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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Welcome Kay Harborne alias Karen King.

I'm very pleased to welcome back my good friend, author Karen King. Today however, she's under the guise of Kay Harborne – her pseudonym for her romantic novels. Laren will be telling us about her latest romance Never Say Forever.

Karen has written around 120 children's books – ranging from beautiful picture books for little toddlers, through to joke books, novelty books, bedtime story books and adventure and mystery novels. She also writes for young adults.

Her first YA book, Perfect Summer is set just a little in the future when society is so obsessed with perfection that the government gives grants for plastic surgery. The book was runner up in the Red Telephone Books YA Novel 2011 competition. The controversial story is proving a lively topic for debate when Karen visits senior schools around the country.

She has also written for many children's comics and magazines, including Jackie, Sindy, Barby, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine.

As Kay Harborne she has written several romance stories for women's magazines. Her romantic novel, The Millionaire Plan was nominated for the RONE Award earlier this year.

Being such a prolific writer, Karen is also an experienced writing tutor and currently tutors for The Writers' Bureau. This year she was also delighted to accept the invitation to become Patron of Reading for Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, Worcester.

Her latest book, Never Say Forever was originally published as a People’s Friend Pocket Novel, then in large print by Linford Romance, and has most recently been published by Astraea Press.
I'm pleased to be able to feature it here:

Never Say Forever blurb
Do you follow your dream or follow your heart?
That’s the decision Kendall McKenzie has to make when she meets hunky businessman Jake Newman. It’s obvious that he’s as attracted to her as she is to him. But Kendall has vowed to never get married – and it seems that Jake, too, is determined to never commit. When the two are together however sparks fly and it’s obvious to everyone except themselves that they’re meant to be together. Can Kendall trust Jake enough to give him her heart? And if she does will she have to say goodbye to her dream?

He turned and saw an open door leading into the kitchen where Kendall, her back towards him, was unplugging the kettle. She was wearing a neat, grey, pinstriped suit, the jacket tapering in at the waist and the skirt finishing just above the knee, with enough of a slit to reveal her very shapely legs.
She turned around and smiled at him, and his heart missed a beat. She was incredibly pretty and fresh, even at this early hour. Her glowing hair was loosely tied back from her face, which was bare of make--‐ up apart from a touch of lipstick, and her eyes were bright and sparkling, as if she’d had a restful night’s sleep.
OK, I’m ready now. I’ve just got to get my suitcase out of the bedroom.”
Here was where he was supposed to tell her that she was staying at the Birmingham office, that he didn’t need her in Spain, after all. But the words wouldn’t come. He might not need her in Spain with him, but he definitely wanted her there.
Ouch!” Kendall’s cry of pain interrupted his thoughts. He dashed down the hall and saw her bending down, rubbing the back of her leg, the suitcase on the floor behind her.
Are you all right?” he asked, worried. His eyes rested on the hole in her tights and the bruise already forming. “That looks nasty,” he said sympathetically.
She flushed. “The case was heavier than I thought. I stumbled and caught the back of my leg with it. I’ll be fine. I just need to change my tights.”
I’ll wait in the car for you.” He effortlessly picked up the heavy suitcase. “And we’re all right for a few minutes if you want to put some ice on that bruise.” Without waiting for an answer, he carried the suitcase out the front door.
Maybe he was the one who needed the ice, he thought, as he took the case down to the car. The sight of Kendall’s bare skin peeping through the hole in her tights and hint of cleavage as she’d bent down to rub her leg had certainly made his temperature rise.
Don’t even think about it, he warned himself as he pressed the remote to open the car boot. This was a business trip, and he had to keep it that way. He never mixed business with pleasure and he wasn’t about to start now. Not even with Kendall McKenzie.
Especially not with Kendall McKenzie.


