Archive for the ‘All Work and No Play’ Category




beauty (sort of)

Filed under: about me, All Work and No Play, reviews

I’m a big fan of the urban legend website (so much so that I’ve got a project in the works about an urban legend or two), and I was scrolling through the What’s New section and found this article, about what happened on a day in January 2007 when world-famous violinist Joshua Bell played in the New York City subway for an hour, incognito.

It was part of an experiment: do people have time for beauty in their daily lives? Do they recognise true art when it’s packaged as a subway busker?

Bell earned $32 in loose change, and the only people who significantly paused to listen to the Bach he was playing on a $3.5 million violin, were children.

As the mother of a toddler, I know this is true. Fecklet loves music of every form, and when he hears someone playing on the street, he stops to listen and sometimes to dance. This is wonderful because it gives me the excuse to stop, too. (I don’t usually dance.) We had a lovely time listening to the Salvation Army bands at Christmas, for example. And I’d like to think, as a creative person myself, I do stop to appreciate beauty whenever I can. But I know that often I’m guilty of hurrying past things of beauty when I’m preoccupied; not just buskers, but a beautiful flower bed, an enchanting sunset, a bunch of ducklings, a splendid building. Sometimes I don’t pay proper attention to conversations with people I care about, or really appreciate well-crafted prose.

I think Bell’s story is profound in this way, that it reminds you to appreciate the beauty around you, because you never know what you may be missing. It’s also profound in that it reminds us that as a culture, we value the most what we’re told to value. The tickets to Bell’s sold-out concert two days before cost $100. I bet those people in the audience appreciated every note.

Context is everything, and packaging can have a significant effect on how something is perceived. I’ve had a small experience in that way myself, with my book All Work and No Play… The beginning of the story is based on mistaken identity, and both my editor and I saw it as a sort of screwball comedy scenario. It’s stupid, but it’s meant to be stupid, a fun game with the reader. EXCELLENT!!There are jokes about Clark Kent and Superman, the hero’s best friend talks like he just finished an Excellent Adventure with Bill and Ted, and the story ends with a bit of ironing-board surfing. Dude.

In the UK, it was packaged as a light-hearted romance; the title, the blurb, the cover all said “sexy, fun, playful”. Likewise in France. In both of those places, the reviews have treated the book like a sexy, light read, and have mostly mentioned how fun the story is. For example, this French review uses comedy itself to describe the book.

In the USA, it was called Mistress in Private, and released in the high-drama, high-passion Harlequin Presents line, with a very serious blurb. My American reviews have pretty much said that the mistaken-identity plot is unbelievable, the “mistress” blurb is misleading, and the story is silly rather than dramatic.

I totally accept that my plot was stupid, because I personally couldn’t stop laughing at it, and I have a dumb sense of humour. But I do think that the packaging in the UK and France helped to prompt readers to suspend their disbelief enough to enjoy the story. Not that I’m moaning…Harlequin Presents is the world’s best-selling romance line, and it’s awesome to be part of it. And I’m very far from being a world-class violinist playing on a subway.

But the story gives me two lessons: Stop for beauty. And try to judge things for what they are, not for their context.

Addition: Janet gave me this link to the Washington Post story article where the Bell story originally appeared. It includes video links, too.





the next winner!

Filed under: All Work and No Play, contests | Tags:

Box up your hats everyone and brush the sand from all your delicate places, we have a winner!

Ellen, she of the frog hat, has won a signed copy of All Work and No Play…

Ellen, email me using the contact button on right with your address and I’ll pop it in the post.

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blog party, day two

Filed under: All Work and No Play, contests | Tags: , , ,

beach party

So welcome to Day Two of my party!

In her comment below, Nicola Marsh painted such a lovely picture of working on a beach with gorgeous cabana boys offering massages, that I decided to move the whole blog party to a beach today. We can stretch out on the sand, take a dip in the warm sea, and drink cocktails a-plenty.

