Friday, November 18, 2011

Seekerville Welcomes Guest Blogger Harlequin Romance and Presents Author Kate Walker

Can you hear your own voice?

It’s been contest/competition time in the romance writing world. The winner of Mills & Boon New Voices has just been announced. Over on eHarlequin they are running a second time of So You Think You Can Write. And it’s November so all over the place people are signing up for and setting their sights on National Novel Writing Month and writing up a storm to do so.

All this activity and commitment is great – I love seeing new voices appear on the romance writing scene – on any writing scene! It doesn’t matter what the genre is. And I love the enthusiasm with which people set to and start writing, hoping to create something, build their dreams – maybe even achieve something very special. I remember how it felt to be at this same stage myself – and I can’t quite believe how I ever came to be in the position I am now, 60 titles later, working on my 61st romance novel and still loving this job – and, even more important, still finding new stories to write every year. But as many of the New Voices contest entries, many of the novels I read to critique for the courses I teach, show, some people are trying too hard to write ‘a romance’ – or even ’A Mills and Boon’ – or Harlequin romance.’

I’ve looked at so many of the entries and it seems that people are writing the sort of thing they think the editors are looking for - the sort of stories that are published in Presents or Romance . . . or any other sort of genre. They are, if not copying, then certainly echoing so much that has gone before. And they’re the ones that have read anything recently published – because it’s obvious that some people haven’t read anything new at all.

So many people tell me that they could easily write a romance because writing romance is no problem at all, that they know all about romances and what they’re like- everyone knows that. But if I ask for the title of the last romance they read – or the author – they are suddenly struck dumb, unable to think of anything. They don’t know if they want to write for Romance or Presents, or Medicals. And they have no idea what makes a ‘RIVA’ (in the UK) or what makes a Silhouette Special Edition different from a Silhouette Desire. They don’t even seem to know what they prefer, because they haven’t read enough. Romance publishing today is divided into so many lines, each with its own individual tone and style, so you need to know not just that you want to write romance but what type so that you can find that individual ‘voice’ that is truly yours. So the problem is that so many of these entries in to the competition – or submissions to the editorial department, all end up reading like pale copies of each other. Is it any wonder that the buzzword editors say they are really looking for is unpredictability.

So this seems like a good point to pause, think, and take stock. Take stock of yourself as an individual and as an individual writer. What are your aims (other than getting published) what resources can you bring to the books you want to write – life experiences, studies, job experiences . ..

Why do you want to write? This may seem like an obvious question, but the truth is that publishing – in any area at all – is such a competitive field that there is no way I or any other tutor can promise you that you will be published, no matter how hard you try, how many classes you attend or books you read. So before we start out, you have to accept that if you’re only doing this to be published worldwide, make lots of money and become incredibly famous, then you’re not likely to find much happiness in your writing. But if you want to write because you have stories burning in your head, characters who talk to you at the most inappropriate moments – if you want to set out on this journey to enjoy the trip, rather than simply to get to the destination, then you’ll get a lot out of writing and learning to write the best way you can, no matter what the end result might be.

The other reason for taking stock of yourself is that no publisher, whether of romance or not, is looking for a copy of anything that has gone before. The romance world is not looking for a new Betty Neels, or another Penny Jordan, or Lynne Graham – they have those already. What they are looking for are not pale copies but fresh new individuals. In romance writing it is very difficult to be original – most plots have been done before - but you can be authentic. You can write in a way that is unique to you. That’s what they are looking for when they talk about your writer’s voice.

So take a look at the best asset you have – yourself. What do you bring to your writing? What are the experiences you’ve had – the jobs you know about, the places you’ve live, the people you’ve known. Even if you’ve lived in the smallest town in the most rural part of the country you will have met thousands of people already in real life - and many thousands more in fiction.
That’s another thing you need to consider. What are you like as a reader? What books have you read and loved – maybe read again and again, over and over? What books have lived in your memory long after you’ve finished them? Because the books you read, the ones you pick instinctively, and enjoy the most, tell you what sort of stories you most relate to – the ones you’ll probably be most likely to tell well. For example, if you can’t handle strong emotions and intense passions, then you’re unlikely to be able to write the intensity that a Presents novel needs. And if you have no experience of the world beyond a small country town then the sophisticated, worldly settings these books use are not likely to come easily to you. But those same characteristics that could be a problem for one line could be much more of an asset for a writer who’s aiming for the Romance line.

When asked what is the best advice I can give to a new writer – someone who is just starting out with the aim of writing their first novel – of any sort – my answer is always the same – READ. Read, read, read – and then read some more. Read a variety of stories, from a variety of lines, genres, styles. See which ones appeal to you, not just as a story but because of the characters they contain, the places they’re set in, the tone of the story , the type of conflict there is between the hero and heroine. Read to see the differences between all the lines, to see which one seems the best ‘fit’ for you. If you’re aiming at a single title, learn the different ways and tones in which a story can be told – it’s not just ‘this happened and then that happened and then that happened. . .’ Make notes, and analyze, to see which line/genre feels like ‘home’. That way, you’re creating a sort of writing map for yourself, so that when you set out on your own journey to create a fictional world and the characters who people it you’ll have a much better idea of what you can bring to your story as a writer and how you should think about writing it. These are the things that contribute to that indefinable but vital thing – your ‘voice’. And that voice is what will lift your book from the pale echo level to the interesting tale with PTQ - page turning quality – that gets the reader hooked and involved.

For some of you this will be easy. Others will have a more difficult time deciding just where their voices belong. I know this from experience – in my 60 + titles, I have 12 that were published in Harlequin Romance, the others in Presents. But I’m not naturally a Romance writer. I’ve been much happier and much more successful since I focused on where my voice really belonged – where I was writing my most authentic books.

The truth is that in most fiction writing – and very definitely in writing romance - that you have little chance of being truly original. Someone once said that there were only seven plots in the whole of the history of writing – and every book has some variation on that plot or other. But if you can be original, you can be authentic – you can write your book, tell the story your way – create the sort of characters who appeal to you. Take some time to take stock of yourself as a person, as a reader and as a writer. You are your own best resource as a writer so get to know that resource really well. Start creating that ‘writing map’ that will show you where best to begin – and where you really should be heading. Avoiding false starts and wrong directions will save you a lot of time and heartache from rejections. And hopefully you’ll have scope for a long writing career ahead of you. I may have written 60 books but I’m not bored yet – and I’m definitely not running out of ideas. I’m happily working on book #61 – and planning #62 . . . I’m creating the books I want to write and I’m not copying or even echoing anyone

– I’m writing from the authentic me.

