Archives for posts with tag: Liz Fielding
I’m starting an irregular column on writing romance. It helps if you know what the reader most enjoys. 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.

***

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

February sees the publication of my latest Harlequin Romance, The Sheikh’s Convenient Princess – and here’s the fabulous cover!

the-sheikhs-convenient-princess

Here’s a sneak peak…

Qa’lat al Mina’a, perched high on its rocky promontory, shimmered like a mirage in the soft pink haze of the setting sun.

Far below, beyond a perfect curve of white sand, a dhow was drifting slowly along the coast under a dark red sail and for a brief moment Ruby felt as if she might have been transported back to some Arabian Nights fantasy, flying in on a magic carpet rather than a gleaming black helicopter.

The illusion was swiftly shattered as they circled to land.

The fortress might appear, at first glance, to be a picturesque ruin, a reminder of a bygone age but behind the mass of purple bougainvillaea billowing against its walls was a satellite dish, antennae — all the trappings of the communications age powered by an impressive range of solar panels facing south where the jebel fell away to the desert.

And the tower did not stand alone. Below it Ruby glimpsed courtyards, arches, gardens surrounding an extensive complex that spread down to the shore where a very twenty-first century gunmetal grey military style launch was sheltered in a harbour hewn from the rock. And they were descending to a purpose built helipad. This was not some romantically crumbling stronghold out of a fantasy; the exterior might be battered by weather and time but it contained the headquarters of a very modern man.

As they touched down, a middle-aged man in a grey robe and skullcap approached the helicopter at a crouching run. He opened the door, glanced at her with astonishment and then shouted something she couldn’t hear to the pilot.

He returned a don’t-ask-me shrug from his seat. Sensing a problem, Ruby didn’t wait but unclipped her safety belt, swung open the door and jumped down.

As-salaam ‘aleykum. Ismee, Ruby Dance,’ she said, raising her voice above the noise of the engine. ‘Sheikh Ibrahim is expecting me.’

She didn’t wait for a response but shouldered the neat satchel that contained everything she needed for work, nodded her thanks to the pilot and leaving the man to follow with her wheelie she crossed to steps that led down to the shelter of the courtyard below.

The air coming off the sea was soft and moist — bliss after hours cooped up in the dry air of even the most luxurious private jet — while below her were tantalising glimpses of terraces cut into the hill, each shaded by ancient walls and vine covered pergolas. There was a glint of water running through rills and at her feet, clove-scented dianthus and thyme billowed over onto the steps.

It was beautiful, exotic, unexpected. Not so far from the fantasy after all.

Behind her the pilot, keen to get home was already winding up the engine and she lifted her head to watch it take off, bracing herself against buffeting from the down force of the blades. As it wheeled away back towards the capital of Ras al Kawi leaving her cut off from the outside world she half lifted a hand as if to snatch it back.

Madaam…’

Despite her confident assertion that she was expected it was clear that her arrival had come as a surprise but before she could respond to the agitated man who was following her down the steps a disembodied voice rang out from below, calling out something she did not understand.

Before she could move, think, the owner of the voice was at the foot of the steps, looking up at her and she forgot to breath.

Sheikh Ibrahim al-Ansari was no longer the golden prince, heir to the throne of Umm al Basr, society magazine cover favourite; a carefree young man with nothing on his mind but celebrating his sporting triumphs in some fashionable nightclub.

Disgraced, disinherited and exiled from his father’s court when his arrest for a naked romp in a London fountain had made front page news, his face was harder, the bones more defined, the natural lines cut a little deeper. And not just lines. Running through the edge of his left brow, slicing through his cheekbone before disappearing into a short-clipped beard was a thin scar — the kind left by the slash of a razor sharp knife — and dragging at the corner of his eye, his lip so that his face was not quite in balance. The effect was brutal, chilling, mesmerizing.

The Sheikh’s Convenient Princess is available for pre-order in paper or as an ebook now at Amazon!

 

It Happened In Paradise

If you’re in the UK this month, It Happened In Paradise will be sitting on the shelves W H Smith or a supermarket near you, or waiting to be downloaded to your favourite reading device.

It contains three books, Wedded in a Whirlwind by me, Deserted Island, Dreamy Ex by Nicola Marsh and His Bride in Paradise by Joanna Neil.

One heroine needs to escape for a while – things do not go according to plan; one heroine has been shipwrecked for a reality TV show;  one is hoping a holiday fling will help mend her broken heart. Three very different stories but all set on gorgeous tropical islands – just the thing as the nights draw in and we’re reaching for our woolies!

It’s £5.99 in paper and a bargain £3.99 to download from iTunes or Amazon

LizFielding_ASummer'sLease_800pxHere’s what some people are saying about A Summer’s Lease on Amazon and Goodreads –

“This one had me so invested in the story I was almost yelling at them but what a fabulous story, one that kept me turning the pages. I loved the setting, the story line old buccaneers and family history and that sensual pull throughout. Yes I can highly recommend this one.” 5*

“A lovely gentle book with a tough backbone. Heroine is a total sweetheart. Hero is a closet romantic, though I’m not are he realises it. Read in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. ” 5*

“Charming story. Pure Liz Fielding quality, ” 5*

“…a true romantic story…” 5*

“…a magical romance …” 5*

And the good news is that it’s  #free on Amazon from today (8 September) until Tuesday (12 September) inclusive.

Click Amazon US or Amazon UK (or Amazon wherever you are in the world) and download now!

