Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Guest Author: Kirsty Ferry

Thank you so much AnneMarie for letting me post an excerpt of my new novel on your blog.
The Girl in the Photograph is the third book in the Rossetti Mysteries Series, and picks up the stories of the characters readers might have already met in Some Veil Did Fall and The Girl in the Painting. This book is Lissy’s story  - but as it’s also a timeslip, we need to meet another set of characters; from 1905, no less. The extract below is when Julian, a photographer, first sees Lorelei Scarsdale swimming in the sea. The name “Lorelei” is synonymous with a mermaid, and from the very first moment Julian sees her, he understands why mermaids – or Sirens – have such a reputation for beauty and for making people fall dangerously in love with them. 
The book traces Julian and Lorelei’s story alongside Lissy and Stefanos. Stefano is Lissy’s very own photographer – an Italian ex-boyfriend who she has never quite forgotten, and never quite forgiven either…

Thanks again for reading this. I do hope that you enjoy book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Julian MacDonald Cooper watched the woman with the long, dark plait race lightly across the sand and strike out to sea. She was indeed a pleasure to behold and his intuition told him that she would make an excellent model and would be just as much of a pleasure to work with.
He wasn’t sure who she was. He had just left the Dower House for a walk in the cove after a late lunch and he had come across this vision as he rounded the path down onto the beach. He understood it to be a private beach, so he wondered if she was a member of the Scarsdale household or a friend of theirs they had graced with access to the cove.
But he was determined to find out. He strode onto the beach feeling the sand between his toes. He never bothered with shoes or formality when he came down here. Formality was for working and impressing clients. Bare feet and an open-necked shirt would do him very well for the beach. He ran a hand through his longer-than-generally-acceptable dark hair and smiled to himself as he remembered the idea he’d had earlier today about finding a barber in Staithes.
That had never happened, had it?
Well, there was always tomorrow.
Julian had heard a lot about Staithes and the artists’ colony that had sprung up about ten years ago. He feared their days were numbered though; their 1905 exhibition had been subsumed into the Yorkshire Union of Artists’ work, and he had heard other plans were afoot to hold an exhibition in August – which would clash terribly with the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in London. And the art aficionados would be down in the capital along with the wealthy patrons, not up here in a little fishing village on the north-east coast of England.
So that was why he had come down to Yorkshire from Edinburgh. Firstly, to observe how things were now, and secondly, to record Staithes and its colony for posterity in his favourite medium – photography. He already had a dealer lined up in North Yorkshire to buy and sell his photographs.
And that woman, who he now realised was swimming over to some rocks with the clear intention of climbing onto them, was just begging to be used as a model in some shape or form. But first, he conceded, he would actually have to speak to her.

The Girl in the Photograph
What if the past was trying to teach you a lesson?
Staying alone in the shadow of an abandoned manor house in Yorkshire would be madness to some, but art enthusiast Lissy de Luca can’t wait. Lissy has her reasons for seeking isolation, and she wants to study the Staithes Group – an artists’ commune active at the turn of the twentieth century.
Lissy is fascinated by the imposing Sea Scarr Hall – but the deeper she delves, the stranger things get. A lonely figure patrols the cove at night, whilst a hidden painting leads to a chilling realisation. And then there’s the photograph of the girl; so beautiful she could be a mermaid … and so familiar.
As Lissy further immerses herself, she comes to an eerie conclusion: The occupants of Sea Scarr Hall are long gone, but they have a message for her – and they’re going to make sure she gets it. 

Bio
Kirsty is from the North East of England and won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 with the ghostly tale 'Enchantment'.

Her timeslip novel, 'Some Veil Did Fall', a paranormal romance set in Whitby, was published by Choc Lit in Autumn 2014. This was followed by another Choc Lit timeslip, 'The Girl in the Painting' in February 2016 and ‘The Girl in the Photograph’ in March 2017. The experience of signing 'Some Veil Did Fall' in a quirky bookshop in the midst of Goth Weekend in Whitby, dressed as a recently undead person was one of the highlights of her writing career so far!
Kirsty’s day-job involves sharing a Georgian building with an eclectic collection of ghosts – which can sometimes prove rather interesting.
You can find out more about Kirsty and her work at www.rosethornpress.co.uk, catch her on her Facebook Author Page or follow her on Twitter @kirsty_ferry.




Monday, February 13, 2017

Contract for book number 15!

