Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Sad Loss to Romance

    More years ago than I care to calculate, I went to my very first ever Mills and Boon Author Day - back in the times before we had the Association of Mills and Boon Authors Lunches. I didn't know anyone - except an editor or two. My then editor promised to introduce me to another of her authors, a lovely lady from Liverpool called Jennifer Taylor who, at that time, was writing for the Romance line but later became a real superstar of the Medical Romance
    line.


    Jennifer Taylor receiving her award for 75 books.
     Jennifer and ...I -two Northern Lasses - took to each other from that start - and later that day we also made friends with the fabulous Michelle Reid - another writer from up North! Later we formed our own 'Northern AMBA' (known affectionately as the Nambies - with Jacqueline Baird and, occasionally, with Roger Sanderson (writing as Gill Sanderson). Many times we met for a long, laughter-filled lunch at Huddersfield (a point midway between everyone's home towns) and Jennifer always used to arrive in her smart little red sports car, much to everyone's admiration.

     Later the Babe Magnet and Jennifer's smashing husband Bill used to join us - and Michelle's husband - when we got together in London for the official AMBA.

     There were times when life was far from kind to Jennifer, family tragedies, losing Bill, and her own health problems knocked her hard but she always wore her wide bright smile and shared her wicked sense of humour in spite of everything.

    Jennifer wrote 85 medical romance novels over almost thirty years, entertaining millions of readers and capturing their hearts with her heartwarming stories set mainly in GP surgeries, country hospitals, or in the Mediterranean, a place she loved.

     The last time I saw her was when we both met at the Harlequin Offices to meet with our editors last year. She was fighting her illness with grace and courage and refused to feel sorry for herself. Instead she carried on writing and publishing and the legacy of books she left behind are a great tribute to a strong and brave personality who refused to be knocked down. Her daughter and her grandchildren brought an extra sparkle to that smile and it was wonderful to see her enjoying being a grandmother so very much.


    Sadly Jennifer recently  lost her battle with myeloma but she will always be remembered by her family, her friends - fellow writers - and of course the thousands of readers who loved her romance stories.

    Rest in peace, dear Jennifer - you are someone I will never forget.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Another 'grim' day

 I'm  just setting out on  another day as PA the the other half of the 'Crime and Passion' duo. The Babe Magnet is speaking today at the Ilkley Literature Festival - in a discussion about  Crime in Your Back Yard   with fellow Yorkshire writers Liz Mistry   and A A Dhand  (at the Playhouse at 5pm  ).

I'll  be the back up team this week  - next weekend I'll be the one doing the work at the Writing Fiction That Sells weekend course at Keele University.

Looking forward to that, but the treat this week, is that we get to have afternoon tea  at Bettys in Ilkely - no doubt we'll bring home  Fat Rascals (and I'm not talking about DH!)

The weather is supposed to be untypically mild - so long as this storm Ophelia doesn't hit us  so I'm looking forward to the trip.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Tote Bags Day

The 12th of every month is the date that I write a post for the Tote Bags 'n' Blogs  Blog. 
So that's where I have posted today . 
(well - a couple of days ago - I've only just  caught my breath to remember to come and post here to tell you about it!)

Anyway, I've written about being one of two writers in the family and how my DH - aka the Babe Magnet  is a writer of  Local History and True Crime - and the history of Crime.

So you'll find out about him on Tote Bags  - and about his new books coming out - that's Write Your Self.  

And then  The Crime Writers' Casebook with his friend  former Detective Inspector in the murder squad Stuart Gibbon.


This weekend we're off to Ilkley where the Babe Magnet if speaking on writing true crime and crime history at the  Ilkley Literature Festival.  So I'll be acting as PA   then and letting him do the speaking and greeting.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Big News from MIlls and Boon UK

There's an interesting article in The Bookseller  this week - revealing the big news about the complete revamp of the covers and the whole look of Mills and Boon Romances which is coming in January.

Mills & Boon (M&B) has revealed a “huge” relaunch lined up for January, the first face-lift for the brand in a decade. The rebrand features a sleeker logo and revamped covers, refreshed point-of-sale material, a beefed-up book club and the brand’s first engagement with the blogging community. 
There will also be a raft of commercial partnerships and retail promotions for the romance imprint which will go live on 1st January.

If you want to read the article about the relaunch and  get a sneak peek at some of the newly designed covers then you'll find the details here.

And look out for the new covers designs appearing on Amazon/ the Mills and Boon Web Site and in the shops for the new year.

catching up 1

Sorry - I thought I had posted since I was away in Liverpool,  but just checking on things I find that a few posts have been stuck in me  pending tray and I need to  make sure they appear  here as  well as Facebook! Soory!

