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My latest blog posts

Music to write books by: Fausto Pappeti

I love music: it has such power to move, to affect, to inspire. When I write at my desk, I often have music on in the background – carefully selected to reflect the mood of the particular chapter I’m writing. In Burning Embers, as well as running a prosperous plantation,

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African recipe: Groundnut Soup

Food has always been a rich source of pleasure for me; I have wide-ranging tastes and enjoy the thrill of sampling a new cuisine. I subscribe to the school of thought that believes a direct connection exists between stomach and heart: an intimate meal between characters comprising succulent, delicious food

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It’s romance, but what kind? Deciding the genre for my novel

I’ve recently been involved in an interesting discussion with my publisher, Omnific, about what genre my upcoming novel Burning Embers fits into. My book is a love story, so categorising it as romance is no problem; but what sub-category within which to situate the book?   The list of sub-genres

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Inspired by nature

The bay at St Tropez on a wild and stormy day – little wonder that after seeing this tempestuous, magnificent power of nature I went home and added a storm to the chapter I was writing.

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The perfect man…

Last month the Guardian reported on an interesting survey undertaken by the Festival of Romance, an international convention on romantic fiction. They interviewed 58 romantic novelists to find out what qualities are important in a man. These were the results: The perfect man, according to romantic novelists (% agreeing), is:

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The poetry of Leconte De Lisle

The seeds of inspiration for the verdant setting of my novel Burning Embers were sown way back at school when I was introduced to the flamboyant poetry of Charles-Marie Leconte De Lisle, better known as simply Leconte De Lisle, who was the leader of the group of French poets called

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Through a child’s eyes

‘Write about what you know’ is the advice given to any fledgling writer, and it’s certainly wisdom I have tried to take on board in my development as a writer. The action in my novel Burning Embers begins on a cruise ship bound for Mombasa. Coral, the protagonist, is gazing

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Favourite places: Dover Castle

The nearest town to my home in Kent is Dover. I love spending afternoons wandering around the magnificent 12-century Dover Castle which stands majestically above the White Cliffs for which the town is famous.

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Favourite films: Out of Africa

Out of Africa is one of my favourite films – I’ve watched it at least fifteen times to date, and it never fails to move me. The film is set earlier in the twentieth century than Burning Embers, but the breathtaking settings (which include Mombasa, where Burning Embers is set)

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My latest blog posts

Damage Done by MJ Schiller

From the blurb: When an unhappy youth leaves him damaged, will Teddy Mckee be able to find love? “Teddy Passmore McKee was born in Cork, Ireland, with a limp and a chip on his shoulder that threw his balance off all the more.” When he falls in love with the

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Putting a price on ebooks

Since the dawn of the digital books, a battle has raged on pricing, between those who price high and those who price low: High: The publishers lead this camp, because of course they want maximum profit on a book sale. Never mind that the publication hasn’t included the costs of

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The Murano love knot

Venice is known for many things in the cultural world: architecture, music, literature, the classic Commedia dell’arte. But for me, the most striking and beautiful of all the city’s gifts to culture is Murano glass, made exclusively on the islands of that name since the 13th century and wildly popular

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I could have danced all night…

There’s romance, and then there’s romance that incorporates dance and makes you feel like Baby in Dirty Dancing. There’s a good reason why most good romance films incorporate a dance between the lovers at some point – there is no clearer, more evocative way to convey passion and vulnerability than

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A brief history of Italian opera

When you think of Italy, you think of opera – the two are inextricably bound. Opera is so passionate, so dramatic, so epic; no wonder I chose to set my passionate, dramatic, epic novel The Echoes of Love in Italy! In another life, had I the musical genius, I would

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The Italian Girl by Lucinda Riley

From the blurb: Nothing sings as sweetly as love, or burns quite like betrayal Rosanna Menici is just a girl when she meets Roberto Rossini, the man who will change her life. In the years to come, their destinies are bound together by their extraordinary talents as opera singers and

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Venice: The ultimate wedding destination

How many women, since he first found fame on ER, have fantasised about marrying George Clooney? Well, it was British-Lebanese human rights lawyer AmalAlamuddin who finally had the honour last week. And the location for the most high-profile wedding since William and Kate? Venice. The wedding festivities, which spanned a weekend,

