Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pitching at the RNA Conference

Watching Jeffery Deaver on Breakfast one morning reminded me about planning pitches for the Conference. I haven't booked any publisher interviews but I need to be ready to describe my writing in general in a couple of short punchy sentences to anyone who asks. [And those who don't!]

At past Conferences when I've been lucky enough to find myself sitting or standing next to agents and publishers, I've often only managed to mumble something uninspiring.

So now I shall practice my sentences in front of a mirror until I can recite them without hesitation, repetition or deviation and hopefully with a pleasant smile, all at the same time.

When I've had publisher/ agent interviews in the past, I've always felt that I just make a fool of myself. Am certain Ed Handyside of Myrmidon, for instance, will probably have thought, 'pleasant enough woman but rambles a lot.'

On the upside, they are always very polite and when I've asked if I can send them something, have always said yes.

And my default option, if I haven't spoken to anyone is to send the work anyway, beginning my letter with : I was standing next to you at the RNA Summer Party last week but didn't manage to speak to you.

Or : I heard you speak at the RNA Conference and very much enjoyed your talk. Both these worked well and did at least receive individual replies. I suppose I had at least given them something a bit different to say in their rejections - writing them must be a bit like writing school reports. In the end, your work has to go out into the world and stand on its own little feet, whatever you've said.

So best of luck! I'm off to stand in front of the mirror.


Thank you Anne, for this delightfully humorous take on the process of pitching.I wish you every  success with the next.
Best wishes, Freda

Anne Hewland's latest Pocket Novel with D C Thompson is Pool of Darkness. Do watch out for her next.

Friday, June 21, 2013


It's the turn of the lovely Janice Horton to visit the blog today, with some fantastic tips on how to run a virtual party.

Virtual Party – Real Fun…?

Janice Horton escaped a city-chic lifestyle and a career in corporate brand placement to live in a remote cottage on the side of a hillside in Scotland. Previously traditionally published and now writing as an Indie, Janice writes fiction with humour and heart and with a hint of tartan. Janice is a regular blogger and you’ll often find her partying on Facebook and Twitter. Her latest nonfiction title ‘How To Party Online’ is available now from Amazon for Kindle.

When I tried to explain to my husband that I was planning to host an online ‘virtual’ party to celebrate the launch of my latest book, he thought I’d gone completely crazy. When I told him about the music, the games and the virtual food and drinks that I planned to offer my guests, he could hardly move for laughing. ‘How can anything virtual be fun?’ he scoffed in disbelief.

Well, firstly, let me assure you, dear friends and party peeps, that online parties can indeed be fun. In fact, with a bit of careful planning they can be an absolute blast, entirely capable of sending your online popularity through the virtual roof and your next book zooming up the Amazon bestseller charts!

As well as being lots of very real fun - online parties are environmentally friendly and cost effective. They take advantage of today’s technology and make it easy for anyone to organise a truly global event with an unlimited guest list. Plus, you don’t have to clean the house before or afterwards and you can attend dressed up, dressed down, or not dressed at all (who’s to know unless you’re using a webcam?)!

Since hosting my very first online party I’ve organised more and I’ve attended lots. I love the clever fun themes and the involvement with other online party peeps. I enjoy virtual parties all the more if the fun spills over from Facebook to the Blogosphere and to Twitter. I’ve even ended up in Twitter jail! But how to you go about hosting and organising an online party you may ask? Here’s a few tips:

Decide on a date and time
Pick an online venue – eg: Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, Pinterest?
Think up a fun and original party theme
Create a guest list
Send out invitations
Ask your guests to ‘do something fun and specific’ on the day
Start organising
Plan party spot prizes, a prize draw, or a giveaway
Think about a music playlist – use Spotify or uTube
Think about virtual drinks and food – yes, really!

Mmmm… still not sure about the virtual food and drink?
Then try out these suggestions for virtual ingenuity!

