Saturday, December 12, 2009

Let's Celebrate with Kate!!

by Anna Sugden

I'm delighted to welcome back my very dear friend, the fabulous Mills & Boon author, Kate Walker, for another fun-filled day in the Lair. This time, we're going to give Kate a celebration to remember, as she's joining us during a very special anniversary!

So bring on the cabana boys, gladiators and hockey hunks and let the fun begin! May I be the first to raise a glass of bubbly and say
"Congratulations, Kate - may you have many more years of giving us wonderful books! And thank you for all the help and advice you've given us over the years."

Thank you, Anna and Banditas. It's a real pleasure to be back with you all.

It’s very nearly Christmas and everyone is rushing around looking for gifts to give to loved ones, choosing them, buying them, wrapping them up and either putting them in the post or delivering them in person. Christmas is all about giving and sharing with those we care about. But the gifts we give don’t have to be just material things. (Though those are always nice – and a few brand new books in my Christmas stocking will always go down a treat!) We can share help and advice and support and encouragement. And that’s what I love to do with those not-yet-published authors who are aiming and hoping top get their books published some time soon.

But not everyone understands this. A couple of years ago, I was at an event with a lot of other Harlequin Mills &Boon authors. One of them was an elderly, long-established writer who told me to my face that she ‘didn’t approve’ of all the things I did like giving workshops, running courses, teaching and advising ‘wannabes’ (her term). And she really didn’t approve of the fact that I had written the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance. I was, she said, encouraging them to think that getting published was easy and that all you had to do was to follow a few rules, knock together several thousand words, and you would be heading for the best-seller lists in no time! Hmm! She also wanted to know what I was doing, ‘training up the opposition’, helping new authors who would get published, move in, grab all the sales, and, apparently, ruin my position, knocking me – and other older established authors out of the market altogether.

Huh? I didn’t get it then – still don’t get it now. How could helping a ‘trainee’ author polish and hone her skills so that she sees how things have to be in a romance novel and more importantly why they have to be that way ruin my own career and those of many other like me? How could saying that there are no ‘rules’ but there are things you need to look out for, things you need to focus on, things you need to think about damage the reputation I’ve built up over the years?

[Anna: Trust me, Kate's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance is invaluable for any wannabes!]

Perhaps I should add in something here. Over on my own blog, as well as celebrating Christmas, I’m marking a very special anniversary. This December 2009 I have been a published romance writer for 25 years since my very first book, The Chalk Line was published in December 1984. In that time I have had over 50 books published, with titles number 56 and 57 coming up in 2010. It’s a very special time for me and an achievement I’m so very proud of.

25 years ago when having a book published was just a dream - one that no one ever seemed to think I was going to achieve – there was just one person who believed in me and thought I might actually make it. She was a friend of my mothers, a woman called Marguerite Lees who wrote for Mills & Boon way back then when I was growing up. Her simple comment ‘You can write,’ when she read my childhood writings gave me faith in myself and sustained me when I thought I’d never make it. My success never damaged hers – so why should I ever think that helping anyone else would harm mine? Could it take away the 57 titles I’ve had accepted?

Some months ago I went to a concert by a favourite singer, Michael Ball. He has had huge success as a recording artist, on stage in musicals, and had won many awards. I’ve seen him on stage many times. This time he had a slightly different show because it included performances by several new young singers who had appeared with him in productions of Hairspray etc. Giving these young - and hugely talented singers – a break by letting them appear on stage with him did nothing to reduce the singing power and presence of the star . Instead their new voices added a different depth and richness to songs I had heard many times before, allowing for different and original arrangements, extending the range and scope of the music.

That’s what I hope for when new authors are signed with Harlequin – in the Presents line I write for, or for any line at all. In fact any genre at all., Every line, every genre, needs new blood to stay alive, stay fresh. Any form of fiction needs to grow and develop, to change and adapt to new years, new trends, new types of societies so that it will always be relevant and never ever become a stuffy old dinosaur that no one wants to read.

And that’s why I love helping what the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association calls ‘New Writers’ those who aren’t yet published but with a little help and adv ice and encouragement might yet be the new Lynne Graham, the new Jennifer Cruisie, or even the new Nora Roberts. That’s why I run the courses etc and that’s why I wrote the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance. This book has already sold out one edition completely and the second, much expanded and updated edition was brought out in an American edition for the first time this year. Since it was published, I’ve heard from at least seven brand new novelists who have been helped on their way to publication by reading this book – and believe me that’s one of the best presents I’ve ever had. Almost – though not quite as good as that very first published book that I held in my hand this time 25 years ago.

So as part of my ‘Silver Anniversary’ celebrations I’m giving away a signed copy of the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance to one lucky commenter. (Or if you’ve already got it – or you’re not actually trying to get published – then I’ll send you a copy of my most recent Presents novel Kept For Her Baby instead. Your choice.)

I’ve been talking about giving and if you’ve ever visited my blog you’ll know that two years ago my husband (the renowned Babe Magnet) gave me one of the best presents ever when he found me a beautiful and adorable Maine Coon kitten who has now grown into an even more beautiful and more adorable Queen . Her real name is Flora but she’s also known as Flora the Floozie. So Flora and the very first edition of The Chalk Line all those years ago have to come into the category of the Best Presents I Ever Received.

