Natasha Oakley - British Romance Author

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

Thursday, March 27, 2008

And today I bought a car

I'd feel a whole lot more confident if I knew what I was doing. It would be better if I had the information with which to make the decision. Post chemo my husband is still making decisions about what he wants to do next.

We seem to have spent ages discussing the two small car option, versus the naff--seven-seater-plus-small-car-children-can-learn-to-drive-in option, versus the mini-bus with sensible small car option. And then it all became clear. My dad, who has the habit of saying important things at pivotal points of my life, said, 'yes, but that's life, isn't it? Not having all the information.' And all became clear.

I've bought a Ford Galaxy. It holds all children. Will do the school run. We will struggle with holiday packing but .. hey ... it's a car and I'm not that interested anyway. And it's petrol. I know, I know .. diesel has better mileage but have you seen the price of them??? To be honest, I'd rather pay in installments.

2002. And I will run it into the ground. Now anyone who knows anyone who has ever driven one must tell me that's the right choice.

And I thought the laptop was difficult.

Meanwhile, in an effort to make this writerly, book is doing okay!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Guess what happened to me today???

There was I feeling slightly smug because I've just sold my version of 'El Sodh' - a phrase coined by the wonderful Sophie Weston for a sheikh book that is more than usually tricky to write - when the phone rang.

'The Tycoon's Princess Bride' has finalled for a RITA in the Contemporary Series category. How brilliant is that!

What's more I so nearly didn't enter. Remember the truly horrendous year I've had? Well, during all of that I allowed my RWA membership to lapse without realising. So I had to enter at the non-member rate at the last possible minute.

Besides which, I'd decided not to do competitions this year.

Now I'm busy wondering whether I really *ought* to make the trip to the RWA conference. It's not that I don't want to it's just that it's kinda the wrong side of the States for me. :)

Apparently this kind of good news comes at a cost. There was I ready to celebrate. I'd even decided to stuff the diet when Trish says I've got to blog - and went on saying it.

I discovered long since there's no point fighting.

'The Tycoon's Princess Bride' is book 4 of a fabulous continuity I was asked to write for. The premise was fun:

The Mediterranean island of Niroli has prospered for centuries under the Fierezza men. But now, as the King’s health declines, and his 2 sons have been tragically killed, the crown is in jeopardy. Who will rule?

In practise writing it felt a little like being given a jigsaw puzzle with no picture guide.

My hero - Domenic Vincini, a man scarred inside and out.
My heroine - Isabella Fierezza, beautiful and keen to promote tourism on Niroli.

That was it. And off I went.

Carol Marinelli and I became friends through it. She's a real sweetheart and I borrowed her Luca and loaned her my Isabella.

All eight books of the series are still available.

Book 1: The Future King's Pregnant Mistress - Penny Jordan
Book 2: Surgeon Prince ... Ordinary Wife - Melanie Milburne
Book 3: Bought By the Billionaire Prince - Carol Marinelli
Book 4: The Tycoon's Princess Bride - Natasha Oakley
Book 5: Expecting His Royal Baby - Susan Stephens
Book 6: the Prince's Forbidden Virgin - Robyn Donald
Book 7: Bride By Royal Apointment - Raye Morgan
Book 8: A Royal Bride At The Shiekh's Command - Penny Jordan

UK and North America

Am I allowed to drink wine now???

Fun, isn't it!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

I know I shouldn't say this, but ....

I like good reviews.

I really like them from the Romantic Times Magazine because I don't have to do a single thing to get them. :) They review, as a matter of course, every romantic novel which is released in the States.

What's particularly lovely about this one is that 'Wanted: White Wedding' was the book I was writing when my lovely mum was first diagnosed with terminal cancer. I tried writing it while I was sat in hospital waiting rooms surrounded by the smell of anticeptic. Eventually every time I opened the darn document all I could feel was a churning sick feeling. So, I took a deep breath and deleted the lot and started again. I was only allowed to write curled up on the sofa with a glass of red wine within touching distance.

So, a hard book.

It's out in NA and the UK in May so there's plenty of time to tell you more about it - but here's the review:

Back in her hometown to visit her grandmother, dotcom millionaire Freya Anthony remembers quickly just why she left. She's still the target of vicious gossip because of her slightly wild past, but that doesn't seem to worry widowed auctioneer Daniel Ramsay. After a rocky start, Freya and Daniel become friends, then lovers--and even his rebellious daughter, Mia, warms to her. But Freya's wealth is a problem. Once Daniel learns about it, he wonders what he can possibly offer her. Natasha Oakley's Wanted: White Wedding (4.5) has its share of deeply touching moments, but what makes it stand out are the humor and the wonderful characters.

—Catherine Witmer

Lovely, isn't it!

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Oh joy!