Order a virtual and totally free party pizza at http://www.superpizzas.com/ – choose your toppings and simply email them in to your guests!

Get your ice creams – cones or sundaes at http://www.cybercones.com/– there’s even a variety of flavours and topping s with m&m’s as a choice and it’s all completely free!

Still not sure…? Then why not start an online virtual food fight using http://www.foodfighting.com/

How To Party Online:
Online parties are a fabulous and fun way to launch your book or introduce your product and to engage with your target audience. Social media applications are perfect forums for parties - the venue capacity is infinite, the guest list is global, and the fun and games can lead to bestselling success!


This book aims to show you how you can produce measurable results from your very first online party while you are still working towards building up your social network.
The purpose of this book is to walk and talk you through each step of the planning and implementation of four very different online promotional parties. We will look at how much work and effort is involved in implementing each step and we will experience the party format, explore the outcomes, and quantify all the successes.
And I’ll show you how to make it lots of fun!

Find out more:
Janice’s Author Blog: http://www.janicehortonwriter.blogspot.co.uk/
Follow her on Twitter:
Like her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JaniceHortonAuthor
Link to Janice on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Janice-Horton/e/B004S6DKRC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1/278-4553972-9740221

                                                                * * *

Many thanks, Janice - with the popularity of virtual parties increasing at a rate of knots, your expertise here is invaluable.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Self-Published June Releases

The New Year Resolution by Louise Rose-Innes

The Romance Collective
ebook [Kindle Edition]
5 June, 2013 

Last year, divorcee Nicole had only one New Year’s Resolution – to have a date for this New Years Eve – but with no strings attached.  One thing she knows for sure is that she isn’t ready for anything more complicated than a casual date.

So when eco-tycoon and international jetsetter, Ryan Jackson begs her to accompany him to a tropical island for a week, in order to impress his benefactor, Nicole categorically refuses. He’s way too hot and she’s way too vulnerable. Not a good idea.

Yet Ryan won’t take no for an answer.  It’s for a good cause. She would only have to pretend to be his lover. It’s a luxury island resort with all expenses paid. How can she refuse?

Under the tropical sun, things heat up and their pretence goes out the window. Nicole gets cold feet. She’s not ready for this kind of affair. It’s doubtful she ever will be.

But have they come too far? Distancing herself from Ryan will cause him to lose the funding he so desperately needs for his eco-project, but staying with him means she’ll lose something far more valuable… her heart.  And that’s a risk Nicole is simply not willing to take.

The New Year Resolution is available on Amazon.com

A Lady with Napoleon's Army by Mary Nichols

ebook now on sale at Amazon
Price £2.31

Catherine Marsh, employed by her friend, Helen, wife of Count Pyotr Mikhailovich Kaspodin to be governess to her children, Catherine finds herself in Poland just as Napoleon is preparing to invade Russia. When the Count is obliged to leave them to join the Tsar, and Helen is killed by a merciless French troop, Catherine must find her way to Moscow to fulfil Helen's dying wish that she look after her children, but with danger all around her, the only way she can do it, is reluctantly to accept the escort of the Austrian Captain Charles Von Hardt, who is in the service of Napoleon and her sworn enemy. But is he all he seems?


The Duke's Legacy by Wendy Soliman

7 May 2013

As sole heir to the late Duke of Penrith's extensive estate, Abigail Carstairs suspects that someone is trying to kill her for her fortune. In desperation she turns to the notorious Lord Sebastian Denver for help. Unable to deny a lady in distress, Sebastian inveigles his way into Abbey's hunting lodge where all the prime suspects are gathered.

Distracted by his growing attraction towards Abbey, Sebastian is unprepared when a further attempt is made on her life. As he lays a daring trap for her aggressors, Sebastian finds himself in a race against time to keep her safe...

