I've just made a book trailer for my new rom-com from One More Chapter...
I'd love to know what you think!
I've just made a book trailer for my new rom-com from One More Chapter...
I'd love to know what you think!
Oh dear, I've totally been neglecting my blog again...
So to kick off here's some important Heidi News that I really should have passed on a lot sooner...
February 2021: Release of my 32nd Harlequin/Mills and Boon novel! Yay.
Innocent's Desert Wedding Contract is the third story in my on-going series The Khans: Desert Princes of Passion series, this time featuring Raif and Zane's distant cousin Karim - the crown prince of Zafar - and desperate Irish stud owner Orla Calhoun... There's a fake engagement, a wedding of convenience, lots of drama and passion and some hot desert nights in this one to enjoy. If you love linked books and you want to catch up with the heroes and heroines of my previous two books in the series - Carrying the Sheikh's Baby and Claimed for the Desert Prince's Heir – they also put in cameo appearances in this book with their growing families!
March 2021: Release of my fabulous new rom-com from Harper Collins One More Chapter didigtal first imprint! Double yay...
Just Like in the Movies is the tale of a broken down cinema in Notting Hill and the two people that inherit it after the death of owner Matty Devlin... His best friend and surrogate daughter, cinema manager Ruby Graham – who loves the movies – and the nephew he's never met, Manhattan property billionaire Luke Devlin – who hates them.... Themed around some of my favourite films, the book deals with grief, the families you are born with and the ones you create for yourself, a sprinkling of London community spirit and a great big dose of humour, movie realness and an enemies-to-lovers romance straight out of a Hollywood rom-com...
April 2021: A UK Kindle Monthly deal for Claimed for the Desert Prince's Heir
Lasting the whole of April this is a bargain for readers in the UK who want to pick up the second book in The Khans, my Mills and Boon Modern series (see details above!), on Kindle for the ludicrous price of 99p!
In the months ahead I have the following releases in the schedule that I'm so excited about:
July 2021: Release of my 33rd Harlequin Presents/Mills & Boon Modern, One Wild Night with Her Enemy!
The story of a cyncial US tech billionaire and the innocent British executive assistant sent to spy on him - who ends up spending one wild night (and then several more) trapped on his private island off the coast of Oregon. The story is the first in my duet - Hot Summer Nights with a Billionaire - which I have written with my best writing buddy Abby Green. It features two BFFs, two uber hot billionaires, and lots of hot nights in London, San Francisco, the beautiful British countryside and America's wild and wonderful West Coast! Abby's book The Flaw in His Red-Hot Revenge will be out in August.
November 2021: My 34th Harlequin Presents/Mills and Boon Modern just got accepted!
The Billionaire's Proposition in Paris is the first in a new two-book series - The Secrets of Billionaire Siblings - featuring the Irish O'Riordans and British De Courtney families. The first book has self-made Irish billionaire Conall O'Riordan hiring widowed event planner Katie Hamilton to plan his sister Imelda's wedding as his castle on the West Coast of Ireland... But what Katie doesn't know is that Conall has hired her to get information on her estranged half-brother - British logistics billionaire Ross De Courtney... Because Ross just happens to be the father of his other sister Carmel's secret child! There's passion and drama aplenty, not to mention a stunning night at a Ball in the City of Lights as this pair navigate the devastating secret that has, Conall believes, destroyed his sister's life, even if he adores his now 3-year-old nephew Cormac. And Katie is about to discover has the potential to devastate her life too...
IN THE WORKS
For 2022 and beyond: At the moment I'm hard at work on the second book in my The Secrets of Billionaire Siblings duet - this is Ross and Carmel's story!
And in the works I have plans to do another story in my The Khans: Desert Princes of Passion series, this time featuring Karim's half-brother Dane – a New York nightclub entrepeneur who has to spend a month deputising for Karim as the Sheikh of Zafar during an important diplomatic mission in the region... His heroine is the chief palace aide - Jamilla - who is going to have to persuade him to toe the line when it comes to royal etiquette while keeping her heart in tact... Not an easy feat when it comes to my seductive rebel desert prince!
I'm also working on a new pitch for One More Chapter, for a longer book, featuring two older characters, now in their forties... If I have the time that is - because I've just signed a new 6-book deal with Harlequin/Mills and Boon!!