Kate Walker has been writing for Harlequin Presents since 1986. In that time she has written over 60 novels. Her books have been published in over thirty-five countries worldwide.

Her January release 2010 THE KONSTANTOS MARRIAGE DEMAND was recently awarded the Reviewers’ Choice Best Presents Extra 2010 by Romantic Times magazine, and her 2011 title, THE PROUD WIFE (March 2011) has just been nominated for the award this year. Her latest romance THE RETURN OF THE STRANGER was published in Harlequin Presents Extra in October. Coming up is THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES in March 2012.

Kate Walker is also the author of the 12 POINT GUIDE TO WRITING ROMANCE (Aber Publishing). A third edition is now in print which is also available on KINDLE..

Kate Walker has an MA in English from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and worked as a Children’s Librarian before concentrating on writing full-time. She runs writing days and weekend workshops on fiction and in 2012 she will be teaching a week-long residential course on writing romantic fiction at The Watermill in Posara, Tuscany. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Romance Writers of America, has taught several times at the RNA Conference and reads and critiques for their New Writers’ Scheme. She is married with one grown up son.

Readers can find Kate here:

Website Blog Facebook

Author Page created by Romance Book Paradise Promotions.

Today Kate will be giving away a copy of KATE WALKER’S 12 POINT GUIDE TO WRITING ROMANCE to one lucky commenter!
Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

Kate's latest release, The Return of the Stranger

Standing high on the windswept moors, the lone figure of Heath Montanha vows vengeance on the woman who destroyed the last fragments of his heart...Lady Katherine Charlton has never forgotten the stable hand with dangerous fists and a troubled heart from her childhood. Now the rebel is back, his powerful anger concealed under a polished and commanding veneer. When ten years of scandal and secrets are unleashed, with a passionate, furious kiss, Heath's deepest, darkest wish crystallizes...Revenge - and Kat - will be his!

UK Cover

You can purchase The Return of the Stranger here:

Amazon UK
Mills & Boon
Ebook at Harlequin
M&B Australia


  1. I'm first!!! I wonder what time it is in England right now??!

    It's 5:04 am. I checked.

    Good morning. English Breakfast tea for all. And a nice continental breakfast. Helen will be here with coffee for us Americans.

    Welcome to KATE WALKER! I am a huge fan.

  2. Kate,

    This is amazing. Thank you for your insight and encouragement. I don't write romance per se, though I hope there will be a smidgeon in my next book. However, I've learned so much here in Seekerville that I'm certain your book giveaway would be beneficial. Sign me up! may at may thek9spy dot com

    Thanks for being here!

    (Mornin' Tina. Thanks for tea!!!! May sends her best sniffs and greetings too! And yeppers. Should be a bit after 5 there.)

  3. The early birds, or the late we are again! ;)

    Good morning, Kate! I appreciate your insight and I'm blown away by 60+ books. One thing stuck out - your comment about 'this job' which is something that is hard to wrap my head around. I keep regular writing hours and I treat my writing like a job, but it doesn't feel like a job unless I'm on deadline. And for that, I'm grateful. When make-believe starts feeling like a job, I will move to FL and apply at Disney. In the meantime, I am having fun, and I hope that translates on the page.

    Many thanks for your post.


  4. Wheee, children's librarians unite! (I actually wrote that 'untie' first, which made NO sense. :)

    I loved this post because it took me three years to figure this out, when I could have just read it here in Seekerville!! That shows how awesome you guys are. Some other poor newbie will read this and apply, without the wasted time.

    I kept trying to make my first story a women's fiction, when all I really wanted was to write a romance between two people. When I finally chopped it up and threw out 6 characters, there it was: a book just like the Love Inspired I like to read. *sigh*

    P.S. Mr. Montanha is super YUM.

  5. Okay, Americans, line up for coffee. It has ARRIVED!

    Sheesh, Kate, you're making us THINK! That's hard on brains.

    I need this book as much as the one up for grabs yesterday. So put me in the draw. Several times?? :)


  6. Hi Kate!

    What a great, inspiring post. You've given the same advice I give to myself and anyone else who wants to write: read, read and read. When I was in college I learned that to write well, you need to read well. It's still true.

    And I loved this line: "So before we start out, you have to accept that if you’re only doing this to be published worldwide, make lots of money and become incredibly famous, then you’re not likely to find much happiness in your writing."

    I'm glad I'm not expecting any of those things - so I have a fair chance of finding happiness in my writing :)

    Tina, I'll pass on the tea for now, and just pick up a couple munchies. I'll be back in the morning for the full breakfast, though!

  7. Kate,

    I actually have studied the various lines. I'm amazed you wrote for Romance and for Presents, because they seem so different.

    What I find difficult is that I've read so many books like I'm trying to target that they all start to seem similar. There are so many with knitting groups, with people renovating houses and running bakeries, that it feels like having someone be a financial planner, or a musician, or a lousy cook who is bad at crafts, would be out of place. :)

    You said you still have stories to tell. Do you have a theme or aspect of your writing which you believe makes your stories uniquely yours and best displays your voice?


    I'd love to win the book.

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

  8. Great post. What's not to love about a Kate Walker romance?

  9. Hello Kate,
    I would love to add some romance in my novels. Thanks for the information.
    Oh, and please sign me up for the draw!
    Thanks so much,
    Jan K.

  10. I always said I had stories in my head. Now I know they were burning in my head, sooo much better.

    Thank you Kate Walker.

  11. Hello everyone! I'm going to need to get my time zones sorted out to be able to chat with you all - I've only just got started on my day and already there are so many of you here to chat with.

    Thank you so much form inviting me to visit Seekerville - I've never been here before so I'm looking forward to getting to know you.

    I've fed the cats, put the washing in, made the breakfast . . . so now I can have some time with you all . . Oh - oh - no - I forgot and my phone has just reminded me . . . dentist's at 10! Luckily it's only for a check-up so I'll be able to concentrate here when I get back.

    Good morning!

  12. Hello Tina - Thank you for being my first visitor! It's 8.09 am here now - here being Lincolshire UK - and I'm ready to start my day with Seekerville.