It was only as she walked into the car park at the back of the flats that Kendall realised she didn’t know what sort of car Jake drove, but the sleek, midnight--‐ blue sedan just had to be his. She was a bit taken aback when he got out, walked around,
and opened the passenger door for her. Not many guys did that nowadays.
Thank you,” she said as she slid onto the leather seat.
My pleasure.” There was a hint of teasing in his reply, as if he knew he’d surprised her.
Love the car,” she said as he got in beside her.
He flashed her a smile. “I quite like it too.”
It might have been better if you’d got someone to drop us off at the airport so they could take the car back,” she suggested. “I wouldn’t risk leaving a car like this parked at the airport.”
ʺI’m not. I’ve left a spare set of keys with my chauffeur. He’ll pick it up later this morning then drive it home for me. It didn’t seem fair to drag him out of bed this early.”
He’s a nice guy, Kendall thought, kind and considerate yet rich and successful. In her experience, the qualities didnʹt always mix.
As they drove along, she was acutely aware of his presence beside her, of his strong hands holding the wheel casually but firmly, of his left hand reaching down to change gears effortlessly and smoothly, just a few centimetres from her knee.
How long did you teach in Thailand?” he asked her. “I spent a bit of time over there myself a couple of years ago. It’s a beautiful country.”
I was there for a year.” She was glad of the diversion. “I taught in a school in Chiang Mai.”
For the rest of the journey they spoke about Thailand and some of the other countries they had both visited, and she realised that he was actually very easy to talk to with a good sense of humour. She was almost sorry when they arrived at the airport; she’d enjoyed his company so much.
Careful, she told herself. I bet he’s as charming as this with all the women he meets. She knew he had a reputation for collecting beautiful girlfriends — Tanya had hinted as much at the engagement party. He was the eternal bachelor. Well, she was the eternal bachelor girl, wasn’t she? She could handle Jake Newman, even if he did make her go all goose-bumpy

Buy Never Say Forever via these links

Read more about Kay Harborne and Karen King at:

Twitter: @karen_king

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A Little Romance

As well as writing children's books, I am quite partial to writing a nice romance every now and then. In fact when I first started writing 30 odd years ago, it was romances that I particularly wanted to write. At the time I joined The Romantic Novelists Association (RNA) as a probationer, and went along to a couple of their events.

There was a weekend in Bournmouth where I heard author Mary Wibberley, talk and recall being absolutely awe inspired by her. I bought her guide on writing romance, To Writers with Love which she signed for me.

I was saddened to learn that she passed away in December last year. She'd written almost 50 books for Mills & Boon, the first being Black Niall in 1973.

When my writing went in the direction of children's books and non fiction, romance got put on the back burner for some 20 years. Then a couple of years ago, I caught the romance-writing bug again and finally got two romances published as floppies with My Weekly and People's Friend – and then in large print and ebooks.

This all rekindled my interest in writing romance, and I re-joined the RNA, this time as a full member. Good friend and fellow author Karen King – who writes romance under the name of Kay Harborne joined at the same time, and in July this year we went along to their annual conference, which was superb.

It was held at the Harper Adams University, Telford and for the three days we were treated to a packed programme of talks and workshops by top romance authors, publishers, editors, agents and other professionals. At each period there was always a choice of three different session to attend, so you were just spoilt for choice as to who you were going to be inspired by next!

Gala Dinner starter!

Food and drink was wonderful – it was good to see they recognised the fact that writers like to eat and drink! There was a free drinks party before dinner on the first night - courtesy of Independent Publishing at Amazon. And they again provided lots of free wine the following night before the gala dinner.

Author Pamela Hartshorne gave a fascinating talk.

There was also an opportunity to have a one-to-one with editors and agents, which you pre-booked and submitted some work beforehand that you wanted feedback or comments from. 

All these slots were quickly nabbed, and I think everyone there really appreciated the opportunity of talking about their latest masterpiece with a possible publisher, or agent.

A little pre-dinner drink with Karen King.

Everybody was networking, exchanging emails, phone numbers and business cards. And a few new friendships sprang up too, no doubt.

It was just such a great three days – and if the RNA is an organisation that you think would interest you, then I'd recommend you take a look and see what they have to offer. As well as conferences and get togethers, they have annual awards and lots of other activities going on.