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My latest blog posts

The most romantic nationality

I recently ran a question survey via SurveyMonkey and Goodreads to discover people’s ‘most romantics’. For the question ‘Which nationality most says “romantic” to you?’, the results were as follows: Italian: 42% French: 33% Spanish: 20% British: 4% American:  1% I was not surprised to see Italy, France and Spain

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Me, in a nutshell

Some months ago now I discovered word clouds. I love words and I love art, so combining the two is perfect. I regularly visit Terri Guillemets’ website, Quote Garden, because, like her, I love quotations and use them often in my writing. While browsing the site this week I came

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Spectacular, spectacular: The Olympics opening ceremony

“Serious and silly, subversive and mainstream, high and low: Danny Boyle’s bonkers Olympics opening ceremony could only have been made by a British artist.” – Guardian “Leftie multi-cultural rubbish” – Conservative MP Aidan Burley “Brilliant but bonkers…” – Australian TV commentator “It’s corny, cheesy, altogether over the top. And it

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Book review: Giovanna’s Dilemma by Ingrid Michaels

I enjoy reading Ingrid’s blog at http://ingridmichaelsromance.blogspot.co.uk, and so was keen to read some of her writing. I picked Giovanna’s Dilemma for my first read because the romantic cover drew me in, and I was intrigued by the blurb: When JP takes Karen out to celebrate their four-month dating anniversary,

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Love at first sight?

Do you believe in love at first sight? If you do, you’re in good company: a recent survey (http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/relationships/love-250110.html) found that 65 per cent of British men and 45 per cent of British women believe in love at first sight. Why the difference? I suspect it is because men are

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New review of Burning Embers in Kent newspapers

The following review appeared in the What’s On supplement this weekend across Kent newspapers: This debut novel from the Egyptian writer who made Kent her home is set on the plantations of 1970s Kenya, where a mysterious love affair grips a young beautiful photographer. Coral Sinclair returns to her family

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The most romantic season

I recently ran a question survey via SurveyMonkey and Goodreads to discover people’s ‘most romantics’. For the ‘Most romantic season’ question, the clear favourite was autumn (43%), followed by spring (31%), and then summer (15%) and winter (11%). Given the current season and the glorious weather that many of us

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Kenyan recipe: Chapati

You may associate the flatbread chapati with India, but in fact it is a staple in Kenya. There, the flatbread is made by hand and used as both meal accompaniment and utensil for eating, as people scoop up their vegetable and meat dishes with the chapati. In Burning Embers, set

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Book review: A Weekend with Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly

A book title containing the word ‘Darcy’ is certainly going to catch my attention, Pride and Prejudice being one of my favourite classic romance novels. Hence I decided to give this novel a try, and I was pleased I did because it was a fun, diverting, romantic read. The action

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Eroticising classic romances of English literature

If you’ve been following book news in the past week you’ll have read about erotic romance ebook publisher Total-E-Bound’s new initiative: giving classic romance novels an ‘erotic makeover’. Inspired by the success of the Fifty Shades series, the publisher has decided to add some spice to several classic titles. The

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The most romantic film is… Titanic

I recently ran a question survey via SurveyMonkey and Goodreads to discover people’s ‘most romantics’. For the ‘Most romantic film’ question I offered a choice of the following (plus respondents could note down a different film if preferred): An Affair to Remember Titanic Dirty Dancing Gone with the Wind Casablanca

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Favourite poem: Les éléphants

I think one would find it hard to find a person on the planet who does not love elephants. The French poet Paul Éluard – one of the founders of the surrealist movement – said ‘Elephants are contagious’, and I think he was right. Their size, their beauty, their slow,

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Book review: Shades of Atlantis by Carol Oates

I really enjoy fiction that weaves itself into history or mythology, especially when it links to places I have visited, or would like to visit. So I was keen to read this book, Shades of Atlantis by Carol Oates, which ties into the mystical Hill of Tara – the seat

