Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Midsummer Eve competition at FRR

thorntonsToday (20th June) is Midsummer Eve and to mark the occasion this year, over at ForRomanceReaders we're offering boxes of gorgeous Thornton’s Summer Chocolates to two commenters!

All you have to do is answer this simple romance-themed question: “What is your top romantic movie and why?

Pop over to FRR and tell us all about your favourite romantic movie for a chance to win chocolates and a free ebook of Midsummer Eve at Rookery End if you haven’t already got a copy.

Closing date is one week from today, at Midnight BST on Monday 27th June.

Have fun and make sure you leave your contact details so we can get in touch if you win!

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Brief Encounters Review

Angie at Bookishly Attentive has reviewed Brief Encounters - she loved it and said:

"Brief Encounters is a must read, and its size makes it the perfect evening getaway.  Be sure to download this as quickly as you can! "

To read the full review, click here.

Many thanks to Angie & the Bookishly Attentive team for reviewing!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Some exciting news

Sharing is always fun so I'm delighted to share the exciting news that my Regency romance The Paradise Will is to appear as an ebook in September.  Yaaaay!!

The Paradise Will was first published in 2008, but it has been out for print for some time due to heavy demand.  An ebook edition is therefore good news for all those who have contacted me about getting hold of a copy, and for everyone else who enjoys a great story!  You don't even need a Kindle or any other reader - ebooks can be downloaded to your PC.  :0)  More details as I get them, but mark the date in your diary now and in the meantime, here's a little reminder.....

When spirited Alyssa Paradise unexpectedly inherits her uncle’s property in Dorset, she is determined to   meet the challenge of running a grand estate. However, there is a surprising condition: every week for six months she must dine tête-à-tête with the enigmatic Sir Giles Maxton, who owns the adjoining land. Alyssa wonders how she will endure this arrangement – Sir Giles cuts a dashing figure but he is positively insufferable.

 *Finalist in the RNA Joan Hessayon New Writers Award*
 *Finalist in the RedRosesforAuthors Christmas Awards 2008*

And there's more good news... Brief Encounters - a sparkling new anthology of six romantic short stories - is currently available for just £1.39!   Sweet and sexy, contemporary and historical, the collection has something for everyone and is perfect if you need a quick fix of romantic fiction during your coffee or lunch break, or to wind down with in the evening.

The other Brief Encounters tales are by fellow members of the Coffee Crew, Nell Dixon, who writes warm-hearted contemporary romances, and Phillipa Ashley, who writes lively, sexy and fun romantic fiction.  Nell and Phillipa have had exciting news too.
Nell has just sold two romantic comedy novels to Myrmidon.  In the first Renovation, Renovation, Renovation, Kate would like an engagement ring from Steve but instead he's lumbered them with a thirteenth renovation project, and doing up Myrtle Cottage disturbs a ghost from the English Civil War who has romance troubles of her own.

Phillipa's brand new US release Wish You Were Here is riding high in the Amazon charts, as is Dating Mr. December which is absolutely free for one week in the USA and Canada.  As I type this, DMD is #1 in the Top 100 free Kindle books and WYWH is #20 in the Top 100 paid Kindle books.  
Congratulations to Phillipa and Nell!


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Derby Day and the Royal Connection

Today - 4th June - is Derby Day and like millions of others, I'll be glued to the TV to watch this very special race.

The Derby Stakes, or the Epsom Derby, or just The Derby is run every year in early June on the Epsom Downs in Surrey. It was first run in 1780, 231 years ago, and although it's not the oldest race (that title is held by the St. Ledger, first run in 1776), it is the richest and the most prestigious of the five Classics.  It's also known as the Greatest Horse Race in the World and the race that every owner, trainer and jockey wants to win more than any other.  This Group 1 race, now sponsored by Investec, is open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies and is takes place over a distance of 1 mile, 4 furlongs and 10 yards on the notoriously difficult Epsom course, about which more later.

The Derby at Epsom, 1821 - Theodore Gericault (1791-1824)


Edward Smith Stanley, the 12th Earl of Derby, organised a friendly competition for himself and his friends to race their three-year-old fillies over one and a half miles. He named it The Oaks after his estate. The following year a new race was added, a race that would determine the Best of the Best for both the racing and breeding of racehorses. The title of the race was to be decided by the tossing of a coin between the Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury, a leading racing figure of the day and friend of the Earl's.

This tossed coin was won by Stanley and the race would be known as ‘The Derby'; won incidentally, that very first year by Sir Charles Bunbury's horse, Diomed. 140 other countries now hold a sporting ‘Derby’, but, Epsom still remains ‘The Home of The Derby’, attracting the largest one day sporting crowd in excess of 125,000 who descend upon the Surrey racecourse to be part of something special - The Greatest Horse Race in the World.

The Course

As one of the most famous race courses in the world, its also one of the most testing trips in flat racing. Resembling the shape of a horseshoe, the Derby course of a mile and a half is ran in a left-handed direction. A right-handed rise of some one hundred and forty feet begins not long after the race commences. After about three furlongs at the top of the hill the field descend at Tattenham Corner and enter the finishing straight of about three and a half furlongs. The drop of about one hundred feet continues until about one hundred yards from the finishing line, the ground here rises for another several feet before the winning post.

Derby winners are special - any horse that can cope with the noise, plus the undulations, twists, turns and unusual camber of the Epsom course, plus have the necessary speed and stamina, are highly prized.  Colts usually become valuable stud stallions and Sea the Stars, the 2009 winner, went on to become the most valuable horse in the world after winning The Derby, the 2,000 Guinea and the Eclipse Stakes.

2011 Race

This year's race is the 30th anniversary of Shergar's win.  Shergar won The Derby in 1981 by a record 10 lengths, the longest winning margin in the race's history.  He was retired to stud, but two years later in February 1983, armed and masked men broke into the Ballymany Stud in County Kildare and kidnapped Shergar.  A ransom demanded, but after a series of negotiations it was never paid and Shergar was not seen again.  Shergar's remains have never been found and the thieves have never been officially identified.

For the tenth time, HM The Queen has a runner in The Derby with a colt named Carlton House (after the Prince Regent's mansion in Pall Mall).   The Queen has never won The Derby and in this Royal Wedding year, millions of people will be cheering on the favourite Carlton House in the hope he can achieve victory in this most famous of horse races.

I'll be one of them ;o)