Heiress on the Run

Back to Work

The Kiss Before ChristmasSo, I’m back at my desk and hard at work this week, after a lengthy (and lovely!) Christmas break. I did pretty much no writing at all for two whole weeks, although I’m totally making up for it now!

I did take some time to look back at the last year, though, and do some planning for the next one. And obsessively check all the lovely reviews for my Christmas novella, The Kiss Before Christmas. Obviously.

We’re only nine days into 2014, but already Change and Great Things are afoot!

First off, you may have heard that Lyrical Press has now become an imprint of Kensington books, which is very exciting for everyone there! As a result, and while things are changing, my books with them – my Love From Wales series – will be temporarily unavailable for a little while. But don’t worry – they’ll definitely be back up at your favourite e-book retailer before very long, just with a rather new look… more news as I get it!

In the meantime, I have a release date and title for my third book with Harlequin Romance / Mills and Boon Cherish! A Groom Worth Waiting For, Thea & Zeke’s story, will be out in August. Set in a very luxurious villa in Tuscany, the book starts when Zeke walks in on his childhood sweetheart, Thea, in her wedding lingerie, as she prepares for her marriage of convenience to his brother…

This book is actually the first part of a duet, and I’m busy writing the second part, starring Thea’s sister, Helena, and Zeke’s adopted brother Flynn, right now. The action kicks off right where we left Helena and Flynn at the end of A Groom Worth Waiting For, and it’s so much fun already!

Heiress on the Run UKAnd of course, before either of those books hit the shelves, I have the release of Heiress on the Run to look forward to! Out on general release next month, it’s already up for pre-order on Amazon US and UK, or available RIGHT NOW on the Harlequin and Mills and Boon websites.

In fact, here’s a little sneak preview…

‘Let me tell you a little bit more about what I need,’ he said, and Faith nodded, her best attentive face on. ‘My name is Lord Dominic Beresford, and I run a number of businesses from my family’s estates.’ Faith’s stomach clenched at the name. Of course he looked familiar. She’d probably seen him on the society pages a dozen times when she lived in London, usually next to photos of her mother looking tipsy behind her fake smile, or her father charming another man’s wife. Or even of Faith herself, leaving the current London hotspot on the arm of someone very unsuitable. Lord Beresford, on the other hand, was always immaculately dressed and frowning.

‘I have six American businessmen and -women arriving in London tomorrow morning,’ Dominic went on, oblivious to the way her stomach was rolling. ‘I need you to meet and greet them, plan entertainment for the hours they’re not going to be in meetings, and accompany them on tours, the theatre, whatever you come up with.’ He gave her a sharp look. ‘Can you do it?’

Spend a week in the company of a man who could at any moment realise exactly who she was and expose her, all while avoiding anyone she knew in London, and working at the same time?

‘Of course I can.’

Heiress on the Run, by Sophie Pembroke

Stranded with the Tycoon UK Cover

New Releases and Reviews

I’m back at my desk for the first time in over a week, after seven glorious days away in Turkey (full holiday post and photos to follow!) and it’s all going full speed!

First off, I have two new releases: Stranded with the Tycoon  and Summer of Love are now both out as e-books in the UK!

They’ve both been getting some great reviews around the web. Here are some of my favourite snippets…

Stranded with the Tycoon (Mills & Boon Cherish)

Stranded with the Tycoon UK CoverTheir attraction is undeniable, and when they get snowed in together, it’s the perfect setting to have her heart melted and remolded by the very man who could be her soul mate. Romantics will relate to the main characters and take pleasure in Luce’s transformation. With its well thought-out storyline, fans of passionate tales will want to read this one repeatedly.

RT Book Reviews

I very much enjoyed Stranded with the Tycoon. I loved that the lead female was a history buff, and some of the references made me smile. The writing style is easy and engaging, the characters fun and likeable – despite their faults – their back stories worked for me, too. Overall, a very romantic tale which left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. I look forward to more from Ms. Pembroke.