Today I signed a contract to publish my 15th novel, Whispers of Hope. This novel is a family saga set in Edwardian England. It is Charlotte and Harry's story.
I don't have a release date yet, that will come later, but I'm very happy to have Whispers in the publishing pipeline.

Now, I've to finish writing novel 16!



Tuesday, February 07, 2017

I Love Romance Sale 99 ibook

Currently on sale for 99p ibook
https://geo.itunes.apple.com/…/where-dragonfl…/id1093575611…

Where Dragonflies Hover blurb:

Sometimes a glimpse into the past can help make sense of the future …
Everyone thinks Lexi is crazy when she falls in love with Hollingsworth House – a crumbling old Georgian mansion in Yorkshire – and nobody more so than her husband, Dylan. But there’s something very special about the place, and Lexi can sense it. 
Whilst exploring the grounds she stumbles across an old diary and, within its pages, she meets Allie – an Australian nurse working in France during the First World War.
Lexi finally realises her dream of buying Hollingsworth but her obsession with the house leaves her marriage in tatters. In the lonely nights that follow, Allie’s diary becomes Lexi’s companion, comforting her in moments of darkness and pain. And as Lexi reads, the nurse’s scandalous connection to the house is revealed …

Excerpt:

The late sunshine enveloped the house in a golden glow. Again, it seemed to call to her, begging for attention. A path on the left of the drive looked inviting as it meandered through a small strand of poplars. Lexi grabbed her keys, locked the car and took off to explore again. She had nothing to rush home to now, and if she got caught for trespassing, then so be it.

The overgrown pathway brought her out on the far side of the grounds near the end of a small lake. She gazed over the water towards the back of the house and noticed a paved terrace area. From there the lawn then sloped down to the water. She’d not been around the back before and fell even more in love with the property. She could imagine the serenity of sipping a cool drink on a hot summer’s day and looking out over the lake.

Lexi stepped out along the bank. A lone duck swam by, its movement serene on the glassy, dark surface. This side of the lake was in shadow from large pine trees, and she stumbled on fallen pinecones hidden in the long grass. On the opposite side of the water were some small buildings, a garage, fruit trees in early blossom, and an overgrown vegetable patch, complete with a broken, rejected-looking scarecrow.

She wandered over to a narrow shed on her left and peered through its sole, dirty window. Unable to make out much in the dimness, she walked around to the front and was surprised when she was able to pull the bolt back on the door. Why didn’t people lock things? A covered rowboat took up most of the space inside. She smiled, seeing herself rowing it on the lake. Growing more excited, Lexi edged around it to peer at the workbenches and the odd assortment of tools and useless things one found in abandoned sheds. It was like treasure hunting in an antique shop. She used to love doing that with her grandfather.

She glanced about and spied a dusty painting leaning against the wall. The scene was of a child and a brown dog. Behind the canvas were more paintings, some framed, some not. Lexi flicked through them. The ones that caught her attention she took out and set aside.

She looked for somewhere to sit and study the paintings. A small tin trunk wedged under a workbench seemed the only offering. Thinking it empty, she went to tug it out, but it remained fast.

Using both hands, she heaved it out and was showered in a puff of dust. Squatting down, she inspected the latch that was held tight with a small lock. ‘Why are you locked?’ she murmured. The shed was open to anyone passing by, yet this ugly little chest had a lock on it. The trunk was nothing special, plain and in parts rusted. No ornament or writing hinted at its use.

Intrigued, she grabbed a hammer from the workbench, but then hesitated. She had no right to open someone else’s property. Lexi closed her eyes momentarily. What was she thinking of breaking into the trunk? What am I doing? Never had she broken the law and here she was guilty of trespassing and breaking and entering! She looked around the rowboat as though expecting someone to jump out and arrest her.

Something inside urged her on. She knew she couldn’t stop now. Sucking in a deep breath, she bent and hit the lock hard. The ringing sound was loud in the quiet serenity of the garden. The metal dented and with another few solid whacks the lock gave.

Shivers of excitement tingled along her skin. Gently, she eased up the lid.

Buy links:



  Kobo

Also available in Apple ibooks, etc.

Paperback coming in 2017!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

New Dawn - Titanic Story

A New Dawn is my short story about characters Briony and James and the start to their life together, which as you guessed it doesn't go smoothly as they are on board the Titanic. I have an idea to continue their story into a full length novel one day, I just need to find the time to write it along with all the other stories I want to write!

The story of the Titanic has always fascinated me since watching as a child the black and white Hollywood film of the sinking of it. I never thought I would actually write a story about it but, one day, after reading and researching about it, the idea came into my head about a young couple starting a new life. I thought what if... and suddenly A New Dawn was born.