    Thank you so much for saying you're a huge fan - there's nothing like a compliment like that to start me off with a smile on my face. And I've had my mug of tea so I'm really ready to start the day . . .if only there wasn't that visit to the dentist first!

  13. Hi KC - and May! - I'm so pleased that my post gave you insight - and I really hope it does encourage you! I really believe that the skills of writing are common to all types of fiction - here in the UK lots of Creative Writing teachers use my 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance as a guidebook for any sort of fiction. Then you put the emphasis on the core of the story for you - thriller, historical, SF, whatever. I've only just discovered Seekerville but I can see why you would learn such a lot here - there are some great posts. I'll coming back to read more!

    I'm grateful for the tea too - and I'll look forward to coffee later

  14. Hello Lyndee - For me, you're early birds - but maybe where you are, it's late! I always surprise myself when I put down that total of 60 books! But then I wrote them - as we all write - one word at a time! (And I've been writing for y-e-ars!) It does seem strange to have 'making up stories' as a 'job' - but the minute I got paid fopr my very first book, it became a job - I find that it's vital to treat it that way. We can put aside a hobby or fun to do somnething else - but a job needs a professional priority. Dealines do concentrate the mind wonderfully!

  15. As a reader I do NOT want to just be reading 'repeats' or predictable shadows of stories.

    I want to be thrilled & surprised & shocked & entertained. Yes, I want it all.

  16. A fellow Children's Librarian - yes Virginia, let's untie - er unite! I believe that it was working with children's books that taught me about straightforward, clear, uncomplicated storytelling - and that brought the readers back for more.

    I symnpathise with your own journey to working out what you wanted to write - everyone kept telling me that as a woman with an MA I should write something 'deep and meaningful' - so I did - deep and meaningful romances between two people! After all, what is more meaningful than love?

    And Mr Montanha - oh yes. . .I was so lucky with that cover!

  17. Hello Helen - and thank you for inviting me here today - I'd love to stay for coffee but can I take a rain check on that and come back later - the clock is ticking and the dentist is waiting . . .I'll be back when I've done with him.

    Oh and I planned to make you think! ;o) I hope it's productive thinking. And everyone who posts a comment will be in with a chance to win the 12 Point Guide - I can see I'm going to have trouble choosing a winner as you're all so ready to talk - but I always get Charlie my Maine Coon cat to pick the winners - so it will be totally fair - unless someone bribes him with salmon!

    Back soon - hopefuly with no dental work needing doing!

  18. What a wonderful thought provoking post. I entered NV this year, and read a lot of the other entries and I must admit with many I never got to the end of them. Nicely written, but it was just a case of the same old thing. Having just read last years winning entry I can see why it won - a fresh voice & new approach. I'm still trying to find my voice, but your insight definitely gives me plenty to think about! Good luck with the dentist.

  19. Thank you so much for your post Kate. One thing I know is that I'll always learn something at Seekerville. Thank you for sharing. I could really use your 12 Point Guide to Weiting Romance. Thank you for the chance to win.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  20. Good morning all!

    Thank you Kate for your words of experience. I know that I have a lot to learn, and as another commenter said - obviously also need to read your book, lol.

  21. Cats! you have cats too! I am up early with a croupy cat. We sat in the bathroom until she felt better.

    So Kate, I do have some questions for you! You thought you'd get away without questions? HA!

    1. Return of the Stranger is based on a Wuthering Heights theme? Is that correct? How did that evolve?

    2.I've been following your blog. Lunch at the Ritz with the Mills & Moon authors. You have to share that with our Seekerville guests.

    3. Finally...for those of you who don't know Kate is going to be teaching at the Watermill at Posara ( in Tuscany ). An artist's retreat for painters and authors. This is my secret dream. I get their newsletter. Is this your first time Kate? Here is the link for those interested in dreaming big like me.

    The Watermill

  22. LOL, should read Mills & Boon not Mills & Moon.

    BTW I have Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance on my Kindle. Excellent.

  23. BTW Kate, if you're picking a winner, reminder that our 13 Seekers are ineligible. We only get to host. The fun part. We leave the prizes for our visitors!

    The 13 Seeker authors are: (those with asterisks write for Harlequin)

    Ruth Logan Herne *
    Glynna Kaye*
    Cara Lynn James
    Debby Giusti*
    Missy Tippins*
    Julie Lessman
    Mary Connealy
    Sandra Leesmith
    Audra Harders*
    Pam Hillman
    Myra Johnson
    Janet Dean*

  24. Kate, thanks for stopping by Seekerville. 'Presents' are among my favorite HQN lines, I've read them since I was a child - those white covers/spines call my name. I hope someday to sample a fairycake and sit with a cuppa in front of an aga :-) - for now, I will have to see if my local grocery store sells a box of Pims tea in their import section. jennaAT jennavictoriaDOT com

  25. I'm grabbing the American coffee while dancing in the streets over Kate's awesome and still raging career!!!!

    This... this is a printer-offer, a go-get-'em-tiger Vince Lombardi type post.

    Kate, thank you so much for being here today, and mega,huge congrats on those awards and nominations.

    Oh my stars, woman, that rocks!

    I'm serving fish-n-chips later. With salt and vinegar.

    In newswrap.....

    Tipping my hat to this gracious and hard-working lady!

  26. Good morning. Thanks for sharing with us, Kate.
    Gulp, more than 60 books! That's wonderful.
    I appreciate the insight and encouragement you've shared this morning. Now for my hot tea.
    Have a great day!
    Jackie Layton

  27. Thanks so much Kate for this article, it's very inspiring. I was worried when you asked, "Why do you want to write?", but turns out I have the right motives :) Phew!

    Would love to win this book.

  28. Welcome Kate!! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us today in Seekerville--your post is a definite "Keeper" for my file. You've made so many excellent points here--but I especially like that you pointed out how very important it is for us to be READERS as we work at our own writing (I'm trying not to look at my "to be read" stack since it's gotten taller, haha). Congratulations on your VERY successful writing career--60 books--WOW! ~ And I'm especially thrilled you have CATS!! You MUST be a super nice person *grin*. Thanks again for sharing with us--and I brought along food for the breakfast table this morning: Georgia Pecan Pancakes, Georgia Peach muffins, and Pecan Praline coffeecake-Enjoy!~ Blessings, Patti Jo ~ p.s. Tina, so sorry your furry baby has been croupy...sure hope the little guy is better SOON.

