Blogs

Novels for a pandemic

During the current crisis I prefer to read happy, escapist stories. But there is a huge rise in people wanting to read novels about plagues and pandemics. So here are three lesser-known books about humanity facing an extinction crisis – all the heading links are to the Wikipedia pages, which contain plot spoilers. Links under the images are to Goodreads.

Empty World by John Christopher

Goodreads link

I read this at school many years ago – back then it was considered a “children’s book” but would now be Young Adult. The “Calcutta Plague”, similar to the rapid-ageing disease progeria, sweeps through the world, with only a handful of mainly teenage survivors. They must figure out how to exist in a nearly empty-world as dangerous rats emerge and animals escape from zoos. It’s a story that haunts me to this day.

On the Beach by Nevil Shute

Goodreads link

Nuclear war releases a cloud of deadly radiation, which gradually moves across the globe killing everyone. Australia is the furthest and last country affected, so everyone waits for their doom, with the government supplying suicide pills to ease people’s deaths. A submarine crew chases a faint signal in the Northern hemisphere in the desperate hope of finding life. Very grim. There’s a film version starring Gregory Peck though it contains changes that Shute didn’t approve of.

Death of Grass by John Christopher

Goodreads link

A friend’s father recommended this to me, and it’s another one that haunts me. The “Chung-Li” virus is wiping out grass crops across the world – which includes rice and wheat – and means widespread famine. Asia is already suffering mass starvation and riots. People’s civility deserts them as they end up killing one another to get food, while they head to a valley where potatoes (a safe crop) are grown.

Song inspiration for writing

Song inspiration for writing

Lui Ou Toi by French artist Alizée is currently inspiring two separate books I'm working on. One of them - still in the very early stages - is a sequel ...

Beautiful new covers

The books in my Forbidden Love student-teacher romance series have wonderful new covers, thanks to the very talented designer at GoOnWrite.com And yes - while it's not yet written - ...
5 hidden *FREE* gems of vintage romance

5 hidden *FREE* gems of vintage romance

Thanks to the digitisation of old and out-of-print books, it's possible to discover some absolute treasures on Gutenberg or The Internet Archive, sadly forgotten for half a century or more ...

Tempting Her Teacher – Greek translation

Αν θέλεις να διαβάσεις στα ελληνικά το "Μαγεύοντας τον καθηγητή", η @ath_stef κάνει μια πολύ καλή μετάφραση. Θα αρχίσουν να ανεβαίνουν κεφάλαια ξανά από τις 24-06. Να έχετε μια ωραία ...
Teaching His Ward - on Radish now

Teaching His Ward – on Radish now

My latest Regency Romance, Teaching His Ward, has begun serialisation on Radish. It tells the story of Marcus, Earl of Southwell, and his young ward Jemima, who meet at a ...
Sara Seale statistics

Sara Seale statistics

After reading a dozen or so Sara Seale novels, I've decided to do a little research project on her work, crunching the data on her novels. I haven't yet managed ...
Vintage romance, vintage clothes

Vintage romance, vintage clothes

The clothes in vintage romance novels are always a marvel of cringe and ghastliness. While it's fascinating researching Regency costumes, for which there are many informative articles, photographs and drawings, ...

12 movies about student teacher relationships

Girls’ Dormitory (1936) Marie Claudel (Simone Simon) falls in love with her school principal, Dr Stephen Dominick (Herbert Marshall). Margie (1946) Margie (Jeanne Crain) falls in love with her high ...

6 reader reactions to raunchy lines

It’s always fascinating what sentences readers respond to - and often it’s really surprising. I love getting any kind of reaction, and tracking what people find sexy or funny really ...

Vintage sexy: try Violet Winspear

If anyone feels like some classic, sexy vintage romance, try Violet Winspear who wrote 70 romance novels in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. You'll find plenty of power play, age-gap, virginal heroines, coerced marriage and ...

So you want more Mr Darcy?

The 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, is pretty much the definitive production of Jane Austen’s beloved novel. But if you’ve watched it ...

Student-teacher romance: the lure of forbidden fruit

Relationships between students and teachers, whether at high school or with university professors, is a hugely popular genre. There are perhaps three main reasons why: It’s forbidden. There’s the secrecy, ...

Why sex scenes in romance stories need an edge

Before I started writing romance I didn’t quite get the “rule” (for there are no finite rules) that every sex scene should advance the plot. But I have found that ...