutely brilliant. But Twilight brought vampires to live in society and blend among us, if with difficulty. It has to be remembered that the benign vampires are always in the minority, be it in True Blood or Twilight.
The idea of blending a vampire story with an Amish community is fascinating. There is no reason why these people should be immune to strangers hiding out and their religious life and innate goodness might be enough to deter pursuers. I'd find that a very interesting read.

Re: Fool For Love (5:49am September 1, 2012):

I think the idea is lovely. However I would like some recipes featured which would suit my friends with Type 1 diabetes. Maybe there is a carrot cake version which would be appropriate?

Re: Immortally Yours (6:04am August 29, 2012):

Has to be Sit Sit Sit! Tips for training your hellhound. You're right, dogs of any kind need lots of exercise. Why should hellhounds be any different?

Love the effort that has gone into that site.

Re: In the Line of Duty (5:00am August 27, 2012):

I know a young lady who is a firefighter and paramedic. Her family are so proud and I believe she is a great role model for young women.

Re: Blame It On Texas (4:58am August 27, 2012):

That was a great story about the funeral and it reminded me of a similar event I hadn't thought about in years. Aged eleven I was new in secondary school, a convent school in Ireland, and in the middle of the day a storm closed in and thunder rolled directly overhead. It was scary for us. Nobody said anything unti after one very loud crash, a girl said "That's Sister Carmel falling downstairs!" Then we all laughed and nobody was scared anymore.

Re: Florentine's Hero (5:33am August 26, 2012):

Very moody cover, would catch my eye. I don't know why a woman would want to be a bull rider when she could be a showjumper, say....

Re: Not the Marrying Kind (5:31am August 26, 2012):

A well written book makes the top of my list, whatever genre or category. I am sure we'll enjoy yours.

Re: Bruja Brouhaha (5:23am August 26, 2012):

Well you have to reasearch to get the best writing done! I am sure your descriptions are so much better for it; you know the feel, the scent and the sound of a fortune telling shop as well as just the sight.

Re: The Big Beach Book (8:44am August 24, 2012):

The summer here hasn't been good enough for beach lazing... brisk walking maybe. Sonds like your book would be a great antidote.

Re: Big Sky Mountain (7:06am August 23, 2012):

I looked at this on your website a while ago, but as it only applies to women in the US I cannot enter. I think it's a great effort and as you say educating women helps many generations to come, plus giving a role model to young people around that woman.

Re: Relentless Pursuit (3:01pm August 20, 2012):

A high-energy male character would be Mike Chapman, an NYPD detective in Linda Fairstein's books about Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper; it's pretty much a double act. I'm trying to think of a female one and I can't this minute. I don't feel that its a very female trait.

Re: Desire The Night (6:33am August 20, 2012):

I completely agree that the lack of boundaries now is cheapening books. Those who have read the erotic tome referred to above describe it as pure smut. I don't want to read smut. I want to read something well written and intelligent. If every little action is described in a sex scene, where does that leave room for the readers's imagination? And if swear words pepper the story I don't bother keeping reading. I can understand them used in dialogue to convey a sense of a particular character. But if all the characters and indeed the narrator, are speaking like people I would not invite into my living room, why would I read about them? I occasionally read a 'chick-lit' book and if the narrator is using foul language it just makes her sound so cheap. That tells me something about the author too.

Re: Hearse And Buggy (6:49am August 19, 2012):

Pat Moore asked about Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter. This lady was named Rose Wilder and married a Lane. There was also a son but he died early. Rose Wilder Lane wrote a couple of books of her own, On The Way Home was her autobiography; and she wrote a nice tale of a young couple who married and lived on the prairie, I have it but can't recall the title. It has all the flavour of Laura's books.

Re: Allergic To Death (6:45am August 19, 2012):

These stories explore the human side of the mystery without focusing on the police procedural or the mind of the killer... they are an antidote to the depressing grim realities of crime. They are also positive as they show people working together and getting on with their lives. Best of luck with your books.

Re: Hearse And Buggy (1:35pm August 18, 2012):

I'm currently reading Dark Crossings - three Amish-set novels in one. Fascinating way of life and attitudes. The mysteries are a great idea.

Re: Primal Possession (5:55am August 16, 2012):

I think that is a good question as if we go too far in the tough direction, we might as well make the character a man in the first place! I think she should come over as believably feminine but tough when she needs to be. A smart, self sufficient person just does what they need to, they don't push it in your face that this is what they are. And we could all use some help from time to time.

Re: Deep Blue (6:48am August 14, 2012):

I've only been on short cruises for part of a day. However I love walking on holiday and seeing wildflowers and animal life, so I would think a cruise would not suit me.

Re: Sweet Deception (6:46am August 14, 2012):

Great historical romance.

Re: The Bull Rider's Brother (6:44am August 14, 2012):

Publishing is changing a lot all right.

Re: Wrong Bed, Right Guy (6:42am August 14, 2012):

sounds interesting!

Re: Hell On Wheels (5:23am August 11, 2012):

My brother did have a Harley but was injured in a road accident when a car turned suddenly on the road and crashed into him. Sadly the bikes don't give much protection. He's fine now luckily and he did ride the bike after that but not now.

Re: West of Want (6:27am August 10, 2012):

Thanks Laura for coming back on all our comments, it is very nice and interactive to read your reactions.

Re: Hearts Of Darkness (6:24am August 10, 2012):

Mmm that excerpt is pretty depressing. I think I'd need to be in the mood for it, though I am sure we get adrenalin or fun later in the story.
I keep the latest version because I am usually correcting an error of fact which I've just gone out and researched. Or I've added a scene which needed to be earlier in the story than the point at which I find myself writing when it comes to me.

Re: West of Want (6:30am August 9, 2012):

Powerful is my pick, because if you want to describe a wind god you had better get the wind right. Showing the elemental nature and powers of the force of the wind is a good way to evoke his personality.