  29. Hi Kate,

    Thank you for this thought provoking and challenging blog. It really started the wheels turning this morning about making sure what I write doesn’t echo someone else’s writing. What a waste of my time it would be to spend hours typing up a story other authors have already written. Thankfully, this is not the case.

    And finding my own voice was an amazing experience. Once found, my stories were stronger, richer and more fun to write, because I wasn’t trying to fit somewhere I didn’t belong I was home and in comfortable writing shoes.

    I hate to admit I haven’t read any of your books, but after visiting your website and reading the descriptions I’ll be correcting this right away. :o)


  30. Kate,

    What a really excellent post. It's true that reading is the best writing teacher. Even re-reading long loved books, I see new things in those stories as I learn more as a writer. I even read the less then perfect books! Thanks so much for all of the encouragement.

  31. Welcome to Seekerville Kate,

    And what a way to start the morning with that hunk Heath staring at me. woo hooo. Be still my heart.

    Harlequin romances were my first romances and I still love them. You're the best. smile

    Thanks for all the advice. It is so true and basic. Have a fun day here.

  32. Good Morning, Kate! Welcome to Seekerville!

    I absolutely loved your words of wisdom...write where your heart is. Romances have always been my favorite genre and most likely will continue to hold my heart, LOL!

    Congrats on 61 books. You are a household name!

  33. What an insightful post! I loved the suggestions for figuring out my voice and what lines might best fit my writing/stories. Your word pictures of "pale copies/echoes" of stories really clicked with me. I want to write with my voice, the story that is in my heart, rather than one that sounds just like someone else's. I've completed half of my first WIP, so I'm probably still figuring out exactly what my voice is, and your suggestions will help greatly with that.

    Thanks, so much, Kate!

    Orange and cranberry scones just came out of the oven. Hope they go with this morning's tea and coffee!

  34. Visting the UK has been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl. My mother spent time in Manchester and used to tell me beautiful stories of the places she visited around the country and the very gracious people she met.

    I have 3 historical novels set in Yorkshire hoping to someday see the light of a new morning. LOL!

    To date though, cowboys are my passion and may God bless them forever!

  35. Wow, Kate, that last cover is ... gorgeous. Hope you have fun in Seekerville today! It is a fun place.

    And thanks for your insights on being original and finding your own voice. I couldn't agree more. Write from your own experiences and your own tastes. Great advice.

  36. Welcome to Seekerville, Kate! Congratulations on your success! I'm blown away by your 60 plus books!

    Thanks bunches for your wisdom-filled post. Especially the nugget that we can't be original but we can be authentic. As you said:

    – you can write your book, tell the story your way – create the sort of characters who appeal to you.

    Voice in a nutshell.

    I love to read, but don't have the time to read as much as I'd like. How do you manage to handle everything--writing, teaching, and life? :-)


  37. Oh wow! You've all been busy! Well I was warned that Seekerville was a very busy and interactive site - so I was prepared.

    Dentist visit over - no fillings, no work needed thank goodness - so I can hope to catch up with you all again - but I have to go out to do a bit of grocery shopping or we won't eat tonight - but I will catch up with you all I promise!

    Now where was I . .

  38. Kate,

    Very insightful post. I'm afraid I lost a little bit of my voice with a grueling critique partner.

    After all the edits, the ms was technically flawless but the story was flat and boring.

    I've since said goodbye and I'm finding my voice again.

    Thanks for the encouragement to be myself.

  39. Hello again, Kate!

    I had to go back and re-read your post this morning - there is so much packed into it that one reading doesn't do it justice. This is definitely going in my notebook!

    One of the many things I've struggled with as a new writer is defining what people mean when they talk about "voice". It almost takes on a zen-like quality when you realize that your voice isn't something you put on, it's something that comes from within. I like the way you described it as the authentic you - that makes sense.

    But when you said

    "And that voice is what will lift your book from the pale echo level to the interesting tale with PTQ - page turning quality – that gets the reader hooked and involved."

    you really hit me. This is what I want my books to have - that extra oomph that gets the readers lost in my story and brings them back for the next one.

    Thank you again!

  40. WOW, KATE, what a resume!! And WHOAT, what a blog!!! THANK YOU for coming to Seekerville today -- this piece is AWESOME!!

    You said, "What are you like as a reader? What books have you read and loved – maybe read again and again, over and over?"

    I couldn't agree more!! I have found that writing what you love to read is KEY in being able to emote onto the paper (or keyboard) with a level of passion that will translate into a healthy readership.

    I actually started writing my style of "edgy" Inspirational Romance when I couldn't find too much of what I wanted to read in the Christian market a number of years ago. I was (and am) a Gone With the Wind freak who loved the writing of many secular romance authors, but found I needed to have passion for God in the middle along with ... well, passion!! That's when I wrote my first book -- for myself, really, and for God, and it's been a love affair ever since with writing Inspy romance.

    Thanks again for coming by -- it's SUCH a pleasure to get to know you.


  41. Lovely to have you here, Kate! Just finished my usual morning pot of Earl Grey and settling in at the computer.

    And what a fascinating post! You make such a good point about being authentic, even when all the "original" plots have already been done over and over again.

    I couldn't wait to check out your 12-Point Guide to Writing Romance and just ordered it for my Kindle!

    Oh, and I'm with you, Audra--looking forward someday to my first trip to Great Britain! Would LOVE to investigate my English and Irish roots!



    Allergic to cats.


    Welcome to Seekerville, Kate!

    I can relate to what you're saying. I tried to write romantic suspense. It's now in the bottom of the virtual filing cabinet behind the very real arsenic.

    And that's where it should stay.

    But then here, one day, one of the ever-so-lovely Seekers [I think it was Missy] read a post on my blog and said it was my voice and definitely humor.

    And it all clicked.

    Rom Com. Or really, Romantic Dramedy. A bit too much drama to be true Rom Com. But way too much Com not to mention it.

    And it FITS. And the MS I'm pitching now, just... flowed. Like Mary fast.

    Which reminds me that I'm supposed to be writing today. I'm so far behind on NaNo that, at this rate, I won't finish until after Christmas [and that's just the 50K, not the full rough draft ;)].

    Back to work! I'd love to be entered in the drawing!!

    carolmoncado at gmail dot com

    [And Tina - thank you for the books I won last month! Got them yesterday! WOOHOO!]