Happy reading, and have a wonderful Easter. xx
You can either read it for free on the Harlequin blog here.
Or on Mills and Boon's website here.
Either way we hope you love this little extra glimpse of Leo and Juno's, and Jade and Alvaro's happy ever after four years later... Psst: their may be cute babies involved!!
Merry Christmas xx
In my fourth published book, Pleasure Pregnancy and a Proposition, I also turned things on their head a little by contriving to have it be the heroine who is unaware of the pregnancy not the hero. Say what now?! How the heck does that work, you're probably thinking... Basically, in the opening scene of the book, I have my hero turn up at the heroine's work and demand she take a pregnancy test. She doesn't know she's pregnant, but he's been clued into her symptoms by a mutual friend, knows they had unprotected sex and thinks – given the acrimonious way their one night together ended – that she does know and she's deliberately keeping the truth from him... I did get quite a few critical comments not just because of the hero's totally overbearing behaviour in that opening scene – he literally carts her out of her office and marches her to a Harley Street Clinic to get the test which she is convinced will be negative - but also because some readers thought it was impossible for a woman to be three months pregnant and not have figured it out. Fair enough, getting the reader to suspend their disbelief is the author's job and maybe for those readers I didn't do the job well enough. That said, I did quite a lot of research about whether or not it is physically possible – of course it is! – but more importantly I made sure my characters' motivations also worked to make it more believable, that my heroine would be in denial about her symptoms and my hero would be very angry if he thought she was keeping the truth of her pregnancy from him.
My hero's motivation to explain his overbearing behaviour also drives a lot of the developing conflict in the rest of the story... As my heroine struggles to come to terms with the fact that she is pregnant with this man's child, while he pressures her into agreeing to marry him...
So, why is it that he is so outraged that the heroine might not have told him about her pregnancy? Basically, he had been born illegitimate himself - the son of a Vegas showgirl and a British Lord (well this is a Mills and Boon book, folks!) - who was grudgingly 'taken in' by his father after his mother's death when he was still a child because he was the man's only biological child. He had been made to feel ever since by his father, that the circumstances of his birth and his illegitimacy made him less than. That he was essentially unworthy and unloveable because of it, treated with distain by his father and ensconced in a series of British boarding schools until he came of age. As a result of that lonely and emotionally barren upbringing, he had never wanted to have children, but when he thinks the heroine is pregnant, he is determined that no child of his will be born illegitimate, that they will always be acknowledged by him. What he doesn't realise of course, until later in the book - and with a lot of help from my smart and reckless and compassionate heroine – is that acknowledgement is not enough, that having your father's name is not the same as having your father's love. In short, at the start of the book, the hero is convinced he has none of the tools to love this child, and TBH he really doesn't want them, because to open himself up to those kind of emotions will leave him as vulnerable as he was when he was a child after his mother's death... Luckily for him, the heroine – once she has accepted she is pregnant with this man's child and decides she wants to have it, and that she can love it, despite the fact she thinks its father is an overbearing jerk! – does have the tools not just to love this child, but to show its father that she will accept nothing less from him than love too if he wants to marry her. Of course, after that rather contentious beginning, they both have a long way to go before they can get to like, let alone love... But luckily a skinny dipping scene and a few weeks at his manor house in Wiltshire helps with that!!
So, anyway, that's the book's essential conflict: the hero insisting on marriage – because he wants to find a way to do the right thing by his child without actually engaging emotions he thinks he is not capable of showing – and the heroine refusing to marry him – until he proves to her that he has the capacity for love, not just for the child, but also for her...
And rather neatly, that conflict perfectly illustrates what makes the accidental pregnancy trope so compelling as it cleverly combines external and internal conflicts in the hook... Because what is essentially an external conflict - ie: the accidental pregnancy itself – immediately creates lots of delicious internal conflicts while also raising the stakes exponentially in a relationship by introducing the prospect of unplanned parenthood...
Instantly you have so many delicious questions to ask your characters. How do they feel about having children? What were their own childhoods like? Have they been given the tools to deal with this shocking accident (hopefully not!!)? Or will they need to embark on a journey of huge emotional growth to deal with this situation (hopefully yes)? How will that conflict play out?And what of the ongoing relationship? If it's a one-night stand pregnancy - which I particularly prefer, because the less the couple know each other, the more the stakes are raised! - those questions will become more urgent but also potentially more contentious as the couple struggle to align on what to do next, not just about the pregnancy but also about their relationship... And we hope will have to dig deep into their own psyches and confront difficult questions about themselves and that relationship before they can even consider becoming parents...