Re: A Brew To A Kill (8:45am August 8, 2012):

I particularly enjoyed the Decaffeinated Corpse instalment of the series, because it was interesting to read about the cultivation of coffee plants. I'm sure the new book will be just as good.

Re: Wild Texas Rose (6:44am August 8, 2012):

35 books - what an accomplishment! Well done and do keep giving your readers such enjoyment.

Re: The Last Victim (6:29am August 6, 2012):

I have to agree with you - there are lessons we need to learn as we learn our craft, and other people help form our style. But mainly reading other authors whose style we enjoy is better than just taking all critiques on board and saying 'I won't do that again then'. Tearing up something that is part of you will never recreate that atmosphere again. Anyway constructive criticsism is a better route for people communicating with you. Best of luck with the latest book.

Re: Going To The Bad (5:50am August 4, 2012):

Maggie Furey killed off a main supporting man in one of her Aurian books. These are fantasy novels and while young Aurian is learning how to be a magic-user she is protected by a military man who becomes her lover. Then Maggie realised that Aurian was always going to remain under his protection and was not going to grow and survive on her own, as long as he was in her life. Sadly, she said, she had to kill him off.
And Boromir got killed in the Lord of The Rings. Sometimes somebody has to die, just so we know it isn't easy to survive.

Re: Married By Midnight (6:51am August 3, 2012):

Good question for us as series are thought of as a good way to get readers hooked... Personally I like a vibrant series and I follow the characters from book to book. But I like each book to reach a conclusion, not just to say, that's all for now and next book will continue the travels. That is one of the advantages of a crime series; each crime investigation gets concluded. So they can be read as standalones. See Nevada Barr.
If I start in the middle of a series I am likely to go back and get the earlier books. This may not be the case if the author just wrote standalones.
I was shattered when I got the fourth of a botanical mystery series and found that the author Rebecca Rothenberg had died while writing it. The book was completed by another author. No more of her books.... I told a friend that I thought I should complain to the publisher. My friend wisely added that even bringing the author back from the dead wouldn't guarantee me more books.

Re: Can't Hurry Love (6:00am August 3, 2012):

I think it depends on the life stage that the characters are going through. There is the famous coming of age novel, there is the getting established in a career path situation, the middle aged situation, and rarely but occasionally the senior life stage.
The best way to work in senior people and their heroes is to work them around other people in the community as we do not expect them to carry the story at a greater age. Young heroes, sure, they are learning as much as doing so they can carry the story. Middle life heroes can carry the story but we don't expect the heroine to be any less feisty at that age.

Re: I Own The Dawn (7:27am August 2, 2012):

If I'm writing about characters having a big row, my heart rate speeds up, I don't sleep.... if all is well with them again I relax and destress. Doesn't happen if it's just a short story though.
I like a contrast between a character with a sense of humour and one without any discernible sense of humour, because we meet both types and I know which I prefer...

Re: The Secret Mistress (6:02am August 1, 2012):

I think some girls may want the alpha male while they are young and getting chased by boys, but when it comes time to settle down and build a stable home, they realise a more beta man is perfect for that. Apart from anything else, an alpha might cheat on them but a beta will value them more. Good work in expressing what many women are thinkng.

Re: Deception (5:29am July 31, 2012):

Let's think about the amount of maintenance on those tresses... in Regency and medieval days a rich woman had a woman servant to help her look well. They didn't bathe very often, as it was known to be bad for you, and carrying buckets of hot water up to the bath took the servants all day. Which is why they carried nosegays (scented flowers)and pomanders (oranges studded with cloves) around.
The elaborate piled up hairdos were hair wound round wire frames, and were often left in place for a month (people slept half-sitting up). When the frames were removed it was known for mice, moths and other creatures to be found living in them.
No dry cleaning for clothes either, they were sponged and pressed, the coarser fabrics and sheets washed by hand with lye which is an irritant made of wood ash and animal fat. Whalebone corsets shoved a woman's inner organs up and crushed her lungs to produce tiny waists and heaving bosoms, which is why young ladies fainted at dances.
Still want to be a romance heroine?

Re: Wicked At Heart (5:40am July 29, 2012):

Every hero should be different all right... his background, upbringing and skill and ambition will vary, his friends and influences too. But if someone is writing a lot of books I can see how duplication could creep in ... and then the heart of the book is gone because it's not being driven by an individual any more.
Hope this book goes well for you.

Re: Goddess in the Middle (5:06am July 28, 2012):

I think the story would be exciting enough without the men being werewolves as well... is this too much to handle? What a challenge!

Re: Rosi's Time (5:40am July 27, 2012):

I do take recommendations from other readers as a good place to start, but my tastes can differ from theirs. While you write very well above, I don't know anything about the content of your books from the article, not even the genre apart from YA. That would help me to decide. All writers today are groaning about the level of promotion they have to do but a week to write and polish an interview is definitely too much! If I win a copy I promise to review it and post a review on Amazon.

Re: Take it Like a Vamp (6:55am July 26, 2012):

To the commenter with no e-reader, you can download free Kindle software to a PC. Stores and lets you read e-books. I'm sure there is one for smartphones too, bt I don't have one of those.
I'm trying to think of a favourite bad boy - but you're right about the actors wanting the more dark parts. Even women do it. When casting 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane' the two lead actresses wanted to play the manipulative, degenerate, selfish Jane rather than the saintly Blanche.
I'm going with Kerr Avon from BBCs SF series 'Blake's Seven'. Avon was played by Paul Darrow and he was a computer criminal exiled to a prison colony. He was great.