  43. Kate, what an insightful post. I recently sent a partial request and I've kept telling myself not to expect anything out of it because that particular story is different, unexpected. But now, I have a slight glimmer of hope they might ask for more.

    Thank you for visiting.


  44. Kate!! Love novels set in England and The Return of the Stranger sounds like an amazing premise! Great post too. Love it when blog posts make you think! :)

    Would love to win a copy of your 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance!

    -Amanda Barratt

  45. You are welcome, Carol! I'll keep those kitties away from you.

  46. Oh my can I relate, Bridgett. I was in a critique group that ended up totally paralyzing me. I remember at my last meeting with them reading my pages aloud. I stopped with the sudden realization that my voice was GONE and my pages sounded like the strongest opinioned person in the room. That was a very scary time.

  47. Thanks for such a helpful post, Kate. As always, your advice is invaluable.


  48. What? Tuscany? Oh man... I'm dreaming now. But then, it might be a huge blow to my ego to be thrown in the deep end of a creative pool like that. Writers and painters all together in the Italian countryside, being taught by Kate Walker? *swoon* What a treat!

    Tina and Bridgett, that sounds really sad about the critique partners. I don't have a group, but my sister reads through my current WIp and keeps me honest. Every now and then I'll steal half a line from somewhere I loved and since she reads EVERYTHING, she always catches it. She tells me, 'say it yourself or don't say it.' :D

    Kate, 60+ books? Did you start writing at 20? Write 10 books a year? I'm a late starter so at this rate I'll be 140 before I ever reach that number.

  49. Ach...

    critique groups.

    Don't get me started.

    BUT... working with one person who could put up with me was a huge HELP... God bless Sandra.

    And now we share as a group as needed, but I don't critique. Melissa critiques me...

    And that works. Who needs a middleman when they've got an editor? What if your middleman (critiquer) and editor don't agree?

    Then you've got time wasted and I don't waste time.

    Unless chocolate is involved. ;)

  50. Bridgette and Tina -

    So sorry about the critique groups :(. I've been afraid of that too.

    Fortunately, I've found a CP who loves me and my voice and worked with it. And I love her voice and sure hope I didn't try to change it!

    We'll see how it goes with our next projects ;).

  51. Hello Kate,

    Wow, what an inspirational career. I loved this post because I'm trying to figure out where my writing belongs. Does it fit the Harlequin Love Inspired Line or is it more single title romance? I'm hoping the answer will pop out at me somehow when I least expect it. Like I'll open a newspaper and it will say "Go single title!" LOL.

    But your words helped! Especially these:
    "Make notes, and analyze, to see which line/genre feels like ‘home’."

    That's what I try to do as I read now - make notes of what works and why!

    I'm trying my first historical right now and it's set in Derbyshire, England, where my ancestors are from! Loosely based on my great-great grandparents. Someday I'd love to get to England, too! I've got 43,000 words done in NaNo already, so I'm excited.

    Thanks for sharing with us today. I'd love to be in the draw.

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  52. Tina and Bridgette, I totally understand. I've been going over a manuscript and I hate the first 50 pages. It's dull and all of me seems to be taken out of the pages. It can be discouraging and allow doubts to creep in.

  53. Right, I'm back - and you've all been busy. Thank you all so much for your comments. I just need to find my place and to talk with you some more . . .

  54. Hi Jan - yes, definitely - to write well we need to be able to read well - to read as writers, not just for the story but to see how it's put together. And I'm glad you're ot just hoping to make a lot og money and get famous - there arfe so few writers who do that. The trouble is thery're the ones we hear a lot about!

    The rest of us write because we just can't help it!

    Breakfast? I'm heading towards dinner time here - it's been a busy day.

  55. Hi Cathy - when I first started writing it was so long ago that back then the Mills & Boon lines wereb't divided up so much as they are now - and the parameters of the lines weren't so strongly defined. Over the years, the particular aspects of those two lines have become more distinct. I used to write a romance - sometimes it would be intensely passionate, sometimes more gentle - and the editors would decide where it would sell in America. Then I was asked to decide to write for one line - and writing for Presents meant I had to emphasise my darker, more intense, more passionate side (as a writer of course! ;o) ) I found this was actually the type of story I enjoyed writing mnore. The difference for me when I wrote both types was always the characters and so I told their story - it still is but I focus more on the Presents type of characters.

    Hmm - reading books that all seem so similar - that's a problem. I'm wonderign if you are really aiming for the line/type of story you should be doing - your characters sound as if they want to come alive rather than fit into what you think are the right lines for the line you're looking at.

    Let me share with you some truly valuable advice that a Senior Editor gave me right at the very beginning of my career - I had said that I didn't think I would be able to write the 'dark and dangerous' - and perhaps rather cruel heroes some authors created. Her reply was that if I created a hero who I loved, admired, found really appealing - and wrote him well enough - then she was sure I would take my readers with me.

    60 books later . . .!

    As to that other question - which is quite a difficult one for me to answer, perhaps my readers would do better! - but I do think that when I created the heading for my web site and put 'intensely sensual romance with heart' I was describing my books. I think they are intensely emotional - not just passionate - and I believe inromance as being about strong emotions not just sweetness and roses.

  56. Marilyn! How great to see you here! Waving to say Hi my friend!

  57. Hello Janet - I may be biased but I always think that all novels are made better for having a bit of romance in them - but then I'm the sort of person who reads crime novels for the relationship between the dectectives or whatever and no so much who dunnit!

  58. Hi Mary - stories burning in your head is so much better for a writer - because then soon they get too hot and just have to get out!

  59. Hello again Susie - I do hope that one day you manage to get to a workshop or course - it sounds to me like we could have a good talk about this. Trying to find your voice is one of the hardest things - you want to avoid copying anyone and you don't want to just repeat the same old, same old. I always value the great advice that Senior Editor gave me - see my answer to Cathy above! My test is to look at a plot and think - so that's how she wrote it - but how would *my characters* behave in that situation - the characters are individuals and they are what help to keep my writing fresh, I think.

