Archive for August, 2015

Paying It Forward

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Times are tough. Books are expensive. And it seems silly to let books sit in a box in a closet when they could be read and enjoyed.

Hence the Paying it Forward Give Away.

My original plan for the Paying it Forward Give Away was to offer up a few copies of the new books to those who might want them but couldn’t afford them– but I hadn’t quite reckoned with the amount of move-related chaos. Somewhere, I have copies of the new books. But I just haven’t quite worked my way through the tectonic layers of boxes to find them.

What I did find? A stash of audio CDs of the early Pink books.

Once I find my copies of The Other Daughter and The Lure of the Moonflower, I’ll have that give away I’d originally intended.

But, for today, I have two stacks of audio CDs that need to find a home. On each stack are the audios for Pink Carnation, Black Tulip, Emerald Ring, Crimson Rose, Night Jasmine, Blood Lily, and The Orchid Affair.

Pink 1 cover Black Tulip Cover Emerald Paperback Crimson Rose paperback Pink V Cover BetrayaloftheBloodLily Orchid Affair FINAL 9-16-1

Do you know someone who could use a pick me up? (And who likes listening to books on tape. That’s a crucial component.) Here’s your chance to play fairy godmother. Or if you’re the one who could use a pick me up and you want it for you, that’s okay, too. Just email me at The first two people who email will receive the sets listed above.

This paying it forward thing is a bit of an experiment– so if it doesn’t work, we can always return to the traditional contest form where winners are chosen by the electronic equivalent of eeny meeny miney mo…. As always, this News page is a work in progress, so all feedback is welcome!

UPDATED: All of the CDs have now been claimed! But I’ll have more give aways here soon.

Happy last day of August!

Moving, Moving, Moving

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Apologies for the radio silence recently! I’m in the midst of moving and I’m pretty sure I’ve left my brain in a box.

I tend to gauge homes by how many books I’ve written in them. By the calendar, I’ve been in this one three years. By my writing meter, it’s been six books, one novella, and one short story. And a small person.

Plumeria That Summer Paperback manzanilla U1_978-3-8052-5078-8_Andruck_V2.indd The Other Daughter Lure of the Moonflower_deeper sky2 The Forgotten Room FallofPoppiesREV2

So if I’m a bit slow getting back to you for the next week or so… I might have accidentally taped myself into a box. Or disappeared beneath a giant mound of obsolete baby gear.

I’ll be popping up here with posts on and off this week as life permits. (See taped into box, above.) Once the dust finally settles next week, I’ll be back for real, inaugurating my new work space with what I think of as the “paying it forward project”: a give away of a few copies of the new books. But more on that next week….

Happy August, all!

Pink on NPR!

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

So many thanks to the folks at NPR (but especially reviewer extraordinaire, Bobbi Dumas) for this lovely farewell to the Pink Carnation series.

LW20 (4)

If you had told me, ten years ago, that the Pink books would be getting this kind of send-off on National Public Radio, I would have snorted coffee up my nose. Of course, if you’d told me then that there would be twelve Pink books, I would have snorted coffee, so, there you go….

Thank you!!


Monday, August 17th, 2015

So many apologies! What with one thing and another, I completely forgot to announce the Colin & Eloise Wedding Week contest winners this weekend.

First off, thank you to everyone for the wonderful gifts for Colin and Eloise! They are currently munching on the contents of their picnic hamper, tucked in among those woolly blankets, reading to start work at their new, matching desks.

The winners of the copies of The Lure of the Moonflower are…

— Ana F. of Comment #22

— Calli Fox of Comment #4

Congrats, Ana and Calli! Just email me at and let me know if you’d rather have a print copy or audio CDs.

Happy reading!

Saturday Fun: Jigsaw Puzzles!

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

There’s nothing like a jigsaw puzzle on a sleepy summer day– and, thanks to this puzzle-making website, now you can do them online, too!

Voila the Pink Carnation puzzle collection!

Test your skill with the covers of all the Pink Carnation books (each link takes you directly to that puzzle):

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation;

The Masque of the Black Tulip, hardcover;

The Masque of the Black Tulip, paperback;

The Deception of the Emerald Ring;

The Seduction of the Crimson Rose;

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine;

The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, hardcover;

The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, paperback;

The Mischief of the Mistletoe;

The Orchid Affair;

The Garden Intrigue;

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria;

The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla;

The Lure of the Moonflower.

And an extra bonus puzzle:

— The “lost” original chick-lit cover of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.

Happy puzzle solving!

Colin & Eloise Wedding Week: the Honeymoon

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Now that we’ve made it through the Colin & Eloise wedding extravaganza, it’s time for… the honeymoon!

Where should our intrepid pair go?

Options included:

— Wales, for castles:


(Please ignore the author in the photo!)

— Scotland, for more castles– and sheep:


(Those are quite definitely sheep– and not the author.)

But those were both too close to home now that Eloise is on that side of the Pond.

Moving to sunnier climes, they could go to Greece:

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They could explore old castles in Oman:

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Or visit the races and see all the construction in Dubai:


They could go back to Eloise’s side of the world and look at Pre-Columbian ruins in Mexico:

Mexico 004 Mexico 011

Of course, there are always islands, like Mustique:


Or Grand Cayman:

Grand Cayman 046

Where do you think Colin and Eloise should go on their honeymoon? And will more drama overtake them wherever they go?

Psssst…. If you want to know where they do go, the answer is in The Lure of the Moonflower.

Read A Romance Month

Friday, August 14th, 2015

August is… Read A Romance Month!


It’s a month-long celebration of the genre featuring daily guest posts by a wide variety of authors in the field. It’s a brilliant showcase of the breadth and depth of the romance genre.