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The Burning Embers flower

When deciding on a title for your novel, the challenge is to find one that fits the book and conveys its essence, while ensuring it is sufficiently original not to conflict with another work. As in Burning Embers, I usually have a title in mind from early on in the

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Favourite writer: Victor Hugo

Although I now call England my home and list the Brontë sisters and Jane Austen among my favourite authors, for the first twenty or so years of my life, I read almost exclusively French books. At my convent school, Notre Dame de Sion, the nuns gave me a thorough grounding

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The most romantic lines in literature

My readers – especially those of you who follow me on Twitter – know me as a writer who takes great inspiration from quotations. When it comes to aphorisms and proverbs, I am something of a collector, noting them down for inspiration in my writing, or to share on Twitter.

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Book review: The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel

A beautiful, passionate, thought-provoking story about forbidden love; this book will be going on my ‘favourite romances’ shelf. From the blurb: An unforgettable romance in an unforgiving time. They’ll need love and courage to see the dawn. He’s a hometown native, returning from the war, determined to change the world

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Favourite artist: Paul Signac

One of my favourite styles of art is that of Pointillism: a technique in which the artist uses dots of colour to create an overall image. Notable artists who have used this technique include Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Henri-Edmond Cross and Andy Warhol at the start of his career.

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Happiness: a definition and a choice

Happiness is  what we seek in life. Other things – love, laughter, accomplishments, security – are about making us happy; love, most of all. So it follows that at the core of a romance book is the characters’ search for happiness. In Burning Embers, Rafe and Coral fall in love,

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After the happy-ever-after

It seems that barely a week goes by without a new story hitting the headlines about a celebrity couple splitting up. In the past few weeks I’ve read of Johnny Depp’s split from his wife of 14 years, and then Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes heading for the divorce courts.

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Book review: Sowing Secrets by Trisha Ashley

Fran lives in North Wales, ‘the most beautiful place in the world’, is married and has a teenage daughter, Rosie, at university. But her marriage is not going well, she has nothing in common with her husband, Mal, and he doesn’t want to spend any time with her.  She wants

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Scent-sational

Have you heard of the latest dating sensation to hit America? Pheromone parties are the brainchild of a 25-year-old neuroscience graduate student from California, who realised that how her boyfriend smelt was a big factor in her attraction to him. Now, men and women are attending parties to which they bring

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My latest blog posts

Follow your read with The Fictionary

I’ve written about a couple of interesting apps for readers recently: Whichbook, which matches a book to your mood, and The Clean Reader, which blanks out offensive language. Here’s a quick peek at another innovative app that’s hit the headlines. The Fictionary is a free app that aims to help

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An Andalusian specialty: Gazpacho

  One of the most lingering memories of my time in Andalusia, Spain – setting for my new novel, Indiscretion– is of flavours. Succulent tomato. The very freshest of fish. Fragrant olive oil. The salty tang of Serrano ham. Delicious! It was a real pleasure, while writing Indiscretion and keeping the

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How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English 

From the blurb: How To Tame A Willful Wife: 1. Forbid her from riding astride 2. Hide her dueling sword 3. Burn all her breeches and buy her silk drawers 4. Frisk her for hidden daggers 5. Don’t get distracted while frisking her for hidden daggers… Anthony Carrington, Earl of

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Author outputs: Prioritising quantity over quality?

The publishing industry has transformed radically in the past twenty years. The keyword in the preceding sentence is industry. The business of publishing has been forced to up its game in terms of creating product and selling them to customers. Marketing is now of paramount importance. As a result, few

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Improbable libraries

I came across this book via the Guardian this week: Here’s the outline: From the rise of the egalitarian Little Free Library movement (motto: Take a book, return a book) to the growth in luxury hotel libraries, Alex Johnson whose parents were both librarians maps out the history and future

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Rehoming the forgotten books

Here’s a simple fact of the publishing industry: many more books are printed than are read. In the UK, for example, according to data compiled by theInternational Publishers’ Association, in 2014 UK publishers released more than 20 new books every hour.The Brits published more books per inhabitant than anywhere else