What would be your best present ever? One you’ve been given or one you’d just dream of ever finding under the tree on Christmas morning? I’d love to know. And I’ll get Sid the cat on the job to pick one poster as a winner of a copy of whichever book you want!

And can I add a special request here too – with another chance to win a prize as I have 25 of them to give away to mark this very special Silver Anniversary for me. I’ve been asking readers to let me know which of my books was the very first title they ever read. And perhaps tell me a little bit about how they found it, when it came into their life. And I’m also sunning a vote for the top 5 favourite Kate Walker titles – just send me (kate AT a list with your favourites numbered one to five and I’ll add them to the voting. And if I post your story on my blog, or Sid the Cat picks your name out of the voting you’ll win a signed copy of one of my back list titles together with a little extra gift to share the celebrations of the 25th anniversary. Details are on the Contest page of my web site – and on the home page there you’ll also find my special Christmas ‘card’ to all my readers.

I’ll just end by wishing everyone the happiest of holiday seasons – whatever you’re celebrating. I hope you have a truly special and loving time with your family and friends. And I hope that the new year when it comes brings lots of wonderful joys and maybe even a dream or two coming true. Thank you all Banditas for having me over to visit and I hope to see you all again in 2010.


mariska said...

me !

Annie West said...

Hi Kate, it's lovely to see you here. Mega congratulations on 25 years of romance publishing! What an achievement!

The story you tell about the older, disapproving author is amazing. I'm glad to say that just about every romance author I've met, and especially the published ones, have been very supportive. I'm mainly involved in Romance Writers of Australia and it's a wonderful group. I know I wouldn't have been published without the support I've got there, not the mention the terrific friends I've found through it (waving particularly to Anna C and Christine W). Then there are the friendships I've made with other writers all around the world, like with you. I think being a romance writer and reader is a great excuse to celebrate.

I've proudly got your 12 point guide on my 'special' bookcase and plan to dip into it again when I finish this book.

Anna Campbell said...

Mariska, people are starting to talk about you and the chook! Congratulations!

Kate, huge congratulations on your 25th anniversary! That's a major achievement! I'm so happy for you.

I loved your story about Michael Ball. I saw him as a real whippersnapper in the original production of Les Miserables. It's been wonderful watching him go from strength to strenght - and now to know that he's taking some of the whippersnappers under his wing as well.

I really don't get that woman you met who criticised the wonderful way you help writers (I'd say fledgling but you help some of us who aren't so fledgling too!). I firmly believe that a rising tide floats all ships. I know, putting on my reader hat, that the first thing I do once I finish a good book is look for another good book. It's not like we're rationed to reading one book a year so if I buy yours, there's no way I'll buy Annie West's!

Oh, man, I've received such great presents over the years. Some I treasure because of the people who gave them or the circumstances in which they were given. I think, though, one of my all-time favorite presents would be the two volume Oxford English Dictionary that my parents gave me for my 21st birthday. I've used that ever since and I just love the way it sits on top of my office bookcase in its classy dark blue jacket!

Cybercliper said...

My mom always said a person would either make it or break it by living what was in their heart. You're definitely proof of that. You shared yourself, your time, and your knowledge and 25 years later have over 50 books in print, changed people's lives, and made a lot of friends - congratulations! I wonder if "disapproving writer" can say the same.

Best present - when my husband and I first got married we didn't have much money and I would shop at a consignment store for clothes. The most beautiful pair of boots was there but since I wouldn't be wearing them every day, I shouldn't spend the money on them. Every time I went there I would look at them until one day they were gone. As you can guess several months later they showed up under the Christmas tree and my DH was so excited. All that time he had watched me look at them and put them back. He said the hardest part was waiting to give them to me because the look on my face the day I found them gone just about broke his heart. That's why 20 years later he's still my guy.

Kate Walker said...

Mariska - chook congratulations! One thing's for suyre, that Golden Rooster is safe from the Christmas table - everyone wants to look after him!

Kate Walker said...

Hello Annie - I thought my friends from 'downunder' would be here first. Hope you're having a better day than us. It's cold and wet here.

I think I tell that story about the older author because she was so different by being so open in her disapproval. Like you, I've had more friendship and support from romance writers which is why her response shocked me. And I totally agree that it's wonderful how this world of romance writing is somehow smaller than most as we are al linked by our love of what we do. And yes that's truly something to celebrate.

Talking of the 12 POint Guide - those friendships are what made the 2nd edition extra special - because so many of my friends - like you ;o) - contributed to the 'From the Authors' Desks ' section and so added so much to the original book.

Thanks for your congratulations - I'm amazed top find it has really been that long! And maybe you'll let me know your top 5 Kate Walker books?

Kate Walker said...

Hello Annie - I thought my friends from 'downunder' would be here first. Hope you're having a better day than us. It's cold and wet here.

I think I tell that story about the older author because she was so different by being so open in her disapproval. Like you, I've had more friendship and support from romance writers which is why her response shocked me. And I totally agree that it's wonderful how this world of romance writing is somehow smaller than most as we are al linked by our love of what we do. And yes that's truly something to celebrate.

Talking of the 12 POint Guide - those friendships are what made the 2nd edition extra special - because so many of my friends - like you ;o) - contributed to the 'From the Authors' Desks ' section and so added so much to the original book.

Thanks for your congratulations - I'm amazed top find it has really been that long! And maybe you'll let me know your top 5 Kate Walker books?

Kate Walker said...