Then I found out that it’s Lady Day at Ascot today. And while I’ve never been to Ascot races, I used to work in Ascot and I love looking at the hats. Look at this one, for example. It totally makes you look like you have awesome alien antennae!!

antenna hat

So I’ve decided that today, we’re partying on a beach, wearing couture hats. You gotta shade your face from the sun, after all, right?

Put on your hat, grab a cocktail of your choice (I’m beginning with a bucket of margaritas) and enjoy!

Today my signed book giveaway is a copy of my Mills & Boon Modern Heat romance, All Work and No Play…

This story, about mistaken identity and hot sex with a male model, was published in North America in April, hitting the Waldenbooks bestseller list as Mistress in Private.

all work and no play

It’s not wholly inappropriate that the name of the book was changed, because the hero of the book sometimes goes under a pseudonym himself. As a computer geek and all-round nice guy, he’s known as Jonny Cole. As a stunningly gorgeous, sexy, alpha male model, he’s known as Jay Richard. And lucky Jane Miller, the heroine, gets to know both of these men…though at first, she doesn’t know they’re one and the same.

To win a signed copy, and to join in the party, leave a comment telling me what would you call yourself, if you got the chance to change your name?

Or just describe your hat and what you’re doing with it on the beach…





six random facts (again)

Filed under: All Work and No Play

Kate tagged me, and then untagged me because of my grandmother, but I can’t think of a better way to get back to business as usual than doing as I am told. Therefore, six random facts about me:

1. I am getting my website redesigned and it is so exciting! It’s going to be very light and airy, though still green and orange.

2. I spilled a glass of water on my keyboard and now it won’t type n, unless you type m, when it types mnmnmnmnnnmmnnnnnnn. So I am using my Alphasmart Dana as a keyboard. I guess I need to get a new keyboard.

3. I have never owned a PC, only Macs. Anna thinks I am a Mac fascist but I’m not, I just like them because they are cute and sweet.

4. Of my four best friends in high school, three of us live abroad (England, Bolivia and Hong Kong) and three of us are writers (two romance writers and a journalist).

5. I bought a pair of red sandals yesterday, to replace the pair of red sandals I wore a hole in.

6. I have an absolute passion for Diet Coke. I had to give it (and all caffeine) up for ages, for health reasons and then because of the Fecklet, but I now ration myself to one or two a week. I don’t like regular Coke, or Diet Pepsi: just Diet Coke, plain or with lemon or cherry flavour. I get all excited when I get one, like a kid with a giant candy bar.

I tag…YOU! If you haven’t done this lately, go ahead, and leave a comment below so I can check you out.

By the way…is everyone seeing my blog all squashed up and weird like I am?





off to the mother land

Filed under: about me, All Work and No Play

I’ve sort of finished my first draft. And tomorrow morning I’m flying to the US to see a family member who is ill.

I’ll be back next week–see you then.

Meanwhile, here is a link to really excellent review of Mistress In Private (aka All Work and No Play…) in French. It’s out there next month as Une Passione Anglaise.

Blue Moon review

Thanks to Callixta and to Marnie!





Bestsellerdom strikes again!

Filed under: All Work and No Play

Mistress in Private

Oh and the thing I wanted to say while I was locked out of my website…?

Mistress in Private has been in the Waldenbooks top ten bestselling series romance novels for the past two weeks.






win my book!

Filed under: All Work and No Play, free book

Mistress in PrivateHey, to celebrate the launch of Harlequin Presents Extra, today the good people at Harlequin are giving away 20 free copies of book number one in the series, which, er, happens to be mine!

All you have to do is visit I (Heart) Presents, at, and send them an email saying why you should get an advance copy of the book. And if you are one of the first twenty people to respond, you’ll get a copy of Mistress in Private, which is out in the US next month.

How extremely cool is that? I didn’t even notice the little number 1 on the cover until I saw the contest.

I’m sorry, my European and antipodean friends, this contest is only open to residents of North America.

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Mistress in Private, aka All Work and No Play…

Filed under: All Work and No Play

This is actually very cool…you can browse the first chapter of my book online, and though it’s not out in the USA until next month, it’s already for sale on eHarlequin.

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