Archives for category: Liz Fielding

bigstock--185734024June is always a special month at Fielding Towers. The good times actually start on May 31st with a visit to the Theatre Royal in Bath to see Thoroughly Modern Milly with a friend. There will be a pre-theatre supper and possibly a glass of something bubbly when we get home because June 1st is my birthday. There have been a lot of those so I’ll gloss over exactly what number I’ll reach this year.

It’s going to be a busy month. Following the ups and downs of moving house, my original buyers – when confronted about their lack of progress – disappeared. Three wasted months, more expense and a considerable amount of teeth gnashing but, with the house back on the market, I had a new offer in a matter of days and, fingers firmly crossed, this time it will be full speed ahead.

The last piece of excess furniture has found its new home, there has been a clear out of clothes that I’ve dieted out of (yay!) but there are still a lot of books to go to charity shops. Oh, and there’s a book to write…

bigstock--209264287That is hard. So much has happened in the last nine months and I’ve been facing the fear that I may never be able to write again. I’m battling it and when I do actually put fingers to keyboard I’m getting words down. But it’s hard to motivate myself. I just read a piece on the Live Write Thrive blog that suggests it’s my mind protecting me from failure. I have to keep reminding myself that writing is my business, it’s what I do.

IYoung Couple Caressing Lying In Bed have been thinking about this book for a very long time (anything but actually write it) and that’s going to help me. The hero and heroine have become much clearer in my mind. have had time to grow into their parts. I just need to stop feeling afraid that I can’t do it any more and get the words down.

In mid-June I’m going away with the family to Center Parc – so there will be a lot of walking, swimming, owl experiences, willow weaving and maybe even time for a treat at the spa. I’m hoping it will help to fill the well and tempt the muse out into the sunlight.

Print0217-9780373744206-bigwAnd then there’s my trip to the Romance Writers of America 2018 Conference in Denver to celebrate the fact that The Sheikh’s Convenient Princess has been nominated for a RITA®.

I’m so looking forward to meeting old friends and finally hugging all the wonderful people I’ve known in cyber space for years and have become so close. And to meet readers at the Literacy book signing.

I’ve done the paperwork, booked my flight, signed up for the conference , have my hotel reservation. My diary is filling up with dinners, teas, coffees with friends, editors, fellow romance writers.

That’s the easy stuff. I still have to decide what I’m going to wear to my publisher’s party, the Rita Finalists Reception and the Awards night ceremony. Oh, and shift those 7lbs that are stubbornly clinging to my hips after a long, dark, winter.

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Stress levels…

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Oh boy. May started with a bit of a blow. The vendor of the flat I was buying changed her mind about selling.  So the surveyor’s fee, the legal costs already incurred (all my legal work had been done) left me over £1000 out of pocket. Then there was the time wasted by the decorator who had given me estimates for repainting the place, the carpet fitter measuring the place, all that time wasted trying to decide on colours…

And yet… The llama is not ironic.

Cost and time wasting aside, she did me a favour. I have found a flat I like much more, in immaculate condition, in a better location and without the need for expensive decoration or new carpets. And it has a little courtyard garden that I can see filled with plants. I’ve already started a list with wisteria and honeysuckle at the top. (The honeysuckles at Fielding Towers are about to bloom and I am really going to miss them.)

Oh, and then my vacuum cleaner died – of old age – this week. Just what you need when you’re trying to keep on top of everything. and my stick cleaner is also on it’s last legs. I looked at replacement and couldn’t believe the price! Nevertheless I had to bite the bullet and I  ve gone for a cylinder job recomended by my daughter to replace both.

Interior decorating

4892510-purple-wisteria-wisteria-japonica-growing-along-a-fence-in-franceNothing to do, at least until I move in and live with what I’ve got. Well, it’s just down to deciding exactly which trestle table I want for my workspace – the table I have just isn’t big enough. The curtain material I chose is still the one I want, but my favourite curtains (bought only last year at vast expense) will fit either my bedroom or study, which is a bonus.

My sale? Well, it’s moving, but rather as a glacier moves but I’m going on holiday at the beginning of next month and if I haven’t moved by then (if no further than my daughter’s spare bedroom) I might begin to crack.

Writing?

Well, again in the manner of a glacier. Stress is not conducive to writing as I’ve learned in the past. And anything you do write is likely to be pants but I’m thinking a lot.

