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My latest blog posts

My latest blog posts

The Venice Film Festival

It’s that time of year again: the Venice Film Festival, running from 27 August to 6 September. Did you know that the Venice Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world? It was first held back in 1932 (the first film shown was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde),

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Deepening romance with the male point of view

                  When a reader picks up a traditional romantic novel, she/he has certain basic expectations: That the theme of love will permeate the story. That in the story woman/girl will meet man/boy and fall in love, but encounter obstacles to that love.

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Much Ado About Jack by Christy English

From the blurb: How to Become London’s Most Notorious Widow: 1. Vow to NEVER remarry 2. Own a ship and become fabulously wealthy 3. Wear the latest risqué fashions in your signature color 4. Do NOT have a liaison at the Prince Regent’s palace with a naval captain whose broad

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How we read ebooks: A new digital-versus-print development

Recently the Guardian reported on a study on retention of digital reads versus paper reads. Researchers gave participants an Elizabeth George short story. Twenty-five readers read the story in a paperback novel format. Twenty-five read it on a Kindle. Afterwards, the academics tested the readers’retention of objects, characters and settings.

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For the love of colour

We read in black and white: black text on a white page, be it a paper one or a virtual ‘e-page’ on a screen. But the stories themselves are not black and white, not metaphorically and not – please, never! – descriptively. Any student of literature knows that description is

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An introduction to the Roman gods

My latest book, The Echoes of Love, is set in Italy: Venice, Tuscany and Sicily. I love Italy for its passion, its beauty, its long and fascinating history, its rich and inspiring cultural heritage… and that which symbolises all: Roman mythology. The Echoes of Love is a modern novel, set

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A brief history of the book bloggers

I love book bloggers! I love book bloggers because of their passion, their hard work, their integrity, their sensibility and their support for authors; and I love book bloggers because I am part of that community as a book reviewer myself. But how did that community come about? Today, I’m

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Book review: Flawless by Jan Moran

Astute, intelligent, gripping romance for the modern woman. From the first page I was entirely hooked. I love, love the world in which the story is situated. The author so expertly transports you to Beverly Hills and, for a period, Paris, and offers a glimpse of glamour while showing those

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The Ferragosto

Were I to write now a scene for the characters of my latest novel, The Echoes of Love, set in Italy, it would include them relaxing and enjoying today’s public holiday, the Ferragosto. Celebrated each 15th August, the Ferragosto is a favourite holiday in Italy – so much so that

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The return of serialised literature

We’re all familiar with serial dramas on the television, but books? Once, reading a story one instalment at a time was wildly popular. Back in Victorian England, for example, books themselves were premium items – expensive and requiring risky investment from publishers. Thus it was easier to break down a

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The language of romance

I grew up speaking French, predominantly – it was the language used at my school, for example. But because I lived in Egypt, it was essential I could speak Arabic. My parents insisted on my being fluent in English. And my half-French, half-Italian governess was careful to perfect my French

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Walking for walking’s sake

Is the modern Western world of technology and ever-faster transport making us forget the joy of walking – just walking, for the joy of it? Should we all walk more, not just for our physical health, but to inspire and soothe mind and soul? It’s an idea increasingly explored. Take

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The pace of writing, then and now

I have bookshelves bursting with books at home – with old, well-thumbed titles whose authors are long-departed, and with smart, new books whose authors are busy writing more, more, more. I love both kinds of books, but as I sit at my writing desk, pondering a scene in my latest

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The art of people-watching for writers

I take researching the settings of my novels seriously (why not, when it allows me to travel to amazing places!), and by far my favourite aspect of the research is people-watching. I think all writers are observers of life, and truthfully few are happier than when ensconced in a café

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Touched to the Heart by Elsa Winckler

From the blurb: Discover beautiful South Africa in this sweet, heart-warming Cinderella story about a blogger, a billionaire, and one chance meeting. When it comes to men, if physiotherapist Caitlin Sutherland didn’t have bad luck, she would have no luck at all. To help cope, Caitlin starts blogging in her

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Amazon and the traditionally published author

Once upon a time, a man named Jeff Bezos decided to jump aboard the Internet business boom. He looked for a product he could sell easily online– something not too large, not too pricey, of which various kinds existed and for which there was plenty of demand. He considered CDs,

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My latest blog posts

Seville’s Plaza de España, the most beautiful in Spain?

Did you know that the plaza – a large, open urban public space, especially a square – originated in Spain? The Spanish built them to be the hub of towns and cities. There, in the buildings, resided the religious authorities (usually in a cathedral), the administrative staff and the law

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Epic love stories of history: Layla and Majnun

‘Layla, you’ve got me on my knees. Layla, I’m begging, darling, please. Layla, darling, won’t you ease my worried mind.’ So sang Eric Clapton. ‘Layla’ is widely heralded as one of the greatest rock love songs of all time, but do you know the story behind the music? The inspiration

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5 must-see artworks at the Prado Museum, Madrid

Have you visited the Prado art museum in Madrid? It is one of my favourite places on the planet. Not only is the building itself beautiful, but it houses some of the most important and awe-inspiring artworks in the world. The museum was commissioned in the late 18th century by

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Romance novels: quality still counts amid quantity

While reading an article in the Irish Independent on romance novels, a quotation from author Kate Kerrigan caught my eye: ‘The people who are reading romance are not like the people who are reading the Booker shortlist. They are voracious readers and they are getting through a volume of books.’

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Gigantes, cabezudos and castells: very Spanish spectacles

Whenever I visit Spain, top of my ‘to do’ list is going to a festival. The Spanish love festivals: it’s a wonderful reason to come together and celebrate everything from a religious event to the change of the season to the harvest. Dancing, music, revelry – these are always on

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Epic love stories of history: Abelard and Héloïse

In a new series of blogs, I will be exploring the great love stories of history, both real and imagined by poets, playwrights and authors. I am starting today with one of my favourite stories, whose legend has endured for almost a millennia, that of Abelard and Héloïse. It is

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Thought piece: we can – and must – eradicate malaria

How to Do Good: Essays on Building a Better World, published by my publisher, London Wall, is a collection of essays by thought leaders, celebrities, statesmen and women, Nobel prize winners, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and others who are driving and inspiring positive change. This thought piece focuses on an essay

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