  60. Smiles and blessing back to you Cindy - what a lovely greeting. I'm beginning to see why people feel they learn so much from this site - there's such a buzz about it! Good luck in the draw

  61. Hello Alison - I'm so glad that my post helped you. That;s what it was written for after all. And the same with the 12 Point Guide - I tried to make that as helpful and practical as I could. I should mention that it doesn't just have 'how to' chapters but I had exercises to do at the end of each chapter - and they are they are some of the sorts of things I do in my workshops - because the 12 Point Guide was originally a short course - and developed into the book

  62. Hi again Tina - first of all thank you for your help with the names of the Seekers - I'm sorry you can't enter the draw

    Secondly thank you for buying the 12 Point Guide - I was so happy when the publisher decided to bring the book out on Kindle - I had to do some heavy persuading! He wasn't sure it would sell as an ebook!! Thanks for helping me convince him that it wold! :o)

    I'll answer your Mills & Moon - and other questions in the next post

  63. When you get a minute, don't forget to answer those burning questions about

    Wuthering Heights,


    The Ritz@!!!

    I am excited to hear your answer

    Tina Radcliffe

  64. Excellent post, Kate! I don't write "romance" per se, but if your book can be applied to other genres, I'd love to be included in the drawing.

    Finding my voice...I'm not sure if I've ever had a problem with that, in my fiction writing at least. I think maybe because I'm a journalist by day and HAVE to write in a certain voice all day, that when I get to work on my own stuff, my own natural voice is just bursting to get out! And I agree with reading what you write. There's nothing more inspiring to me than reading a great book in my genre, because then I want to get cracking on my own WIP!

    Have a great day!


    stephludwig at hotmail dot com

  65. So - Tina

    Cats - yes I have cats I used to have 4 but sadly this year we lost the two old gentlemen so now I have 2 gkorious Maine Coons - Flora (aka Princess Flora Floozibelle) who is smoky grey and now fully grown at 4 years old and Charlie the red and white boy who is only 1 year old and so - gulp! - has a coupe more years growing to do! He's huge already. I often post pix of them on my blog so if you visit, put their names into the search box and yo'll see how beautiful they are.

    They send their purrs to your poor croupy cat - hope she feels better

  66. Return of the Stranger - and Wuthering Heights - yes it was part of the mini-series The Powerful and The Pure based on classic books of romantic fiction. The premise was to take four of the great classics of romantic fiction and use them as inspiration for Modern Romances (Presents/Sexy) and I was asked to do Wuthering Heights.

    The other authors chosen were – Sharon Kendrick (Jane Eyre), Kate Hewitt (Emma), Cathy Williams (Pride and Prejudice). Iconic romantic stories that everyone who loves romance remembers – with fascinating heroines and specially with heroes that have set the ‘dark and devastating’ standard for all time to come.

    It’s perhaps important to say that the plan for this series was not – as some people have thought – plagiarism or stealing from the originals. We are using them as an inspiration, and honouring them by doing so. They were all much bigger books than a short category romance – with much more in them than just the love story that romance writing focuses on –but that central love story was what I needed to focus on and to weave into a Modern Romance for today’s readers.

    The Return of The Stranger is inspired by Wuthering Heights but it’s a stand-alone romance for the Presents line that works whether you have read the original or not. So far lots of readers have written to me to tell me how they love it which has realy thrilled me

  67. Kate, welcome! We're so glad you joined us today.

    Wow, over 60 books! That's amazing. I'm working on a 6th. :)

    By the way, I LOVE that UK cover!!

  68. Afternoon tea at the Ritz - well, every year the Association of Mills & Boon authors get together to have lunch. This year quite a few American authors came across to join us and about 12 of us all got together to have afternoon tea at the Ritz - we had the champagne afternoon tea! We know how to enjoy ourselves. It was so elegant and posh with sparkling chandeliers, a pianist playing in the background and waiters elegant in black and white making aure we had all we needed. We had a choice of finger sandwiches (egg, smoked salmon - and of course cucumber!) and everyone could choose which tea they wanted individually. Then we had scones with jam and cream, lemon posset, a choice of cakes . . .

    The other authors there were - Jane Porter, Sara Craven, Sophie Weston, Jennie Lucas, Lynn Raye Harris. Natalie Rivers, Fiona Harper, Heidi Rice . . .

    Sadly my camera failed me while I was there - but if you want to see how glamorous it was - try looking here

  69. And Tuscany - oh yes, Tuscany . . . I am so looking forward to that. I was 'headhunted' for this - asked specially to create a course for the Watermill. They said they would like me to create a course, stay at The Watermill, in Tuscany, with my husband - all accomodation, food etc provided - and they'd pay me!! Was I interested? I had to be forced of course!;o)

    The course is called Beyond The Hearts and Flowers and it's a fuller version of the advanced Romance Writing course I run at Fishguard in Wales every year - if anyone wants details they can be found at the Watermill site - thanks for posting the link Tina - or on the Events page on my web site -

    That's where I post everythig like this I'm doing

  70. Hi Jenna - I love to meet people who share my addiction to Presents romances - I love the high-octane emotions and conflicts in them. I don't have an aga myself but I do havee a friend who has one in her cottage in the Lake District - but I am partial to fairycakes!

  71. Thank you for the dancing, Ruth! But did you know that you've hit on my secret addiction - fish and chips - with LOTS of salt and vinegar - wrpped in newspaper (well, OK - in greaseproof paper first, I don;t want print on my haddock!) I love that - even if it's really not too healthy>

  72. Oh this disease.
    It's like having fleas.
    I have to scratch books.
    Help me, Lord, please.

  73. Good Morning Jackie - well, you've all kept me so busy that it's good evening now! I hope you enjoyed that tea - it's what keeeps me going all day!

  74. Hello Helen - I'm delighted that I inspired you - that's such a compliment. But I always thought that you would have the right reasosn for wanting to write - the members of this site and the visitors seem to have the best reasons for wanting to write - because they have stories to tell

  75. Catmon - your name gave you away! I had a sneak peek at your blog and found you have six cats! You must be an extra super nice purrson. My 2 send purrs to your furry gang. The most I've ever had at one time is four but I think I cold always find room for another that needed a home. Since my beloved elder statesman cat Sid died in September I have been so tempted to visit the cat rescue . . . .

  76. Kirsten thank you for your lovely comments - I think what you say is so true that when you find your real writing voice then "my stories were stronger, richer and more fun to write, because I wasn’t trying to fit somewhere I didn’t belong I was home and in comfortable writing shoes." If we copy or even try to echo someone else then our writign will always read like a pale shadow - and we don'r want to fade into the background but come forward and have people love what we write!