Lucy Felthouse, Blogcritics

If you want a book with simmering attraction slowly building between two characters who think they have nothing in common then you might want to read this book.

Jessica Hale, Goodreads

Stranded with the Tycoon is a beautifully written romance novel with a slow build up.The romance was based more on the conversations between the characters and how they thought about each other rather than their mutual attraction and passion.

Harlequin Junkie

Summer of Love (Love from Wales, Book 3)

Summer of Love by Sophie PembrokeA lovely little “local bad girl” makes good story where the prodigal ‘bad boy’ of this little Welsh town returns to make a new start. Pembroke has a way of presenting the characters that gives an instant emotional reaction to the reader: understanding their flaws or disliking their behavior, you will never be bored.

Gaele, the Jeep Diva

I loved Lily, and like Alex wondered why on earth she’s been with Edward so long…and then as things unfolded in the novel I understood where she was coming from.

Jeannie Zelos, Goodreads

Summer Of Love is about expectations, pressure and the ability to be yourself. Lily has to learn to live for herself and not as other people expect her to. Alex has to adapt to his new circumstances and realise his idea of a perfect marriage may not exist.

Zili in the Sky

As if that wasn’t enough excitement to come home to, I also got a sneak peek at the US cover for my next Harlequin Romance, Heiress on the Run! I’ll post the final thing here later in the week, so keep an eye out!

A Lot Can Change In A Year…

Stranded with the Tycoon UK CoverThis time last year, I was nervously preparing for the 2012 Festival of Romance in Bedford. It was my very first major writers event, my first time reading my work in public, my first time showing up and chatting to real authors as if I almost belonged there. The first two e-books in my Love from Wales series had been released from Lyrical Press that summer, and I had some lovely new business cards, but that was about it.

To make it even more nerve-wracking I’d just had an email from Charlotte Ledger, then an editor at Mills and Boon, saying that she wanted to meet with me at the Festival to discuss revisions to the book I had on submission from her. So basically, I was terrified constantly for about a week and a half.

Fast forward to today, this moment, right now.

Right now, I’m making plans for this year’s Festival of Romance, booking tickets and hotels and figuring out where on earth I’m going to park. And I’m every bit as nervous as last year, but for rather different reasons.

This year, I have actual books to take with me. I have new releases to promote, I have a book to finish and get to my editor, I have contracts for another couple after that. Charlotte has moved onto the fantastically inspiring Harper Impulse, but not before she made the call and signed me as a Mills and Boon author. I have a wonderful new editor there in the incredible Pippa Roscoe, who drives me to write deeper, better stories, and lends me DVDs so we can share our almost identical love of TV drama.

And that book? The one I met with Charlotte about, less than a year ago? It was released this autumn as Stranded with the Tycoon.

And I just found out it has been shortlisted in the Best Short Romantic Novel category of the Festival of Romance Readers Awards. 

So, yeah. A little nervous. And also wondering if I need to buy a new dress…

(Check out all the nominees – I’m in very illustrious company!)

Missing summer yet?

Owl HatOwl Hat 3Owl Hat 2

I don’t know about where you are, but here in Hertfordshire I have unpacked the boots and winter coats. I’ve bought the daughter the sweetest little owl hat ever made, and am happily imagining crisp autumn walks, cosy evenings with a book and a blanket, and pub lunches with roaring fires. All while ignoring the reality of cold, wet days and the smell of mouldy leaves, of course.

The daughter, on the other hand, is already missing summer. In fact, she’s getting very specific in her wishes to rearrange the calendar to better accommodate her preferences.

To start with, she wanted it to be summer all the time. I pointed out all the great things that happen in the other seasons and she relented slightly.

“I wish it could be spring, summer, halloween, bonfire night, Christmas or my birthday all the time, Mummy.” Not quite as catchy as ‘I wish it could be Christmas everyday,’ but I can appreciate the sentiment.