Re: Creating Fate (5:01am July 24, 2012):

What great stories! I knew early on that my husband was going to be the man for me.... it just felt as though he was the best match I was ever going to find.
An earlier time was when I had been renting a house for four and a half years and my landlady told me I had a week to leave as she wanted to sell. I got a solicitor and she had to give me a month's notice. I felt that I never wanted to rent again, I just had to buy even though I was single and self employed and would find it hard to get a mortgage. 16 years on I am in my house with my mortgage mostly paid off. So my gut was right.

Re: The Officer Says I DO (5:04am July 23, 2012):

I'm enjoying reading all these - my tech support team really loved PICNIC so thanks Joanne.

Re: The Shadow of You (4:57am July 23, 2012):

Whatever spurs your creativity is good for you, and if you are writing to share with us we can all benefit. Good luck with your work.

Re: Scotsmen Prefer Blondes (1:51pm July 21, 2012):

Many Regency romances concentrate on the wealthy and ignore the hard working. There was very little in the way of middle class at the time - clergy and doctors, maybe tutors, would be it, with some shopkeepers who were usually owed enormous amounts by the wealthy and paid after the rents got paid. The wealthy people were a tiny proportion of the population and employed large numbers of staff, but it would be difficult for poorer people to move around or to find romance as they had to work very hard just to make a living. So while I can see the point in concentrating on the wealthy in novels, I feel it is only half the story.

Re: Sacrifice of Passion (1:27pm July 21, 2012):

Haven't seen it but I think everyone potentially has a dark side, it would make a hero more interesting if he was not all sweetness and light. On the other hand we don't like women to be moody, vile tempered and sneering even once. Strange.

Re: The Officer Says I DO (1:06pm July 19, 2012):

Computer people have lots of acronyms, or used to. If asked a silly question they might growl RTFM meaning Read The Fecking Manual. (That's what we say in Ireland anyway, it's not a bad word.)
Botanists (I'm one) have a name for all the tiny little yellow daisy type flowers that grow wild, because there are page after page in all the botany books, each slightly distinct from the others and growing in a different environment - we call them GDYF meaning Gosh Darned Yellow Flowers (or something similar).

Re: Luscious (1:01pm July 19, 2012):

I like to get a lot of background information in a story. It creates interest and provides information - about a country, a period or a profession say - and provides an environment in which the characters interact. Recently read a book set in Dallas, but nobody once looked out the window or drove along a highway, every scene was in an apartment, office or kitchen. So I have no idea what Texas or Dallas look like.

Re: Beef Stolen-Off (9:00am July 18, 2012):

Didn't know there was a Harley Monopoly set...

Re: Beef Stolen-Off (6:37am July 16, 2012):

What a great story, and well done! I think with small kids the secret is to stay around only other people who have small kids.
I don't have a story quite like that but animals are also good for letting you know your place. Once I was playing a table board game with a bunch of friends - you answer questions correctly and move a piece on - and just as I was within reach of the finish line, ahead of the others, my cat leapt out from cover and pounced on my player's piece, ran off with it in her mouth! We laughed until we hurt.

Re: Jesse (7:24am July 13, 2012):

Some guys can't help falling for little girls, others prefer a cheeky boy to play ball with... a father I know said walking around with a baby in a sling on his chest was a great way to meet nice women, but of course he only learnt this after he'd married so it wasn't much use!

Re: Gwen's Ghost (7:19am July 13, 2012):

What lovely picture of a leopard! Heck with the ghosts I'm afraid, I want that leopard!

Re: Dark Crossings (6:51am July 11, 2012):

That's a great cover photo. My first sight of Amish life would have been in The Witness. It must be a very difficult choice to stay amid the people and situations and beliefs you have known all your lfe, or to go away to a strange and less supportive way of life with a lover. How would you find a job, learn to use the internet, drive a car? How would you get on if you didn't?

Re: The Reluctant Matchmaker (6:44am July 11, 2012):

Well as an extreme, a case here shown in the bio film of the book Frankie Starlight, showed a boy who grew to 'little people' height because of a dwarfism gene who married a girl of normal height.

Re: One Breath Away (6:15am July 10, 2012):

I read a lot of crime of all sorts; they are sometimes fun or challenging puzzles, sometimes social comment, particularly police procedurals. Suspense depends on the location and interesting information to grab my interest. I find I don't read much of the psychological thriller, not my thing. Historical crime, now that is great! Try A Plague On Both Your Houses by Susannah Gregory for a murder mystery set in Cambridge University during the Black Death.

Re: Deep Autumn Heat (5:19am July 9, 2012):

Thanks for the kudos Elisabeth! I thought that it made more sense to leanrn skydiving than to go bungee jumping, actually. You might just need to know how to use a parachute, but I can't see any rescue situation in which you'd need to know how to bungee. I skydived in aid of charity because I figured the one thing that would get me to go through with it was knowing the charity wouldn't get the money unless I did.

Re: Deep Autumn Heat (5:29am July 7, 2012):

Skydiving. I am great with heights but once I got out on the wing of the Cessna I could see no good reason to let go of the darn plane. Eventually, with the instructor yelling at me a few times to go, I decided I just had to trust my harness. It was brilliant, I can highly recommend it.

Re: Lord Of Fire And Ice (5:25am July 6, 2012):

I recently read a modern-day Viking novel set on an island in the oil-rich North Sea. Shows that the culture never loses its appeal. Sounds like a great read, good luck!

Re: The Wrangler (5:27am July 5, 2012):

What an interesting topic for a story - I would like to read that one and I hope the ranch-owning brother is having a happy life, as ranching is not easy either. Speaking from experience as a small business owner, that is.

Re: It Begins with a Kiss (6:11am July 3, 2012):

I am curious as to how the heroine has a large pig, when such creatures were the province of farmers and slaughtered in autumn to provide the winter's food. Could certainly get her into trouble
Wasn't Lyme Regis the location for The French Lieutenant's Woman?