Giveaway…

31263256_1616328918488216_6159892561788928000_nRoyalWedding-FieldingLARGE-300x450 (1)I’m also running a lovely little giveaway in conjunction with the Tule #royalweddinginvitation series and our own royal wedding event. If you want to throw your name into the hat, leave a comment on my Facebook page.

I’m also taking part in the #romanceauthorchallenge on Instagram. No prizes, but a great opportunity to see a picture post from some great authors every day.

 

Stress level critical…

20180423_121300The stress levels over the move are going through the roof. My own contracts are signed on both sale and purchase but my buyers have been using the same reason for three weeks as to why nothing i happening on their side.

I’m told “it takes time” and “nothing happens quickly in the west country”.

I’m attempting (with not much success) to remain zen and concentrate on the colours for the new apartment. I think I’ve settled on heartwood and almost oyster for the bedroom. Almost.

Interior decorating…

20180423_115633I have chosen the material for the curtains for the living room – slightly limited colourwise by the sofa and armchairs, but the dark blue is a perfect match and I do love those seed heads.

Earlier in the month I spent a long weekend in Kent on a writer’s retreat with friends. We all worked incredibly hard and I managed to get the book I started back in August up and running again, with actual words written.

Work and play…

20180412_162254I went from Kent to spend a week with my daughter and her family.. She takes the view that because my new apartment has a catflap it would be rude not to get a cat. Meanwhile I played with hers.

I have two trips planned between now and then; Center Parc with the grandchildren in June just for fun and, because The Sheikh’s Convenient Princess has been nominated for a Rita, I’ll be flying to Denver for the Romance Writers of America conference in July  Oh, and, with any luck, throw a move into that mix and with the book due on my editor’s desk at the end of July you’ll see that I need to focus.

Meanwhile the boxes are piling up as I pack away stuff I won’t see for a couple of months and I’ve been downsizing my clutter with the help of eBay and the local charity shops,

Reading…

51rny9pcQ+L._SY346_I’ve been trying the odd audiobook and started with  The Chilbury Ladies Choir which is set in a wartime English village. I know the clipped 1940s English accents are authentic, but I found them a little distracting and just a bit overdone, but loved the story. I also listened to the latest Ellie Griffiths, Ruth Galloway Mystery, The Dark Angel. U really love this series but found I was not as engaged by the audio book as I was reading. I became too easily distracted, and once or twice I feel asleep! I also read Teri Wilson’s The Princess Problem, published by Cherish in the UK, which had everything you’d want from a romance.

Finally, just a reminder that Jessica Hart’s The Baronet’s Wedding Engagement is still #free to download. It’s part of the #royalweddinginvitation series written by Sophie Weston, Jessica, myself and Anne McAllister for Tule.

Royal Wedding Invitations

 

 

 

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Royal Wedding Invitations

 

a1b54294e9a74f055787892cf844cca6When Sophie Weston, Jessica Hart (Pamela Hartshorne), Anne McAllister and I looked around for a setting for our fictional Cotswold village for our Invitation to a Royal Wedding quartet, I immediately  thought of Castle Combe – the prettiest village in England. Allegedly. (Other villages are also extremely pretty!)

I’d had lunch at the Manor House Hotel with the Bath and Wiltshire Romantic Novelists’ Association chapter when Jill Mansell gave a talk there.

She’d used the hotel in her book, Daisy’s Place and I knew it would work very well for Hasebury Hall, the childhood home of Hope Kennard, Sophie’s heroine (The Prince’s Bride).

Sophie, Jessica, Anne and I had a day out walking the ground of “our” village on a gloriously sunny spring day and had a wonderful lunch there, purely in the necessity of research, you understand. Research is not all about surfing the ‘net and dusty libraries!

Jessica, who’d been the first out of the traps with a draft ms, had named the church  where the wedding was to take place St Philip and All Angels and when we went into the beautiful church in Castle Combe, one of the first things we saw was this array of angels on either side of the aisle.

One of those spine-tingly magic moments for a writer.

We found a suitably ancient monument where our bride’s ancestor would have been laid to rest and imagined a stained glass window bearing his coat of arms,

There was some discussion about the differences between a US wedding and one taking place in the UK – the bridesmaids follow the bride in the UK. The fact that the bride and groom (and their witnesses) disappear into the vestry after the service to sign the register. Details that may not be used but are important to know.

