Friday, November 5, 2010

GUEST BLOG: Phillipa Ashley, Author of Dating Mr. December

A big Casablanca welcome to Sourcebooks Landmark women's fiction author, Phillipa Ashley!

First, I want to thank the Casablanca authors for welcoming me to their fabulous blog. In fact, ever since I heard that Sourcebooks were going to publish my four romantic novels, I’d really hoped I might be invited over to introduce myself.

Because I love talking (blushes.)

Like most novelists, I spend a lot of my time in isolation. I live in a tiny village in the heart of England. It’s very quiet and nothing ever happens (apart from last summer when the largest ever hoard of Anglo Saxon treasure was found right here – and that even made US TV!)

When I do go London, I step off the train, dazzled by the traffic, the sirens and sheer volume of people. I love my trips to the Big Smoke but I love coming home too.

I guess that’s how my heroine, Emma, feels when she lands in Bannerdale, except she’s the slick city girl moving to a small community. It’s a culture shock, but the real challenge is coming up against hunky local bad boy, Will…

Here’s the blurb:
Emma Tremayne leaves her high-powered PR job and moves to the Lake District looking for peace, quiet and celibacy. So perhaps it's not the best idea when, in the spirit of "community-mindedness," she agrees to help the local mountain rescue team fund raise by putting together a "tasteful" nude calendar. Especially since quite a lot of the community seems to mind what she's up to - including the tall, dark and handsome Mr. December, Will Tennant, who appears to have gotten the wrong impression about Emma's intentions. So how does she convince him that he's more than just the flavor of the month?

Here are 10 fun facts about my book!

1. The idea was sparked by the work of a mountain rescue team who have a base near our Lake District holiday home.

2. UK Mountain rescue teams are all volunteers and receive no state funding. Our local team had recently raised the money for a new base – but without taking off their clothes!
3. The fear you read in the abseiling (rappelling) scene is absolutely real. Like the heroine, Emma, I am scared of heights so when my editor suggested adding more ‘terror’ to that scene, I went out and got terrified by dangling off the edge of a cliff.
4. I would never abseil again but I did raise £150 for the mountain rescue squad.
5. The book was recently made into the Lifetime movie, “The 12 Men of Christmas” starring Kristin Chenoweth as Emma.
6. My family visited the movie set in Canada where I had the surreal and amazing experience of coming face to face with my hero, played by Josh Hopkins
7. When it was first published in the UK, the book, then titled Decent Exposure, won the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers award (similar to RWA and the Rita Awards!)
8. The scene aboard the yacht was inspired by an anniversary dinner with my husband on Lake Windermere.
9. I like books and movies that make me laugh, cry, sigh longingly and be kept on the edge of my seat. I hope readers will feel the same about Dating Mr. December.
10. The US copy editor changed Emma’s ‘hold-ups’ to ‘thigh-highs’ which made me smile. In the UK thigh highs tend to be kinky boots. Vive la difference...

So thanks again to the lovely Casablanca Authors for letting me tell you about my US debut.

Thank you, Phillipa, for stopping by on your busy blog tour!! If you had the opportunity, who would you include in your own calendar like the one Phillipa's heroine makes? :-)

She doesn’t need rescuing, she only needs a change of scenery...

After a disastrous discovery loses Emma Tremayne both her boyfriend and her high-profile PR job in London, she moves to the Lake District to recover her confidence and live a simpler life. She loves her new job with the tourist board, and she’s settling into small town life just fine—until she ends up responsible for a fundraising effort that calls for twelve naked mountain rescuers...

Buy it here:
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Phillipa Ashley studied English Language and Literature at Oxford before becoming a freelance copywriter and journalist. Dating Mr. December (called Decent Exposure in the UK) was the basis of last year’s Lifetime TV Movie “The 12 Men of Christmas.” A frequent guest on BBC national, local and independent radio on all matters romantic, she lives with her husband and daughter in Staffordshire, UK. For more information, please visit, follower her on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


  1. Good morning from the UK and thanks for welcoming me to the Casablanca blog. P x

  2. Who would I choose to have in my own calendar?


    It would have to include Daniel Craig, David Gandy, Andres Velencoso, Jon Hamm,Enrique Iglesias, Richard Armitage,Robert Downey jr, Alexis Papas and Richard Hammond.

    Really excited to have discovered this blog and can't praise Dating Mr December highly enough. I read it in its UK form titled Decent Exposure. I kept it too!

  3. And while we're at it, maybe we ought to lobby for a year with more months in it! Caught a brief glimpse of The Lakes earlier this fall, Phillipa--gads, even the light is romantic. Wonderful setting for a wonderful book.

  4. Hi Phillipa. How totally cool...I saw that movie. I'm so impressed. Congratulation on your US debut! If I have any questions on England, I'll know where to go :)

  5. Rachel - thanks! I seriously need to check out some of the men who have been suggested here and elsewhere.

    Grace and Anita - you would be most welcome here. I've been to Florida and California and The canadian Rockies - but it's also my dream to visit New York.

    One thing I can say is that you have *big* mountains that make the Lake District look like an exquisite but miniature toy landscape.

  6. Welcome, Phillipa! I did the rappelling bit also and am afraid of heights--so definitely know what it feels like!!! Sometimes we have to challenge ourselves just to add some zest to life. :)

  7. Welcome Phillipa! As the resident New Yorker in the group, I'd be happy to show you around the big apple. Are you coming to RWA Nationals?

    My calendar would have to include Colin Firth (during his P&P days) and Robert Downy Junior. I'd love it if you could manage to have a shirtless RDJ at the piano, singing. Maybe we could have a calendar that when you open to a month, you hear and see the man. That would sooo work for me.

  8. I big welcome from Oklahoma ... love your post! I'd just love to sit on the porch with you and visit!My calendar would have sexy cowboys (some of whom are definitely country music fellows) ... Blake Shelton, George Strait, Timothy Olyphant, Sam Elliot (with a button to push to hear his voice), Alan Jackson,Toby Keith and the hot guys Sourcebooks found for the covers of my books! Maybe I'd need one of those eighteen month calendars! LOL

  9. Good idea, Carolyn! We need an 18-month calendar with a different Sourcebooks torso model each month. What a great story, Phillipa. Congrats on all your success!!

  10. I'm all in favour of a calendar of torso models. We don't get so many bare chested covers in the UK so it was great to have the guys featured on Dating Mr December.

    Robin - I would like to get to NYC if funds permit and would love to be shown around. One of the RNA members has also just moved there. Fingers crossed. :)

  11. Oh, I'm all in favour of a calendar of torso models. We don't get so many bare chested covers in the UK so it was great to have the guys featured on Dating Mr December.

    Robin - I would like to get to NYC if funds permit and would love to be shown around. One of the RNA members has also just moved there. Fingers crossed. :)

    PS Carolyn - I just *love* the titles of your books. I keep wanting to reply 'Hell, Yeah!' when asked if I'd like a cup of tea....

  12. Hi, ladies! Phillipa sent me the link and asked me to post about this over at Win a Book... so, I did! Hope it brings in more traffic and new readers.

  13. Welcome Phillipa!

    Your book sounds so much fun. I need to go shopping.

    I do know Jeremy Northam would be the main focus in my calendar along with Hugh Jackman.

  14. Hi Phillipa! Top 10 lists are SO fun - and yours was a delight!! Enjoyed your blog!

  15. Great to meet you, Phillipa! I saw that movie & loved it! Looking forward to reading the book as well.