Phone fun - NOT!

I can do a lot with a computer. I can do virtually nothing with a mobile phone. It doesn’t help that I had polio as a child and one hand is now pretty shaky. Swiping anything is an exercise in frustration. Who knows where I’ll end up?

Poor Philip has bought me three phones over the years, hoping I might get interested. I can use the ‘work’ phone when we’re out on jobs together. Answer, talk, click off. Thank you iPhone.

But his latest offering is not an iPhone. It’s quite big, so my fumbling fingers will have a chance of landing on the right letters. Not a bad idea! I have proudly managed several texts. Yay me – making progress.

And overnight, some helpful person in a country far, far away has ‘updated’ it. Some of the icons have changed. I can find no way to phone anyone. If I click the green telephone symbol, which used to work fine, I now get taken to a ‘call log’ – a list of times I’ve phoned them in the past. Blowed if I can find anything that looks like a ‘call them now’ icon. I have resorted to the landline again and torn some more hair out. Loud sigh….


P.S. several hours later. I have been given another lesson. It was far from obvious to me that clicking on the small telephone number would do the trick. Why not the big red letter in the circle? Why not the name of the person?

Kristen Lamb says we have to blog!!

The amazing Kristen Lamb from Texas – blogger extraordinaire - was the keynote speaker at the recent Romance Writers of New Zealand conference. Kristen blogs three times every week and says three is the magic frequency to attract a growing audience. There was a good deal of quibbling about this - how were we going to find something interesting enough to blog about three times a week?

She says it’s easy, and that the blogs needn’t be long but should be personal. Okay, here’s my first not-long and more personal effort.

Before the conference, I drove almost four hours north of Wellington to stay several nights with my lovely sister. Then I collected my author friend Kendra Delugar and we drove north for several more hours until we arrived in Rotorua where the conference was. The weather on the way home was gorgeous, and we passed the three famous volcanoes looking absolutely splendid and snowy and scenic. We stopped and took photos - possibly at some risk to our lives on this very busy fast-traffic road.

Friends for you to meet

I'm pleasantly exhausted after two very long drives and three wonderful days of full-on annual conference. Romance Writers of New Zealand's special guests from the USA included blogger and author Kristen Lamb, author Christie Craig (amazing!!!) and agents and editors from top overseas publishing houses.

Kris Pearson RWNZ conference 

So who's in the photo? And were we a bit tipsy?

Knowing Nalini

I’ve been writing in my head as I garden. It’s a fine cold winter’s day here, so I’m making the most of the great weather - and using it to think about other people’s successes. That’s one of the nicest things about being a writer - you don’t just enjoy your own success, but all around you friends are having their own great moments.

I’ve titled this blog Knowing Nalini because she’s someone I’ve known for many years, and it has been a total pleasure to watch her go from success to success. I’m talking about Nalini Singh of course. I ‘met’ her at my first Romance Writers of New Zealand conference. Sitting up by the stage was a large blow-up ET-type alien labelled Nalini. When I enquired why, I was told that Nalini was there in spirit, but was in fact in Japan busy writing. Okay – even then she was obviously held in high regard. I found out more.

Her first book was a Harlequin Mills & Boon Desire. I still have it right here - a sheikh fantasy. Nalini’s ‘Desert Warrior’ dates from 2003, and I was obviously enchanted by her made-up kingdom of Zulheil and handsome sheikh Tariq, because I went on to write a couple of my own in the made-up Middle Eastern kingdom of Al Sounam. (I have two more planned for that series, and whereas they’re both started, they’re a long way from finished. Sorry.)

New books from me and 'her'

Do you ever wish you could be someone else? I’ve just become someone else, and for an unusual reason.

A year or so back, a publisher in China asked if I could remove the sexy love scenes from my books. What??? No!

In fact it’s not me who puts the sex in – it’s the characters themselves. It’s perfectly possible to write for ages in the zone and get a real surprise when you read the manuscript back. This is where the bedroom photography scene in Hard to Regret came from. I didn’t set out to write it… Anna and Jason simply started to live it. I was thrilled when I discovered what they were doing.

Cover, The Boat Builder's Bed - Kris Pearson   Cover - The Boat Builder's Bargain - Kris Pearson

The nicest people

Well, I think readers are pretty great – but writers are just a tiny bit better! Maybe not for any reason you’re expecting though.

I’ve been around for a while – worked in various places – and I can say without word of a lie that writers are the most co-operative people I’ve ever found. There’s no ‘keeping secrets’ in case we’ve discovered something good just for us. We share. Maybe we share too much sometimes, but we’re all in this together! I guess we remember the thrill of finally writing THE END on a manuscript, or selling our first book, or seeing our first royalties arrive. These things are so exciting we want others to enjoy them too.