A New Dawn


A New Dawn, a short story.

Escaping a brutal father, Briony runs to James, the man she loves. 
With his family’s blessing, they marry and prepare for a new life in a new country – America. 
A wedding gift of two tickets to travel on an ocean liner is a wonderful surprise. 
Full of anticipation and hope, they set sail. 
Only, fate has sent them a challenge that tests, not just their strength and love, but their very survival.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Catrina's Return published March 14th!





Catrina's Return

blurb:
1899. A life altering event led Catrina Davies to hide from her family and society. Alone in The Highlands she exists in a lonely world cared for only by her saviour, a kind old gentleman. When she receives a surprise visitor, Travis Millard, the man she used to love, her head and heart are thrown into turmoil. 
Travis is determined to save her from this poor life and return her to her family where she belongs. No one is more surprised than he when she agrees to marry him. 
When Catrina arrives back at her family estate, Davmoor Court in Yorkshire, she is stunned to see the changes. While her father clings to life, Davmoor is nearly ruined by her brother's gambling obsession, and there is something strange about his new wife. 
As Catrina adjusts to her regained position in society and being with Travis, her marriage comes under attack from Travis's grandmother, who has her own secrets and reason for loathing the Davies family. 
When one of her brother's adversaries comes to stake his claim on the estate, the resulting chaos threatens not only Catrina's home, but the very lives of those she loves the most. 
Can she find the strength to fight once more for the right to be happy?

Catrina's Return is available in paperback or ebook March 14th. Preorder now!




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Isabelle's Choice - historical saga

Isabelle's Choice


Blurb
Halifax, 1876. On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson is left to fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. After the matron's son attempts to rape her, Isabelle decides to escape him and a life of drudgery by agreeing to marry a moorland farmer she has never met. But this man, Farrell, is a drunkard and a bully in constant feud with his landlord, Ethan Harrington. When Farrell bungles a robbery and deserts her, Isabelle and Ethan are thrown together as she struggles to save the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. But despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan as faces from the past return to haunt her and a tragedy is set to strike that will change all of their lives forever.

Isabelle’s Choice
Amazon UK  https://goo.gl/THWIyH

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Aurora's Pride - Victorian Saga


Aurora's Pride


My
Victorian historical novel, Aurora's Pride, is set in 1898 Yorkshire.
 This is Aurora and Reid's story and will be available in paperback and ebook March 14th 2017.

Back blurb:
Aurora Pettigrew has it all, a loving family, a nice home, a comfortable life. She’s waiting for the right man to offer her marriage, and the man for her is Reid Sinclair, heir to the Sinclair fortune and the love of her life.
But, Reid’s mother, Julia, is against the match and her ruthlessness unearths a family secret that will tear Aurora’s world apart.
Unwilling to bring shame on her family and needing answers to the allegations brought to light by Reid’s mother, Aurora begins a long journey away from home. She leaves behind all that is familiar and safe to enter a world of mean streets and poor working class.
Living in the tenements of York, surrounded by people of a class she’d never mixed with before, Aurora struggles to come to terms with the way her life has changed. By chance, she reconnects with a man from her past and before he leaves with the army to war in South Africa, he offers her security through marriage.
Aurora knows she should be happy, but the memory of her love for Reid threatens her future.
When tragedy strikes, can Aurora find the strength to accept her life and forget the past?

Review:
If you're looking for a fairy tale with a twist, then look no further than Aurora's Pride. The characters may not fill out all the classic roles precisely, and you'll get to meet the entire townspeople around the "castle", but they are beyond a doubt entertaining and very adeptly written. It's a great read that reminds the little girls in us that sometimes the princess has to become Cinderella in order to be a good queen one day.
Books N Beans

 Aurora's Pride is available in paperback and ebook from March 14th 2017.
Preorder on Amazon
Aurora’s Pride

(orginally published as To Take Her Pride)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Newsletter

As another week starts I wanted to remind everyone that my new website http://www.annemariebrear.com is up and running.
You can also sign up for my newsletter on the home page. My newsletter has loads of different things in it, it's got giveaways and news, plus odd things like places of interest and recipes. It's a bi-monthly newsletter so it won't fill up your inbox too often.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Google Play Books

Just seen a few of my books on Google Play. Strangely I have never considered buying books from Google. I must remedy this!
https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=AnneMarie+Brear


Friday, January 06, 2017

Guest Author: Victoria Cornwall

Please welcome my fellow author, Victoria Cornwall to my blog.

Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. It is always good to meet another writer of historical romance. Of course, you have written many books whereas my debut novel with Choc Lit, The Thief’s Daughter, has only just been released. 


I have always wanted to write, but foremost I am an avid reader, particularly of historical romantic fiction. I love the ebb and flow of a relationship as it develops between the two main characters and the different external and internal forces which fuels the conflict that keeps them apart. However, I must admit that I kept my passion for romantic fiction a secret for many years as no one I knew appeared to read it. This seemed rather strange to me, after all many people want a little romance in their lives and an easy way to find it would be to read romantic fiction.

The act of falling in love or trying to sustain or rekindle a relationship, still holds our interest. The majority of movies, theatre productions and musicals have romantic threads running through them. Finding “the one” still ranks high on the goals many people hope to achieve in life. We have all felt attracted to someone or fallen in love, even if it was just a teenage crush for a pop star. So the experience of falling in love has touched all our lives in one way or another, yet, in my opinion, the genre which reflects the experience is not given the credit it deserves. Why is this? Perhaps I, as a secret reader of romantic fiction, am partly to blame.  I did not share my hobby, offer recommendations, or leave my books on display for visitors to see. In my small way I did give the genre the credit it deserves. These days I am more open about my love for the genre and as a result I have discovered that I am not the only one.

Now, as a writer, I am on the other side and I have tried to write a novel that I would like to read. The ebb and flow of a relationship developing was a very important element, as you would expect, but I also wanted the drama, tension and adventure worthy of any other adult fiction. I enjoyed writing it and hope readers will take pleasure in it too. If they recommend it and share it with their friends, I will know that I have done my job well.

Buy links:




Twitter: @VickieCornwall




Monday, January 02, 2017

Banana Bread - Mary Berry style!

This is super simple and yet a moist and tasty cake. A recipe from Mary Berry.
INGREDIENTS
100g Softened Butter
175g Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 Ripe Bananas (mashed)
225g Self Raising Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tbsp. Milk
METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 180C / Fan 160C / Gas 4.
2. Line a 2lb loaf tin 
3. Measure all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat until well blended.
4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the surface.
5. Bake in the pre-heated over for about 1 hour, until well risen and golden brown. A fine skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean when the loaf is ready.
Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Kitty McKenzie, Victorian saga.

Kitty McKenzie has been re-released with a new cover and under my name, Annemarie Brear.
It's now available in all ebook formats and paperback.



Blurb:
1864 - Suddenly left as the head of the family, Kitty McKenzie must find her inner strength to keep her family together against the odds. Evicted from their resplendent home in the fashionable part of York after her parents’ deaths, Kitty must fight the legacy of bankruptcy and homelessness to secure a home for her and her siblings. Through sheer willpower and determination she grabs opportunities with both hands from working on a clothes and rag stall in the market to creating a teashop for the wealthy. Her road to happiness is fraught with obstacles of hardship and despair, but she refuses to let her dream of a better life for her family die. She soon learns that love and loyalty brings its own reward. 