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Writing fast, reading fast

George R.R. Martin is without doubt an exceptional writer. He has just one flaw, according to fans: he doesn’t write quickly enough to keep up with their demands! That’s not to say that George is a plodding writer by any means. But the bestselling and world-renowned series he is currently

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Amazon versus publishing: print on demand

I could fill a blog post a day on how Amazon is changing the face of publishing – the repercussions of its actions are monumental and wide-reaching. Takethe seemingly simple decision by Amazon to supply copies of out-of-print books itself using its print-on-demand service. Then, theoretically, when the publisher’s print

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A new chapter in romance storytelling

Have you heard of new publishing innovation The Chatsfield? If you’re thinking That sounds like a cross between a Chesterfield, the swanky couch, and Chatsworth, the stately home, you’re not far off the mark.  In a nutshell, The Chatsfieldis a fictional online luxury hotel, a ‘world of style, spectacle and

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The Venetian Gondolier

I have written before of that quintessential symbol of Venice, setting for my novel The Echoes of Love: the gondola. But what of its pilot, the gondolier? In my novel, when the lovers take a gondola ride, I write simply that ‘the gondolier stood perched at the stern behind them,

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Indian Summer by Marcia Willett

From the blurb: Some memories can be forgotten . . . Others won’t ever go away. For renowned actor Sir Mungo, his quiet home village in Devon provides the perfect retreat. Close by are his brother and his wife, and the rural location makes his home the ideal getaway for

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Authorisms

This week I’ve been reading the brilliant Authorisms: Words Wrought by Writers by Paul Dickson. Regular readers of my blog will known that I am a logophile – a lover of words; so much so that on a summer’s afternoon I’m often to be found like this: Yes, I’m reading a

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Love in a dystopian setting

I take a great interest in trends in publishing, especially within the romance genre, and it has struck me how much popular fiction in the past two to three years is set in a futuristic dystopia. Books like The Hunger Games and Divergent are bestsellers, spawning films and TV series

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My latest blog posts

Meet the fathers of philosophy: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle

Did you know that to this day, much of the Western way of thinking is derived from the philosophical explorations of three men of Ancient Greece? Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. No doubt you have heard of these thinkers. Certainly, when I began researching my latest novel, Aphrodite’s Tears, set in

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Setting romance in inspiring settings

What ties together all of my novels? Romance, of course; but more than that, each is set in an inspiring place. My debut novel, Burning Embers, is set in rural Kenya – think the unspoilt beauty of the national parkland where wild animals roam free. My next novel, The Echoes

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The origins of Saint Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Did you give your special someone a card today? Some chocolates, perhaps, or flowers? Have you booked a restaurant for an intimate meal for two? Such gestures have become traditional on Valentine’s Day, thanks in great part to clever marketing. Stores have been festooned with pink and

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Psyche and Cupid: the ancient story with a happy-ever-after

Researching my latest novel, Aphrodite’s Tears, was an absolute pleasure, for it involved reading up on ancient mythology. I was especially interested, as the novel’s title conveys, in stories of the gods; but as my heroine Oriel points out in the book, so many of the stories of the ancient

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Havens for bookworms: Literary hotels

In Liverpool, you can stay in a hotel modelled on the Titanic; in London, in an imitation Hogwarts; in Montana, in a Hobbit house… Themed accommodation has been growing in popularity in recent years, and now not only can readers escape into the fictional worlds of their books, but they

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Made in their image: Taking lessons from the Greek gods

My new novel, Aphrodite’s Tears, set on the Greek island of Helios, takes inspiration from the colourful, dramatic myths of the Ancient Greeks. The hero of the book, Damian, is Greek, and he is very knowledgeable about the culture of his homeland. But more than that, he is a born

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Firewalking: The ultimate test of strength and courage

Did you know that the practice of firewalking – walking barefoot over a bed of hot coals – dates back many thousands of years? Cultures all over the world have incorporated firewalking into rituals that relate to proving one’s valour and strength. My new book, Aphrodite’s Tears, is set on

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