Winner!

The winner of the Entangled in Love blog hop giveaway is #19, Marlena, who said:

It really depends on my mood as far as favorite food. I am horrible at making decisions so right now, my favorite is chocolate covered strawberries! YUMMY

Your book sounds amazing. Thanks for the opportunity to win it.

Happy Valentine’s Day,
Marlena

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Marlena! I hope you enjoy the book.

What’s on my Kindle

Mostly Betty Neels old favourites including: A Winter Love Story, Year’s Happy Ending, A Girl To Love, A Kiss for Julie. I hesitate to say that if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all, but it is almost true. They are incredibly comforting books set in a world that never really existed where capable young women with no qualifications get jobs advertised in The Lady and rich professors and doctors marry them. Falling in love is as likely to happen after marriage as before. They are books which are wholly free from POV considerations and she meanders happily from head to head. Usually, though, we get very little insight into the hero’s perspective so that we remain almost as clueless as the heroines right up until the penultimate page. Betty Neels wrote the trad Regencies of contemporary romance – no sex, not even a hint, not even after marriage. I am not precisely sure why, but I also think her characters live in the same world as Jilly Cooper’s.

I also read a dreadful Regency freebie novella, The Winter Wish by Jillian Eaton. Everything I most dislike about historical novels – inattention to period detail, language and most of all, social conventions. Also an extremely irritating heroine. If you have been in love with someone for seven years without so much as plucking up the courage to exchange two words with him, you do NOT deserve your happy ending. Ugh. And to add insult to injury, the author thinks that the correct spelling is ‘per say’. I have no idea whether this book had a copyeditor or not (it’s not self-published), but that is inexcusable. It’s no longer free, and I would say that this is not worth its current price of 77p.

Inspired by my trip to London last week, I also re-read Abby Green’s wonderful Bride in a Gilded Cage. I love the tango scenes in this book so much.

Midweek indulgence

Last week I went down to London for two days of sheer luxurious indulgence. It was perfect.

First on our agenda was afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason. We popped in to Hatchards for a quick browse beforehand so that we could pretend to be proper Heyer heroines. Then we admired the tea and food on sale on the ground floor and I salivated at the chocolate and sweetmeats counters. Upstairs we were careful not to let our bags knock the wildly expensive crockery off the display tables in the kitchen/dining department. And then we took the lift to the fourth floor and the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.

As we arrived, someone was playing on the grand piano. A member of staff took our coats and my overnight bag to the cloakroom and then we were shown to our table. They serve 82 varieties of tea at Fortnums and to help guests try some of the more unusual kinds, they offer a tea tasting. Four kinds of tea (rotated on a weekly basis) are brought to the table and a bowl of each is made for you to try. We tried two green teas, a Darjeeling, and (I think) an Assam. The green teas were spectacular and F. ordered both to have with our tea, while I went for my favourite Countess Grey and a glass of pink champagne. The tea menus have a set price and you can have as much food or tea as you like with them, which gave a wonderfully sumptuous feel to the event.

tea

I had the traditional afternoon tea: sandwiches, scones and cakes. Which in no way does justice to the food I ate which was heavenly and so beautifully presented. I had five kinds of sandwiches, presented with the fillings upright and colour co-ordinated from deep pink (salmon), pale pink (roast beef), pale yellow (egg), pale green (chicken and tarragon), deep green (cucumber). There were fruit and plain scones, served with lashings of clotted cream (we ordered extra and had far too much), and fresh lemon curd or jam. Individual cakes were chocolate and rose, lemon and praline, and vanilla and cherry. And there was a homemade jammy dodger. Plus there were large cakes you could have slices from but my appetite failed me at that point.

There are two other menus: a savoury afternoon tea which substitutes various canape-type things for the cakes, and a high tea which substitutes hot savoury dishes for the sandwiches. F. had two dishes from the high tea menu, scones and no cakes. She chose Welsh rarebit and a lobster truffle omelette. I didn’t try the Welsh rarebit though it looked delicious, but I did try the omelette which was one of the best things I have ever eaten ever. SO GOOD.

The staff were brilliant, constantly checking that we had enough of everything – more sandwiches, more scones, more cream, more cakes, more tea…. We did not eat again until the next day.

After tea we had thought it would be nice to go downstairs and buy some of the teas we had enjoyed drinking. F. bought me 150g of the Countess Grey. Then she asked for the green tea she had most enjoyed. Which turned out to be £500/kilo. Um, no. But it did make the afternoon tea seem even better value than before. It is not cheap, but I’d say it’s worth it.

Anyway, we then went to try on hats, smell perfumes and such like before changing into sparkly outfits in the loos for the next stage of our adventure.

To be continued…

38 things resurrected!

Phew! One of the things I lost when the website went down was my list of 38 things to do while I’m 38. But thanks to the magic of the internet, I have tracked down a cached version of the old page, so I can now update my progress.

1. Get first novel published (and hopefully second and third)
2. Become Dr. Ros
3. Go to see the Strictly Live Tour at the O2.(We actually went to Wembley Arena.)
4. Holiday in Sardinia
5. Go to Woolfest
6. Enter craft and baking categories at the county show.