Chapter One


York, England, November 1864

From an upstairs window, Katherine McKenzie looked out over York’s rooftops into the distance. The pale grey clouds parted, allowing weak sunshine to filter through the bare trees and banish the gloom. Below, two weighty men filled the back of a wagon with the furniture from the house. Her gaze shifted to linger on the sorry cluster of her brothers and sisters. Ranging in age from sixteen to two years old, they stood as one on the lush lawn with their small carryalls placed neatly in front of them. Their pale faces peeking out from beneath hats showed little emotion while stern-looking men came and went from their once warm and happy home. Of course, there was no evidence of that now.
Kitty leaned her forehead against the cool glass and fought the tears that gathered as she stared sightlessly down at her remaining family. All morning, the children had watched and listened as strangers invaded each room, taking notes and sizing up all the possessions once important to the family. They understood little of what was happening, but she had told them to wait outside while she and Rory sorted everything out. So, her brothers and sisters, shocked and confused, did as she instructed, not daring to talk about what they saw. Talking would come later.
Inhaling deeply to calm herself, Kitty turned away from the window. Downstairs a variety of men roamed about, murmuring in hushed voices, making notes on what was left to take and how much money each item would bring.
Vultures, that’s what Rory called them, but Kitty knew it was all about the cycle of life. She had learned a lot about life in the last few weeks. None of it very encouraging, but nevertheless, it had to be endured.
She sighed, rubbing the back of her neck, stiff with strain. The enormity of what faced her left her cold. Responsibilities had never been hers. There had always been others to care for her comfort. Could she do it? Could she steer the children through this difficult time? As her parents coffins were lowered into the ground, she promised them she’d keep the family together at all costs. She’d do whatever it took to keep her remaining family safe. As the eldest it was her duty to look after them, but secretly she wondered who would look after her.
Hearing shouts coming from below, she left her parents’ empty bedroom and hurried across the landing and down the main red- carpeted staircase.
In the hall, a small gathering watched as two so-called gentlemen wrangled over a large Chinese-painted vase on which each held a firm grip. Making her way to them, Kitty did her best to be polite, even though her anger simmered like a kettle on the stovetop. “Gentlemen, please. What is the problem?”
A large bearded man turned his florid face to Kitty. His knuckles turned white as his grip tightened on the vase. “Miss McKenzie, this man is insistent it belongs to him when in actual fact it is reserved for my services rendered.”
The man’s breath reeked of alcohol and the fumes washed over her in sickly waves.
“That is a downright lie!” The other man’s beady eyes glared at his opponent. “It says here on my itinerary this particular vase is awarded to my company.”
Kitty ached to be released from this nightmare. Today marked the end of her family’s lives as they knew it, and not one of these vultures cared enough to be the least sympathetic. Taking a step closer to the two warring men, Kitty smiled with false sweetness. “I may be of assistance then.” Without hesitation, she took the vase out of their hands and dropped it onto the hall’s marble floor. The shattering porcelain silenced everyone’s chatter and the two men gasped in unison.
“There now, gentlemen, no more need to argue over it.” With the last of her dignity and her head held high, she strode down the hall and into the kitchen.
A warmer atmosphere prevailed in the kitchen, as no debt collectors lingered here. A small fire burned in the range and Mrs Flowers, the cook, brewed a pot of tea. Unpaid for many weeks, the kind woman had stayed until the end to help Kitty and the children through this difficult time.
Sitting on an overlooked stool, Kitty smiled gratefully as the older woman gave her a cup of tea.
“How’s it goin’ in there, miss?” The cook nodded in the direction of the front end of the house.
“Dreadful,” Kitty answered with a sigh, pushing back a stray strand of hair from her face.
Mrs Flowers stirred the milk on the stove in readiness to make hot cocoa for the children. “‘Tis indeed a sorry time. Thank the Lord your dear mother didn’t live to see this day, it would have broken her heart.” A wistful look crossed her face.
Kitty refrained from commenting. She blamed both of her parents for letting their financial affairs fall into such a state. Now she and Rory must mend the damage. She had adored her parents, but their loving and generous natures not only cost them their lives, but their children’s future and happiness. Her parent’s inability to manage their funds over the years now left tradesmen and merchants braying for their dues. Now, at nearly twenty-one, she was responsible for not only herself, but also for six family members.
The outside door to the kitchen banged back against the wall. Rory marched in, his usually handsome face red with anger and his blue eyes blazing. “Do you know what that pompous ass, O’Brien, thinks the horses are worth?”
“No, and neither do I care.” Kitty wiped her hand over her eyes. Tiredness stung them. “It will not make any difference to us as we’ll not see a penny.”
“Father spent good money on them,” Rory defended the animals he adored.
Kitty shot up from her seat, knocking the stool over. Thumping her fist on the table, she glared at her brother. “Well, if Father had not spent good money on them and other non-essential things, we’d not be in the trouble we are.”
Taken aback by her outburst, Rory’s temper rapidly dissipated and he hung his head. “I’m sorry, Kitty. You are right, of course. None of it is ours anymore and so it doesn’t matter a jot. I’m just heart sorry to say goodbye to them, that is all.”
“I know.” She nodded, knowing the shock of all that happened in the last few weeks had not yet taken effect. Losing their parents so unexpectedly not only devastated them, but frightened them too. Then, to learn on the day of the funeral that they must relinquish their home and possessions caused even greater upset. They lived in terror for weeks waiting for this day. No friend or distant relative came to pluck them away from this horrid ordeal.
“Here, Master Rory, will you be kind enough to take this cocoa out to the young ones? They’ll be ready for it by now,” Mrs Flowers said with motherly attention. “I’ve to be gone in a few minutes to catch the coach.”
Rory left, balancing a tray of steaming cups of hot cocoa, and while Mrs Flowers cleaned up, Kitty went back through the hall to have one more look around her home. The vultures had gone at last. Silence descended like a winter’s mist.
In her mind’s eye, Kitty could still see the crystal chandeliers. She ran her fingers along the expensive timber panelling and silk wallpaper, which decorated each room of the large house. She toured the drawing room, parlour, front sitting room and library. Laughter and music of previous parties rang in her ears. Her mother was renowned for filling the house with exciting and interesting people. Kitty saw it all as it once was, not as it was now, a combination of cold, empty rooms. She turned to go upstairs just as a wagon driver caught her attention from the front door.
“Excuse me, Miss. This fell out of one of the cupboards when we moved it. I thought you’d like to have it.” He held out a framed painting of her parents on their wedding day.
“Thank you.” Kitty smiled at him and, doffing his cap, he went on his way.
Left alone once more, she gazed down at her parents as they innocently stared at her from their picture. Her father, Jonathan McKenzie, tall and proud in his wedding suit stood behind his new bride, who sat straight and dignified on a chair a little to the left of him. Both Jonathan and Eliza McKenzie had found true love and never hesitated to show it to each other or anyone else. For twenty-two years their love and contentment wrapped a web of happiness around not only themselves but also their whole household. The McKenzie family once held an esteemed position in the community with money, handsome looks, good health and a beautiful house full of children.
The only thing lacking was prudence concerning their finances.
Her mother inherited a large sum of money after the death of her grandmother. Jonathan trained as a doctor, but instead of opening a practice for wealthy clients he preferred to attend the unfortunates of York. Soon enough, Mother’s money ran out. Consequently, they borrowed heavily with the bank, hoping a rich bachelor uncle of Jonathan’s would pass away and leave Father, as his heir, his fortune. As luck would have it though, the rich uncle still lived and enjoyed his fortune, while her parents became mired in debt and then died premature deaths.
Was it merely four short weeks ago that her father, after visiting patients in the slums, had unwittingly brought death home? Kitty shivered at the memory of how fast the Typhoid took him, her mother and little sister, Davina, just four years old.