    And if you do read any of my books I really hope you'll enjoy them

  77. Hi Julia - it sounds to me like you are well on the way to finding your true writing self. It's funny isn't it - even those books that don't really work for us can teach us something - like what did an editor see in this book that we must be missing. After all they boought it! Sometimes looking for the why in a situation like that can be really valuable

  78. Love your accent, Kate, which came through on your blog. Also love the wonderful advice you provided today.

    Tuscany sounds like a must for all Seekers and Seekervillagers. Much more fun than Atlanta, GA! :)

    And tea at the Ritz! How lovely. I was with Lynn Raye Harris recently at Southern Magic's Readers Luncheon. How exciting she could join you.

    Suspense is what I love to read and write. Guess I'm lucky in that I never had to question what genre fit my voice. The more I write suspense, the more I love it!

    Thanks for being with us today, Kate!

    I brought salmon for the cats! :)

  79. Thanks for the welcome Sandra - and I know how you feel about my 'Heath' when I first got my author copies of the book I just stared and stared! It's one of my favourite covers ever

    And thank you for saying how much you love Harlequin romances - some people think they're just lightweight, too much the same, over- dramatic but believe me, it's a hard job getting a story into such a short number of words, meeting the readers' expectations - and making each one that bit different! Luckily the readers seem to think we keep managing it

  80. Hi Audra - thank you too for your warm welcome. Yes- I always say write from your heart - after all, if you don't write from your heart then how can you put any heart into what you're writing?So many people have tried to write romance cynically, thinking it's a fast track to big money (sadly, it isn't!!) but the lack of heart always shows through/ Good luck with your own romance writing

  81. Oh Jeanne - I spotted those orange and cranberry scones and I came to a full stop - they sound so delicious! I'll just have to make another pot of tea!
    I hope you find out more about where you and your writing voice fit so that you can go from strength to strength as you finish that first WIP- and another . . . and another . . .

  82. The whole concept of finding your voice is one of those almost MYSTICAL facets of writing.

    It's just hard to explain. And even after you're found's hard to be sure you really did.

    And what if you've found your voice and it's chick lit but that genre is suddenly dead?

    Writing, it's not for wimps.
    (we should put that on a t-shirt)

  83. Audra - one of my best friendfs lived in Manchester - she's the writer Michelle Reid. And I grew up in Yorkshire - the West Riding and my husband is from Leeds so it's part of the country I know well

  84. Thank you Melanie - I really am having fun talking with you all. I was told that Seekerville was a busy and active site and they weren't joking!

    And yes - that cover . . .

  85. Hello Janet - that comment on being 'authetic'comes from the heart - I tried different things - short stories, YA books, Historical novels - till I found my home in Presents and when I found that - well, all thos ebooks followed!
    Reading - well, if you want the truth, that's the big difficulty in being a writer and ow all those teaching commitments, I never ever have enough time to read. I always say that as well as buying abook token, we should be able to buy a token for enough free time to read the book! Guess what my Christmas present to myself is going to be . . .(But of course my TBR mountain will grow over Christmas too!!)

  86. KATE!! Thank you so much for your detailed responses!

    I want to go to the Ritz!!

    What's new for you as far as upcoming books and series?

    Tina Radcliffe

  87. Bridgett - you have my sympathy. A gfood critique partner can be great - but a bad one . . . Ouch! The problem is that they can try to push you into the way THEY would write the book, not the way that is right for you. Even when I critique for writers, I remind them that the only critique that really counts is one that comes from an editor - and tells you what she wants from the novel to make it buyable.

    I wish you every good luck in finding your writing self again and going from strength to strength

  88. Thank you so much for your post. I found it very inspiring and encouraging. I am at a place when I will take all the help I can especially from an experience writer like yourself. I am a great fan.
    Glenda Parker

  89. One more thing, before the day is over. Thanks for mentioning my all time favorite romance writer Betty Neels. Her books took me to a dreamy world I could never see in real life. And so one could ever replace her.

  90. Thanks for an inspiring post!

  91. Thanks for the advice, Kate. It is well-timed and just what I needed to hear right now.

  92. Kate, thank you so much for spending the day with us!!

  93. Welcome to Seekerville, Kate, and thanks for a great blog! I can't imagine writing so many books. That's amazing.

    I agree the key to writing romance is to read a lot. Now if I could only find the time...

  94. Hi Seekervilles amd All Friends!

    If you want to get in for one of Kate Walker titles, currently she's doing a giveaway here:

    and here:

    and there's still a chance to win!

  95. I am so excited about this website! I love all of the wonderful advice and help that you all give!

  96. I think getting time to read is one of the challenges I have the most. I need to make the time for it the same way I do for writing.

  97. Considering all of the points on writing romance (and writing in general)I still need to learn, I definitely could and would use this book until it was too worn out to read!

    Thanks for a great post and please enter me in the drawing.

  98. Checking in....

    Kate, what a fun day....

    Scrolling now...

    Oh, No.

    Kate has a cat named Charlie too.

    This could be a LONG DAY....

    Ooops got interrupted by adorable visiting grandchildren... and it is now the next day.

    Which means I need coffee...

  99. Wonderful interview! I totally agree that you have to find your niche. It took me a long time to find mine. I used to love the historicals. i thought that I could write one. Then I was bogged down by the research. I tried a suspense, more problems. Then they came out with the Christian romantic suspense and I loved it. i loved reading it, and I love writing it.
    Linda Cacaci

  100. Note to self: when you visit a great buzzy site like Seekerville, make sure you don't have too many appointments - I tried to catch up yesterday, but you all comment so much!

    But I promised I'd amswer everyone - so, even if I'm a bit late - I'm back! And I'm not leaving till I've talked to everyone. If I can just remember where I was . . .

  101. So - Jan that's so true - your voice isn't something that you put on, it come from inside you. THat's why I use the word authentic.

    Sometimes I point you that if we were telling a story out loud - using our real voice instead of printed words - we would all do that differently. Some would have humour, some would be dramatic, others poetic . . .

    I'm glad that my post has helped you - and I hope you use your voice to write some really great books!

