Tag Archives: chicklit

Sarah Belle is in the Calypso Bar!

6 Sep

Sarah Belle writes wonderful romantic comedies about women on fantastic journeys with a hint of magic! I’m delighted she’s brought some of that magic on her journey here to the Calypso Bar!

Why the Calypso Bar? Hearts on Hold is set on Gozo, said to be the true location of the mythical island of Ogygia where, in Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus washed up on the shores and was saved by the goddess Calypso.

Our Hearts on Hold heroine, Cate Boyd, is struck by the tragedy of Calypso’s fate, doomed to give up the man she loves to the perils of the sea. If you want to find out why Calypso’s story means so much to Cate, you can find an excerpt here.

In honour of Hearts on Hold‘s stunning island setting, we’ve named our guest bar after Calypso, whose grotto home was renowned for its wonderful banquets and exotic elixirs!

So chill your cocktail shaker, pull up a stool and join me here in the Calypso Bar each week as I talk to some fascinating guests about writing, love, and their desert-island essentials (books, music, cocktails… and their favourite people, of course!).

Welcome to your weekend!

6 Jul

Welcome to your weekend!
Hope you’re treating yourself…


“Hearts on Hold” is out in the world!

1 Jul

“…beautifully written, a story of love, grief and acceptance, and finding the one that can make you feel whole again. First time author Ms. MacGregor is a magical storyteller.”

“Her attention to the history of the region and insight to human character is quite remarkable… I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another of this author’s books for the writing style alone.”

Some people talk about delivering a book in the same terms as delivering a baby. I must have been lucky (in fact, I know I was!), because delivering Hearts on Hold was a breeze compared to childbirth! But that just makes me all the more grateful for the help I had in fulfilling this dream. From the family and friends who encouraged me, to the fellow authors, editors, designers and publishers who were so generous with advice, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful support team.

You can buy “Hearts on Hold” from your favourite ebook retailer, and I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Happy reading,

Gracie x

This is why I write about love

29 Mar

Blokes, stop reading now. This post is for women.

Off you go. Go and do whatever it is you do when you’re supposed to be minding your own business. Thank you.

Let’s get started. Do you remember, when you were a little girl, where your ideas of love and romance came from? For me, it was from the world of Disney.

Someday my prince will come.

I know you, I danced with you once upon a dream.

So this is love, mmm-mmm, so this is love.

A little later, Rodgers and Hammerstein (I know, I’m showing my age, but stick with me). Think Oklahama, Carousel, The King and I, The Sound of Music (Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could, so somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good).

Then, mid-teens, I discovered the magic of Mills & Boon – Charlotte Lamb, Penny Jordan, Emma Darcy – and mixed it up a little with medieval bodice-busters.

Is it any wonder my marriage failed? My husband was no prince, and I was no secretary.

For the last few years I’ve been writing romances – my first published novel, Hearts on Hold, is out 1 July thanks to Harlequin Escape – and I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’m writing this genre.

In my other life, I have a “serious career”. I’m writing under a pseudonym because I’m anxious, if professional colleagues find out I’m publishing romance – even the slightly less worrisome romantic suspense (because, you know, it’s not all hearts and flowers. It has the occasional dramatic bit) – they won’t take me seriously anymore. And you know, it’s hard enough being a woman in a boardroom without having all the others around the table (ie all the men around the table) thinking I spend my spare time draped in a fluffy pink boa and tapping out heaving daydreams on a Fujitsu Floral Kiss. Sorry, that’s their stereotype, not mine.

But it occurs to me that when Gen X-ers like me angst about the next generation of young women, many of whom seem to take for granted the progress of women (or perhaps the lack thereof) over the last couple of decades and who shun the ‘feminist’ term like it’s an indicator of gauche and rampant unattractiveness… perhaps instead of ranting on our proudly feminist blogs we should take to our proudly romantic novels.

Because the stats on romance readership are as strong as they ever were: more than 25% of books sold are romance novels. It’s the single biggest category in the book-buying market, nearly twice the size of the next biggest category (I could leave you to guess what that is – it’s mystery).

35% of romance readers are under 30, and 22% of readers are men (you thought I was joking when I sent the men away from this post, didn’t you?). A lot of women, in the years when they’re formulating their ideas of love, romance and relationships, are reading romance novels. And they’re not stupid – 42% of readers have a bachelors degree or higher qualification.

Despite their reputation for being formulaic and old-fashioned, romance novels have mostly kept up with the times. Heroines these days are rarely “just” secretaries. They’re certainly not subservient. They’re seldom virgins. They are feisty, contrary, intelligent, flawed, beautiful (inside and out) women. They are women who, despite the contradictory evidence the world sometimes throws at them, believe deep, abiding love and happily-ever-after is possible. They’re just like all of us. That’s why we read them. That’s why we love them. That’s why so many young women look to them when they’re feeling that perhaps the dream isn’t going to happen for them.

So that is why I write about love. I want the generations of women who follow me to hold onto the dream – because growing and sharing deep, abiding love is why we’re all here – and to aspire not just to the great loves but to the great lives of my heroines – in the boardrooms as well as in the bedrooms. There’s a way to change women’s ideas about relationships – about equality in connection as well as in opportunity, about feminism amongst strong men as well as strong women – and it’s through books about love and romance.

I’d love to hear what you think, so please leave a comment below.

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