The day after their funerals, the collectors of debts, both large and small, came to give her their bills. Father’s solicitor, Mr Daniels came to her aid and advised her on the best course of action. Unfortunately, the only solution left was to sell everything. Now they weren’t only homeless, but also poor, desperately poor.

Available in Kindle from:
Amazon USA
Amazon UK

Paperback:
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Romance is important and why I write it!

I have been asked a few times why I write romance books, (sometimes complete with that look of disdain as though it was beneath them, you know, the common look people often give romance authors...)
I replied that the genre chose me, but on consideration, I realised that writing about two characters who find that instant spark - that immediate connection - is a privilege and a joy. Through my characters, I get to experience that initial rush of blood, the heart somersaulting and chemistry that comes when we find another person attractive and interesting.
Could there be a better topic to write about? Romance in some form is usually found in all genres, but a lot of people don't believe that. However, if you study some of the other fictional genres, you might be surprised to see that love between characters is usually a base to build stories on. For example: revenge on a murdered loved one (crime) or twisted love/stalker (horror)

Just like my characters, everyone needs romance in their lives.
Romancing a potential partner opens up so many possibilities in each other, especially the all important communication.
What is more perfect than feeling you are loved? Or more importantly, being shown you are loved?
And that's the piece most people mislay...Showing they love someone. We are all guilty of doing it as life gets in the way and we have pressures and responsibilities, etc. However, it takes but a minute to show you love someone. I make sure my characters do it.
In my book, Long Distance Love, Liam fills a room with flowers for Fleur, but it doesn't have to be that grand a gesture! It's the little things that makes a difference:
An email/text/message saying, I love you...
a phone call, just because you can....
a bath run as you walk in the door...
a special smile just for you...
dinner arranged and the cleaning up shared...
a shoulder to fall asleep on...
a kiss hello and goodbye - both are important...
a hand to hold...
cuddling on the sofa...
a cup of coffee brought...
stopping for a moment to say, how was your day...
taking care of them when they're ill...
listening to that special song you share...

The list is endless, of course, but the message is there, clearly - we all love to be romanced. We all need it in our lives. We all want our special 'other' to show us that they are thinking of us and that's why romance books and movies are so popular - if we don't have it for real in our lives, then we need to find it elsewhere. 

However, for me, there is also the satisfaction of creating love and romance for others to read, to experience, to search for in their own lives. It's true I put my characters through drama and hardship but in the end they find happiness, which is what we all want.

We should never accept the ordinary, but strive for the extraordinary.
An unashamed romance author.