Case in point: the current Easter promotion I’m part of. This is a whole bunch of authors willing to make a book free or 99 cents. We’re being coordinated by the wonderful Tracey Alvarez, and if you click on this picture, you’ll see all the books listed so you can download what you like. Dozens of them!


The whole big group has written newsletters, blogs, facebook messages, instagrams, and tweets. We’re liking and sharing like mad to spread the joy. Working on behalf of each other – because there really is strength in numbers. 

Prizes and Pretties

Hello – something different from me this time. I’m taking part in the 6th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop, and this means the chance for you to win daily prizes or the grand prize of a Kindle Fire or Nook (your choice). The second prize is a $25 gift card, and individual authors each have their own prizes too.

We’re to include gardening or cooking tips. For me it will be gardening - and my tip is a four letter word: POTS. I have pots everywhere - on our big deck, and standing in the garden beds themselves. I hide the pots up the back of the yard once they’re past their best, replant them and bring them out when they start to look good again. Sometimes they look good for months. They’re a great way to brighten up a shady or difficult area, they foil my next door neighbour’s three cats from digging and pooping, and if you’re a cheapskate like me then you can use your home-made compost and always find a few self-sown seedlings to pop in the pots. Primulas, pansies, impatiens, begonias and French marigolds pretty much take care of the whole year here in Wellington, New Zealand.


The biggest distraction

I wish I could just write. Day after day of peaceful progress would be wonderful. Life surely does get in the way though.

There’s ‘writing stuff’ – replying to lovely reader’s emails, checking out the e-newsletters and buying too many books, (Melanie Harlow, Melanie Harlow!) recording my overnight sales figures, planning and booking promotions - which is really time-consuming - and keeping up with emails from friends who are writers, and sometimes critiquing or proofreading for them. That’s all legit.

There’s the garden, which is just sliding from summer to autumn, but is still full of flowers (including another flush of gorgeous white waterlilies in the pond.) I can’t ignore it. I get a lot of pleasure from it, and so do my visitors.

There’s the curtain work – less of it these days – but there are still jobs that are so big or so high that they require two of us. And I like meeting all those people and seeing their houses and gardens and cats and dogs.

But being self-employed and semi-retired has its drawbacks, because there is, undeniably, the husband. His workshop is right next to my office. I am the shortcut through the house! Would I like a cup of coffee? Tea? What are we having for lunch? Do we need any groceries while he’s out at the hardware store? Did I hear about the terrible flooding up north? Does my car need petrol yet? Oh f……………..or heaven’s sake!

New life for old books

I’ve got my knickers in a twist (or panties in a knot, apparently, if I was American!) about books that haven’t been updated when they so easily could be.

What’s got me going is a book published in 2016 by a well-known New Zealand author. It must be an old one she’s bought back her publication rights to and re-published. Nice enough read, but it mentions several times ‘The Holmes Show’ and ‘the top-rated Paul Holmes news show’. Paul stopped fronting that show in 2004 - that’s thirteen years ago. How easy it would have been to just tweak out the name a few times and call it ‘the top-rating evening news show’ or something before republishing it in ebook form.

I had to do this with Seduction on the Cards. I’d given my hero Alexandre a phone that went out of date, but it was easy enough to change it to ‘a smartphone’ or whatever I did before I reloaded the book. I also tweaked a camcorder out of my first sheikh novel, because now it’s so easy to video with your phone.

Somewhere in this house I have a Nora Roberts double re-issue. It’s a paperback, some years old now, but I was astounded to find the heroine pounding away on an electric typewriter. How long have we had computers? That would have been so easy for the publishers to bring up to date.

Christmas v. technology

This is embarrassing! It’s already January and I’ve only just published my Christmas novella. It popped straight up on Smashwords, which means it will be on iBooks any minute and Nook and Kobo in the next couple of days. It should appear on Amazon overnight.

You see – I was so attracted to this great photo for a cover that I began writing. Thought it would only be a seasonal shortie, but it’s grown past 14,000 words, included a visit to Christian and Fiona from THE WRONG SISTER, and turned itself into a novella. That’s part of the reason it’s late, but the rest is technological frustration.


A few weeks ago, my ever-helpful husband decided I should upgrade to Windows 10 and installed it for me. Ooops – not quite the result he wanted so he stripped it off and reloaded. BUT! He stripped off a lot more that he expected. I’ve spent the last month re-finding all the places I want, re-bookmarking them, and being told I can’t have that password and email address because someone else already has it. (Yes – me!) Much grinding of teeth.