 

Save

Save

LizFielding_ASummer'sLease_800pxI guess most authors have a book in the bottom drawer that, for one reason or another didn’t get published. There are as many reasons for this as there are books. The first, the big reason, is that for some reason your editor didn’t quite take to it.

As an inexperienced author you think she knows everything, but then the same editor (long gone) had undermined my confidence in another book – A Stranger’s Kiss – that became one of my bestsellers. (How many people turned down Harry Potter? Not that I’m suggesting, well you know…)

So much in publishing is about timing. The right ms on the right desk at the right moment.

When there’s nowhere else to publish (and there wasn’t when I wrote this) you stick the ms in the bottom drawer and get on with the next book. But every time you open that drawer it nags at you and the publishing world has changed out of all recognition and so A Summer’s Lease is published today at Amazon.

Here’s the set up…

In a midsummer’s dawn, high in the woods above Beaumont Court, Charlotte Palmer encounters a man who at first sight she thinks is the ghost of Harry Beaumont, the buccaneer who built the Court in the 16th century.
His passionate kiss blasts away the illusion but when he extends a hand to her, an invitation to go with him, she hesitates and in a heartbeat he’s gone.

Here’s a taster…
CHARLOTTE Palmer woke long before dawn and lay in the not-quite-dark of midsummer listening as the night sounds were gradually overlaid by the birds stirring and trying their early morning voices.

She had toured the house the evening before when everyone had gone and it was quiet, saying goodbye to the past.

Now, in the dawn, she would walk through the gardens and up into the woods to the special place she had always gone when she was unhappy or life was difficult. A place where she could see the house nestling in its hollow and the river beyond.    

Beaumont Court.

The one thing that had always been a constant in her life.

She finished plaiting her hair and picked up the miniature portrait of Harry Beaumont — painted when he was a favourite at the first Elizabeth’s court — from the table beside her bed. She could almost hear the laughter promised by bold blue eyes that glinted with a wicked merriment. She would need a friendly face to see her through this day and on a sudden impulse, she slipped it into her pocket.

‘Daisy,’ she called softly, when she reached the stables. The horses had long since been sold, but Richard Beaumont would never have a dog in the house and her spaniel had slept there ever since she’d been forced to move into the Court.

Last night she would have welcomed the comfort of Daisy’s soft warm body on her bed, but now that Richard was dead and she could have done what she liked it would have felt like a betrayal to take advantage.

The small liver and white spaniel needed no second invitation, but bounded joyously to heel, then ran on ahead, giving short excited yelps as she snuffled at trails in the grass.

‘No, this way, girl.’

It was a long walk to the top of the hill and the church clock had chimed six before she finally sank onto the dew-soaked grass of the clearing. She hugged her knees and gazed down into the valley.

Swathed in the golden mist rising from the river the house — built by the same Harry Beaumont who smiled from her precious miniature — had an ethereal, magical quality. It was easy to imagine him pausing here as he caught his first glimpse of its tall brick chimneys after the long ride from Elizabeth’s court at Richmond. Easy to imagine him spurring his horse on, eager to hold his beloved Maria, see his children.

He had been the first in a long unbroken line of Beaumont men to hold the house against the world. Today the latest to be given that trust would arrive at Beaumont Court.

He was late by any standards.

Matthew Ryan had, it seemed, been too busy with business commitments in the Far East to come home to be with the dying Richard. To come to his funeral. It was nearly two weeks since Richard Beaumont had been laid to rest with his ancestors in the family vault below the church and only now had his heir found some time in his crowded schedule to come and take control of his inheritance.

‘Daisy, be quiet.’ The spaniel was barking at something in the woods, drawing her mind back to the clearing, away from disturbing thoughts of the changes that were bound to be made with his arrival and how they would affect her. The dog, intent on her quarry, ignored her. ‘Daisy!’ she called again, more urgently, scrambling to her feet as she disappeared into the thicket well aware that if she took off after a rabbit she would be gone all day.

But Daisy danced backwards into the clearing letting out excited little yaps. Narrowing her eyes against the slanting sun, Charlotte took a step towards the copse, halted uncertainly, her breath catching in her throat as she saw the shadowy figure of a man astride a large black horse, at the edge of the clearing, the low slanting sun giving him a halo about his dark curls.

The trees began to retreat giddily and, as her legs buckled beneath her, the man threw his leg over the animal’s head and slid to the ground moving swiftly to catch her, his shadowed expression so familiar that she whispered his name.

‘Harry…’   

Read on…

Save

Save

Save

LizFielding_MeltingMrFrostysHeart_800pxThose of you who’ve been with me for a while will know I have a bit of a thing for ice cream. Three books – Tempted By Trouble, Anything But Vanilla and Vettori’s Damsel in Distress – have charted the romances of the three Amery sisters who founded the ice cream events business “Scoop!”.

Often one book will lead to a spin-off – great characters cannot be left dangling while the main event sweeps on to its inevitable conclusion.

Two such characters were that magician with ice cream, Ria (Knickerbocker Gloria, herself) and uptight millionaire with a passion for opera, Graeme Laing.

Sorrel Amery’s parting gift to him was to tell him that Ria loved the opera. Great Uncle Basil’s response was that she would “shake the creases out of his pants”.

Melting Mr Frosty’s Heart is a short story that catches up with the moment when Graeme, much against his better judgement, decides to ask her to join him in his box at Covent Garden.

Will she say yes? Do opposites ever attract? And what happens to his pants?

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Australia

iBooks US
iBooks Australia
iBooks UK

Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Save