Just in case you feel the same as the daughter in these matters, I thought I’d mention that the third book in my Love from Wales series, Summer of Love is out right now in paperback (which, trust me, was just as much as a surprise to me as everyone else!) and will be available as an e-book at the start of November. Set over one long, hot summer of weddings, it’s the perfect antidote to the autumn/winter blues.

Here’s what it’s all about:

Summer of Love by Sophie PembrokeIt’s only a summer fling…

Boutique jewelry designer Lily Thomas knows hating the boring ring her fiance gave her isn’t a good enough reason to end a seven-year relationship. Especially when settling down with Edward is the only thing she’s ever done right in the eyes of her mother–and her hometown. Besides, everyone else seems to be getting married: Lily’s best friend Cora, her cousin, her friends from work. So why not Lily?

But when Alex Harper, Lily’s high school crush, moves back to Felinfach, he shows her exactly why. She can’t pretend to be someone she’s not just to keep her fiance happy. It’s a terrible way to start a marriage, and a terrible way to live. Lily calls off her engagement, but she still needs a date to all the weddings crowding her summer calendar. Conveniently, Alex has a few weddings to attend as well. They agree to be wedding buddies, and soon the whole town is talking about them. If everyone’s going to talk anyway, why shouldn’t Lily and Alex make the most of it? As long as they both know it’s only a summer fling…

But maybe you’re more of an impatient for Christmas person, like me. In which case, I’ve got another offering for you! Out in the UK next month is my snowbound-in-a-Welsh-cottage romance, Stranded with the Tycoon. It’s already available in North America and Australia, and will be released over here as an e-book and two-in-one Cherish paperback with Melissa McClore’s A Little Bit of Holiday Magic at the start of November. But if you can’t wait that long, it’s available right now on the Mills & Boon website or, if you fancy trying your luck, you could enter my Goodreads Giveaway to win a copy of the Cherish two-in-one.

Here’s what you need to know:

Stranded with the Tycoon UK CoverThe man who sees her beauty…

Ben Hampton is the last man in England that workaholic historian Luce would ever choose to be stranded with. Tall, dark and infuriatingly arrogant, he’s also a reminder of her not-so-glorious romantic history—something she’s spent the past few years burying herself in work to forget.

Hotel tycoon Ben knows there’s fire behind Luce’s buttoned-up exterior, and fanning its flames is an irresistible temptation. Luckily, getting snowbound in the countryside gives him the perfect opportunity to tempt out the real Lucinda Myles!

So, whatever your mood, I’ve got a book to suit you this season!

Harlequin Romance Lunch in London

The New Normal – Life As A Full Time Writer

Harlequin Romance Lunch in London

Fancy Author Lunch: Me, Michelle Douglas, Fiona Harper, Liz Fielding, Pamela Hartshorne, Caroline Anderson, Nina Harrington and Kate Hardy

It’s been a week since my first Harlequin Romance novel, Stranded with the Tycoon, was published. A whole week! And in that week, the following things (not all entirely related to the book) have also happened:

  • I got to go for a fancy lunch in London with other HR authors, including the lovely Michelle Douglas, who was visiting from Australia
  • I have become addicted to checking for new reviews, and looking at the Amazon.com rankings for my book
  • I received my contract back for my story, The Fairytale Way, to be included in the next Romantic Novelists Association short story anthology
  • The daughter started full time school. In a tiny little uniform and everything
  • I became a full time writer

So, food first. It just so happened that the lunch arranged for Michelle happened to coincide with my release day. Which meant I got to spend that very special day with a host of wonderful women whose books I have read and enjoyed for years. And they all toasted me over lunch at Brasserie Blanc in Covent Garden. Me! As you can see from my beaming smile in the photo, I was a very happy Sophie. And not just because of the prosecco.

While the review and ranking checking still shows no sign of abating, I am pleased to report that Stranded with the Tycoon has garnered some lovely reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Here’s a snippet of one of my favourites, from Jessica, who won a copy of the book in my Goodreads giveaway last month:

Jessica Hale (via Goodreads) 4 stars!

If you want a book with simmering attraction slowly building between two characters who think they have nothing in common then you might want to read this book.

