Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I went to see "Casino Royale" last week.

What can I say - this film rocks! Daniel Craig, the new Bond, is perfect, perhaps the best Bond ever - the right accent, the right attitude (a psychopath with a touch of the hopeless romantic), and absolutely charismatic.

The story was great, easy to follow and with no megalomaniac who wants to rule the world. They were fun, but so 1970's!

I appreciate the absence of gadgets, they were fun, but their day had come and they're a bit too overdone now.

Exciting, great entertainment, and for once, I'm really looking forward to the next film!

Go and see it.

powered by performancing firefox

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Should we criticise others' books?
Well, if we want to keep our reputation intact, no. There are a horde of people out there waiting to jump on you. I used to be a lot more outspoken than I am now, but I couldn't take it any more.
You criticise a book, some authors take it as though you've criticised their firstborn child. There is, of course, criticism and criticism. Sometimes it's obvious that a critic is just being mean. There's no real comments about the book, sometimes it's about the genre, sometimes about the author, and the comments deteriorate into generalisations. Bad. And sometimes the critic is far more concerned about her own image than about the book. Take the "her" as a generic, not a specific sex. So she knows what she 'should' like and dislike, and goes for the books that don't fit that. Maybe a genre like romance, maybe some kinds of sex, anything. Or she simply wants to show everybody how clever she is. Gah.
But sometimes, when you read a book, you want to tell the author what specifically it was you didn't like. Note, you're not saying you don't like the author, or even that you don't like her other books, but perhaps there was something you didn't like, or you felt let down in some way.
It can help an author get better if you say something, but you don't. Because that author might decide that you're her enemy and go for the throat. Or may become so vociferous that you wished you'd never opened your fool mouth in the first place.
I'm very busy these days, doing my best to write and improve, and very happy. But I still have time to read. And when I read something I don't like where do I go? To about 3 or 4 friends I can really trust not to tell anyone or pass anything on.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Well after a week without internet, or rather, intemittent internet, I'm back.
I can hear the cheers from here. Silent cheers, but I can hear them!
I've been writing, writing writing and now "Diamonds of Ice," the fourth Department 57 book, is almost ready to go.
And - a new release next month! WILDFIRE, the first in a short series about a shapeshifting rock band. I loved writing this book, and it has my heart. I write to music, I love it, and for the most part, it's hard rock. The energy drives me, the passion fuels mine. So it was pure pleasure to write this.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I have a new book out! I'm really pleased to present the second Department 57 book, A GRIFFIN'S TREASURE.

Soccer star and griffin shapeshifter Josh Friedland needs all his Talents to find his missing brother Laurie. Businessman George Skeffington is involved, so he can’t trust Skeffington’s stepdaughter, Chana Rafiz. Even though he wants her with every cell in his body.

When her domineering stepfather asks Chana to look after Josh, she suspects another controlling trick. Only to find Josh inflames passions no man has touched before.

Josh and Chana face dangers only Department 57 can help them with, only to plunge the whole Department into peril. If Talents are to endure, Josh and Chana must succeed.


“Possibly,” she said in a small, sharp voice. “But you’ll have to find someone else to share it with.”

A devil took him by the tail. When she would have backed off, he moved to stand behind her, catching her as she stumbled, off balance. “Why can’t it be you?”

She shot him a look he couldn’t interpret precisely, but it was filled with negativity. He could almost feel the ice exuding from her. “Because we’ve only just met. Because I’m not sure I like you. And because I’m five years older than you.”

He chuckled. “Five years? What difference does that make? Are you sure you’re not just making excuses?” He entered the persona of the identity he had labeled The Footballer. “Disliking somebody can make sex even better sometimes. Wildcat sex, you know. You can rip me up a treat, if you like. I won’t tell who did it.”

Now the look was definitely hatred. “I respect myself more than that.”

He took the wind out of her sails by saying, “I don’t. As long as it feels good, I’ll do it.” He laid his hands flat on her waist, gliding them up towards her armpits. He loved the way a woman’s body curved, the gentle lines luring him in. But when he bent to kiss the side of her neck, she jerked back, forcing him to take a step backwards to stop himself falling to the floor.