Hello Anna! You'd remember our day in York here in the UK today - rain and more rain!

Like you I'm old enough to remember the young whippersnapper that Michael Ball was - I was only a child myself! ;o) And I really thought it was great the way the new up and coming singers were joining him. As you say, a rising tide floats all ships.

Interesting too about your favourite present. I have a dictionary that my Dad gave me years ago - well used by now.

And books are some of my truly favourite presents - that's another thing that helping new authors has brought me - shelves full of their first books signed and giv en to me as they start of their road to success.You can't beat it! And yes, absolutely - reading a great book just makes me want to read anoterh one. That's what it's all about! None of us want to write a book that makes no one ever want to read again :oD

Kate Walker said...

Hello Cyyberclipper

It sounds to me like your mum was a very wise woman - I love that quote. It's really true. And you know you're right. I felt sorry for 'disapproving writer' she was pretty lonely in her anti-helping stance.

And I LOVE your best gift story - that is truly romantic in the proper sense of the word. And I'm not in the least surprised that you still have your own personal hero with you after 20 years. He's clearly very special - I hope you have many many more years together. And a wonderful Christmas and New Year

Helen said...

Congrats again Mariska have fun with him

Huge congrats Kate what a fantastic achievement and good on you for helping "wannabe authors" I love finding new authors and love the different genres around today.

Over the years I have had many favourite gifts one that stands out in my mind was just after I had lost both my Mum and Dad a few years apart my Hubby got our wedding photos out and without my knowledge picked 2 beautiful photos and had them enlarged and framed for me when I opened the present I burst into tears and he kept saying he was sorry but I kept telling him they were tears of joy not sadness i love the photo.

Anna thanks for inviting Kate again today and again well done Kate

Have Fun

mariska said...

Hi Kate,
i'm kindda ashamed now, coz this is the first time i heard about you and read about your 25 years in romance publishing, Congrats !:)

i must admit that i'm still new about the books thing. that's why i'm trying my very best to read as many as New Authors in a month. Most of them i found here.

since i'm not celebrating Christmas, the best present for me will be our Trip to My MIL next week. we're gonna stay there until end of the month:)

Gonna miss my banditas friends (T_T)

Anna Sugden said...

Good morning all! Unlike Kate we have a gloriously sunny, if very cold day here in Cambridge!

Congrats Mariska - though why you'd want that pesky bird in your home, messing things up is beyond me *g*.

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Annie! *waving*

It's funny, but even though the vast majority of romance writers are the best (including all the greats like Nora and Debbie Macomber and Suz Brockmann and SEP etc etc)I've met some authors who are less than supportive in my time as an AYU (As Yet Unpublished). Some quite big names have been extremely rude and unfriendly ... how can you be rude to a gushing fan girl ... I've never bought one of their books since!

Luckily most of the people I know or have met in this industry have been extremely supportive and willing to help the rest of us up that ladder to publication.

Anna Sugden said...

I love when people who are stars in their profession help the youngsters or newbies towards achieving their dream. The romance world is definitely a 'pay it forward' community.

Funnily enough, my FIL has got me the two volume Oxford Dictionary for Christmas and as a thank you for all we do for him. Can't wait!

Anna Sugden said...

Cybercliper - what a wise mum you have. I'm a great believer in karma - what you send out into the world, so you shall reap. (You know, like when the idiot cuts you up in traffic, nearly causing an accident, and then is caught by the police a little further up the road!)

Your hubby sounds adorable and a perfect catch - what a lovely thing to do for you.

Anna Sugden said...

BTW Kate - it's so not fair asking us to choose only five of your books as our faves *g*.

I must admit, your 12 Point Guide is my favourite writing help book and is well-thumbed. Always helpful for a little extra inspiration when I'm stuck. It's a first edition *g* so maybe I'll treat myself to a second edition too.

Anna Sugden said...

I love books that are signed to me and/or have dedications to me in them *g*. For me, books are the foolproof present!

Anna Sugden said...

Awww - your hubby's present sounds lovely, Helen. How thoughtful.

My rpoblem is choosing one special present from my lovely hubby - he is the best! And, his presents are always spot on. Perhaps I should say that my best present was actually my hubby!

Anna Sugden said...

No need to feel bad Mariska - now you have plenty of books to find and catch up on! I love discovering a new author and then trying to find the rest of their list! (I know -sad!)

Emmanuelle said...

Congratulations again, Kate !!!

Ann Victor said...

For many years I was a founding member of South African Romance Writers group (visit

Kate Walker, because of her South African connections was also a member. I'd just like to say that over the years Kate Walker has tirelessly offered her advice, wisdom and support to a bunch of unknown and unpublished authors with no thought of return. If what one gives out comes back to one, than Kate must surely be reaping a rich and well-deserved harvest.

Raising a glass of cyber-champagne to toast her fantastic achievement! :)

(Win one of five unique prizes from South Africa in the Christmas Contest on my blog

Gillian Layne said...

Congratulations, Kate, and great interview, Anna. I happen to love the "12 points" types of books. There always seems to be one unique nugget of information or inspiration to gleam from each of them. I very much appreciate any writer who takes the time to put one of those books (or web articles, or blog sites) together. It really does help the rest of us so much.

