The perfect kiss

What makes a perfect kiss?

This is one of the questions that, as a romance author, I spend a huge amount of time thinking about. It’s important to me that my readers experience wonderful romance, soaring emotions – but also romance that feels real, like it could actually have happened.

That’s a bit of a challenge with historical romance, especially when gentlemen and ladies had so little opportunity to spend any time together before actually being wed.

I work hard to make each and every kiss in my books absolutely perfect.

So what is a perfect kiss? I asked some of my friends and here are their responses:

  • The perfect kiss is unexpected! You don’t know it’s coming and then it is SO sweet when it does!
  • The perfect kiss is one you’ve been waiting for, one that you’re desperate for and one you think you’re never going to get.
  • The perfect kiss is with the perfect person.
  • The perfect kiss is not too soggy!
  • The perfect kiss is your last first kiss.

I agree with absolutely all of this, and one thing extra: the perfect kiss is one that promises so much and only delivers 80% – it always leaves you wanting more!

If you’re wanting to experience a whole bunch of perfect kisses, then check out my books!

Kissing frogs to find your prince

Do you believe in soulmates?

I never did. I thought it was absolute madness to think that there could only be one person out there who was a perfect match for you. I thought it sad that if you didn’t find that person, you would end up spending your whole life alone, unwanted and unloved.

I hoped that if there was someone out there for me, that there would be enough in common for us to fall in love naturally.

And you know what I discovered?

I was completely right, and completely wrong.

When I fell in love – and yes, I’ve only fallen in love once – that man wasn’t my perfect match. But he’s become my perfect match over time.

That’s the difference for me. I would definitely argue in this moment that my husband is my soulmate: but we’ve worked hard to become each other’s soulmates. We work hard at understanding what the other one needs, and becoming that.

We’ve wanted to be each other’s soulmates, and so we’ve become each other’s soulmates.

I’ve been fortunate to not have to kiss too many frogs to find my prince, but some of my poor characters have to put up with a huge amount of nonsense before they find their happily ever after.

Why not discover some of them?

Taking stock and stopping writing

Sometimes one of the best things you can do as an author is to stop writing.

Hear me out – I’ve not lost the plot (literally!). It’s more that I’ve been taking stock of many aspects of my life, and to do that you have to stop.

Being an author is a huge part of my life, but it is not the only part of my life. I am a wife, a sister, a friend, even a godmother! It’s really important to me that being an author doesn’t consume the whole of my life because I want to continue giving to those around me who I love.

I won’t go into details here, it’s not my place, but my extended family experienced a bereavement recently. It’s been a sorrowful and yet celebratory time.

And it’s got me thinking. When it comes to the end of my life, what do I want to show for it? Do I want a long list of books, each of them with more reviews, more adoring praise?

No.

I want those who I loved to know that I loved them. I want them to look back on happy memories, time with me, laughter.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing, nothing like it! But it does mean that I’m not going to beat myself up for not cracking out a few thousands words of my WIP (work in progress) because I chose instead to be with those I loved.

So today, as I think about those family members and friends I have already loved and lost, I encourage you to take stock. What do you want people to remember you for? What are you doing now that they actually will remember you for?

My most productive writing day!

I don’t want to jinx it (in case it never happens again!) but I have just had my most productive writing day EVER.

And I mean, ever.

Today, I wrote over 18,500 words. I know, it doesn’t look real, does it? It’s such a huge number, even for me – and I’m quite accustomed to writing around 10,000 words on a good writing day.

But what made this day different? If you ask me, I think it comes down to three things:

  1. I needed to get those words out. I was a little behind on where I wanted to be this month, and as I had a relaxing day with friends and family yesterday, I knew that today was going to be a day I really had to commit to getting the words down.
  2. I was plotting, not writing. I use what I call ‘deep plotting’ as part of my writing process. That means writing out what is going to happen, action by action, thought by thought, in a chapter. It’s not pretty prose, but it makes it a whole lot easier later.
  3. The muse was so with me! Whether it was the cooler weather, the fact that my wonderful husband gave me some alone time, or just that the muse was gracing me with her presence, but it all came together.

What’s next, I hear you ask? Well, I work a full time job so tomorrow it’s back to that – but I’ll be sure to try and get a few hours here and there to keep the story going. This one is due to be published April 2020 so I’ve got a bit of time, but I want to make sure it’s the absolute best!

The perfect ending to a romance

I’ve written over 25,000 words this weekend (!) because I was desperate to finish book 3 of a new series which will be coming out next year. The words were just flowing from my fingertips and although I will of course lose some of them in the editing process, I’m glad to get so many of them down.