We walked around the churchyard, working out the where the television people would put their cherry picker – my heroine’s concern – and, because that’s what you can do when you’ve created your own location, we turned it around so that the heroine, walking from her family home, would not have to walk all around the graveyard.

There were other important locations. This is the market cross, Ally’s home, and the Three Bells where Ally was working when Fredrik arrived unexpectedly.

Actually the pub isn’t in Castle Combe but in the equally pretty village of  Lacock and is the pub where our local Romantic Novelists’ Chapter meet for supper once in a while.

And the last picture refers to something that our village and Castle Combe have in common. They are both used as locations for films and tv dramas.

Castle Combe was recently used in the film War Horse.

 

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This is on my Facebook page this week – to take part, click here and “like” the picture. I’ll draw the winners on 1st May 2017.fFreeFre(1)

I’m starting an irregular column on writing romance.
First things first. It helps if you know what the reader most enjoys, the book that she’ll reach for.
Obviously there’s room for the new but if you’re approaching an established publisher it’s always a good idea to begin with something they know will sell so I’m beginning with a rundown of  popular tropes.
The Marriage of Convenience

Yes, even in this day and age when single mothers are no longer stoned in the street, it’s still possible to write this fan favourite trope.

Money is a good reason. Tricky Wills give you a lot of scope.  Okay, you can challenge them, but in the mean time you might be left homeless. Or you might discover that the inheritance you thought was safely in the bag is mortgaged up the hilt. The unexpected pregnancy after a night with someone you’ve only just met – or have known forever but as a friend, is still a useful one. Social pressures are still there, or guilt, or maybe the guy plans to do his duty, just being there, providing support and ends up falling in love. Of course you have to come up with a good reason why they ended up in bed together. That’s the fun bit!

The Sheikh Romance

Ever since E M Hull wrote the iconic “The Sheikh” they have sold like hotcakes. The first thing to realise about a sheikh romance, is that it is a total fantasy and has nothing to do with reality. The sheikh has everything. He is in total command of his environment, has unimaginable power and wealth coupled with an air of danger, otherness. He also has the kind of respect for family, a sense of honour, that can leave him in some really tricky situations.

Lots of scope for marriage of convenience here especially if the woman is in some kind of danger, or he has some hidden reason for not marrying the woman his family has chosen for him.

If you struggle seeing him as a hero, a former publishing director of Mills and Boon once described him to me as “a cowboy wearing a different hat”.  Same thousand yard gaze. Same deep seated sense of honour.

Nine to Five

 

The workplace romance should be tricky in this PC/Human Resources dominated age but it’s is still a much-loved trope. Unlike the sheikh romance, this is something much closer to home, familiar. Most of us will have worked somewhere – office, store, factory – at some point in our lives.  These days, of course, it doesn’t have to be the powerful boss and the woman he doesn’t notice until some crisis occurs and he needs her to play his fiancée. There’s plenty of room to play out a scenario between equals, a boardroom battle that only one of them can win. So much more interesting.
Christmas 
Oh now, this is always fun. You not only have two people trying very hard not to fall into bed with each other but you have it with baubles, fairy lights, Santa Claus and snow.
You can dress your characters in embarrassingly silly costumes, dump two feet of snow on them, cut off the electricity or strand the Grinch and the Sugar Plum Fairy in a place from which there is no escape (it doesn’t have to be snow!)

Mayhem or magic, they go down a treat.

The Mediterranean Hero

Passionate, sexy, with his dark good-looks, the Mediterranean billionaire — Greek, Italian, Spanish or Italian — is the staple hero of romance.

He is very nearly as much a fantasy as the sheikh. You can throw in a palazzo overlooking the sea, helicopters, yachts, private jets, private islands and plenty of angst. Oh, and sex. Lots of sex.

That’s it for now. I should probably have added babies to the list. There is nothing like a cute baby on the cover to set the cash tills ringing, but they have to be tiny (no toddlers or teenagers in series romance – they distract from the hero and heroine and it’s story).

Look at the books being published, what tropes call you? Writing what you enjoy is always the best way to start.

Next time I’ll talk about the “crucible”.

Happy writing.

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Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance is available to download from iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

 

A Summer’s Lease

free 24 – 28 March at Amazon

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