Realizing she wanted to get away, using the extra reflexes his profession and his Talent gave to him, Josh stumbled and fell, pulling her down with him and twisting her to face him as he went down.

This was better. A heavy lock of hair tumbled out of the carefully constructed chignon, tickling his cheek. A good way to find out what she wanted, and how clever she was. Would she give in? Was this a token resistance?

He had his answer when her knee drove hard into his balls.


Shapeshifters and footballers reacted exactly the same way to a knee in the balls. They saw stars and rolled over on to their stomachs.

Whimpering with pain he heard her voice from somewhere above him. “You touch me without my permission and you get that. Every time. I trained as a cop, and I’ll use all that training to keep your filthy hands off me. You ask, next time. And wait for me to say no.”

While he was still moaning, he heard the door close behind her.

Get your copy here:


Thursday, August 10, 2006


I know, I know I should do this more often. I'll try to blog once a week!
Something I have found is that when I'm writing, as opposed to reviewing, editing, plotting or any of the other stuff that goes with the territory, I need to do it fast.
First draft should go down fast and dirty. I don't know how other authors do it, but for me, if I stop or my output goes under a certain number of words a day I lose the impetus, and the story starts to lag. I stop making the connection with my characters, and it takes me a lot longer to get back into the story.
When I revise, I cut great swathes, add other chunks, tighten and such, but I can do this in a more considered way.
So that's what I've been doing. Writing. I'm pleased to say I can see the end of "Rubies of Fire" now, and it's gone much better than I thought it would. My second vampire book!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Another one gone

Today I heard that Mickey Spillane had died.

When I was little, we lived in a big house, but we had no money. And it got cold in the winter, since we didn't have central heating. We didn't have a phone, either, or any of the things we consider normal today, only a television, because my grandfather had bought it for the Coronation.

So my mother bought books to fill the huge bookcases. Books by the yard, by the job lot. It worked, it made the house a lot warmer!

I read them. Everything. I read Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens and Leslie Charteris, and loved them all. I had no idea what was considered a classic and what was perceived as trash. It all went down the same way. Some books were standouts for me, including "Nicholas Nickleby" and Alan Garner's "The Moon of Gomrath." Others remain with me, like the early Saint books, where Simon Templar was above and beyond the law, a modern Robin Hood, with morals all his own.

Then my mother caught me reading Mickey Spillane's "No Orchids For Miss Blandish." A cheery tale of a brutal kidnapper and the rich girl he kidnaps and rapes. And how she falls in love with him. I have since discovered that the book was a sensation in its day, condemned for all kinds of sins. But it sold a bucketload of copies, including the copy that fell into my innocent hands.

My mother took the book away and then went through the books in my room. No more Simon Templar or James Bond. Dickens only got through by the skin of his teeth. But I always retained a soft spot for Spillane.

Not at all today's style, with evil, sexy baddies outclassing the boring goodies, or the brutal secret agent walking all over the women to get his villain. Spillane knew what he was doing, the sharp style complimenting the violent stories.

And he sold 150 million books in his lifetime. Dayum! That made me stop and think, I can tell you!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Conference news

I've been away, at a conference. The Romantic Novelists' Association conference at Penrith, to be precise. Penrith is in the Lake District, a beautiful town in a beautiful setting. I had a great time, meeting other authors, attending seminars, learning a boatload of stuff.
I'm always amazed when authors accept me as "one of us." I've never been "one of us," so the feeling is a new one to me, but I am enjoying it! And I'm finding that more authors feel like that. We sit at home, typing away, wondering if we're completely mad to turn storytelling into a career, only to find that the people we've read and admired for years feel exactly the same way!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Oh for an ounce of fat!

