Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Ingredients of Romance & The Valentine's Scavenger Hunt

What are the ingredients for romance? Think of a romantic meal and what comes to mind? I’m thinking candlelight, delicious food, maybe chocolates, flowers and wine. They all seem to work so well together, naturally combining to create a special ambience, a seductive setting for declarations of love, new or renewed.

A glass of wine can mean so many different things to so many people yet at the same time there seems to be a universal language surrounding wine– it can be relaxing, romantic, a symbol of love, of friendship. It can also be an opportunity to talk to somebody you might like to get to know a little better, maybe go out on a date with, you can offer to buy that special someone a drink or accept their offer to buy one for you.

With this in mind I’ve chosen to include a snippet from my novel The Love Programme, published by Astraea Press back in 2013, which illustrates how the language of love is intertwined with the language of wine….

“Lucy?” Miranda moved to stand next to her and peer out across the lawns. “Who are you watching so intently I wonder?”
“Nobody, just enjoying the view of the party, the loch and the mountains.”
Eyeing her sceptically Miranda said, “Mmm. Of course you are.”
As more guests appeared from the side of the house near the parking area and made their way across towards one of the tents the orchestra struck up, beginning with a mellow jazz song.
“It promises to be quite a party.” Miranda smirked. “I’ve had a sneaky look at the guest list and it reads like a Who’s Who of Scotland.” She lifted her left hand to her perfectly styled hair, checking it was all still immaculate. “Plenty of wealthy, handsome, and eligible men to charm this evening.”
“Great.” Lucy nodded, unsure what else to say.
Miranda handed her still half full glass of wine to Lucy. “Right, I spy the first man who can get me a drink this evening. Of course, if all else fails and I find myself alone at the end of the evening, then there’s always the laird himself for me to seduce. I hear it’s not difficult.”


I'm delighted to be part of the Astraea Press Love & Diamonds Valentine Anthology with my short story:

One Of These Days

Is losing something precious about to turn Megan’s world upside down?

Megan’s boyfriend runs his family’s jewellery business and showers her with expensive rings and bracelets but when she loses a diamond bracelet she needs all the help she can get to find it before he realises it’s gone missing…

Find Love & Diamonds on Amazon for only £2.50

 Love and Diamonds Scavenger Hunt

What's better than a great book, you ask?

Winning lots of great books!

The Love & Diamonds Scavenger Hunt is underway, and here's how you can be in with a chance of winning those books:
1.  Find the secret word in the title image at the top of this post.  (Hint:  It begins with a "w".)
2.  CLICK HERE to enter the secret word in a secure entry form.
3.  Visit the other 14 participating blogs (shown below).  Each has its own secret word.   If you wish you can enter the secret word for each and get a total of 15 entries in the Scavenger Hunt contest!

Astraea Press Valentine’s Day Short Story Anthology
A challenge was made: write a short story of around 5000 words that incorporates love and diamonds. Using their varied talents and creativity, fifteen Astraea Press authors were up for the task.
These are their stories…
Sherry Gloag “Queen of Diamonds”
Will Sybil's future be determined by diamonds?
Sherry Gloag writes to The Heart of Romance
Patricia Kiyono “Operation Rhombus”
Can a forgetful math teacher find the right formula for love?
Patty is a retired elementary teacher who likes to write about the places she's visited.
Heather Gray “Even When It Hurts”
Will he help her...even when it hurts?
Heather loves coffee, her family, God, and writing - not necessarily in that order.
Kathy Bosman “The Engagement Ring”
Could the object of Rosalee’s pain bring hope and healing?
Kathy writes tender romance in Africa.
Jennifer Rae Gravely “Love and Diamonds"
He struck out the first time.
Jennifer writes sweet Southern romance and coaches volleyball, her teams having won 5 state titles in South Carolina.
J. L. Salter “No Love, No Diamonds: The Story I Couldn’t Write”
Is that muscular man digging a mysterious hole next door just a distraction from Susan’s romantic story submission deadline, or could handsome Randy be her story?
Novelist; poet; retired librarian; veteran; former photo-journalist; husband; father; grandfather
Amy Mullen “The Flood”
Sparks fly as the water rises.
Amy Mullen dreams of castles, knights, and interesting ladies - and the writes stories about them.
Vivian Roycroft “Treasure Hunt”
Men don't do romance worth a hoot. Women don't do adventure…, that is, not until challenged.
Vivian Roycroft is a pseudonym for historical fiction and adventure writer J. Gunnar Grey. And if she's not careful, her pseudonymous pseudonym will have its own pseudonym soon, too.
Liz Botts “Delusions of Love”
Love can make you crazy.
Liz writes YA and adult contemporary romance while homeschooling her three kids in Northern Illinois.
Zanna Mackenzie “One Of These Days”
Is losing something precious about to turn Megan’s world upside down?
Zanna writes contemporary, escapist romance, designed to make you smile.
E.A. West “The Heart of Africa”
Diamonds are a girl's best friend... unless they’re bloody.
E.A. West is an author providing journeys of hope, one story at a time.
Brenda Maxfield “Meet Me in the Copy Room”
Beware when your ex returns to charm you!
Brenda Maxfield writes smart and sassy teen reads.
Kelly Martin “The Best Catch”
One man. His Boat. And the woman of his dreams.
Kelly Martin writes dark inspirational YA fiction.
Kristine Cheney “Facets of the Heart”
A Jewel Heist had Never Gone So...Right
Kristine Cheney is a best-selling author of contemporary & inspirational romance
Nicole Zoltack “All for Love”
Can revenge ever bring back your love?
Nicole Zoltack writes speculative romances for young adults to adults.

Discover more about Zanna’s novel The Love Programme:

Lucy’s life is a mess. With her ex pursuing her across the country, she flees to Scotland and finds herself part of a reality TV show about love… will she find some answers or end up even more confused in matters of the heart?

Thanks to an embarrassing incident involving a wedding and her ex-boyfriend Marcus, Lucy has to leave her home town in a hurry and needs a place to escape to for a while.

Best friend Fiona is convinced now would be a good time for Lucy to get herself a new life with some potential for romance thrown in. Fate seems to agree when Lucy is given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to star in a TV show and be a contestant on The Love Programme - two weeks of luxury living on a grand Highland estate coupled with, she hopes, fun and romance in wildest Scotland.

When Lucy meets Paul - the young, handsome owner of the Highland estate - she thinks she may have found the love of her life but who is the mysterious Hannah and what part does she play in his life? When she discovers that Marcus is planning to follow her to Scotland to win her back Lucy has some serious soul searching to do. Does she have a future with Paul, with Marcus or is she yet to find the man of her dreams?

Available now in paperback and ebook on:


  1. Thanks for posting those links and tag lines.

  2. Thanks for the great posts. I really appreciate the very informative tag lines too. Now I have more books to add to my tbr pile. :)

  3. Have a wonderful Valentines Day. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

  4. Great books! I love the sound of them, especially the anthology! Im a sucker for those! Thank you for sharing! Happy Valentines!

  5. Do you celebrate Valentine's Day in the UK? I read the post after this one, and it mentioned marriage week. Your book sounds fantastic.


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