7. Learn to weave properly
8. Finish some of my knitting WIPs
9. Eat something I’ve never eaten before

10. Learn to make fabulous lingerie
11. Spa day with F.
12. Plant 38 new bulbs
13. Become a better spinner
14. Go to see the Strictly Dance To The Music Tour

15. Visit 38 new places
16. Walk along a beach without shoes
17. Make a new quilt
18. Eat pizza in Italy
19. And gelato

20. Do The Artist’s Way
21. Make puff pastry from scratch
22. Start saving for the Best Holiday In The World Ever
23. Swim in the sea
24. Have my hair cut in a different style
25. Wardrobe cull
26. Book cull
27. Buy new clothes
28. Buy new books
29. Learn to take better photos

30. Get a professional manicure
31. Sign up for an OCA module
32. Start teaching again. Not in a school, obviously.
33. Start wearing perfume more regularly
34. Find a dance class to go to
35. Be in the audience for a TV or radio show. Preferably Strictly, but I realise this is unlikely.
36. Have afternoon tea at glamorous London hotel
37. Always have flowers in the house
38. See the Staffordshire Hoard

Not bad at all. Still to do with just over two months to go:
2. Become Dr. Ros
7. Learn to weave properly
10. Learn to make fabulous lingerie
15. Visit 38 new places
20. Do The Artist’s Way
21. Make puff pastry from scratch
22. Start saving for the Best Holiday In The World Ever
30. Get a professional manicure
31. Sign up for an OCA module

I am reasonably hopeful about #2, 10, 21, 30. I have begun #10 with one pair of pretty knickers and I have the pattern and all the kit to start on a bra soon.
There is a possibility of #7, 20, 22, but I think it’s likely that I won’t do them in time.
I am pretty sure that #15 and #31 are not going to happen by April 15th. This is okay.

#2 is obviously the one causing all the angst, sleeplessness, stress and fatigue. I have a very nearly complete first draft which will need serious chopping to get down to size. We shall see. If I have submitted by my birthday I will be very happy indeed.

What’s on my kindle this week

I almost forgot about this, because I have been away for a couple of days and it isn’t yet enough of a routine to be a habit. So I’ve got about 10 days’ worth of reading to catch up on.

Sold to the Enemy by Sarah Morgan
I’ve loved almost every book I’ve read by Morgan and this one is no exception. In fact, it prompted a re-read of a couple of old favourites of hers, The Sultan’s Virgin Bride and Doukakis’s Apprentice. She always writes strong, interesting heroines who challenge their heroes. The heroine in Sold to the Enemy has had to put up with more than most and she totally deserves the happy ending.

In the Heat of the Spotlight by Kate Hewitt
I’ve been waiting for this since I read an early version of the first chapter nearly a year ago, and it didn’t disappoint. Deeply emotional and deeply satisfying. Loved it.

Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The complete Oz chronicles were on Amazon for some ridiculously cheap price. I started with this one because, other than the Wizard of Oz, it’s the only one I remember from childhood. Lovely. A bit scary but always a guaranteed happy ending, so it’s nice, safe reading. There’s a bit in this one that reminds me of The Silver Chair, though I’ve no idea which was written first or if there was any actual influence.

Hired: The Sheikh’s Secretary by Lucy Monroe
Another re-read. I do love a clueless sheikh and an ugly duckling secretary, and these two are perfect.

When Two Paths Meet
and Roses and Champagne by Betty Neels
There are times when only Betty Neels will do and today was one of those days. A sweeter, safer world, these are like traditional Regencies set in 1980’s England (or Holland).

That’s what I’ve been reading. What about you?

Entangled in Love


It’s Valentine’s Day next week and the Entangled authors are celebrating with a ton of giveaways. Click here for a list of participants.

I’m giving away a copy of my Valentine’s Day Flirt: Table For One.


TableforOne600px

When food critic Claudia Thomas gets dumped on Valentine’s Day, she finds herself occupying a table for one at London’s hottest new restaurant. If her job wasn’t on the line, she’d skip the whole affair, but her editor’s waiting for a review—and with luck, an interview with sexy chef Ward Nicholls.

Ward, intrigued by the single woman in a restaurant full of couples, sets out to tease her palate. Claudia has never tasted anything so luscious as the special meal Ward prepares for her, but when the seduction moves from the restaurant to his bedroom, Claudia discovers the only thing more tempting than his food is the chef himself.

Their connection is instantaneous, sizzling, and spicy—until Claudia comes clean about her job, reopening a wound Ward had thought long-healed. Could one accidental lie of omission end a delicious relationship before it even has a chance to start?

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite food. Entries close at midnight on February 15th.
Please note that you DO NOT have to put your email into the body of your comment and I would strongly advise that you don’t!

There will be lots more chances to win at the twitter party. Here’s the info you’ll need.
Date : February 8th, 2013.
Time : 9pm EST.
Hashtag : #EntangledInLove
What : We’ll be asking Valentine’s day related questions and each question has prizes to be won! Answer right for a chance to win some of the many awesome prizes!
Where : Follow the instructions below!
1. Go to http://tweetgrid.com/party
2. Fill in the hash-tag as #EntangledInLove
3. Fill in the hosts
@entangledpub
@totalbookaholic
@babsbookbistro
@anjanavasan
4. Enter your twitter handle, follow the tweets, answer the questions and you may just get lucky!
Don’t forget to mention the #EntangledInLove hashtag in your replies!

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