Of course, with Ben and Luce’s story on the shelves, I’m already looking forward to the next release. Obviously there’s the third instalment of my Love from Wales series, Summer of Love, available as an e-book on November 4th, and then my next Harlequin Mills and Boon Romance, Heiress on the Run, out in February. But now I have something new to add to the list!

I loved the last RNA/Mills and Boon short story anthology, Loves Me, Loves Me Not, so when I saw that they were asking for submissions for a second one, of course I had to send a story. Given the calibre of writers included in the first one, I didn’t have high hopes of mine being picked, which only made it doubly exciting when I received the news that The Fairytale Way would be part of both the print and digital editions of the new anthology, Truly, Madly, Deeply. Check out this post on the RNA blog to read about some of the big names involved in the project.

First Day at SchoolExciting as all this has been, the biggest event in Pembroke Cottage this week was obviously the daughter’s first day at school. She graciously allowed me to take a couple of photos, although not to actually stand still while I was  trying to do so. Still, I managed one decent shot and, to everyone’s extreme relief, after a summer of her worrying and fretting, the daughter appears to be enjoying school immensely. Which isn’t to say that she wouldn’t rather be at home, snuggled on the sofa, watching SpongeBob SquarePants, but at least she’s not unhappy there.

Yesterday was her first full day, after three half days last week to get them used to the idea. I picked her up at 3.20, and she came racing out. When asked how her day went, she merely shrugged and said, “I liked it.” Cue huge sigh of relief. At least, until her teacher followed her out with an armful of barely painted and glued cereal boxes and kitchen roll tubes. “I’m not sure exactly what they’re meant to be,” teacher said. “But she really does like junk modelling, doesn’t she?” Sadly, yes. Yes she does. And apparently we’re in for another year of my house being filled with such ‘inventions.’

But with the daughter out at school for a whole six hours a day, I am now, as mentioned often to anyone who will listen, a Full Time Writer. Which, contrary to popular belief, does not mean I’m going out for coffee all the time (just ask my poor, neglected friends) or getting on top of the housework (just look at my carpets) or able to just pop into town and get that thing (whatever my husband says). It means I’m writing. Actually, for the next six weeks, I shall be writing All The Words, so that I can take half term off for our first trip abroad with the daughter.

It’s taking some getting used to. I don’t have a new routine yet, or a plan for how to make the most of my time. But I’m working on it – and I’m definitely open to suggestions!  So, if you’ve got any tips for best writing practice, please leave a comment. And I’ll let you all know how I’m getting on once I’ve settled into my New Normal. For now, I need to go write some more words before I collect the daughter…

Stranded with the Tycoon

Release dates, reviews and another cover

We’ve just come back from a week at the seaside, during which time I have done the following things:

  1. Paddled in the sea every day
  2. Read books that I didn’t write myself
  3. Spent all my money on the tuppenny falls
  4. Suffered through the Seaside Squad and other live kids shows at the caravan site club
  5. Not done any work at all

The first four are all well and good, but now we’re back in civilisation (read: somewhere with internet access) the last is starting to become a problem! Fortunately, the daughter and I have another week with Nain and Pops while the husband has headed back down to work and home in Hertfordshire. I’m hoping the proximity of all her grandparents means that the daughter will be suitably entertained while I get my head down and get caught up on work.

So, what’s happened in the world of my books while I’ve been away? Well, in my absence, the third book of my Love from Wales series, Summer of Love, has been all signed off and finalised and – very excitingly! – the release date has been brought forward to November 4th, which just so happens to be my wedding anniversary! Given that this is a book centred around a summer full of weddings, I think that’s very appropriate.

Stranded with the TycoonAlso, I’ve discovered a new cover for Stranded with the Tycoon – this time, the Australian cover, which I think is just gorgeous! I love the way Ben and Luce are looking at each other on it. With the official release date getting closer and closer for this, my debut Harlequin Romance, I’m getting more and more excited. Fortunately, I’m not the only one. In addition to the incredible 4 1/2 star review in RT, Stranded with the Tycoon has been awarded 4 stars by the Harlequin Junkie website! Here’s my favourite line from the review:

Stranded with the Tycoon is a beautifully written romance novel with a slow build up.The romance was based more on the conversations between the characters and how they thought about each other rather than their mutual attraction and passion.