Best present ever--my husband showed up one weekend at midnight without telling me before hand that he was coming (he was working far from home). It was very romantic, and I loved it! Best tangible present--when my mom first started to read romance, after I introduced it to her (she is now a voracious reader), she made me up a huge basket of romance novels and teas and chocolates for Christmas. It was so wonderful!

Deb said...

Happy Anniversary, Kate! What an accomplishment! Thank you for a fun post, Anna.
I've had a lot of special gifts over the years. The first was when I was three. Santa brought me my very own doll that cried and slept a sister Kris, born on Dec. 22nd.
Another special gift was the year my parents gave me a plane ticket to Denmark, my grandfather's homeland.
The best gift I received from my husband was actually on the Valentine's Day in my 7th month of my pregnancy. We knew we were having a girl and he gave me a dozen roses; 11 reds and a pink one in the center for our baby girl.
Merry Christmas to you!

~Drew said...

How wonderful to read of your generosity Kate! What a great post! I am always stunned to encounter the warm, giving natures of romance writers, esp. to an unpubbed/wannabe like myself, LOL!

And your amazing 25 years! Wow. What an accomplishment!
Now, I am a 'historical' girl mostly (or is that hysterical?) I have only recently moved into reading more contemporary romances, and I will be sure to check yours out!

Best Christmas present? That's a tough one. I will go with a childhood memory, I was 13, my parents said I was too old to have gifts from 'Santa' anymore, so I sat on the couch, lower lip quivering, eyes filling with salty, bitter tears, while my younger brother and sister squealed and rolled around in their Santa booty, My dad went into the closet and brought out this big box, of gifts...for me! From Santa!
Christmas was saved!
It was a real 'Christmas Story' moment, LOL!
All the best for the holidays!

Kate Walker said...

Ah I see my 'host' Anna has been in and busy answering comments too - thank you Anna. I have visitors this weekend - for the third weekend in a row! - so I'm dashing in here in between preparing meals and being polite!

Anna is another of those special friends that romance writing had brought me and I would love to hold her 'firstborn' book in my hanbds one day too. Fingers crossed Anna!

Kate Walker said...

Helen - Hi and thank you for your congratulations. Your special gift sounds wonderful - and it reminds me of one of the gifts we gave to MIL last year. She is 80 and some of her very special photos - wedding day, her husband who died young, pics of her daughter who was sadly killed in a car crash - were getting very worn and faded so we copied them and had them printed in one of those 'photbooks' you can buy from firms like snapfish. Now she can look at them easily and without worrying that she's damaging them.

She ahd uch the same reaction to the photos as you did to yours.

Kate Walker said...

Mariska - please don't be embarrassed. There are hundreds and hundreds of romance auhtors out there - you can't have heard of all of them. I know I haven't!

But hey, as it's Christmas how about an little extra prize - if you email me your postal address (send to Kate AT I'll send you your very first Kate Walker book to read on your trip to your MIL's. And then I'll know exactly which was your first ever of my books!

I think it's great that you try new authors - that way you should find some realy good authors to try.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Emmanuelle!

I know one of my books that you've read as you won it from me! Are there others you would put into your Top 5?

Thanks for the congratulations

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Emanuelle! Thanks for popping in - love that little cheering thingy! *\0/* Must remember it!

Anna Sugden said...

It's a worlwide thing, Ann, isn't it? There's a reason we all call her Queen Kate with so much respect and admiration!

How cool that there is an RW group in South Africa!

Anna Sugden said...

Oh how lovely Gillian - that's the kind of thing I love to hear about - hubby's who do the right thing as a surprise.

Anna Sugden said...

I'm LOL Deb - I wasn't quite so pleased when my little sister was born. Though I think she's worth the hassle now *g*.

Sounds like you have another romantic hubby.

Anna Sugden said...

Awww what a lovely story Drew. How nice of your parents to think of you feeling left out.

Which reminds me of the present my little sister 'brought' me when she was born ... can't remember what it was exactly, but she did come bearing a gift (and not just the poopy one in her nappy!)

Anna Sugden said...

Yes, managing to pop in and help you out here, Kate while you have fun with your guests. We have a great partnership going!

I should be at a football game, as you know, but thanks to a major accident on the A1, we only made it as far as Grantham before being turned back.

I'll gladly send you my firstborn book, Kate ... just need to get an editor to agree!

Kate Walker said...

Oh Ann V how lovely to see you here - and I'm blushing at your lovely compliments. Thank you!

Your friendship has been one more of those gifts that writign has brought me - friends from all over thw rold.

Raising cyber champagne back in a toast to you

Anna Sugden said...

What you did for your MIL, Kate, is similar to what we did for my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary, except we put them on one of those digital picture frames and interspersed them with pics of the kids, grand-kids and great grand-kids. They loved it and were in total awe of a picture frame where the picture changed every few seconds!

Kate Walker said...

Hi Gillian - I really hope that the 12 Points book gives everyone who reads it some special insight that creates a lightbulb moment.

I love the idea of the gift from your mother - it's a special way of sharing something you both enjoy. But having your husband turn up so unexpectedly - that is a real romantic moment. Lovely

Linda Henderson said...

I am a long time fan of yours. And may I say, I don't care how many new authors come alone, your books will still keep making my keeper shelves. Personally, I love reading and discovering new authors. I don't think it takes a thing away from the established ones. Why else would Nora Roberts keep selling with all the new writers that have come along since she began. I think one of my favorite gifts I received for Christmas was a beautiful robe that my daughters gave me. Even though it is years old, I still wear it.