Today, the three W’s are taking over Read A Romance month! You can find posts by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and me over on the RARM page.

This year’s theme? The joy of romance.

Happy (romance) reading!

Colin & Eloise Wedding Week: the Bouquet

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

It seems strange to admit this after twelve books about flower-themed spies, but… I know very little about flowers.

So when it came time to design a bouquet for Eloise, I sought expert help from Clara Bauer of Clara’s Flowers. (Have I mentioned recently how endlessly impressed I am by all the talent within the Pink community?)

Clara very generously sent an entire garden of bouquets for Eloise, along with descriptions. Eloise, of course, is in an agony of indecision. Here are the options:

1. “A simple classic mix of cream Vendela roses, with mini callas, white cymbidium orchids, white ranunculus and some touches of peonies with their buds…”

Clara bouquet 1

2. “Lily of the valley, white peonies, cream roses and white freesia. The touches of green are the lily of the valley leaves, fresh from Selwick garden!”

Clara bouquet 2

3. “This one is all orchids. Notice in the background that the maids’ bouquets were lilies…stargazers.”
(Eloise’s sister Jillian heard “bridesmaids’ bouquets” and “stargazers” and started making pointing motions at this one.)

Clara bouquet 3

4. “One of my favorites with white tulips, freesia, cream roses, white peonies, ranunculus, hydrangea and white lilacs. Fragrant, fluffy and so bridal!”

Clara bouquet 4

5. “Gardenias and open garden roses (David Austen from England) with touches of bling.”
(At the word “bling”, Pammy’s ears just perked up.)

Clara bouquet 5

6. Last but not least, this lovely pink and cream bouquet:

Clara bouquet 6

Which would you choose for Eloise?

(If you need context, this is her dress. Her bridesmaids are in lime green chiffon.)

Eloise & Colin Wedding Week: the Cake

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

It makes such a brief appearance at the reception, and yet it looms so large, in more ways than one.

No, not the maid of honor’s speech. That’s another story. (And Eloise is afraid. She is very afraid.) I’m talking about that cake.

So, for Eloise’s wedding cake, I turned to my favorite cake expert, Francine Crawford, who provided Eloise and Colin with this carnation-themed extravaganza:

Eloise and Colin Cake

It does the Pink Carnation proud, no?

Just in case something should happen to the first cake (this IS Eloise, after all), Sharlene suggested two others:

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Sadly, neither of those made it to the reception. Turnip appropriated the first for a waistcoat. As for the second– after a couple of glasses of champagne, Pammy mistook it for a hat.

Eloise’s mother was a bit worried about what Eloise might wind up with left to herself, so she consulted with Clara of Clara’s flowers, who came up with these options, two in classic white:

Clara Cake 3 Clara Cake 2

One with a beautiful cascade of flowers designed by Clara:

Clara Cake 1

And one which Clara describes as “a proper English cake stuffed full of hydrangeas, peonies, stephanotis, roses and sweet peas!”

Clara Cake 4

Naturally, Eloise is now wondering whether there were spies named “the Sweet Pea”, “the Peony”, or, possibly, “the Stealthy Stephanotis”.

But here’s the real question, folks…. Flavors.

What do you think is inside that gorgeous, carnation-decked cake? Vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, carrot cake? Gingerbread? (Colin is a Miles descendant, after all.) Or has Eloise gone traditional and opted for an old school fruit cake?

One thing is for sure. There’s raspberry jam in there somewhere. Because Turnip says so.

Do you have other cakes to recommend for Colin and Eloise?

(For more cake fun, I was trying to find a 2012 post I wrote for the Ballroom Blog about historical wedding cakes, including an 1806 wedding cake recipe. But, sadly, it seems to have disappeared into the electronic ether.)

Eloise & Colin Wedding Week: the Presents– and Contest!

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

It’s a good thing Selwick Hall has lots of space, because Eloise and Colin have been busy unloading wedding presents, ranging from a novelty cuckoo clock to a particularly cranky garden gnome.

Mrs. Selwick-Alderly’s official gift was a Georgian silver tea service (and if you’ve read the book, you know who it originally belonged to!).

Her unofficial gift? The Pink Carnation’s own campaign trunk. (No links provided. Colin and Eloise are still keeping this one under wraps.)

Sally Plowden-Plugge provided a 1790s “Tête-à-Tête Tea Set“– with purple flowers, of course.

Colin’s friend Martin decided they needed a slow-cooker and some particularly strong oven mitts. Also some woolly socks.

Best Man Nick booked them on a ski vacation neither of them wanted (which will be re-gifted to Nick and Pammy– coincidence?).

Eloise’s college roommate, Alex, got her a very strong coffee maker, which Eloise will get very confused trying to use.

Jeremy, to everyone’s surprise, used his art world connections to acquire a portrait believed to be of the Duke and Duchess of Belliston, consulting plans for a special kennel for stoats (provenance and attribution uncertain):

Emil Brack Public Domain Painting

Jillian designed a comic mug for Eloise:

Pink Mug 2

Eloise hasn’t gotten around to opening Pammy’s present. She’s too afraid.

Sharlene (who makes all the lovely cards you see on my website and Facebook page) gave Colin and Eloise service for twelve in this china pattern:


Here’s your mission should you choose to accept it. What do you think Colin and Eloise need as they embark on their new life together?

Any and all suggestions accepted! Links optional.

Bonus question: what’s the worst gift you ever received?

Since one good gift deserves another, two people will be chosen at random to receive copies of The Lure of the Moonflower. (Your choice of paper or audio.) Winner to be announced on Saturday!