Natasha Oakley - British Romance Author

Writer of tug-at-the-heartstrings, feel-good romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A funny kind of day ..

So far I've not written anything today. I spent the entire morning waiting for my husband to have his scan at the hospital - and that always makes me feel incredibly tired. He manages the whole experience much better than I do. He went back to work whereas I came home and slept for an hour in preparation for the manic activity of our evenings.

Ahead of me is a TESCO shop, the washing and ironing of sports kits, supervision of music practises and the delivery and retrieval of son number one to and from his club. I'm beginning to think I shall have to tip my day upside down again and work in the quiet of the night.

One nice thing that happened today is I got around to looking at all the links Trish sent me. While the UK and NA have got 'Accepting the Boss's Proposal', France has 'For Our Children's Sake' and Germany 'A Family To Belong To'.

Next month Australia gets 'Accepting The Boss's Proposal' and Italy 'Ordinary Girl, Society Groom'.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

I would blog but ...

Just to say - I would be blogging but can't because Trish is hogging my computer! (I'm in the garden on my laptop.) That and the fact that we're having something of a word count war ...

So, if you want to check out what we've been up to you'll need to visit her blog here.

I would like to say that she's overly critical of me and the locating of a shoe shop. She really ought to consider herself lucky I didn't lead her into Russell and Bromley because she would have been very much poorer. *g*

Also I only bought shoes because I have an addiction. *She* couldn't walk!!! And has given our editor something of a guilt complex. Vanity is such a sin, don't you think??? *vbg*

I do agree about the Haymarket theatre though. I'd never been there before and it really is a little gem. Perhaps a tad too small a stage for such a cast heavy musical but it's a Grade 1 listed building and really very beautiful.

That's it! Trish is off to buy her day's supply of cigarettes and I've a chance to get ahead ....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Off to Richmond

I managed to find Trish Wylie at the airport - and even managed to find my way home again which was perhaps even more of an achievement.

At this precise moment she's being serenaded by assorted children doing their music practise. And all at an hour Trish doesn't usually see except as part of her 'writing' day. *vbg*

Today is going to be fun. We're off to Richmond to have lunch with Jenny Hutton, who is our mutual editor. Apart from the fact that Jenny is always good company it's a really fantastic opportunity to talk about what we want to do over the next year.And, on the way home, Trish and I are going to see 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' at the Haymarket.

I'm so looking forward to it!

For those of you who are in the UK, NOW is the time to pick up your copy of 'Womans Weekly'. On page 25 you'll find the M&B competition. You've got to write a 1500
short story, suitable for the new Mills & Boon 'Romance' series and Woman's Weekly. The closing date is 30th November - so there's plenty of time!

First prize:
Dell laptop
Your story published in Woman's Weekly and on-line at
12 month subscription to the 'Romance' series
Consultation with a M&B editor

Have a lovely day

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Headaches and other problems

Today I have woken with the mother of all headaches. I'm currently engaged in balancing the benefits of decapitation as compared to moaning from under my duvet.

Only the children want feeding - which I think is very unreasonable of them.

The car, btw, is back on the road. I had a loose connection to my battery. So that's nice. The AA man did, however, suck in his breath and announce I was going to need to replace said battery or I'd be seeing him again. Does anyone know why men always suck in their breath like that??? I find it very annoying.

If anyone is feeling more like writing than I am - wander over to Trish Wylie's blog. About to start her latest ModEx she's taking you on her writing journey. Currently she's got her hero and heroine so there's plenty of time to join in.

And do check out the Pink Heart Society blog. This Sunday the spotlight is on the wonderful Lucy Gordon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

No day is all bad!

It's been a troublesome day - mainly due to the fact my car has broken down. It managed the trip to school but didn't make it home again. It is simply dead. Engine not even turning over.

Of course, everyone has had a suggestion to make. I've *very* politely answered those who thought I might have run out of petrol. I've opened the bonnet and looked at the dirty inner workings I do not understand in the company of others who don't understand them either. I've 'rocked' it with the people who clearly think it's the car equivalent of smacking the computer screen.

But, no ... It's still dead.

So, I've left it there. I've decided it's a problem which cannot be faced without a coffee inside me. I'll let you know how it goes but I'm not holding out a great deal of hope for its survival. There's a reason Jemima's car broke down in 'Accepting the Boss's Proposal'. *VBG*

And here's the good news ....

Here's a peak at the NA cover for my February 07 'Romance' book. It's another important month for 'Romance' because it's the first fully merged month. (The very last Silhouette Romances are released in January.)

My book in the line-up is 'Crowned: An Ordinary Girl' and, as you probably can guess, is a royal story. And, although it's a bit difficult to see clearly, I think I like the cover!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hugh Jackman - it's war!

Today Trish Wylie has nominated Hugh Jackman for the Pink Heart Society Hero database. We're all agreed he should be there - but we're squabbling about the incarnation.