Kate Walker said...

Deb - you have some wonderful 'gift' memories. I love the idea of your sister being one of those - some people might not be too happy about a new sister arriving just before Christmas. My sisters both arrived just a month before - November 24th and 26th so I didn't see them as Christmas gufta - or the opposite!

But i love the fact that all your stories have such a family element in them - your sister, your grandfather's homeland - and that lovely pink rose. Did you keep it? Or call your daughter Rose? Whatever, it's a wonderful memory.

Kate Walker said...

Ahem - I saw the typo just before I pressed send!

'Gufta' indeed! I meant gifts! Typing too fast

Kate Walker said...

PS Deb - I just followed your link and found you live in Iowa. One of my dearest friends lives in Dubuque - again she's a writer and another 'gift' that writing romance has brought me. I had a wonderful visit to Iowa some years back

Kate Walker said...

Hi Drew

I'm a historical/hysterical fan myself too - but I don't write them. My story-telling fits the contemporaries better. If you do check out my books, I hope your enjoy them

Your Christmas gift had me gasping for a moment, worrying that you would be left out. I'm so glad thatr 'Santa' didn't forget you!

Kate Walker said...

Anna (S) I'm sorry your football expedition was ruined - and even sorrier for the people involved in the accident. But did you know that Grantham is only 50 or so miles from us - you could have dropped in for a cup of tea!

Kate Walker said...

Ah Linda- how lovely to see you here. I sent a prize package to you only last week - I love doing that!

Abd thank you so much for your lovely compliments - they are the sort of thing that a writer loes to hear/read. I love to hear from my readers - and the loingtime ones are really special! I hope you'll let me know which are your top five favourites of my stories. I know your 'fiurst' was Rough Diamond after your post on another blog.

jo robertson said...

Kate, what a beautiful post! Thanks so much for sharing with us and for visiting the Lair today. Thanks, Anna, for bringing Kate.

Wow, what a milestone anniversary. How delighted, pleased and proud you much be. Those of us as yet unpublished are encouraged by your success.

Best present ever? Hmmm, I'd have to say all those corny presents our children make at school or church and present with such pride and excitement. I have drawers of them!

Deb said...

Kate, Iowa is a lovely state---yes, even with all of this snow! (12 inches with this week's blizzard.) I hope you were able to go up to Eagle Point Park to overlook the Mississippi when you were in Dubuque. It's beautiful at any time of year.
I have to make another family comment:
My daughter Shary is named for my mother Sharon (whose friends call her Shary) and her middle name is Ann (my middle name and my MIL's middle name).

Keira Soleore said...

Kate, welcome to The Lair and for your fantastic achievements: 25 books, 50 years, scores of writers helped along their career path.

Apprenticeship is how skills are learned. People who pull others down to make themselves look good are the mediocre and undeserving ones, not the new fledglings.

I'm in the small minority, that was clearly hiding under a rock on some distant planet, because I have not read a single one of the Kate Walker books. However, based on the interview and the comments here, I now have many, many books to glom, which is always a fabulous thing for a dedicated reader.

Vrai, *waves like mad*!! I'm now in a better time zone being that I'm half-way around the world. So I thought for sure I'd snag the chook, but it was not to be.

Virginia said...

Congrats mariska on getting the rooster!

Hi Kate and congrats on your 25 years of publishing! Your books are fabulous because I have read several of them! I am really glad your are here with us today! I know a lot of new authors out there have learned a lot from your 12 point guide to writing. Its great that you share your secrets with others.

Linda Rader said...

I'm not at all certain you can help someone get published who wouldn't have made it one way or another anyway. So you don't really increase the "competition".
It's not an either/or thing for me. Reading one good author enthuses me as a reader and sends me back to the book store. It makes me more open to reading authors new to me. In other words good writing supports all good authors.

Therefore I thank all the wonderful writers who share their advice and insight. I also tend to read the works of authors who give advice, because I am looking for examples in their writing. So I think giving advice boosts sales a little. Of course the best salesman is word of mouth. If you have a good book it'll get read. If you don't then all the other writers in the world, or lack thereof won't help you a bit. I think you made the right choose Kate. And I am glad to see you agree.

Caroline Storer said...

Hi all at the Romance Bandits and Kate. What a lovely blog! It's so good that you help us newbies - and weren't put off by the other M&B author!. Your 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance is the best "How To" guide I've read (and beleive me I've read a lot!).

I've had an early Christmas prezzie off my DH. He's booked me onto Kate's weekend writing course in Fishguard in Feb 2010. I can't wait.

Don't enter me in your competition - I've got your writing guide and (the excellent) Kept For Her Baby - I only wanted to stop by and say "Hi". Take care. Caroline x

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Mariska, I love that the Bandits are your guide to new authors. Stick with us, kiddo - we won't lead you astray. Well, that pesky rooster might but I think you've got his number!

Kate, I still giggle to think of that absolute downpour that day we met in York. I had to swim to the train station, practically!

Anna, you're going to be another OED gal? Cool! It's not just that I've used what's inside it. I think it's just such a beautiful set of books.

Drew, what a lovely story!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, great to see so many new faces here today. Miss Walker, you are a STAR!!!! And everyone's coming out to see you twinkle!

Your 12 Point Guide is fantastic. I often quote (with due credit to you) that line about the conflict in a romance novel having to be something so important to the h/h that they're willing to sacrifice the love of a lifetime to achieve their goals. Really powerful stuff!

