Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cats and Courses and Kindles

It's been  a busy week.  (When is it anything else?)

There was Ruby's trip to the vet - for the routine  spaying operation.  Not before time! She was already

yelling 'I want a man!'  and importuning poor Charlie who  kept looking at me with an expression of  ' Mum, what does she want?  I don;'t understand ' on  his face!   He's so relieved she's settled down again.  And so are we. The thought that something  so small,  not yet out of kitten-hood herself could end up pregnant  and adding to the number of strays wandering about, just as she was  is just  horrible.

 She certainly hasn't had any problems with the op. She's still bounding round the house at a fast rate, eating anything put in front of her and pouncing on my toes whenever she can - her claws  and teeth are like needles.

Meanwhile, I've been preparing for  the  Advanced Writing Romance  course I'm running at Fishguard  at the end of the month. I can't wait. It's been so long since I saw the sea. And I know I'm going to to enjoy working with the   great group I have in the class. It's always so much fun. It's great  to talk about writing  with people who understand  this need to create, and it's fantastic to see how some of the students are growing and developing as writers as a result.

And, of course, we will have past student,  Rachael Thomas's success to toast this time as she's just had her very first Modern Romance/Harlequin Presents accepted.  There might be a bit of champagne involved.

And talking of courses - in an update to my website (Special thanks to my wonderful web designer Heather)  I've added all the courses coking up this year (so far) on the Events page.  There are now some basic Writing Romance courses as well as the annual Advanced Writing Romance course at Fishguard.  So if you're interested in joining us - why not take a look?

The first of these courses - at Weetwood Hall in Leeds is already selling out.  It's just about full but we might manage to squeeze another  couple of people in.  So  if you want to grab a place, do make inquiries sooner rather than later.  And if you've been on  a basic course and want to take things further -   it's not too early now to make an inquiry about Fishguard  2015!  These places always book fast  - so get your  name in now.

And talking about 2015, I'm discussing  the courses that might be on offer next year  now - look out for the details of those coming soon.  Details will be on my events page as soon as I know them - and at Writers' Holiday's web site or the one for Relax and Write Writing Weekends.   The links to these are also on my
Links page.

Talking of teaching writing - I have some big news coming up about the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance. Not  quite ready to talk about it yet - but hopefully all will be revealed in March. So watch this space.

And talking about re-issues of older books -  at the end of last month, M&B  reissued ebook versions of some of my older titles -
Wife For A Day
The Married Mistress
Desert Affair
and Constantine's Revenge

So if  you missed these the first time round, or  you're looking for missing  books to add to your collection - check out the Mills & Boon site or Amazon for these 'Vintage ' titles.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The A - Z of Writing Romance

A friend of mine  - fellow author Sally Quilford has been running a blog on the A- Z of Writing Romance and she asked me to join in.  She gave me the letter C to write about.  And my post has gone up today.

You can find my post for Sally here

And if you check the sidebar, you'll be able to see what she  - and others -  have posted under A and B . . . and will post for the rest of the alphabet.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Romantic Novel of the Year Shortlists

Romantic Novel of the Year 2014 Shortlist announced

Darcey Bussell CBE to present Awards on 17th March

Wednesday 12 February 2014
Darcey Bussell CBE, herself the author of several children’s books, will present the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) Awards for 2014.

The winners of the shortlist categories for the Romantic Novel of the Year and the winner of the RoNA Rose Award for shorter fiction will be announced during a glittering ceremony in the Gladstone Library, One Whitehall Place, London SW1 on 17th March.

Once the category winners and RoNA Rose winner have been announced, and elegant star-shaped crystal trophies presented to mark their success, Darcey Bussell will reveal the overall author whose book has won the RNA's most prestigious and coveted award, the Romantic Novel of the Year.  In addition to the crystal trophy, the winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year will also receive a cheque for £5000 (five thousand pounds).

The RoNA Rose Award recognises authors of works of shorter fiction that focus on developing a love affair between the hero and heroine in category/series and magazine serials. Six books are competing for this award and the winner will receive a star shaped crystal trophy plus a cheque for £1000 (one thousand pounds). A silver rose bowl, which is kept for a year, will also be presented. This author does not go forward to contest the overall Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

The five category winners competing for the Romantic Novel of the Year are drawn from 30 finalists' books; six each from the five categories - Contemporary Romantic Novel, Epic Romantic Novel, Historical Romantic Novel, Romantic Comedy Novel and Young Adult Romantic Novel.