Had a great weekend in Liverpool at the Jack The Ripper Conference with H Division True Crime Club. So many interesting talks and a special dinner and presentation with Fred Dinenage. Thank you to everyone for the warm welcome.


And of course there was a talk by one Stephen Wade. Lots of books to be signed afterwards too. Just discovered that some of these are now on Kindle for only £0.99 so there's a real bargain.


Next event is the Romantic Novelists' Association Afternoon Tea in York - life certainly has so much interest - and such contrasts!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

On the road - or, rather, the train, again.

So after last week's trip to London and  my time being the  romance writer   who lunches - and then parties - now we're back and I've got all the laundry  washed and dried  (in spite of the rain) .

This weekend we're at another writing event - but it's a very different one.  This weekend the Babe Magnet is speaking at the Jack the Ripper Conference   in Liverpool.

So this weekend it's my turn to step back and let him take the spotlight while I play the part of the PA to true crime writer and crime historian Stephen Wade.   He was supposed to  be able to display his new title Murder in Mind, but unfortunately publication on that has been delayed - so instead he'll be talking about researching  the true crimes  and criminals of the past -  and possibly his collaboration with ex detective (from London and Lincolnshire) Stuart Gibbon   on a new book planned to help writers get those important factual details right in   crime fact or fiction.

Parties and Pins

One of the very best moments from the Harlequin Author Party on Friday evening - being there to applaud   Michelle Styles  when she was presented with her special pin for publishing 25 Historical Novels. So pleased for her - and the fact that I played a tiny part in her career when I encouraged her not to believe the people who said HMB would never publish a novel with a Roman hero - they did - and the fabulous Viking heroes Michelle wrote after that. . . It made my night to be there to applaud her.
Congratulations again Michelle!

And another very special moment at the Harlequin party on Friday night - Kate Hardy receiving her award for her 75th title - what else can I say but Congratulations Scary Kate!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Busy busy . . .

The week is crazy busy - and now I'm packing for a trip to London and the annual Association of Mills and Boon Authors lunch with a reception afterwards at the Harlequin offices - just hope the weather is rather better than the icy showers we have here - it's only September!

 One bright spark in the cold dampness has been the arrival of a bundle of new foreign translations - German, Dutch, French and several from Japan - including my favourites - two brand new Manga editions.
 
One of these is The Return of The Stranger which seems to suddenly have had a new lease of life with people talking about it (and it being on sale at £0.99p) on Amazon. The other is The Antonakos Marriage. Great to
see these older books getting a new lease of life.


Now it's time to pack and head for the big city! I'll be back at the weekend.
Waving to everyone I'll see there - travel safe and I can't wait to meet up again.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Courses coming up 2

So having written about the course that is fully booked - now on to one that still has places available. I was going to write about this yesterday, but my post got delayed by - guess what - another two people enquiring about making a booking for the course, So if you're interested in

'Writing Fiction that Sells -with KATE WALKER

Now's the time to make a booking for this one.
Dates: 20-22 October 2017
Venue: Keele University Management Centre Staffordshire
Cost £249 - including accommodation and meals - and tea/coffee breaks.
Check out Relax and Write with Lois Maddox

Although not specifically about writing romance- this will deal with so many things that are important for writing romantic fiction - characters, conflict etc
Writing Fiction that Sells also includes
- Know your market
- Knowing yourself as a writer
- Hooks
- Your ‘brand’
- Tried and tested – adding a new spin
- Spotting the ‘band-wagon’

Relax and Write want me to do another course in Cirencester in April this will take the form of a writing retreat (I think!) - where you have written several chapters and I discuss those with you and give you ways to work on problems - and you have time to write and discuss with the rest of the group. I don't have full details of dates yet but hope I soon will have. The thing with these courses is that they need the demand to run them!

Unfortunately the basic Writing Romance course I ran every year in July in Wales has now ended as the whole Writers' Holiday in summer had ended.

Courses Coming Up 1

Ok so, I said that I would give some details about the courses I have coming up in case anyone was interested in joining me on one of them. But then it seemed that as soon as I mentioned that, bookings took off with the one just on the horizon - so -

The Advanced Romance Writing Course in February in Fishguard is now totally booked up.Writers' Holiday just in case.
The last two places were allocated this week - so if you wanted to put your name on the waiting list you can - contact Gerry Hobbs  at

 I believe that most of the February Weekend is also full or filling fast - so if you want to consider
Poetry with Alison Chisholm
Short Story writing with Della  Galton (though that may be filled as well!)
Novel Writing with    Rachael Thomas              
Writing Feature Articles with    Simon Whaley
or Painting and Drawing with    Susan Alison 


It will be a good idea to at least make an enquiry with Writers Holiday right now.
 

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