Kate, I love getting signed books! When we first met, as I'm sure you'll remember, it was at the Romance Novelists' Conference in Leicester in 2004 and I wasn't published yet. It gave me such a wonderful feeling of pride to give you a signed copy of CLAIMING THE COURTESAN when we met in York that time. Kind of like closing the circle, you know?

Christine Wells said...

Kate what an amazing achievement. 25 years in this business is truly remarkable. Congratulations!

Anna, thanks so much for bringing Kate to us today.

Kate, with all the demands on your time, it's so admirable that you help other writers. I always say that books aren't like laundry powder. No one chooses one author instead of another because they only need one book until the next time they go shopping. The more a reader enjoys a particular reading experience, the more likely she is to buy more in that vein.

As for presents--I received the present I wanted for my birthday this year, which was a treadmill. I know, not particularly romantic but it was what I longed for this time! One of the most special presents anyone gave me was when my brother gave me a historical romance novel. It bowled me over that he actually knew what I liked reading and went to a counter with this girly book in his hand to buy it for me.

Thank you for visiting with us today and happy anniversary!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Kate! Welcome to the Lair and a HUGE CONGRATS for a most fabulous 25 years! WOOT!!!! Silver anniversary and all that. Wow. Go you!

Hey, Mariska! Congrats to you too on the Golden Rooster. :>

Kate, I'm glad you didn't listen to that woman. Like you, I believe the more I give back in helping others the more it helps me. There's more than enough publishing PIE! (Cassondra would say cake, I'm sure!) to go around. And hey, it's good Karma too.

As to presents, I've received some doozies. No kittens, but I've gotten a pup which turned out to be a most fabulous dog (still rockin' at 14), an antique car which eventually helped pay my way through college when it was sold (still wish I could have fixed it up), and a lot of laughter and friendship and fun - great gifts all.

Now if I could have a gift under my tree this year, I think it would be maid service. Snork! I've managed to keep up with deadlines, children, dogs, and business stuff this year, but the housekeeping? Uh...not so much. Grins.

Anna Sugden said...

Kate - I'm only glad we diverted. We all know how tragic it must be for a major road to be closed.

Next time will definitely pop in for tea - kick-off on FIL's tv was the priority this trip! LOL

Anna Sugden said...

I love those corny presents too Jo - I have ones from my niece and nephew all over my office. And one very special Christmas ornament made by a friend's little girl.

Anna Sugden said...

Keira! *waves madly back* Great to see you, love. I so hope to see you over here one of these days. We're a pleasant little stop-off on world travels - just ask Fo *g*.

You know, one of the things I learned in business was that you shine as a boss by letting your people shine, not taking their credit.

limecello said...

Hi Kate,

Thanks for visiting with us today! Great post :)
As for best present ever... well these days - with my life and my friends' - a job. I'd love to get a job, and be able to offer friends a job.

Otherwise... :P It'd be too much along the same lines to say a winning lottery ticket, right? Paying off student loans is also huge.

But on a happier note? A kitchenaid stand mixer! I'd love to get one, and can't imagine why/how someone wouldn't want one! ;)

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Caroline! Welcome! What an awesome gift your hubby gave you. You'll have to keep us posted on your progress towards publication.

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Virginia - glad to see another Kate fan amongst the BB's.

There are so many people Kate has helped ... and some are favourite Bandita guests, like Julie Cohen and Anna Louise Lucia. We Banditas hang with a great and talented crowd.

Anna Sugden said...

Linda H - I think your comment was missed by me earlier. Gifts from our nearest and dearest are especially lovely. I can imagine the warm, happy feeling you get each time you wear that robe.

Nell Dixon said...

As one of the many 'new' authors Kate has given her time to I highly recomend Kate's Twelve point guide. It was a huge help to me when I was one of the wannabe's at a now defunct group called the Gonnabeez when Kate gave a free online workshop there. Her wise advice and support has been much appreciated.

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Linda R - such wise words. I love that line about good writing supporting all authors. So true. Interestingly, bad writing doesn't put me off, but encourages me to return to my favourites. Kind of like a palate cleanser.

catslady said...

I have two big ones - the first was a wild farm cat - my parents weren't big on pets so I was shocked (I had been asking for a pony even though we lived in the suburbs lol so I guess a cat seemed easy compared to a pony). And after losing my wedding diamond after 25 yrs. of marriage my husband surprised me with one he had made special.

Anna Sugden said...

Yes, Anna, I will be an OED gal and it's all the Banditas fault as you gals were raving about it so much as I was looking for inspiration for a Chrissy present for my FIL to get me (apparently my favourite hockey player was unavailable).

Anna Sugden said...

Your brother definitely rocks, Christine! (Unlike cretain of my family members who insist on buying me books that are so not my taste because they're 'literary'!)

Hey - a treadmill is a great pressie. Of course, now we know you have one we'll be bugging you about making sure you use it! *g*

Anna Sugden said...

Jeanne love, we're sisters under the skin - maid service would be my idea of heaven too (I don't have the work, dogs or kids excuse!)

What you said reminded me that one of my favourite gifts was a kitten - but not at Christmas. It was the day my cat crossed the rainbow bridge and a neighbour came round with a cute little fluffy black kitten and thrust him in my hands saying 'I was going to give him to someone else, but I think you need him more." That cat was R2 (there's a pic of him on my website) and I had him for 20 years.