The novels submitted this year cover a wide spectrum of topics and subjects and readers can expect anything from a hilarious comedy or a hot, steamy romance to bold, fearless heroines in highly charged dramatic situations.

Each book was read by a panel of three independent readers drawn from a list of approximately 100 volunteers. The readers, who are not members of the RNA, come from a variety of backgrounds and range in age from 20 to 85. All have one thing in common: they are passionate about romantic novels.
Since its inception in 1960 the RNA has set the benchmark in romantic fiction and its President, Katie Fforde commented, "The RNA came into being to encourage good writing of romantic fiction in all of its many forms.
"This year we've seen a record number of books submitted for our Awards, and this clearly demonstrates that romantic fiction plays a big part in the UK book industry. We are exceptionally proud to be part of such a dynamic industry sector and I'd like to thank those publishers who put their authors forward for these awards. We are also extremely proud of the shortlisted authors and congratulate them all."

In previous years winners have included such well known and much loved names as Philippa Gregory, Joanna Trollope, Freya North and Rosamunde Pilcher.

The 2014 RNA Awards will be announced and presented by Darcey Bussell on 17th March in the Reading and Writing Room of the Gladstone Library in London.

The Category Shortlists
Listed in alphabetical order
The Contemporary Romantic Novel category is for mainstream romantic novels set post-1960 and includes genres such as chick lit, paranormal and romantic suspense.
Helen Chandler, Two for Joy, Hodder & Stoughton
Susan Elliot Wright, The Things We Never Said, Simon & Schuster
Veronica Henry, A Night On The Orient Express, Orion
Lisa J Hobman, Bridge Over The Atlantic, 5 Prince Publishing
Lisa Jewell, Before I Met You, Arrow
Pippa Wright, The Foster Husband, Pan

The Epic Romantic Novel category contains serious issues or themes, including gritty, multi-generational stories.
Jessica Blair, The Road Beneath Me, Piatkus
Mary Fitzgerald, The Love Of A Lifetime, Arrow
Emma Fraser, When Dawn Breaks, Sphere
Kate Lord Brown, The Perfume Garden, Atlantic (Corvus)
Jennifer McVeigh, The Fever Tree, Penguin
Lucinda Riley, The Midnight Rose, Pan

The Historical Romantic Novel category is for novels set in a period before 1960.
Charlotte Betts, The Painter's Apprentice, Piatkus
Christina Courtenay, The Gilded Fan, Choc Lit
Liz Harris, A Bargain Struck, Choc Lit
Joanna Hickson, The Agincourt Bride, Harper Collins
Carol McGrath, The Handfasted Wife, Accent Press
Annie Murray, The Women Of Lilac Street, Pan

The Romantic Comedy Novel is for consistently humorous or amusing novels.
Jenny Colgan, Christmas At The Cupcake Café, Little, Brown
Jenny Colgan, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, Little, Brown
Margaret James, The Wedding Diary, Choc Lit
Milly Johnson, It's Raining Men, Simon and Schuster
Ali McNamara, Step Back In Time, Little, Brown
Fiona Walker, The Summer Wedding, Sphere

The Young Adult Romantic Novel features protagonists who are teenagers or young adults.
Liz Bankes, Irresistible, Piccadilly Press
Christina Courtney, New England Rocks, Choc Lit
Alex Gutteridge, Last Chance Angel, Templar Publishing.
Imogen Howson, Linked, Quercus
Marie-Louise Jensen, Smuggler's Kiss, Oxford University Press
Beth Reekles, The Kissing Booth, Corgi

RoNA Rose Award - the finalists do not contest the Romantic Novel of the Year Award - recognises the best in category/series and shorter romance that focus on developing a love affair between the hero and heroine.
Louise Allen, Forbidden Jewel of India, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Caroline Anderson, Snowed in with the Billionaire, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Liz Fielding, Anything But Vanilla, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Joanna Fulford, His Lady of Castlemora, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Kate Hardy, Bound by a Baby, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Kate Hardy, Her Real Family Christmas, Harlequin Mills & Boon

 Cover images of all of the above mentioned novels and author pictures can be found one our Activities page – as a photo gallery.

Congratulations to everyone on these shortlists!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tote Bags Day

It's tricky getting into a new routine.  Nearly two weeks ago, I wrote a blog in a rush, thinking that I had almost missed the date for my guest post on Tote Bags 'n' Blogs.