Website:   www.wendysoliman.com

Song Of My Heart by Margaret Mounsdon

Kindle ebook

Andi Cox lands a dream job looking after the daughters of pop icon Jas Summers. Then the girls start getting kidnap threats and when Jas arranges a charity concert in the grounds of his country house Andi's job is on the line

The Italian Lake by Margaret Mounsdon

Kindle ebook

Anna Villiers is forced to merge business with rival Phil Anderson and Phil suspects her of colluding against him with Archie Wainwright, local property developer, but Anna has a family secret she cannot reveal, even at the risk of losing her job. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Interview with Carol McGrath

Carol McGrath is a writer of historical fiction set in the Medieval period. Last month she was a contender for the much coveted Joan Hessayon Award for New Writing.

Could you tell us what Inspired Your Novel?
The Handfasted Wife was inspired by a visit to Bayeux when I was Chair of our local Twinning Association. I was fascinated by the vignette of The Burning House on the Bayeux Tapestry and by a video introduction which suggested that Edith Swan-Neck, the common-law wife of King Harold identified his body parts on the battlefield after The Battle of Hastings by marks only she knew. At the time, I was looking for a radio play to write and this event provided its narrative. The voices of the women of Hastings haunted me as they did my fictional television Historian. ‘This is our story too. Listen.’ Years later, still interested in this story, I wrote the story of The Handfasted Wife. Research suggests that she was set aside for a political marriage when Harold was crowned king, and yet interestingly she was either brought to the battlefield or appeared there by choice. Then there is no other recorded information concerning her fate. That is where I invented because I am, of course, writing as a novelist, not an historian. It is generally considered by historians that she did end her days inside convent walls. This would not be at all unusual.

Did you always want to be a Novelist?
I always wrote. I am a passionate reader too. I wrote poetry in my twenties. My life was busy as I lived in California, followed a teaching career on my return, had children and consequently with both career and teaching I did not find time. I did join The Oxford Diploma in Creative Writing ten years or so ago and then I seriously fell in love all over again with writing. I followed this with an MA in Creative Writing from The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queens University Belfast and an MPhil at The Royal Holloway, University of London. These courses do not make a published writer, of course, but they, if good and mine were, inspire and encourage. I think publication was my destiny but first of all I write because I love it and have stories to tell.

What excites you about the Medieval period? How do you set about research?
I taught History at high School level and am interested in periods other than the medieval. After I complete this trilogy I intend going forward to the Civil War period. It was the story of Harold, Edith, their children and family that interested me, especially the characters, rather than the particular period. I wanted to know what happened to this woman, then what happened to her children, what she felt and thought. Although The Handfasted Wife is in a way a universal story of women’s survival after an invading army takes everything away from them, there are clearly universal experience differences between life in a medieval past and the twenty first century. I do research thoroughly in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. I find out absolutely everything I can about the period so that I am better equipped to stand in a medieval noble woman’s shoes and inhabit her world. However, it is a reconstructed world. I defy any writer of historical fiction to claim that they truly can recreate the past accurately. We bring our own experience to our recreations for all sorts of reasons; one reason simply concerns our need to make the past accessible. Historical fiction holds ambiguity rather than answering questions.
The burning scene on the Bayeux Tapestry

You ask me about breathing life into characters? I think human beings have always had similar emotions through time - love, jealously, ambitions, hurt, anger, and so on - but I also believe that circumstances can influence how an historical character deals with her emotions and particular circumstances do dictate consequences. These differ with varying cultures and situations. I consider the rules that belong to a particular period carefully before bending them, and even when I am taking a character outside the rules as I consider her fate within the narrative of the novel. I think this is how I go about animating characters, especially women, who were marginalised on any historical record. For example, religion was important for the eleventh century men and women so I needed to try to understand it the way they did. Time was measured differently then so I usually use the Benedictine Hours to break up the day, even in the middle of an adventure. Another technique I use in The Handfasted Wife is to always stay with the heroine’s point of view, her perspective when she inhabits a particular scene.

