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Blake Ashton

I often get lovely emails from readers, some of them asking for Marcus’s story (from the Devil Riders) and some asking for Blake Ashton’s story, (from the Chance Sister series). In fact an email asking about Blake Ashton arrived today. It included this question.

BUT, I asked myself at midnight, will that lonely fourth member of the Flynn Trading Company, Blake Ashton, ever get to stop sailing the seas, come home to England and find a nice girl to marry? 

This is what I told her: 

Serendipity! *g* As it happens, I’m writing the last few scenes of Ash’s story at the moment. I’ve been playing with the idea of a novella for him for several years, writing it in bits and pieces between my other books. I’m not a fast writer, and for some reason I can only concentrate on one book at a time, and so I have to work on my already contracted books for Berkley, not a novella that, for contractual reasons, I’ll have to self-publish. 

When I first envisaged the Chance Sister series, I thought I’d like to play with the notion of four “sister” brides for four “brother/friend” grooms, but the early stages of a series or a book are always pretty fluid for me, and by the time I got to Jane’s story, I knew her much better, and I realized that she needed a different kind of hero, and that Ash wouldn’t suit. So he got left behind. Which kind of suited him at the time.

But I’m now on the home straight with Ash’s Christmas story. It takes place in the middle of the series, when Max and Abby are having their first Christmas as a couple, Freddy and Damaris are still honeymooners, and Jane hasn’t yet met Zachary Black.

I’m making arrangements for a cover design, and I’ll get a couple of writer friends to read it over before I format it for self-publication — all new territory for me. I’m not sure when it will go up — probably late for a Christmas story (most of them go on sale in early October), but I’d really like to get it out there this year.

Stay tuned — I’ll keep you posted with my progress, and when I get a cover design, and more details, you’ll be the first to know.

In the meantime, I’m madly killing darlings to bring my new book (as yet untitled) for Berkley down to a better word length — the good news is that my editor has read it and said she loved it, but agreed that it should be shorter.  So I’m cutting . . . 

Asparagus Season

People generally either love or hate asparagus. I love it. I’m about to roast these ones for dinner. I used to always steam them, but a few years ago I read a post that said to roast them in the oven instead. So I tried it and yum — it deepens the flavour and adds a roasty tinge (official cookery term) So these days I always roast them.

Years ago a friend of mine had an elderly aunt who lived in country Tasmania, in the heart of asparagus growing country and, knowing her niece loved asparagus, every year would send her a huge parcel through the post. Seriously, it was a parcel almost the size of a pillowcase, stuffed full of asparagus.

Of course, no single household could get through that much asparagus, so my friend would share handfuls of spears among her friends and we’d have these wonderful asparagus feasts. So many things you can do with asparagus — in soup, in salads, in pasta and risotto dishes, in quiches,  and so many more, but my fave is simply to roast the spears with a drizzle of olive oil and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and fresh ground pepper. So simple but it’s a feast in itself. That’s what I’m doing tonight.

And do you know the “correct” way to eat asparagus (according to my mother, who was drilled in etiquette at a posh private boarding school) is to pick up the thick end in your fingers and eat it bite by bite. Debrett’s agrees.

Are you a lover of asparagus or not? If you are, how do you like to serve it?