So, what are the weaknesses/potential problems for a writer when using the accidental pregnancy trope?
Well, while this will very much depend on the type of romance you're writing - ie, is it high romantic fantasy, or more gritty and realistic, is it a historical romance or a contemporary one, etc. For me, one of the biggest difficulties, even when writing high romantic fantasy, is making an accidental pregnancy entirely believable in this day and age, given all the possible avenues your couple will have to sort the problem out without ever having to answer any of those questions... Not gonna lie, the very low failure rate on most forms of contraception these days has caused me no end of problems when it comes to making this trope fly!! And don't even get me started on the morning after pill...So Now You're Back - based on one simple question: how does a man deal with an accidental pregnancy if he does not have the right to chose whether or not to become a father?
Of course there have been some terrific romance books written where the choice was made not to have the baby, and I applaud those writers for tackling what was once a taboo subject in romance and really shouldn't be IMHO - not because everyone has to agree with a woman's right to choose, but simply because it is an experience that many women go through, and I don't think it should be taboo in romance for that reason. Abortion is an extremely polarising and also emotive subject and how we react to it as readers as well as writers will most likely come from our own believe systems as much as those of the characters we create, but I feel it's important that romance novels reflect the full gamut of human experience. That said, when employing the accidental pregnancy trope, of course one of the main aspects of the trope that makes it appealing to readers is that it introduces the prospect of parenthood to your couple. So can it work, if the decision is made not to have the child? Or does it become a different trope entirely?
Obviously these are all just my opinions, about the trope and the choices I make when using it in a novel, but I'd love to hear from other writers (and readers).... Do you love the trope, too? If so, why do you? Do you find it problematic? Are there elements of it that you struggle with, etc.
BTW if you're an aspiring romance author and want to learn more about romance writing from a USA Today bestselling author, I tutor a 7-week online course for the Professional Writing Academy in which we learn about subjects such as Creating Convincing Protagonists, Plotting a Romance, Crafting Effective Dialogue and Writing Compelling Scenes of Intimacy. My next run of the course kicks off on 22nd February 2021 and the early bird offer is available until 21st January.
Having just sent my latest book to my editor – after a ton of revisions (don't ask!) – I spent yesterday putting together my Christmas newsletter.
Now I know it's probably WAY TOO EARLY to be talking about Christmas already but after the year we've all had – and the distinct possibility that we may be doing lots more reading this year – I'm already looking forward to it. And I hope you are too.
With all that extra reading in mind, this year my annual Christmas Prize Draw is a book-only affair and includes the chance to win two signed Christmas book goodies, plus a signed print copy of my next Presents release - which isn't due out until February 2021.
Innocent's Desert Wedding Contract features a sexy sheikh, an innocent Irish heroine, a fake engagement, a marriage of convenience AND enough drama and passion to justify that super hot cover, honest!!
If you're not signed up for my newsletter already here's the link http://bit.ly/2w9qlFF. If you are signed up already, thank you! But don't forget to click on the link in the newsletter to enter before 30th November and good luck!
So, does anyone have plans for the holidays yet this year? I'm hoping we'll be out of lockdown in the UK and I'll be able to spend some time with my wider family!
Copies of my Feb 2021 release The Innocent's Desert Wedding Contract just arrived in the post!! So excited about this story featuring Crown Prince of Zafar Karim Khan, Irish racing stud owner Orla Calhoun, a fake engagement, a lavish desert wedding, a marriage of convenience and enough passion and drama to justify that cover! Honest!
If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a copy before Christmas sign up to my newsletter here which will be dropping on Monday!
So it's finally out there... Nothing compares to seeing your book on shelves - digital or virtual that is!
I loved Leo and Juno's story in the end, but I'm not going to lie it took a lot of work to get it right... Special thanks go to Natalie Anderson, who was a joy to work with, especially when I had to virtually re-write nearly the whole story after revisions.
Anyway, I've had some reviews on Goodreads already, and this is my favourite so far (I wonder why!) so I made a video.