And yet the bit I found the most difficult?

The ending. Like, the actual ending.

Not the happily ever after bit – definitely got a gorgeous wedding scene in there. What I found difficult was deciding what the very last word on the page should be.

You see, when I finish writing a book, I want to leave my readers with a strong emotion. Usually it’s a sense of happiness, a feeling of rightness with the world. Sometimes I want to make them smile, and occassionally (!) I attempt to make people laugh out loud.

The strange thing is that I’ll never find out if I will succeed. My readers span the globe, but (so far) no one has finished one of my own books in front of me. I read the reviews and I am thrilled when someone enjoys my book – but that lasting emotion right at the end of the book. Do I hit the mark?

And that is why I spent two pages trying to finish this book. I knew I needed the right emotional beat, the perfect wording to end a very emotional journey for both my hero and heroine. But it took over twenty minutes to find the right ones, and they may change again in the editing process.

I’ve just got to do the best I can, and continue to improve my craft. After all, the perfect ending to a romance will always be:

And they lived happily ever after.

A change is as good as a rest

I’ve been on holiday. It wasn’t one of those fancy cruises that you see on the TV, or one of those super glamorous hotels where you can dine on caviar morning, noon, and night, and get lost in your own bathtub.

Nope, I’ve been on what I call ‘an Enid Blyton’ holiday.

It’s the type of holiday from my childhood, and it’s one of my favourites. If you’ve never read Enid Blyton (and where have you been?), then pick up one of her ‘Famous Five’ books and you’ll get a pretty good idea what I’m talking about.

Julian, Dick, George, Anne, and Timmy of course (the dog), spend most of the twenty one books in that series have adventures in the most British way. Cricket, ices, bathes, hikes and camping: nothing is too average for the five, and it’s just what I loved about my childhood holidays.

I did play cricket on the beach. I did have swims in the sea, whether warm or not. We did go on hikes, and visit art galleries, and tour ruined castles, and eat buns sitting on the grass listening to grasshoppers and skylarks and feeling the sun on our faces.

I absolutely loved it, and thankfully my parents still do. We’ve just spent a week doing just that: ruined abbeys, and medieval houses, and Tudor manors, and of course, iced buns.

Taking a step back from my writing for a week was hard, but it’s enabled me to come back to it fresh and ready for action. I’m plotting out the third book of my next series, and I think it’s going to be my best ever! I cannot wait for you to read it – but in the meantime, why not try out the latest in my current series, Beached with a Baronet? 

Rain, rain, go away…

I don’t want to confirm any stereotypes of England…but it’s been raining for the last six days.

In June! SIX DAYS!

It’s so grey here near Bath that I’m finding it difficult to write. All my creativity seeps out of my ears and all I want to do is put my dressing gown on (check), put the kettle on (check), and curl up with a good book.

The trouble is, I want to read one and not write one – and I’ve got deadlines to keep! Thankfully my friends, family, and most importantly readers are getting me through. Their little notes of encouragement keep me putting finger to keyboard to create the next most amazing love story.

And as the last book in my Ravishing Regencies goes on pre-order (which you can grab here!), it’s a nice way to end one era and start to plan for another.

As I sit here on the sofa, looking out of the window at the rain, I’m reminded that there are so many amazing things that happens because of rain.

The trees are now green, that sweet smell of wet earth, and the refreshing of crops – all this can only happen because of rain.

So here’s hoping that this rain will bring after it a renewed sense of creativity. I can’t wait to get started on the third (!) book in my new series for 2020!

I love family traditions!

I’m just going to come out and say it: I love family traditions!

This weekend I’m not actually at my desk because I’m enjoying one of my own family traditions: the garden party.

It all started almost twenty years ago when my grandparents decided to throw not one, but two huge parties for their 70ths. On one day they invited over 40 family members and we ate, drank, and made merry. The next day, they invited over 100 people – the entire village – and did it all again.

We all agreed that it was so wonderful that since then, they threw ‘the family party’ on the closest Saturday to June 3rd. It’s been a way for us all, flung across the globe, to come together and catch up. Each year, we enjoy each other’s company and enjoy some more family traditions: three generational games of sardines, huge puddings that no one can finish, and never having rain (nope, not in over twenty years).

Every year there are a few new faces, as people introduce life partners and have babies, and every year there are some missing faces. It’s bittersweet, but I can’t wait to be there.

Do you have any family traditions that you love – perhaps some that you hate? Tell me in the comments below!