Anna Sugden said...

Oh yes, Lime. A Kitchen Aid food mixer would be an awesome pressie. So would a job. We'll send Bandita postivie thoughts for you to get a great job soon.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I love the OED, Anna, and I'm thoroughly jealous that you have one. :>

I hear ya' on the "Oh, she's a writer, she'll love this dark, depressing, literary book!" gifts. Yep. Gotten a few of those. ;>

This goes along with the friends who always buy me coffee beans. I may get 2-3 bags each Christmas. Wonderful idea, as I love my Starbucks. And REALLY thoughtful, so don't think I'm looking a gift horse in the mouth...but I'm the only one in the house who drinks coffee and even then, I limit myself to one Starbucks a day. And I go to the store to get it so I can socialize, since that's sometimes the only adult humans I talk to till the end of the day. Grins.

So there they sit, lonely bags of beans....Grins. My whole-household-drinks-coffee friends love me because I usually come bearing gifts...

Anna Sugden said...

Nell!! Hi - great to see you here! Ah yes - those were the days. Though never one of the Gonnabeez, I know so many of you I feel like an adopted sister or something *g*.

Anna Sugden said...

Oh Catslady - what lovely presents - a cat and a replacement diamond. Two of the best things int he world *g*.

Anna Sugden said...

I'm LOL about the coffee beans. Kind of like being a teacher and being inundated with what we call smellies (bath/toiletry stuff) and chocolates. As much as one may love chocolate, 35 boxes can be overwhelming! (Course I trained my kids to get their parents to buy wine *g*)

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, definitely with you on the maid service. And can I have a gardener too? Especially one who looks like Richard Armitage although honestly, I'm so desperate, I don't even care as long as he pulls up my weeds. Hmm, does that sound salacious to anyone but me? Nah, I didn't think so!

Anna, I love the OED. You will too! It's great for a historical writer as it tells you when a word came into currency.

Jeanne, love the coffee bean story. Perhaps in your very quiet life, you could open a coffee shops! Snork!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said Jeanne, love the coffee bean story. Perhaps in your very quiet life, you could open a coffee shops! Snork!

Well, I wouldn't drink all the profits, so that might be good...but the quiet life part....hmmmm. Have you already opened a bottle of wine tonight? Snork. I'd probably open a gardening store first, but there I would plant all my profits. Or sink them in the dirt. Or...nevvermind.

Anna Campbell said...

Snort, Duchesse. No, it's only 9am here. I don't start drinking for at least another half hour ;-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Bloody Mary, Anna C? Grins. Flying Margarita? Hahahahha!

Hey Kate, you should have champagne, in silver flutes for all you've accomplished!

Pat Cochran said...

Welcome, Kate!

It's so nice to have you here in
the Lair. Thanks for allowing us
to participate in this special

Pat Cochran

mariska said...

Kate Said
"But hey, as it's Christmas how about an little extra prize - if you email me your postal address (send to Kate AT I'll send you your very first Kate Walker book to read on your trip to your MIL's"

an early Christmas present, sent personally by Kate walker ? Wohoooo..
Thanks a bunch Kate, you've made my day !...Email sent :)

Anna C said
"we won't lead you astray"
I know that you all won't :) Thanks Anna *hugs*

Kate Walker said...

I'm sorry - more visitors turned up and have only just gone on their way. So I'm going to cath up again now with apologies for the delay in responding to all your lovely comments.

So where was I . . .?

Kate Walker said...

Jo I'm glad you liked my post. And I'm always delighted to think that hopefully I can do something to encourage and maybe inspire others towards achieving their dreams, whatever they are. When i was growing up everyone - parents, teachers etc told me I was just daydreaming with the thought of being a published write. I didn't listen! That's the best way to get your dreams out from being stomped on. ;o)

And I'm with you one the little gifts that children have made - I keep every card from my son too - those are things that no store can ever stock and no money can replace. Lovely

Kate Walker said...

Deb - yes, I did get up to Eagle Point - amazing! You have snow? Oh - oh - that measn that we'll get it soon. Whatever Iowa has, then the UK seems to get about 10 days later - just in time for Christmas.

Kate Walker said...

Keira thank you for your welcome. You got those figures a little back to front - it's 25 years writing and over 50 books published! I'd have had to start writing almost before I'd even started school to notch up 50 years! ;o) Though sometimes it feels like it.

I hope that now you're out from under that rock ;o) you'll enjoy some of my books if you find them. That would really make my day

Kate Walker said...

Virginia you've brought a smile to my face with your comments- I'm so pleased that you've enjoyed some of my books. That is, after all, why I wrote them. And of course, to follow the point of this blog, enjoying my work doesn't mean you're not going to read anyone else's does it? Thank you!

Kate Walker said...

Linda -

>>It's not an either/or thing for me. Reading one good author enthuses me as a reader and sends me back to the book store. It makes me more open to reading authors new to me. In other words good writing supports all good authors.

That is so so true. Specially that last line. I used to work as a children's librarian and loved it when I could buy some really good books for the stock. I knew that these books would delight the children who read them and would bring them back to the library for more again and again. And in library club I'd read them stories and see them go and borrow the other books by that author - again, developing the reading habit that kept them coming back.

Thank you for visiting my personal blog - I hope you keep coming back

Sally Clements said...

