Friday, January 17, 2020

RNA Diamond Jubilee

This year is the Romantic Novelists’ Association Diamond Jubilee. 

As part of the 60th anniversary celebrations they are running a blog series on ‘How to Write Romantic Fiction.” This is both for the benefit of our members as a way to share good practice and mentor other authors, and also as a means to spread the word about romantic fiction and celebrate excellence in the genre.

 I was delighted and honoured to be asked to take part in this blog - which starts today and will have a new post each month.

Anne Bronte January 17th 1820

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the day that the youngest of the Bronte Sisters was born - on the 17th January 1820. 

 Unjustifiably she is too often referred to a s 'quiet, little Anne', the baby of the family! And her books are wrongly regarded as second to those of her more romantic sisters - but her detailed account of alcoholism, marital abuse and female rebellion are incredibly powerful - with a real relevance for so many similar topics these days.
One of the memories that makes me shudder for the way that Anne's reputation was reduced was when I was working in a university bookshop and was asked the book 'Tenant of Wildfell Hall' by Agnes Grey !

To mark this anniversary I'm going to ignore the wind and rain in reality outside and lose myself in the wind and rain - and emotional storms - in The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall.
Happy Birthday Anne

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Happy New Year - and plans

One of my 'new year tasks' is to update my calendars and diaries putting in the details of the events coming up n this year of 2020. It's always a delight to be able to note down the dates of one of my favourite events of the year - the first writing weekend planned -
Since the Writers' Holiday in the summer closed, there always seems to be such along gap between the last time I was in lovely Fishguard and the date that I'm heading there again - but now there's just over a month to go before I'll be back there with my friends and waking up to the sight and sound of the sea outside my bedroom every morning. I can't wait. You know that feeling with real friends when you haven't seen each other for too long - but when you meet up again it's as if you only parted yesterday. Well, that's one of the very special parts of the atmosphere at  Writers Holiday - and that's why I love it so much.
February 21st - 23rd 2020 - Advanced Romance Writing Course with the fabulous Writers Holiday 

Courses also with poet Alison Chisholm, Simon Whaley,  Short story writer Della Galton, novelist Janet Laurence  and   drawing and painting tutor  Susan Allison.

Numbers on this course are strictly limited so if you're interested, get your booking in while there's still spaces. The course also includes a one to one critique on your writing.

There are a couple of other weekends planned with Lois Maddox- one a course and one a writing retreat - I need to check on the details and dates and places then get back to you.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Seasons Greetings

I'm switching off the computer and staying off the internet  as I plan to relax and share Christmas with family and friends. 

Wishing all my wonderful readers, students and friends the happiest of holiday seasons, whatever you're celebrating. Thank you so much for your interest in my books and writing all through the year.

 To those of you who are wishing that friends you've lost could be with you or who fear this may bving thoughts your way. Hug your loved ones and family so they know you love them and have warm memories to take with them into 2020. To quote HM the Queen, 2019 seems to have been 'a bumpy year' for many so I hope Christmas is a time to relax, revive, and revitalise so that 2020 will be a happy and loving year for you.
e the last one they will share with dear ones - I know how you feel so I'm sending loving thoughts your way. Hug your loved ones and family so they know you love them and have warm memories to take with them into 2020. To quote HM the Queen, 2019 seems to have been 'a bumpy year' for many so I hope Christmas is a time to relax, revive, and revitalise so that 2020 will be a happy and loving year for you.

Charlie has opened the last gift on his advent calendar and has now helped to decorate the tree, while Ruby is loving the fact that the fire has been lit and she can curl up in front of it to wait for Santa. They join with me in sending you love and thoughts and every wish for a truly happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 05, 2019

TV Catch up

Some months back, I mentioned the fact that my husband was heading to Leeds to be involved with the making of a TV programme about a murder in his home city back in 1926. 
 This was after he wrote about the case of Louie Calvert in his book  Murder in  Mind. 

Although he filmed a couple of segments with the company - who were making the programme, Murder, Mystery and My Family- sadly, his contributions ended up on the floor of the cutting room. 

But he did alert the producers to the case, and introduced them to Louie Calvert's great-niece who is at the centre of the programme. So he was very much a consultant even if he never appeared on screen.
 I promised that I would let people know when the programme is actually going out - so for anyone interested - Murder Mystery and My Family, Episode 10 is on BBC One tomorrow morning at 9.15am

Monday, September 23, 2019

Furry birthday boy

Charlie is celebrating his birthday. He is now 9 years old ! 

So he feels his birthday portrait should be calm, handsome and dignified
 - unlike the first pictures we ever had of him when 
he was a little ginger bundle of mischief.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Writing Course details

I'm finalising the details of the Writing Romantic Fiction Course I'm running at the NAWG Festival at the end of the month. Can't believe how quickly this has come round.
Anyway the topics are:

 - 4 workshops of 90 minutes each. There are still some places on the weekend if anyone wants to join us.
Contact if you're interested.

(The web site might say you need to book before now - but I just dealt with a lady who thought she was too last and  NAWG organised it so that she can come on the course - so if you want to come, it's worth asking to book .)
After this, the next writing weekend will be with Relax and Write
4-6 October 2019 
at The Hayes Swanwick Derbyshire

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

RNA Conference Lancaster University

The RNA Conference weekend is always so much fun - and so full of interesting and enlightening events. I had a fabulous time in Lancaster, meeting up with so many friends and making lots of new ones. I went 
to some great workshops, talked with fabulous writers, drank a little wine (just a little!) and hardly slept at all. Now I'm home and have caught up on the Post Conference Lag - I'm happily recalling some extra, personal moments that made me smile just to think of them.
There was the joy of watching friends and ex-students come out of their one-to-ones smiling and full of delight at having been asked to send their full manuscripts to the editors or agents they had seen. Celebrating with another ex student on the publication of her very first novel Something Like Happy. And seeing Vasiliki Scurfield win the 'Love Story in a Tweet' competition with her great story. I also enjoyed her great workshop on getting t
he details right when writing about Greek culture - lots of room for inspiration there!
Also workshops by Fiona Harper, lovely Liz Fielding and so many others. There were the long talks deep into the night on writing, life, anything and everything. I got the chance to sit back and enjoy the Convincing Crime workshop run by my DH and his co-author Stuart Gibbon the authors of ‘THE CRIME WRITER’S CASEBOOK’ and ‘BEING A DETECTIVE’ (thanks to John Jackson for the photo taken at the Gala Dinner.)

Other unexpected delights were the bargain sale of old Mills and Boon titles where I discovered a 1968 title- Still Waters - by Marguerite Lees who was a friend of my mother's and the first professional novelist I ever met - and in whose footsteps I wanted to follow. Then there was a wonderful gift from another friend and student who made the special gesture of having a fabulous tote bag made for me - with my favourite covers on it front and back. I shall use that for any other conferences I go to in the future.

Thank you so much Andrea!

All in all - a fabulous, if exhausting weekend. I'm already looking forward to next year.

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