I think that sums it up very well – although I’d say the mutual attraction is what got Ben and Luce into this mess in the first place…

So now I’m back at work, making my way through the AAs (Author Amendments – checking for typos and other small errors) for my second Harlequin Romance, Heiress on the Run, and I noticed that Amazon already has it up for pre-order, even though it’s not due out until February!

But once the AAs are finished, this book is officially done, and I get to wait impatiently for cover art, reviews and release dates all over again. Not that I’m going to be bored: my editor just gave me the go ahead on my proposal for Book 3, so I’ll be putting Thea and Zeke through the wringer over the next few months, as I lead them down the twisty path to their happy ending. Fun times ahead!

And don’t forget – there’s only 9 more days to enter my Goodreads giveaway to win a signed copy of Stranded with the Tycoon!

Conferences, Contracts and Celebrations

Stranded with the Tycoon Cover

It’s been a busy – but brilliant – week and a half. So busy that I haven’t had a chance to update until now!

The Friday before last, I headed up to Sheffield for the Romantic Novelist’s Association Conference. I was, I’ll admit, a little nervous, it being my first one. But I really needn’t have been. Everyone was lovely, the workshops were brilliant, the cake was delicious, and the icy cold white wine almost made up for the lack of air conditioning. I also got to meet some of my very favourite authors, as well as make some great new friends.

I was already in a good mood on arrival, as I’d just heard that my second novel for Mills & Boon / Harlequin Romance had been officially signed off – and I can share the title! Due out February 2014 (I think!) the new book is called Heiress on the Run. I’m hoping I’ll have a blurb and such to share soon, but I can tell you that I had the best time writing this book. The revisions were kind of brutal, but I’m so much happier with the resulting story that it was worth every minute. I can’t wait for people to read this one!

On the Saturday, I got to have a nice long chat with my wonderful editor, during which I basically detailed every single idea I had for my next few books. Lucky for me, she didn’t get bored and, as a result, I am delighted to announce that I have just signed a new three-book contract with Harlequin Mills & Boon! I’m working on the first book of that contract right now, and already madly in love with the hero, Zeke.

Stranded with the Tycoon UK Cover

But that wasn’t the end of it! A few days ago, the September issue of Romantic Times was released – including their review of Stranded with the Tycoon. I’d been nervously awaiting this day, and actually spent a fair portion of the weekend panicking to my new friends about impending reviews.

Turns out, I needn’t have worried.

Romantic Times gave Stranded with the Tycoon 4 1/2 stars and made it one of their Top Picks for September! 

Here’s a snippet of what they said:

With its well thought-out storyline, fans of passionate tales will want to read this one repeatedly.

I was in a soft play area with the Daughter and friends when I read that. My squeal might have been louder than all the kids put together! And, of course, I had to have cake to celebrate.

If you’d like to read the full review, it’s available on the RT Book Reviews website.

So now I’m back to work, trying to squeeze in precious hours before the school holidays start on Wednesday. Fortunately for me, the most urgent item on my to do list is checking the galleys for Summer of Love. I haven’t re-read Alex and Lily’s story for a while, and there are definitely worse things to do on a sunny July day! I just can’t wait for everyone else to be able to read all these stories, too.

Anniversaries

Not shown: the huge red wine stain on Dad's shirt.

Not shown: the huge red wine stain on Dad’s shirt.

Last weekend, the husband, daughter, Uncle Mike and I all travelled home to Wales for my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.

Seriously. 35 years.

