Archaeology, Christina Hollis, Horizon, Silchester, The Count's Prize, Time Team

Why I Made My Latest Heroine A Swot…

When I was a child, anything I turned up in the garden or on holiday beaches had to be washed and inspected – from blue and white china to hagstones. The best bits were stowed in a box of “treasure” under my bed, with tons of  other out-of-context junk. My favourite TV programmes were In Search of the Dark Ages*, Chronicle and the pre-dumbed down Horizon (Paul Vaughan, thou should’st be narrating at this hour). Spending all my time out of doors meant I was never pasty, but I was a swot and suffered for it at my sport-obsessed school. 
Years passed, I met my perfect man and settled down to my ideal job as a writer. We started a family when Time Team was still Time Signs, so you can tell how long ago that was. Years of exposure to Phil Harding and co. had a subliminal effect on our daughter. She is studying archaeology at university, with time off for good behaviour spent in the excavation at Silchester. Writers aren’t the only people whose job is also their hobby!
It’s always seemed a shame to me that armies of diggers and academics work so hard in unglamorous situations for so little reward. For every Staffordshire Hoard, there must be a million middens to be excavated. That’s why Josie the trowel jockey in The Count’s Prize turns Cinderella, and I hope you all enjoy reading her story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
*And IMHO, Michael Wood is still orders of magnitude better looking than Sir Mortimer Wheeler.
Christina Hollis, Harlequin, Mills and Boon, Romance, The Count's Prize

The Count’s Prize

I’ve had such lovely messages about my latest release for Harlequin, The Count’s Prize, I thought it was about time I included it in my blog.  It’s set in my favourite part of Italy, where the landscape inspires romance that tempts Josie to break her rule about never mixing business with pleasure…
He was standing so close to her, Josie could feel his presence as well as catch the delicious drift of his aftershave. It gave her a tremulous feeling deep within her body.

What’s happening to me? I’ve come here to work, she thought in alarm, glancing up at him.
Dario was gazing out across the view, lost in thought. At that moment, as though feeling her gaze fall on him, he turned his head and their eyes met. Another sensuous ripple thrilled straight through her. 
And, as if knowing what was going through her mind, Dario granted her a slow, sweet, irresistible smile.
Copyright, Harlequin Mills and Boon Ltd. 2012

I’m delighted that so many of you have been in touch to say how you enjoyed Josie and Dario’s story. In making my heroine a successful archaeologist I was going out on a bit of a limb but the reaction of readers was so positive, it gave me an idea for my current work in progress. The discovery of a dazzling treasure leads to danger…
Watch this space for further developments!
Christina Hollis, Harlequin Mills and Boon Limited, running, The Count's Prize

Monday Fun Run – Part 3

Puffing along on a treadmill at the start of Running Made Easy‘s Sixty-Second-Secret Plan was really difficult for me. At first it was taxing physically, but soon boredom took over. Staring at the primrose coloured kitchen wall was pretty boring. Reading on the run proved tricky, although listening to the radio helped the time pass more quickly. The plan encourages you to treat yourself each time you complete a full week of exercise. My first treat was a new incubator, for hatching chicken eggs. That was a great incentive to carry me through week two, but I had to move the treadmill out into the conservatory. The kitchen wall had become just too boring, and as my sessions of running gradually got longer, I was getting too hot to exercise indoors. Finally, I got to the stage where making a fool of myself in public was preferable to running another yard on that blasted treadmill. On the Monday of my third week on the plan, I got up at 4:30am and set off to run in the woods. At that stage my only proper running gear was a sports bra, some compression leggings and a decent pair of trainers. I borrowed one of my OH’s t-shirts which was big and baggy enough to cover the lumps and bumps thrown into relief by my leggings, and carried the electronic kitchen timer to time my alternate bursts of running and brisk walking.  Luckily, I had finished my session and was back home before anyone was about to hear the peeping of my novelty alarm, but it convinced me my reward that week should be a proper sports watch!  
I’m blogging over at on Tuesday 17th July. It’s about My Perfect Man, and  a signed copy of my latest release The Count’s Prize will be awarded to a comment picked at random from the comments made on my authorsoundrelations blog that day.  I’d love you to drop by!
Christina Hollis writes Modern Romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon Ltd, when she isn’t  working in the garden, with her bees or daydreaming about resuming her abandoned Classical Studies. You can catch up with her at,on Facebook and on Twitter, where she tweets as @christinabooks.