Obviously, I am right! These are much more inspiring photos. *g*

I do think he's a perfect hero choice. He can sing, dance, act and he loves his wife - who is about my age. Lovely!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Romantic Times Review!

This September is such an important month for me as it's the launch of the new 'Romance' line - and I have a book in that initial line-up.

Scary stuff! From the very beginning I felt a little starry-eyed at being shelf 'buddies' with fabulous Harlequin Romance authors Lucy Gordon and Liz Fielding and Silhouette Romance author Raye Morgan. Really hoped I wouldn't be seen as the 'weak link' when directly compared to authors who've written very many more books than I have.

And it would seem I'm not! I've had some lovely emails from readers which have really touched me and, today, I've received my 'Romantic Times' magazine and have just read the loveliest review written by Catherine Witmer.

Now, all authors are agreed that you can't let reviews matter too much - BUT ...

To regain her self-confidence, recently divorced mom Jemima Chadwick re-enters the workforce. She takes a temporary position in public relations whiz Miles Kingsley's office. On the job, Jemima keeps her distance from Miles, but the discovery that he's going to be the best man at her good friend's wedding changes things - fast. Still hurting over her ex's betrayal, Jemima is reluctant to let Miles get close, but he's determined to win her. Natasha Oakley's Accepting the Boss's Proposal(4) puts a humorous and utterly charming spin on a reader-favorite plot, and the result is as irresistible as the hero.

Well, I've got a smile on my face!!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

All decided!

I have my next story! It's such a lovely feeling when a new story starts to take shape. When I get horribly stuck in the middle and start moaning you'll have to remind me how happy I was at the beginning - although I know nothing will feel quite so good again until I type 'The End'.

So here is my heroine, Willow Anthony (looking remarkably like Sienna Miller in this picture).

And my hero you met a couple of days ago. He's called Daniel, by the way, and is a thirty-four year old widower.

I'm also thinking it might be fun to try 'Romance' author Barbara Hannay's collage technique. You can read about it in an interview she gave to Nicola Marsh by clicking here. Basically, she puts images together and then uses it as a visual tool while she is writing a book.

Sounds fun! The only thing holding me back is a lack of magazines. *g*

And I've managed to solve the dilema caused by having a spare hero. I shall blog about Sean Bean on my Pink Heart Society 'Male On Monday' slot in October!!

Inspired, eh???

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New beginnings ...

The last of my offspring returns to school tomorrow. My fingers are sore from sewing on name tags but I think I've managed to work out where everyone should be and with what!

I never really like the start of the school year. I prefer the holidays when it doesn't matter what they wear and I don't have to sit on them hard to make them do their homework/music practise ... And it's so very nice to have had a break from all the clubs!

But, the upside is I get my writing days back. The timing is perfect because I have an important decision to make!

Do I want to spend the next few weeks dreaming about a hero who looks like Luke Wilson?

Or one that looks like Sean Bean?

And to make it yet more complicated, they are heroes from different stories. I think it'll have to be a long soak in a bubble bath with a glass of red wine while I decide ....

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The new Harlequin 'Romance' is on the shelves!

I've just got back from Milton Keynes and look what I saw in W H Smiths!

Such a lovely feeling to see my 'Accepting The Boss's Proposal' on the shelves. And I fearlessly got out my camera in the middle of a shop full of hassled mothers buying up pens/pencils/rulers ... and took a photo. My children were an interesting mix of proud and embarrassed.

I think the UK slash of deep pink looks great - though I have to admit I prefer the NA white covers and that's the one I've chosen to use on my website. A huge amount of thought and planning went into these covers. I had to fill out detailed artwork forms before I'd even written the book. Apparently they produced four options - and they were sent off to focus groups along with the first three chapters.

One of the questions all the 'launch' authors were asked was what was the 'take home'? I was sooo tempted to write 'pizza' but didn't! In the end I went for 'hope floats' because the HEA is a real triumph of hope over experience.

Considering so much care went into them I find the final artwork choice very interesting. I like it as a cover - very much - but the London background is much more 'Tower Hamlets' then 'Covent Garden' (which is where the book is set).

Jemima's not the slightly overweight mum-of-two with red hair I imagined either. And I have absolutely no idea why she's holding a bouquet of flowers!

Myles is perfect. Tall, dark and impossibly handsome. You can't see his blue eyes - but you just know they'll be glinting!! I really, really love Myles. He's exactly what you'd not want to meet when you're nervously dipping a toe back into the world-of-work.

Trish Wylie's first ModX was also up there - looking wonderful. And I got a preview read of 'White Hot' so I can thoroughly recommend it!

The number of people who've visited the new Pink Heart Society blog is absolutely mind blowing. If you haven't been over yet, do. And keep suggesting authors who you'd like to see under the 'spotlight'.