Then I hurried to post it, breathing a sigh of relief to know it was done . . .

Only to remember that I  no longer write my blog for Tote Bags on the first Sunday of the month, but on the 12th of each month!

Oh well - so the post was ready early instead of late  - and now it's up on Tote Bags today.

The worrying thing about looking at it again today is that I started that post  with the words: It’s been raining again – hmm, no,  I think that needs a little more emphasis  . . . It’s been raining again.

And well, the truth is that eleven days later - It’s been raining again – It’s been raining again.
I hope that everyone -  my friends, readers and fellow authors who are caught up in the floods and gales  - and some of you- in the snow! - can keep safe, warm and dry until the weather decides that perhaps it's finally time for Spring! 
For now, I'd settle for - not raining.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Pink Hearts Day

Have you got used to the fact that the new year has dawned - and passed - and it's  a months (or more) since that happened . . ? In fact it's now February and the second month of 2014 has arrived!

I have to admit that I've struggled rather to realise that it is even 2014.  I've been so bus and preoccupied that I haven't noticed what days are going by - and how fast.

So that yesterday, when I finally got to the  end of the 'Things To Do List'  and thought |I could relax for a while, I  was rather shocked to realise that it was  the 6th Feb - which meant that the following day was 7th Feb - and the first Friday of the month.

Which,as you'll probably all know,  is the day that I regularly post a blog over on the Pink Hearts Society in my A Date With Kate Column

Cue minor panic - I needed a topic for a blog - and fast . . .

It was then, on a stroke of luck, that an email message appeared in my inbox - and when I opened it, there was  a nice idea for my new blog all ready and waiting.

So  - just squeezing in at the very last minute -  that's where I am today - blogging over on The Pink Hearts Society.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Busy week

Well, I can't quite believe it's been a week since I updated this blog. But then it has been a busy week.
A very busy week. And, well, to be honest, the lovely news about  Rachael Thomas's first book was worth leaving up on its own for a while.

I've been working on a new  project - well, a couple of new projects.  And some new approaches to old ones.
First of all, there has been the working out of the plot of the  latest novel.. And that has involved a fight between two heroes. One, a Spaniard with a severe chip on his shoulder and a brooding resentment about the way that his  father's family have treated him - and the second a Sheikh who first appeared in my new book  A Question  of Honour  but has had a lot of growing up to do since then. They both wanted me to tell their stories and it hasn't been easy to decide which one to work on first. So I've made notes on  one - and started the story of the other . . .  Which one? Well that would be telling. Because I don't know whether I'll be able to continue  with the one I've chosen as the other is still demanding that I find him his heroine and give him his happy ever after . .  . watch this space.

What else? Well, I have the Advanced Romance Writing Course at the end of this month so I've been planning things for that - and looking at new ways of getting ideas across.  Of course, what I find works for this course will probably be used again in one of the other courses I'm teaching - like the ones in Weeton Hall in Leeds. That hasn't yet made it on to my Events page  but it should be detailed there very soon.
Actually, I thought I was going to have to say that the course  in May was already sold out as it filled up fast - almost as soon as it was announced. But I've talked with the organisers and we've decided we can add a few extra places if  anyone wants them.  We're trying to keep the classes small and informal so that people can do exactly as it says on the tine - Relax and Write -  but we can manage that and give a few more people the chance to join us. So booking is still open. Contact Malaga Workshops - Relax and Write  if you're interested.

Oh - and I need to add the details of the second course at Weetwood - coming up in October.  My web site designer is working on the updates right now so hopefully they should be up very soon.

Meanwhile I've  also been busy revising and updating  the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance - this is going to be republished in a new updated format, easily available in EBook form - I'll be announcing all the details soon so watch this space for this too.

Finally - for everyone who's been asking how  Ruby is settling in - well, the truth is that she's been rather unsettling things.  She came  into season  unexpectedly early  and created merry hell as a result. She kept throwing herself at Charlie who really didn't understand what all this fuss and excitement was about and he gave me rather panicked looks as if to say 'Get her off me! I don't know what she' wants!'.  Luckily things have all settled down again now  and the little madam is fast asleep in front of the fire. And you'd never know that she'd  been going round the house yelling at the top of her voice and molesting poor Charlie if he came anywhere near her!  She will have an appointment with the vet just as soon as we can arrange it.

But this is what peace and quiet looks like


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