They threw a magnificent garden party to celebrate, and even the weather cooperated for once. My contribution to the occasion was the bunting themed cake – made, as ever, by George at George’s Marvellous Cakes. (Each tier was a different flavour – vanilla, lemon and chocolate. I can personally attest that all three were delicious.) There was food, there was wine, there was chatting and, as ever at my family celebrations, there was singing until far too late into the evening. (Around midnight it turned into ukelele renditions of The Sound Of Music and I finally went to bed.)

I returned to my desk yesterday to be bombarded with edits, when what I really want to be doing is working on the proposal for my next Mills & Boon romance. Still, the serious edits for my second book with them are now just about done, which is incredibly exciting! I also got a hint at the title, although I’m waiting on official confirmation before I share that here. But I can tell you that it looks like it will be out on shelves in February 2014.

I also realised that this month marks the anniversary of the release of An A to Z of Love, the second book in my Love from Wales series – and also, very appropriately, the book I dedicated to my Mum and Dad. It’s also apparently my Mum’s favourite of the series so far. We’ll have to wait and see if that changes when the third book, Summer of Love, comes out in December…

So, to mark both romantic anniversaries, here’s a snippet from An A to Z of Love, where Magda is explaining to Charlie and Joe all about love…

Magda settled against the counter, hands resting on the stainless steel behind her. “I am going to tell you boys something about love,” she said, in the tone Charlie had come to recognize as her ‘trust me on this, I’m smarter than you’ voice.

“With love,” Magda said, her voice settling into a rhythm that made her accent all the stronger, “you do not settle. With love, you do not hide. With love, you must search everywhere, hunt and seek and keep your eyes open always. With love, you cannot make assumptions. You have to trust that the right person will find you, eventually, if you are willing to be found.”

“So dating Kevin,” Joe said, frowning. “That’s you not making assumptions, right?”

“It’s me still searching,” Magda corrected.

A new look, and a new book cover!

Summer of Love by Sophie PembrokeThis weekend, the lovely Renee Rocco at Lyrical Press sent over the cover design for the third book in my Love from Wales series, Summer of Love, due out in December.

I’d been somewhat nervously awaiting this one, just because I love the first two covers in the series so much! When I had to fill in my cover art form for Lily and Alex’s story, all I could really think to ask for was: More of the same, please!

And that’s what Renee has given me, and more. I love the wedding theme, and the colour is just perfect.

In fact, I loved it so much, I thought it was time to give the rest of the site a spruce up not just in honour of the new cover, but for the two new books I have coming out this year.

I’ve rejigged the content a bit, added a page for my Harlequin Romance novels, which has a bit more detail about Luce and Ben, the stars of my September release, Stranded with the Tycoon, as well as pre-order links for the book. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve added a bit of colour to the site! Here’s hoping it’ll usher in a bright and sunny summer for us all, any day now…

Of course, if you’re missing the summer sun, you could always go read An A to Z of Love for scenes of seasides, smugglers and other things beginning with S. Warning: does contain seafood.

Room for Love cover

My Bookiversary!

Room for Love coverHappy Bookiversary to me! 

On this day, last year, my first novel, Room for Love, was officially released. I was, due to a slight scheduling error, stuck up a castle in Derbyshire at the time, trying to manage release promos and blog tours via the non-existant 3G connection on my phone, and squealing every time someone texted or messaged me to say they’d bought it.

Since then, of course, the second novel in the series, An A to Z of Love, has also been released, and the third book, Summer of Love, contracted for release this December. I’ve also got two books coming out in the Mills & Book / Harlequin Romance line – the first, Stranded with the Tycoon, is up for pre-order on Amazon UK and Amazon US right now, ready for its September release. Cover should follow soon… And I’m going to finish writing the second one any day now, promise!

But if you want to see where it all began, pop on over to the Avalon Inn and visit Carrie and Nate, as they try and save the Inn from bankruptcy, satisfy the demands of the ornery Seniors, and dance to the music of Mr Bing Crosby…

Romance Writers Reviews: 5/5 Stars

Sweet, sexy, and then sweet again. “Room for Love” is a beautiful romance story.

Amazon UK: Room for Love

Amazon US: Room for Love