Re: My Lady Mage (6:07am July 3, 2012):

I'm a horsewoman so this certainly interests me. I read Janny Wurts' To Ride Hell's Canyon where the heroine starts off with several beautiful horses but soon it became clear she was going to keep losing them... I don't want to re-read that book. Morgan Lewellyn, I think, also wrote about a magical black horse breed.

Re: First Do No Evil (6:04am July 3, 2012):

I like suspense to reflect real life. Now, I don't think people jump into bed half as often as they do in books, nor does it always work as well as in books, but finding another person sexually attractive and experiencing lovemaking with them is certainly part of life. It adds a pleasant sexual tension to the story or shows the gradual change of a relationship perhaps. I find that in one particular series where there is a man and a woman later in life who don't get anywhere in terms of a relationship, there is a definite feeling that the atmosphere is flat.

Re: The Princess and the Outlaw (5:57am July 3, 2012):

To have more fun I have done different things at different times, right now I check local media for writing contests to enter. I have just sent six short fiction stories to a national free competition. Sometimes I pay to enter others because it is great fun looking forward to maybe being shortlisted, maybe in line for a prize. If I get nowhere it is just a matter of looking for another contest with different judges. And writing another story every time I get an idea, so I have a pool of stories of different word lengths.
I have a purple buddelia bush (butterfly bush) outside my window and yesterday I did see butterflies but today it's raining.

Re: Wicked Nights (7:08am June 29, 2012):

Mostly as a young person I read about horses and dogs. Animal stories are often used as metaphor but I think mainly the authors just loved animals. So Kunama in Silver Brumby's Daughter was a firm favourite. Brumbies are the Australian version of mustangs. If you want a person, then Mistie Seaton in Fabulous by Dorothy Benedict. Mistie lived on a mountain ranch and had a palomino mare and a Pony of the Americas which is marked like an Appaloosa. I thought she was so lucky, as well as so brave and determined!

Re: Lady Amelia's Mess And A Half (6:54am June 29, 2012):

The earliest films I saw with star-crossed lovers must have been Lady and the Tramp, and The Aristocats in which a posh Persian cat meets an alley cat called O'Malley. Maybe you weren't thinking cartoons; my little nephew and niece are currently watching an animation called Gnomeo and Juliet about two sets of garden gnomes, the red and the blue. It is so funny. Books... in Phillippa Gregory's A Respectable Trade, the wife of a well-off Bristol trader falls for one of his 'servants' - a recently transported slave who was an educated man in his own country. Now that's set for trouble.
Good luck with the book which sounds very interesting.

Re: Lessons in Loving A Laird (7:07am June 27, 2012):

My worst date? I don't think I've had one. I prefer to get to know men as friends in a social atmosphere - so we already have some common interest and I can see how lots of people interact with him. On the very rare occasions that I've fancied taking a further step, I know if it doesn't work out we can still be friends. That's how I met my husband.
I've never understood how some people, male or female, choose to visit singles bars like workers standing at a hiring fair. Why would you want to date someone you know nothing about?

Re: Starlight (6:43am June 26, 2012):

Polly Gowan is first, the Weavers' Union, sitting on a pew in a church, Alex, Harvard University in Massachusets, Polly's father who is unwell.
I don't write haikus because the strict form is so fiddly with having to count the syllables. Takes the fun out of it for me.

Re: Invitation To Scandal (6:37am June 26, 2012):

I would like to be myself aged 20 - 25, meeting my husband at a similar age. We didn't know each other then and we keep saying that if we'd met as youngsters we could have done so much more together before maturity issues (mortagages, family, health etc) came along. Are we romantic or what?
I am looking out for your books especially about the smuggling and horse breeding aspects of life. Well done!

Re: Sins Of The Angels (6:19am June 24, 2012):

I enjoyed reading why it is that you write, and that you think other authors do the same. If you read Sue Grafton you will know that she spent hours thinking of ways to kill her ex-husband, but couldn't think of a way to do it without getting caught. So she wrote him into a book and killed him there (in self-defence). That was A Is For Alibi. She's most of the way down the alphabet in titles by now. Guess her ex isn't feeling too important and wealthy anymore.
Separately, how is you you feel so powerful when characters constantly go off on their own and surprise authors as they work?

Re: Into The Darkest Corner (6:10am June 24, 2012):

Just read:

Re: Into The Darkest Corner (11:17am June 23, 2012):

I don't belong to a book club but all my friends are reading fans and we swap info, comments, recommendations and occasionally books attached to very long elastic bands. I would not like to be told that for next week we had to read - let's say, Anna Karenina or Salmon Fishing in The Yemen, when I've just received the latest Nevada Barr in the post! I would also tend to think that time spent dissecting a book is time I could be spending reading another book.
But for those who enjoy the social aspect of the book club, and are thrilled to get recommendations for books they wouldn't otherwise have heard of, it has to be a good thing.

Re: The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine (6:09am June 22, 2012):

A Respectable Trade by Phillipa Gregory looks into the rum and sugar trade operating out of Bristol, and a woman no longer in the first flush of youth who marries a businessman in order not to be dependent on her relatives. Then she discovers that the third, seldom mentioned leg of the Bristol trade is slavery. At the time it was considered respectable even though these people hadn't a clue about the wreckage they were making of the Africans' lives, and the life expectancy for sugar plantation workers was three years. The heroine ends up falling in love with a real man - I won't spoil it for you.

Re: Honorable Rancher (9:13am June 21, 2012):

Barbara, you said in reply to my post you would have been exposed to more kids' books if you had started reading earlier. Trouble with that is, we did not have that many books so we read the same ones over and over. Fewer books for kids were around, some were far too basic, just about no fantasy was being published (apart from Narnia) and bookstores would not take a chance on something they might not move. We also did not have a lot of money, and when I went to spend a birthday book token on Nancy Drews, there was even VAT on the price of the book, raising the cost by ten percent. The local library had a good stock... but it was seldom replenished and boy, did I read the best ones over and over!
Nice chatting to so many avid readers.