I've corrupted fellow Romance author Donna Alward. It took a while, but my job is done. World domination, one romance author at a time. (There are days, you know, when I feel slightly sorry for Richard. Other days I tell myself every girl must have a hobby. :))

Donna's even sending me links to Richard Armitage fan videos on YouTube now. I feel so proud. vbg.

Want to see her favourite of the day?

Meanwhile, I'm not here. For reasons I haven't worked out I've now become nocturnal. It's approaching 11pm and I'm about to settle in for my day's work. Don't you feel sorry for my family!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Good Grief!

One of my very good friends has had an offer to publish her novel today. (That's not the 'Good Grief' part, incidentally.) When it's all settled and the ink has dried on the contract I'm sure I'll be telling you a whole lot more about that.

But, the point here is that it sent me off on a trawl around the web looking up information on different publishing houses - and I happened upon some information about the Oxford Literary Festival. In itself, because I already know all about it and won't be there, not particularly interesting.

But, then I found this:

So what is the secret of writing a good Doctor Who story, apart from an inexhaustible supply of strange people in hoods and shadowy figures lurking in dark corners of the universe? Justin Richards and some of his fellow writers – Terrance Dicks, Mike Tucker, Colin Brake and Steve Cole – will explain all at the festival on April 5.

And I read on. You can, too, if you click here.

The bit that made me splutter on my coffee was this:

There is a team of 10 writers, but not all of them write full-time. They are paid a flat fee of £5,000 per book, with a bonus if a title sells more than 50,000. That’s about the average sale, says Richards, but bonuses are not unknown.

Authors, we are told, have four months to 'turn out a story'.

Am I reading that right? £5000 for four months work? I just bet 'not all of them write full-time'! You couldn't on that money, could you?!?!

And then there is this bit:

These reasons might put off some big-name authors who have been linked with Doctor Who. Philip Pullman, JK Rowling, Anthony Horowitz and Stephen Fry have been mentioned. “I have spoken to a few big names,” says Richards, “and the attraction is obvious but there are reasons why they wouldn’t want to do it.”

Hmmmm, yes! Can't say I'd be keen either.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Happy St Patrick's Day

If there is an ounce of Irish blood in you you'll be celebrating nowish - there's some debate about the day. For all that and a whole lot more you need to visit the Pink Heart Society blog.

I'm a very healthy mix of English, Scottish and Welsh but it seems my ancestors didn't leave the mainland. Just as well really because they'd probably have been the ones stealing other people's lands. So I can hold my head high and wish everyone Beannachtam na feile Padraig and leave you with an Irish toast.

May the frost never afflict your spuds.May the leaves of your cabbage always be free from worms.May the crows never pick your haystack.If you inherit a donkey, may she be in foal.



Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mills & Boon Centenary

Here is the official author photograph taken by Philippa Gedge Photography at the Mills & Boon centenary party - I'm half a face somewhere in the middle. In fact, I'm peeking out from behind India Grey.

Which means I can continue to pretend I look like the photograph on my website. I was twenty-seven then and now I'm .... er ... not. And I'm not having any more photos taken until I can fit back in my wedding dress. At least that was the plan and it's not going terrible well. vbg.

Just love it when a plan comes together.

Trish Wylie, btw, missed the photo altogether because she was talking to the BBC - as you do!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rusty people carrier RIP

Oh heck! Has it really been that long since I blogged?? Doesn't time fly when you are busy!

Anyway, book in and new book gently simmering. I am at the stage where I'm wondering whether I really ought to see if I can unbury my desk. Never a very nice prospect because the chances of finding something I really should have dealt with a while back is, sadly, high!

I am having to be a little bit distracted from all things creative because my car has died and I need to buy a new one. To be absolutely honest, the mechanic has managed to get me back on the road but it's definitely temporary. Current top speed is 53mph and it's a bumpy ride.

All in all it was a fairly humiliating experience. What is it with mechanics?????? Or is it just the ones I meet? Maybe it's the impression I give???

Mechanic: "Any chance you might have put in the wrong fuel?"
Me: Ah, let me think....... I've been driving this car for nine years. I do think I might just have got the hang of filling it up with diesel in that time ....


It got slightly worse - but then I'm afraid I set myself up.

Mechanic: "What you need, love, is a minibus." (Remember I am the original old woman with so many children ....)
Me: "Yes, but that's not got a lot of street cred, has it!"
Mechanic: "Not a lot of street cred in what you're driving."


But I still do need to buy a car and I HATE that even more than I hate buying laptops.

Money no object I could do it just fine. Obviously colour is the most important thing and general image. Yes, I am that shallow.

Only I do have a hideous school run which racks up 60 miles a day. I need to transport five children and a cello. Any suggestions???

Fortunately I have had some lovely news to bolster my spirits - but I can't tell you yet! I know, I know. What was the point in mentioning it! :)