  102. Hello Julie - thank you for your warm welcome - so many people (myself included) say something like you've commented. I know that I write to sort of romances I want to read - just as you say with your edgy inspy romances. That sounds a perfect way to discover your voice and tell the sort of romance that is authentic to you. And when you do it is like a love affair, isn't it? Or like coming home

  103. Hi Myra - now, Earl Grey is just about the only tea I don't enjoy drinking. But I hope you enjoyed yours.
    Oh - and yo've already ordered the 12 Point Guide! Wow - thak you so much. I really hope you enjoy it and find it helps you.

    So many of my writer friends want to discover more about their ancestors in the UK. A couple of years ago my DH and I had great fun taking Anne McAllister and her husband to so many places where her family had lived in the past

  104. Oh sorry, Carol - I'll keep Charlie and Flora away from you. (They're in the garden right ow so I think you're safe!)
    So ofetn it seems that someone else who reads our work can see more of what makes our voice that we can - how great that you had such helpful advice to help you see what was authentic to you

  105. Hi Amanda. Funny thing - someone just emailed me and said they read Return of The Stranger and at first thought it was a historical novel - it must be those Wuthering Heights echoes!

    It was an intriguing - and challenging premise to work on

  106. Hi again Tina! It's scary isn;t it when someone is so opinionated that they try to impose their style of writing on everyone. I do get cross when critiquers pull a novel to pieces only because it's not the way they would have written it.

    How's your croupy cat? C&F hope she's better

  107. Hello Jude - and thank you. It's sucha complient to have my advice described as invaluable

  108. Virginia - if you do ever plan to fulfil that dream and come to Tuscany, let me know! But please don't feel as if you'd be thrown in at the deep end - I like to make my courses as friendly and informal as possible. I try to make them more like chatting about writing - and learnig something as you go along . . . a little bit of wine and the Italian sunshine does help . ..

    And those 60 books - yes, I was a child protegé when I started! My first book was published in 1984 - so that's an average of . . . 2.5 books a year!

  109. Ruth I agree - I've never been part of a critique group or have a critique partner - as you say, when you have an editor then it's their opinion that matters. But I always remember that I am so lucky to have an editor - even when I'm cursing her for revisions! So many people submit and never know why the book is rejected

  110. Hi Sue - thank you for your lovely comments. Finding your authentic voice is something that can be really difficult - others can jump right in there, know exactly what they want to write and how to write it! I envy them!

    We're just a hour away from Derbyshire, here. I've taught workshops and day courses there in Matlock and in Derby Library

  111. Christina, I think we all have times when we look at the beginning - or any part of a book - and feel 'Bleh!' That's when the crows of doubt start attacking.

    I was just wondering - do you think you have started in the right place? Perhaps starting later in the story - so you have less of a 'lead in' time - or the opposite - starting earlier might help??

  112. Hi Stephanie - I can understand what you're saying so well! If you have to deliberately write to a house style in your journalism, then you must really want to break out and be yourself in your fiction. One thing for sure - it will help you understand how you *don't * want to write!

  113. Hello Missy - how lovely to meet you here, I've heard your name so often so it's great to 'see' you in person

    And yes, isn't that cover really rather special?

  114. Helen - your rhyme made me smile - it's so true!

  115. Now you have me intrigued, Debby - my accent comes through on the words I write? Now you see that must be part of my voice - because of course I use the English words/spellings -
    If you or anyone else from Seekerville does make it to Tuscany I'd love to meet you - and then you can hear what my accent is really like!

    Charlie and Flora say thank you for the salmon - it was delicious

  116. 'Writing is not for wimps' - Mary that is so true.

    I feel for you with your comment about Chick lit - I know someone else who has just that problem. I'll give you the advice I gave her - Chick lit in its current form may be dead, but books with that sparky spirit, those young feisty heroines etc will never go away - they'll come back again in some new, slightly revised form. We need to learn to look at ficiton and try to see where it's going. As they say if you can see the bandwagon then it's already going past.

    In the 25 years I've been published I've had to change, adjust, adapt slightly so that my romance still fitted with the way that Presents novels were being published today

  117. Tina - I'm glad you enjoyed my answers. The Ritz was fun - exorbitant but fun! The trouble is I could hardly eat enough to make it worth the extravagant price (I drank the champagne though!)

    Coming up - I have a new book out in March(April USA) called The Devil and Miss Jones - I'm waiting to see what the cover will be like.

    And I'm writing a new story - my first royal romance. My working title for that is The Black Sheep Prince

  118. Hello Glenda - I love my fans! Without you lovely readers, I wouldn't be able to keep writing long enough to become an 'experienced writer'. Writing is like driving - at the beginning you thik you'll never, ever get it all to come together and then one day it clicks - and then you keep practicing and practicing . ..

  119. Hello Mary, I'm sorry that I'm answering your post today, not on on the day of my visit. I remember Betty Neels. I never actually met her but i was once in the same room as her - the same room as Betty Neels, Charlotte Lamb, Anne Mather, Sara Craven . . . I felt like I was in heaven

  120. Hi Dianna - sometimes a piece of advice or an explanation is just perfectly timed. I hope my post helps you - Good Luck!

  121. Tina - thak you for inviting me here - and I'm sorry I'm still catching up the day after my official visit date! You all talk so much!

  122. Hello Cara. You know, sometimes I can't quite imagine all those books either - then I look on the bookshelves and see all those titles and I SMILE

  123. Waving Hello to NAs - yes there are those other blogs out there - and there are still some more coming up on a fantastic Blog Tour that Nas has organised.
    Check out my blog for details

  124. Hi Joy - I've been looking at past posts and there is some really great advice - I'll be coming back to read more

  125. Hi Walt - this year has been so busy and syressful that I've not had enough time to read - I missed it. I'm going to make sure I have more time to curl up with a ook and feed my imagination

  126. Hi Edwina - writing romance - particularly short category romance is a very specific style of writing and there is a lot to learn about it - and about writing fiction in general.

    If you do get your hands on a copy of the 12 Point Guide I hope you find it really useful

  127. Waving Hello to Ruth! It was a long day - so long that I'm still finishingoff - but it was afun day and I've so enjoyed my visit to Seekerville

  128. Linda, your journey to finding your voice sounds a bit like mine
    . I thought I wanted to write Historicals but I got bogged down in getting the details right. YA appealed but I couldn't complete a book. Then I tried contemporary romance and I knew I'd come home

  129. Did I answer everyone? I hope so.

    Thank you all once agai for inviting me to Seekerville and for your wonderful warm welcome - I am definitely going to put this blog on my list of Favourites!

    I hope to see you again