Re: Her Forbidden Hero (6:08am June 20, 2012):

I have read many books about the First or Second World Wars - which usually mix life in Britain with life at war on the Continent - and a couple about the Spanish Civil War, several about the American Civil War and not many modern day war stories. Modern war is not usually considered a topic women would be interested in reading so publishers here don't go for it. So I would be very interested to see how they compare with yours. Research is vital - even when watching a film people can find fault with detail.

Re: Honorable Rancher (6:02am June 20, 2012):

I learned to read aged two. My older broher had started school and was learing to read, and I was determined to keep up with him. So my dad sat me on his lap and taught me - from Ladybird early readers, Peter and Jane have a dog. Not long before I moved on to Enid Blytons and Nancy Drews, as soon as my parents figured out that if they surrounded me with books I'd be happy. I also loved animals so books about animals were just perfect.

Re: The Casanova Code (6:05am June 18, 2012):

I actually own a sweatshirt which has printed on the front -

Wanted: Dangerously handsome man. Must like horses, have money and look good in jeans. Will train.

I wore it when I was getting to know my husband among a group of people, and he said it caught his eye all right.

Re: Undead And Unstable (5:52am June 18, 2012):

In Ireland and the UK we have public library lending rights, which mean that every time a book is borrowed the author gets a few pence royalties. Some of your books are in my local library - Undead and Unwed etc - so yet another reason to thank your readers!

Re: No Ordinary Sheriff (5:44am June 18, 2012):

Your books sound very interesting with very human storylines. I enjoyed Janet Dailey's books years ago - This Calder Sky - about Montana so I am sure I'd enjoy yours too.

Re: Grill Me, Baby (5:02am June 17, 2012):

I'm going to inject a note of foods not liked - I went off bananas, milk and cheese early, and I mean by age two. I would take milk on cereal or in tea but not on its own, still don't. We only got processed cheese from the supermarket which tasted like salty plastic, not nice at all. The bananas was the funny one because aged two and a half I was in hospital for a minor op and when Mum came to visit, the nurse told her I must be quite sick because I had not eaten lunch, just drank the orange juice. Mum asked me, 'Why didn't you eat your lunch?' and I said 'Oh it was banana sandwiches, yeuck.'
We had really good Sunday roasts, chicken, pork, beef or lamb, with roast potatoes and gravy, which were a wonderful family occasion. I think a lot of families don't eat that way anymore.

Re: The Marriage Bargain (6:16am June 16, 2012):

I like an ending which makes me wonder what my choice would have been, because that involves me more in the story. An example is Diana Gabaldon's first book - the heroine has fallen into the past via a stone circle, and at the end the brawny young Scot she has met brings her back to the circle and gives her a day alone to make her choice - him or her husband waiting in the future?

Re: Capitol Murder (6:43am June 15, 2012):

The Ottomon Sephulcher. Is that standard American spelling? It's very strange. I've ony read a Baldacci novel set in Washington DC, I am not much into the location. But if the book is well written I'll read it.

Re: Missing (6:41am June 15, 2012):

The Search, though I'm sure the contest is over. Your books sound really interestng with social comment.

Re: The Wild Wood Enquiry (6:11am June 14, 2012):

I've read Murder on Monday but none of the Ivy series, must look out for them.
I am guessing that Round Ringford could come from one of two sources: either a stone circle near the village, or there is a connection to the Great Death like a plague burial pit. My reasoning comes from the nursery rhyme 'Ring around the rosy, A pocket full of posy, Atishoo, atishoo, We all fall down.' This evokes the Great Death, as it was called at the time, with bubonic and pneumonic plague, later called the Black Death.
I'm hoping it's the stone circle.

Re: Cursed (5:52am June 14, 2012):

Covers are excellent, I have walked along the Thames and seen Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament so they remind me of holidays. Now you have me wondering where the magically gifted people live and work, if they have their own civil service like in the Harry Potter books. May have to read the books to find out!

Re: Kiale Dream (5:44am June 14, 2012):

I am sure interspecies romance is a big seller right now and I wonder if this says something about us... that in times of economic depression we turn to something outside our environment for fantasy? It's a great opportunity for the writer to control the development of the new species and write as you like without offending anyone! Sounds like you are having a lot of fun with this and I am sure the readers will too.

Re: A Fatal Fleece (5:39am June 14, 2012):

A knitting mystery series I haven't seen before! I have read several of the Maggie Sefton ones 'Fleece Navidad' and 'Knit One, Kill Two' etc. on the pretext of buying them for my mother's Christmas presents. Now I get to do it all over again! In the above series some of the characters are alpaca ranchers and the wool is used for their crafts. Do your characters use unusual fine fibres too?

Re: Joy Ride (12:56pm June 10, 2012):

Bradbury's fireman lists off a litany of titles but has little understanding of the content of any of the books he burns. It is like following a recipe with no knowledge of the flavour of the spices. The concept of preserving books arose again more recently in MK Wren's 'A Gift Upon The Shore' where two women who survive in a post-apocalyptic world try to read and preserve every book they can find, not realising that a religious cult they meet would rather destroy every book which might contradict their own teachings. I guess this is such an important issue that the books about saving books will continue to appear.

Re: About Last Night (5:25am June 10, 2012):

What a pity it's not in paperback as I don't yet do e-books (though I'll probably end up with two e-readers, one each for my husband and me while on holiday) but it does sound an interesting read. Could you tell us the advantages and disadvantages of publishing in e-book for you, in your next blog post?