Congratulations, Kate on 25 years of romance publishing. The thing I think sometimes people forget is that writing is difficult. And we all have a path to follow to learn how to write the best book that we can. Your 12 point guide is invaluable for those in the writing community, and just because an author isn't 'there yet' doesn't mean she will never be. Melanie Hilton of the NWS scheme reminded me that it took lots of tries, and lots of critical evaluation of her own work before she got 'the call', and I think every nugget of advice is invaluable to the unpublished writer, as long as they put in the time and effort to learn and grow as a writer.

Kate Walker said...

Hello Caroline. Great to see you here. I'm so looking forward to meeting you next year. Not long now. Tell your DH he gets a gold star from me for that gift!

Kate Walker said...

Anna (C) Your book - Claiming the Courtesan is one of the ones I was thinking of when I mentioned books earlier. I remember that very first meeting at the RNA - when you were all 'Virgins' - we had such fun didn't we? And so many of my 'virgins' then are now published and I have their books on my shelves.

And just occasionally I get to share afternoon tea with lovely writer friends in very very wet places ;o)

Well, I guess that's something poor Ms Disapproving doesn't get to share

Oh and thank you for the comments on the 12 Point Guide. It's one of the best accolades around when a fellow writer recommends it to others. It means such a lot to me.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Christine!

I'm amazed when I look back and see it is 25 years - a lot has happened and changed in that time!

I'm so impressed by your brother buying the gift he knew you would like and not caring about his own image to do so.

And as for the treadmill - I think it's best when we are given what we really want. That's what makes it romantic, not just perfume/jewellery etc. My mother was once overjoyed to get a sackful of donkey manure because it was the perfect fertiliser for her roses. She was delighted

And I ove the laundry detergent image - it's only if the detergent doesn't work right that we don't buy that brand again but it doesn't stop us buying some other brand.

Kate Walker said...

Hello Jeanne! I'm with you on the maid service - but, hey, what does a little mess matter ?

. . .err . . looks around at the BIG mess in my office - somehow everything got dumped in here when the visitors were taking up the spare rooms. But you know, no one who visited minded if there was a mess - we all loved being together, laughing and having fun. And when you have visitors with an agre reange of 83 to 3 that's a lot of fun!

I have a sign that says 'an immaculate house is the sign of a misspent life' and I live by that!

And I totally agree with you about the cake/or pie - important things like help/love/books don't get used up the more people we give them to.

Kate Walker said...

Hi limecello - good to 'see' you again

And I'll have my fingers crossed for that job for you - a really great one that will help you pay off those student loans. My son has just managed to achieve that since he became a teacher and I know what a relief it is to him.

I hope the new year brings you something of that feeling too

Kate Walker said...

Must say Hi again - and thank you again - to lovely Anna S for dropping by to keep the conversation going when I was busy

And yes, those great friends/great writers/great women Julie and (another) Anna have been one of the bonuses of helping New Authors

Kate Walker said...

And here's another one! Another New Author that it. Hello Nell my dear - lovely to hear from you as always. Yes. we all met - so many of us did - in the Gonnabeez. Not Wannabeez because you were all Gonna Be - and so many of you have achieved publication now. That's brilliant

Kate Walker said...


Bith your gifts touched me in different ways. As a real cat lover - and as someone who was given a special kitten two years ago, the thought of a pet is always a lovely gift. But that diamond will mean so much to you - you obviously have a diamond of a husband. A real treasure

Kate Walker said...

Jeanne - your 'coffee beans' post has made me smile. I know just what you mean about 'she's a writer/loves coffee - she'll be so pleased . . .'
I used to collect model cats - china ones, pottery, metal . . but I used to collect really interesting ones. Then everyone but everyone started to giv e me any sort of a model cat and some of them were so not my style . . so now I don't collect them any more!

Kate Walker said...

Hello Pat and thank you for your congratulations. As it's heading into evening here in the UK I'm thinking that Jeanne could be right and maybe a little champagne to celebrate could be a good idea.

We should celebrate the good things in life - and the achievement of a dream - and more - is well worth it

Kate Walker said...

mariska - email received And yes, I did mean it! Happy Christmas with your first Kate Walker book!

Kate Walker said...

Hello Sally - and good luck with your own writing. One thing's for sure, you have the right attitude. There are so many people who think their writing is just perfect and don;t see why they need to learn. On my personal blog I'm looking back at those 25 years - and there are perhaps only a handful of books that ever made it without revisions - sometime s HUGE revisions.

The first thing a writer needs to learn is how to take editing - it's not just being able to *write* but being able to write what the readers are looking for and so what the editors want. I still get edited and I'm glad I do because as writers we get too close to our work to see it clearly and objectively

Good luck with yours!

Kate Walker said...

Did I get caught up?

I think I did!

And I'd like to thank everyone for their warm welcome and congratulations. You've helped make my special celebrations even more special.

And when I celebrate I love to share so I'm going to play 'Not So Secret Santa' and as well as the main giveaway of the 12 Point Guide - which we'll anounce soon - there are a few 'stocking filler' gifts - Mariska already has one, and Keira, Gillian, Jo and Deb

are the other names that Sid the cat has picked - so please meial me

Kate AT and send me your postal address and @Santa' will send you a little extra Christmas reading

I hope you all have a wonderful time and I'll look forward to visiting with you again in 2101