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Reasons to admire Spanish artist Joan Miro

When I write a novel, I immerse myself in the culture of the country in which the story is set. For my new novel Indiscretion, that was a sheer delight, because I have adored Spain since I first visited the country as a young woman. Because I am a keen

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Digital roundup April

I’ve been following publishing news ever since I began publishing my romance fiction, and in recent months it’s become apparent that digital is dominating the news. This week, three stories jumped out at me: Whichbook Here’s a new site that matches a book to your mood. According to the site,‘Whichbook

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Digital roundup

I’ve been following publishing news ever since I began publishing my romance fiction, and in recent months it’s become apparent that digital is dominating the news. This week, three stories jumped out at me: Whichbook Here’s a new site that matches a book to your mood. According to the site,‘Whichbook

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The importance of attribution

Regular readers of my blog and followers on Twitter will know that I love quotations – little nuggets of wisdom to make you smile, make you think, make you feel, make you connect. With the growth of the internet, there has developed a proliferation of websites and blogs that collate

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The era of Indiscretion: 1950s Spain

Readers of my new novel Indiscretion will find themselves transported not only to a beautiful location – the ancient cities and wild landscapes of Andalusia, Spain – but also to another time. What do you expect of a novel set at the beginning of the 1950s? This was a decade

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The secret language of the Spanish fan

A cultural symbol of Spain known around the world, the Spanish fan exudes romance and passion. So much so, it is an important symbol on the cover of my new novel, Indiscretion: While the fan may have begun its life in Spain back in the 14th century as a practical

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The most spectacular libraries in the world

Regular followers of my blog will know I am an ardent bibliophile, and that extends to an adoration of those places dedicated to connecting us with books: libraries. I wholeheartedly agree with Jorge Luis Borges: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” The dust motes floating dreamily in

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JK Rowling’s Very Good Lives

Did you watch the video of JK Rowling’s 2008 speech at Harvard University? I found her words very poignant, especially such points on imagination and empathy as: “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to

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The Clean Reader app

Have you heard about the Clean Reader app? Its release has caused quite a stir in the reading and writing communities. This free app, whose tagline is ‘Read books, not profanity’, allows you to blank out swear words in an ebook, so that they aren’t displayed on your ereader screen.

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My latest blog posts

The rewards of reading slowly

Last year, the internet was buzzing with the idea that we can – and should – read 200 books a year, inspired by Warren Buffet’s advice for those who want to emulate his success: ‘Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All

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Making beauty out of tragedy: the tears of Aphrodite

My new novel is entitled Aphrodite’s Tears. Most readers will know of Aphrodite – the Greek goddess of love. But why in my book title is she crying? Aphrodite’s Tears is set on Helios, a small island in the Ionian Sea that is privately owned by the Lekkas family. Theirs

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Making more time in your life for reading

‘Have we ever had enough time to read?’ So began a recent article on the Literary Hub website, drawing on a book by Associate Professor Christina Lupton at the University of Warwick. Reading and the Making of Time in the Eighteenth Century examines how female readers used to yearn to

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Should we read one book at a time – or several?

My bookshelves – and there are many of them, in my homes in France, Ireland and Kent – are filled with all kinds of books. I have no idea how many books there are, but certainly the number is growing by the month. I find it very difficult to walk

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Drawing upon a rich legacy of storytelling

Recently, Italian author Elena Ferrante wrote an opinion piece entitled ‘I don’t have much faith in those who say, “Here is a truly new book”’. ‘There are no works that make a clean break with the past,’ she argues, no ‘truly watershed works’. ‘What is truly new in literature is only

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Novel titles: Which comes first, the story or its title?

Did you know that Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace was originally entitled All’s Well That Ends Well? That William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury was called Twilight? That Jane Austen’s original title for Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions? That John Steinbeck envisioned Of Mice and Men published as Something That Happened?

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