Re: Life After (6:24am June 9, 2012):

Your first paragraph reminded me of 'Pack Up The Moon' which I recently read, but then veered off into stranger territory. We are supposed to forgive, but if we do, the offender may just keep up their thoughtless behaviour. I would find it easier to forgive an accidental transgression than one which was deliberate and planned.
You sometimes just cannot help falling in love, or who you fall in love with, and you also cannot be blamed if you fall out of love. Life brings changes. I don't know about your version of the afterlife, if the world was full of vengeful Furies taking it out on people who fell in love, we'd all be too scared to see anybody!

Re: Chosen Ones (6:17am June 9, 2012):

I grew up reading science fiction so there is nothing new in dystopian novels or short stories for me. However there is always someone out there who has not read them so it is good to bring an alternate view of the world to such readers. Maybe they are lured in by the romance angle or they just think the cover looks so hot they have to read the story! And then your characters will show them other ways of living, viewpoints and reasons to question... sure, go ahead and write more of them. We'll be reading.

Re: Skeleton Women (8:58am June 7, 2012):

We gain strength as we go through life. We learn from every good and bad incident, through example and watching other people's lives. Some women go through enormous challenges, raising children with special needs, caring for aged relatives, running businesses or farms, fighting serious illnesses themselves. I think if people have too easy an early life they may not develop the strength and adaptability needed in later life.

Re: Copycat Killing (8:54am June 7, 2012):

When I was teenaged I had a crush on Kerr Avon, the character played by Paul Darrow in Blake's Seven, a BBC SF series. Looked at now, he wasn't a very nice person, being emotionally shut down, untrusting and a computer criminal. But he had brains and was quick-witted in a crisis (there was a crisis every week of course) and he had all the best lines.
I buy lots of books featuring animals, Carol Lea Benjamin, Susan Conant and Virginia Lanier being my favourite dog crime authors, Rita Mae Brown for cats and dogs.

Re: Chase Me (8:47am June 7, 2012):

Janet Dailey wrote a book called Night Way featuring a Navaho Indian who fell for a rancher's daughter. Luckily she fell for him too. It was a long time ago but I think his name was Hawk. Got me interested in reading about the Navaho which led of course to Tony Hillerman. Is Janet writing now?

Re: Soul Bound (6:18am June 5, 2012):

The anti-hero doesn't do it for me. But a young man (the older one is too set in his ways) can easily fall into bad behaviour through boredom and the wrong friends, and something can happen to change his life all right. I would not be so sure that a girl could do this. Maybe, but aren't men going to be doing the macho posing bit in front of other men? Author and former soldier Andy McNab has told of how he was a teenaged young offender and he got told he could go to Army cadet training or go to jail. He chose the army and it changed his life immeasurably. He also became an asset to society. However he did not improve his romantic life greatly as he was still inclined to make rash decisions without consulting his wife; while being sent abroad for six months at a time, leaving his wife in a small barracks town with three shops, meant that he came home one time and his wife had left. Some women would say that he was a hero, others would say, not for me thanks.

Re: Home For The Summer (6:04am June 5, 2012):

Summer often meant Girl Guide camp.... family holidays abroad were not common at the time and very costly, before cheap flights. So I went to Wales, England and Switzerland with the Girl Guides before I left my country with my family.

Re: Diamonds Are Truly Forever (6:02am June 5, 2012):

I try not to lie but sometimes have to be diplomatic in my work, to avoid strife between neighbours. People who don't count every white lie do so because they are trying to be tactful or helpful and that is empathetic all right. However the real liars are sociopaths who essentially live a lie as they do not care about anyone but themselves. Men who are bigamists or habitual defrauders use others for their own ends and do not care how the others feel. Spies, or those trained to work undercover, as in your book, must be trained to work this way to gather information and protect themselves, but I do not think it is a healthy way to live and it will ruin any real-life relationships they have. Also I am told that a cheating husband will lie to his wife about where he was, and this is why so many wives now check the husband's phone messages and e-mails....

Re: More Than A Stranger (10:14am June 2, 2012):

I would love one or two bookmarks but you may not wish to post to Ireland. If you want my details I'm at [email protected]
Thanks for thinking of us all!

Re: More Than A Stranger (10:11am June 2, 2012):

Yes of course you should go! My husband is Scottish and I can assure you that we fall for the accent on my side of the Atlantic as well! Go in summer only. Very important! We have travelled to Scotland many times and maybe the best for tourism and visiting the old-style version of Scotland is to see Edinburgh. During late summer the Festival is on with the rousing Military Tattoo at the Castle. If you can possibly travel during that month and see the Tattoo, do. Unfortunately that is also the dearest month to stay in Edinburgh, of course. Aberdeen is lovely too, a city made of silver granite with a history of fishing and oil at sea. But all that oil has also made it pricey to stay there. After that, the romantic view of Scotland would lead you to the Highlands, via Stirling which has a castle and is so beautiful. Glasgow, the more industrial and shipbuilding city, was once the second city of the British Empire. Glasgow and Edinburgh are only an hour apart by train, on opposite coastlines. While in that neck of the woods, why not see Ireland too? Dublin is a 45 minute flight from Glasgow. We'd love you to visit.

Re: Entice (11:59am June 1, 2012):

What a beautiful cover. The story sounds so interesting. I hope this goes really well for you.

Re: Tangle Of Need (11:57am June 1, 2012):

Absolutely, character based books are ideal for me and if I start midway through a series, I usually want to go back and read the early ones. Although I have been known to warn someone picking up a book, 'Don't get too attached to the main characters' because I know who is getting killed off later in the series. The only downside to a series is when the author who has done such a good job in bringing the characters to life, just starts writing to formula. Same story, different location or crisis, little or no sub-plot. At that point I sigh and get the books from the library instead of buying them.

Re: Her Highness, The Traitor (11:41am June 1, 2012):

This reminds me of Josephine Tey's book The Daughter of Time which refers to truth coming out in time. The subject was Richard the Third. In the past it may have been wiser to believe whatever one was told, and no doubt many foul deeds and twistings of truth did occur, but there were also excellent records, letters and accounts so one way or another we can see some evidence. Sounds like a very interesting book and I'd love to read it.