This is really scary. I've been looking forward to the release of "Pirates of the Caribbean 2," but I've just seen the pictures of Keira Knightley at the London premiere. She wears a bronze dress that is draped loosely over her top half, and should look gorgeous.
But it doesn't.
Why? Because Ms Knightley doesn't have a figure any more. The dress shows most of her chest, and it is a chest, the breasts have completely gone. I'm not going to bitch and snark, this is much too serious for that.
Who told her this look is good for her? Who has encouraged her to do this?
In my time, I've known a few models (my mother was in what she calls the Rag Trade) and I know all about crash dieting, and what happens to the body after a few years of starvation. But nothing is as bad as this.
I am so sorry for her, and angry on her behalf, too. Either she's been encouraged to do it, or the stress is getting the better of her. And in her position, nobody will offer her the help she needs. She'll have to do it all herself.

Monday, June 26, 2006

All those snarks. Should I feel patronised?

I write. I've always written. If I do it for myself, as I did for a long time, then I have nobody to please but myself. If I write for publication, I'm expecting someone to shell out their hard-earned to read my book.
That's when I have to care what people think. I'm not providing a service, I'm providing a product.
If my product is below par, ie badly spelled, grammatically wrong, unsatisfactory plot, badly produced and so on, then the reader has a right to criticise. Some (like the spelling etc) is fact - sort of - some is opinion (plot etc). But whatever.
If the criticism is constructive - ie tells me what is wrong, then if I agree with you, I have a chance to fix it in my next book. If it's destructive, ie just tearing the book down because of the reader's private opinions, then that's not much use to me unless lots of other people share the opinion, too. I don't write for one person, unless that one person is myself.
I will not write what the reader wants, and instructs me to write. I will write what I love, and hope you love it too.
Read the book. If you don't like it, say so, and say why, if possible, without nastiness. If you like it, say so, and why. I appreciate it.
I'll take your opinions on board, and I'll make my own mind up. Otherwise, I'll turn into a cardboard cutout writer, trying to please everyone but pleasing no-one.
But can't we be civilised about this? Or is that too much to ask?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Twists and Turns

Plotting, what a mystery!
It's where the imagination first starts to tick. Since I write tight plots, I need an outline before I start. But sometimes, it just won't come. It took a long time for the plot to resolve itself for ETERNAL BEAUTY, ETERNAL DARKNESS, for example, and now it's taking a long time for the third Department 57 book.
It's my second vampire book, after THE HAUNTING, and writing vampires is a bit daunting, after the great books put out by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan. But like those ladies, I have my own take on the legend, and my vampires are less superhero, more secret agent.
Oh yes, my vampire is a CIA agent, and in this book he's working deep undercover. Of course, when he meets the woman he's meant for, it's at the least convenient time, and place.
This time the characters came quite easily. Andreas features in the last two Department 57 books, so I already know him a bit. And his lady had to be strong enough for him, so she was a joy to write.
But I couldn't make all the little threads I wanted to write about tuck away, until I realised that Andreas was his own man, and I had to let him find his own way out out of the situation, not force him to do something he didn't want to do.
Just to add to the tension, I understand that the first book is doing really well, so I need to keep it up!
But I have to say this is the best job I've ever had, if not the best paying!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Football crazy

Well, the football is taking over. England had their match against Sweden today, and drew. Through to the next round, top of the group, the next match is with Ecuador. Pundits are going nuts, fans are having their best holiday for four years.

It seems strange that a big sector of one continent doesn't care, and the another sector has elevated football to what amounts to a religion.

The USA doesn't care, or most of it doesn't, and South America is rabid about it.

Me? Somewhere in between. I have to be, England are second favourites this time, next to the astounding Brazil, but that doesn't mean a lot. Let's just hope they peak, now the group stages are over and they're through to the last 16.

The USA team is making a great showing, though they're in quite a tough group. I've been watching with great interest.

But the burning question is - if England fail at the next stage, what are we going to do with the light-up footballs, the Cross of St George car flags, banners and team strips? What about the T-shirts with "Three Lions" and "Come on England" on them?

Sunday, June 18, 2006


I fought it tooth and nail, but I had to give in. It's just too much fun.
Yet another displacement activity to keep me from writing! I don't plan any structure to this blog, except that I'll publish news and other activities to it when I have the time and when I have something to say. I already have a newsletter and website, but I can't resist!
A few comments about living this side of the pond, reviews, news about my books and the occasional doll's house post. I hope you enjoy.