Natasha Oakley - British Romance Author

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Romantic Times Review

I'm feeling quite shaky. Trish has just 'nudged' me to tell me the Romantic Times reviews are in for the February books. It's the final 'merge' month for Harlequin Romance and Silhouette Romance. The line-up is fabulous - Liz Fielding, Lucy Gordon, Judy Christenberry, Raye Morgan, Melissa James and me with 'Crowned: An Ordinary Girl'.

Here's my review:

As students, Dr. Marianne Chambers and Seb Rodier were lovers, but he disappeared suddenly. Seeing him identified in a magazine as Prince Sebastian II of Andovaria was as big a shock as finding herself pregnant -- and alone. A decade later, Seb reappears, asking Marianne's boss to evaluate some historical objects in Andovaria, and Marianne is forced to go along. Maturity has made Seb even more attractive, and their feelings haven't changed. But his life is a demanding one, and Marianne's not sure it's for her. Natasha Oakley's Crowned: An Ordinary Girl (4.5) is a lovely fantasy with just the right touch of realism -- and Seb's irresistible.

—Catherine Witmer

Doesn't really get much sweeter than that! I think I might need to give myself a large glass of wine. :)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Turkey and all the trimmings cooked and eaten. It might have never happened for all that's left of it! :)

Just time to wish you all a very merry Christmas.

I hope your day was full of wonderful things and that Santa brought you a stocking full of books!

Friday, December 22, 2006

I'm off to London in the morning

I've just spent the most ridiculous amount of time trying to work out the Christmas train timetable. I'm sure these things are made deliberately complicated. No doubt there's some grey suited someone somewhere who thoroughly enjoys the thought of us lesser mortals getting in a muddle.

Normally I wouldn't bother. I don't have much sense of direction but I do usually get where I mean to - even if it is a little later than I planned. :) This time I have to be more sensible as I'm taking my three elder children with me and they object to hanging around waiting for things.

We're going to see the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of 'Much Ado About Nothing'. I'm re-tuning them. They've each had any appreciation for 'the bard' educated out of them and I want them to see it done well. I'll let you know how it goes!

I'm also curious to see inside the Novello Theatre as it's been recently reburbished. The pictures look absolutely fabulous. There's something very special about sitting in a beautiful theatre watching a great play. No DVD can match it!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mills & Boon Editor Guest Blog

For today and tomorrow the Pink Heart Society has my editor, Jenny Hutton, as Guest blogger.

Click HERE to read her interview.

And, tagged by Trish Wylie:

Four jobs I've had:

1. Actress
And when 'resting' :) -
2. Various secretarial jobs - I particularly liked EMI records
3. Shop Assistant - the worst being the one in a shoe shop. By the end of the day I wanted to hit anyone who didn't buy the pair I went up a high ladder to get!
4. Waitress

Four places I've lived:

I haven't lived in four places. At least not if you mean the kind of place where you put down roots and make friends ...

1 Rayners Lane in Middlesex
2 Fulham in Central London
3 Bedfordshire

Four favorite foods:

1 Anything with chilli in it
2 Olives
3. Cheese
4. Fillet steak - the reason I can never be a vegetarian!

Four movies I could watch over and over:

1. Hobson's Choice
2. While You Were Sleeping
3. Notting Hill
4. Blythe Spirit

TV shows I enjoy:

1. Any foodie programme
2. Dad's Army (endless repeats)
3. Foyle's War
4. Vicar of Dibley

Four places I've traveled:

1. Hamburg
2. Vienna
3. Paris
4. Amsterdam

Four places I'd like to visit:

1. Melbourne - because Ally and Nic make it sound so great
2. Manijumup in Western Australia where my friend Lisa lives
3. Venice - before it sinks

4. The Ice Hotel in Sweden

Four websites I go to daily:

1. e-harlequin
2 The Pink Heart Society blog
3. various author blogs
4. EBAY - I'm addicted!

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's all happening in our house

I've gone on strike! And, to be perfectly honest, I'm quite enjoying it.

For some time I've been trying to get my boys to do more. Work as a team ...

I started small and decided to work on specific tasks. I began with the things that have to be done every day. So, 'please clear the breakfast things and stack them in the dishwasher', 'Please clean your teeth before school without having to be asked', 'Please put your shoes on the shoe rack rather than in the middle of the sitting room'. You get the picture???

It's not that they don't want to help. It's more that they 'forget'. Oh and it has to be fair.

This morning was particularly hopeless.

So I made the decision to do nothing myself. (Instead I've done the proofs of 'The Tycoon's Princess Bride'. I do hope I've not missed anything!) You probably don't need too much of an imagination to picture the reaction in our house this evening when they found everything exactly as they left it and no food for tea. :)

It focussed the mind wonderfully. I've now got all the school uniform washing sitting in the linen basket, the sitting room has been dusted, the dishwasher is on, son number one grated cheese, son two cooked omlettes, son three prepared the salad and son four laid the table. I hope their future wives are very grateful!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

It's beginning to feel like Christmas

It's the annual Victorian Christmas Fair weekend - and I'm feeling quite festive.

And quite alot poorer! That's the one big downside to having five children. They know it's not possible for them to try everything but I do end up spending far more than I ever planned to.

But who could resist going on a proper carousel?? Any moment you expect the horses to pop off and disappear into a picture a la 'Mary Poppins'.

Missing all the fun - or I suppose having some fun of his own - was my husband. This year, like last, he was Father Christmas. Obviously not 'the' Father Christmas. (I wouldn't want to shatter any illusions.)

We sent in one of Santa's Little Helpers to get this photo. I do feel it's something that should be preserved for posterity! It was all in aid of St John's Hospice so I hope they raised a lot of money. I'm pleased to report he only made two children cry - which is fairly good going ....

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Still in the deadline cave ..

No, not out yet!

On the up side I'm enjoying my writing. This is a fun story, I think. Leastways I'm in love with my hero which is a very good sign.

I've decided to take the pressure off myself and simply have fun with it. I can only do what can be done. (If that makes any sense??) I've spent the last few weeks sleeping far too much. I can only assume that's stress. Or maybe I'm just exhausted from having to juggle far too many balls.

The very good news is that my mum is dealing with her chemo very well. Thank you so much for the lovely emails of support I've received. You're all very wonderful.

This month sees 'Millionaire Dad: Wife Needed' become a Silhouette Romance and I'm really excited by that. It was such an interesting book to write. Very early on I decided to give Nick a profoundly deaf daughter who used British Sign Language to communicate but I'd absolutely no idea how difficult that would be to execute. It's very tricky to write a conversation where both people are using their hands to talk!!!

As I've said in my 'Reader Letter' at the front of the book, I'm completely passionate about signing. I think it's one of the most beautiful of languages. So expressive.

Mind you, despite several years experience now I still don't approach the skill of the man who inspired me to learn it. I was acting in an outdoor production of Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing' and sat in the bushes waiting for my entrance completely mesmerised. Of course, it didn't hurt that the interpreter could easily be a potential candidate for a Pink Heart Society Male on Monday slot! :)