Re: Seeker Of Shadows (6:59am May 31, 2012):

Very interesting blog piece. Now, I'm sure this will bring on hisses and boos, but I never finished Anne of Green Gables. My class 'had' to read it in class when I started secondary school. I was eleven, the youngest girl. Every one of us girls was reading Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, Neville Shute and boarding school stories such as the Chalet School and the Abbey Girls. These were the books our parents had at home. I was also reading science fiction and anything with horses in it. Anne by comparison was childish and boring. We were familiar with the concept of poisoning someone's whiskey or insulin, and foreign travel on the Orient Express, so Anne getting tipsy on a cordial really didn't do it for us. If I had read the book at an earlier age - say seven - I might have liked it. But at seven I was reading Narnia, and anything with horses and dogs, and Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, so probably Anne would always have bored me rigid.
Another particularly bad school choice, in my opinion, was Men Withering by Francis McManus. (I live in Ireland.) This is perhaps the only other book I never finished. I was maybe fourteen. This book was the third in a trilogy and we had no idea what came before it. By this time the narrator is an old man who is blind, deaf and who babbled. Travel is by foot or by cart and the man is going somewhere and getting pushed around and hearing steps on stones. That's about it. At home I was rereading The Lord of The Rings and The Silmarillion, also Dune, Anne McCaffrey - what a contrast.
For anyone who likes a botanical mystery I can recommend The Shy Tulip Murders by Rebecca Rothenberg. I started reading this at my usual breakneck speed and halfway through I slowed down, I was enjoying it so much.

Re: The Homesteader's Sweetheart (6:20am May 31, 2012):

The obvious tale which most people will have read, but don't think of it as a book about a single dad, is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Scout and Jem Finch are being raised by their father Atticus, the town lawyer. We remember this book vividly for being a tale of growing up, of the South, of racial prejudice, of courtroom drama. Despite exposing his children to possible danger Atticus defends a black man accused of raping a white woman, because he sees it as the right thing to do. He spends a lot of time with his children, and overall is a great father.
My modern favourite then, would be How To Talk To A Widower by Jonathan Tropper. Doug has married a beautiful, smart lady called Hailey, who has a young teenaged son. But Hailey is killed in an air accident. Doug tells the story and he has a very hard time coming to terms with his changed life, so the start of the book is peppered with expletives, but as he adapts his language improves. Russ, the teenaged boy, is having his own troubles and runs riot initially, but the two young men come closer and start to support each other. There is not a great age difference so the stepfather feels at times more like a big brother, but still has to be responsible for Russ's life - knowing he can only do this with the boy's co-operation. This is not a subject I would normally choose to read, but the quirky title and quality of the writing kept me hooked.
I think it is quite brave of you to tackle this topic and not enough has been written on the subject. As we know, happy families are all alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Plenty of scope for you then!

Re: Finding Her Son (9:10am May 28, 2012):

Well, my perfect man has to be able to make me laugh. And in turn, at times I want to be able to make him laugh. He has to be intelligent or we'd run out of conversation quite quickly. Going along with that, he'll be a reader.
This man has to have self-confidence but life can knock us all back at times; a totally confident man would be bull-headed and would not need a supportive partner.
He must also have physical confidence as I don't want to always be the only one putting out fires, standing up to bullies and playing sports etc. Some 'office successes' are not able to act in danger because they never have.
And no jealousy. That would be a big turn-off.
Oops, looks like I found one of those guys already. Sorry girls, he's happily married to me!

Re: The Rebel Rancher (8:16am May 27, 2012):

I'm sorry for your family's loss... but losses are part of family life over the generations and we just have to deal with them as best we can. Your husband's family seems to have become stronger and that will stand them in good stead.
Over on my side of the Atlantic the publishers do not want to produce any western novels now - they reckon there is not a big enough market. So while there is Regency romance galore, it is hard to find western romance here. As a lover of the outdoors and of horses, western stories would be big on my must-read list. I really hope to catch all of yours because they sound very thoughtfully written.

Re: The Taming Of A Scottish Princess (5:42am May 24, 2012):

When I read "Regency sexy nerd heroes" I thought, does she mean Oscar Wilde? In those days the image we have of intellectual men is mostly poets. This was not of course a desired quality in a lady as an intellectual young woman might not catch a husband. Once married she could reveal her true colours and I am sure many women ended up running the husband's estate, especially if he was away at war. I don't think the mooning poet type would be my hero, but the adventurous type you describe, studying Egypt and deciphering heiroglyphs, that lad would go down a treat!

Re: The Reason Is You (12:04pm May 23, 2012):

What a gorgeous cover photo!
Now there is deliberate teasing, and unconscious or inadvertent teasing... a little of either would spice up life for two people who are beginning to look romantically at each other. I agree that this is all part of the 'getting to know you' process and if you are contemplating taking the brave step of letting down all your defences, you want to be fairly sure that the other person is right for you. For instance, is the man really interested in talking to you as a person, or is he unable to lift his eyes off your chest?
I am intrigued by the summing up of the love triangle in ths book, two men, one a ghost... Hmm, I think I'll have to read this one!

Re: Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies (5:50am May 19, 2012):

Well, I haven't seen the film and I've only seen one or two of the go-before films. So bear with me when I make the point that looks are not everything and I want a man who not only acts fast in a dangerous situation, but is intelligent and worth talking to - or what would you have to say to each other? My choice would be the scientist Dr. Bruce Banner, for that reason. (David was not his name originally. When the comics were being filmed for TV, the producers decided Bruce sounded - not butch enough.) Sorry, not the other seemingly intelligent choice Iron Man - he is self-obsessed, from the one film I saw. That would be a short conversation. Good luck with the book which sounds very interesting!

Re: The Courtesan's Lover (2:04pm May 17, 2012):

What a sumptuous cover. The blog reminded me of the last Italian-set book I read, The Birth Of Venus, set in Renaissance Florence amid turbulence and art. I think courtesans were a strong-minded, independent sort of woman, compared to the usual woman of her day who was in a marriage or in a convent. I hope it all ends well for the lady!

Re: A Wild Night's Bride (6:34am May 16, 2012):

Hi, The concept of living in mourning forever may sound very romantic but I agree with you, it is just depressing and dull. Even if a widowed person does not wish to date, they should be meeting people and engaging in life, or they are wasting their one chance to be alive. As well as telling an interesting (and from the debate above, perhaps over the top) tale, to entertain your readers, you are dispensing some sound social advice. Maybe it will make a difference to someone's life. I would look forward to reading this book.

Re: Night Walker (6:26am May 16, 2012):

Hi, I have a light Irish accent - I've been told it's more mid-Atlantic, probably from watching Starsky and Hutch while growing up in Dulin. My husband is Scottish with a gorgeous Glasgow accent, like Sean Connery or Billy Connolly. He is aware that other people sometimes have trouble understanding him and slows down his speech to suit. I love his accent and it has the advantage that if he phones me at home I can tell immediately who is speaking! Accents do add flavour to a character in a book and they should match that person's expected upbringing, so a country dweller would sound different to a city dweller. City people talk faster. All praise to you for adding realism and giving us a treat with your hero!

Re: The Wedding Beat (7:01am May 15, 2012):

Everyone's wedding is different and we knew we wanted some atmosphere, not just a large hotel room. We were married in Dublin in the morning and went to the Botanic Gardens for photos in the rose garden and coffee. Then we headed to our chosen hotel, which used to be a castle. It has turret rooms, suits of armour, artworks and swords around which gave the guests plenty to converse about! This is also in Dublin and close to main transport routes for practicality. Our cake had been made by a local lady and was decorated with icing flowers and Celtic knot designs. We cut the first slice with a sword.
As I think is typical my husband let me do most of the arranging, though was fully consulted, but the main thing was that we did not go over the top in cost or ostentation, which neither of us wanted, and we both enjoyed the day very much, as did our guests. Romantic? Yes!

Re: Pretty Amy (12:40pm May 12, 2012):

Music appeals to the individuality in all us us which can, of course, become loneliness. Our lives are so individual and yet this artist has clearly lived through something similar in order to touch our hearts and enter our thoughts. Scottish author Ian Rankin wrote his ongoing playlist into a couple of his Rebus police novels - unfortunately he was living through some very difficult times, and the songs were depressing. Naturally the character was undergoing equally tough times. I would look forward to reading a novel with the positive anthems you describe as the theme.

Re: Hannah's Joy (12:39pm May 10, 2012):

I live in Ireland where our only experience of Amish people is through screen or book. I find the concept intriguing and pleasant, and would like to kow a lot more about the peple who choose this lifestyle. I saw a "Cold Case" episode where a girl asked the detectives to find her sister who had left the family farm to spend a year living in the city, as required before she could commit herself to the Amish life for good. Sadly she had fallen into bad company and not survived. More recently I saw a documentary including an Amish farmer, who did not want his face to appear on screen, who is happy to use genetically modified cotton seed in order that pests do not eat his crop. Clearly there are innumerable facets to the life chosen by these people. I would love to learn about their loves and disappointments, the warmth and tribulations that make up their personal world. Best of luck with the series.

Re: Darkest Caress (6:21am May 7, 2012):

That's a wonderful cover and I wish you luck with your new venture, I am sure your talent will carry across.
I occasionally have conincdences occur, no prophesy of doom so far... I can tell you that several years ago I was with a group of people who had special permission to walk among the stones of Stonehenge, the ancient stone circle in south England. Normally people are not allowed in in case of damaging the stones and a small number are allowed to perform druidic rites at various dates - not my group! We had to arrive at dawn, I suppose so all the other visitors wouldn't see us and want to get inside too. When we'd enjoyed sunrise and been told the history of the stones, we were given metal rods and told about ley lines. Supposedly ley lines cross the earth and carry power, and dowsing rods react to them when you walk across them. Several people walked around with no reactions. When I had a turn I held a rod lightly in each hand and cleared my mind, just enjoying the early morning. As I walked inside the circle, suddenly both rods turned themselves and pointed inward so that they crossed each other. I had not done this and it occurred just where the ley lines were supposed to meet. I don't konw what it proves, except that we do not know everything.

Re: Tempting the Best Man (6:08am May 7, 2012):

Very interesting and well thought out discussion. Your definition of a hot alpha man includes "rich" - now is it not likely today that his investments are a mere shadow of their former selves, and that he is one of the top echelon of gambling bankers, business men and property developers who have bankrupted countries? I would like to see a well-intentioned man of this type starting over again, having lost the trophy wife once he couldn't keep her in jet-set lifestyle anymore, losing the paunch that comes with alpha males' wining and dining and never getting their hands dirty, having to earn a living for once. And falling for a strong female who makes it clear to him that women are not toys to be bought, but capable people who succeed on many levels - and who would enjoy a hot sex life, if he could remember how to get started! I would expect there is a lot she could teach him and a lot of other lessons about life he could learn.
Go, girl!

Re: Royal Street (6:58am May 6, 2012):

I love reading books with interesting backgrounds - whether that is historical, geographical or societal. The fresh inventions of fantasy are a bonus on top with this tale of an undead pirate in New Orleans - ticking all the boxes for me! I have read other tales set in New Orleans and the city always comes across with a wonderfully individual atmosphere. As for dating the pirate in question - well that's got to be a fascinating date! How could anyone turn down the chance?

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