The Working Day
I usually work best early in the morning. I relax in the evening. Some days are research days. I also have an extensive library of my own on the Medieval period. I do believe one should have an online presence and that you set it up long before you are published. It is interesting and relaxing to take the odd fifteen minutes out, a break to chat and check out interesting blogs written by others. First, my favourite, Twitter, provides me with interesting contacts and fabulous information. I have a positive view here. People do like to share and there is a degree of quid pro quo in the online writing community. It is a lovely feeling when you find out something interesting and if you provide this too. Second, I think blogging on subjects that support my big interests, travel and historical information, actually worthwhile. One always does best what one enjoys doing so I try to put great effort into these. Mine are generally little articles. I have always blogged a few times a month and enjoyed it. My early blogs are still very popular, written long before any publication and I just use Blogger. My attitude is that one starts small. When I need a web-site then I shall organise it. Fot now this works best. Reading, writing, and travel are all, I find, relaxing pursuits. And, in addition, I garden and I adore theatre.

Favourite Childhood Novel
Of course I love to read most of all, always have. As a child I read everything, Enid Blyton, classics, poetry. Probably a favourite all time book close to my heart is Jane Eyre which I stole from a Donegal hotel bookcase when I was eleven years old thinking I just had to finish it. I loved it and still have this ancient red hard-backed copy! 

Thank you for sparing time to talk to us today, Carol. We wish you continuing success with your books. Best wishes, Henri 

Find out more:
Blog: http://scribbling-inthemargins.blogspot.co.uk/

Interviews on the RNA Blog are carried out by Freda, Henri and Livvie. They are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact: freda@fredalightfoot.co.uk

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Interview with Gemma Jackson

Gemma Jackson was born in Dublin and became a nomad at the age of 17, setting off to see the world and try her hand at every legal job under the sun. Her idea of a good time was to wake up not knowing where she was. She has been an air hostess and sheep herder, written scripts and sermons for a TV Evangelist, and books have been her constant companions throughout her life. She says the best of both worlds for her would be ‘have computer, will travel.’ 

You say you have always dreamed of becoming a published writer, so tell us about the excitement of getting that ‘call’ when you sold your debut novel. 

My ‘call’ was actually an email I had to read at least five times before I understood that I was finally going to be published. Then I had to lie down on my fainting couch and peel grapes.

Were you in the NWS before getting published, and did you find it helpful?

The NWS saved my sanity. I was a member for three years. The detailed reviews of my books were invaluable. What was beyond price however was meeting the amazing RNA members. The information and knowledge they shared so willingly was priceless. I actually fought for this book. In the past when I received a response, I filed it away and started on something new. The NWS informed me of the error of my ways. I discovered I’d been shooting myself in the foot for years. It’s a wonder I’ve a leg to stand on!

Tell us something of the genre in which you write. What is it’s special appeal for you?

My upcoming book THROUGH STREETS BROAD AND NARROW is set in Dublin in the 1920’s. I grew up listening to stories about that era. When I sat down to write I discovered I had a fount of knowledge in the form of memories available to me. I’ve read extensively in this genre but failed to find a novel based in Dublin. I hope I’ve discovered a ‘niche’ market.

Writers are always asked where they find their ideas. Would you like to share any tips with us on how you found the inspiration which has brought you such success?

Reading and listening to the radio believe it or not. So many people are bemoaning the passing of the ‘good old days’. I listened and thought, I know about this. I sat down and wrote the book which finally elevated me into the life I’ve dreamed about. I’m still pinching myself.

Do you have to juggle writing with the day job? What is your work schedule?

Gemma's dream is 'Have computer, will travel'.

I’ve been a nomad most of my working life. I’ve retired now and treat writing as a job. I write every day from early morning till about five in the evening. I find writing the most satisfying job I’ve ever had.

How do you feel about producing a synopsis. Does it come easy to you?

I HATE IT. When I attended RNA lectures on the craft of writing, others in the group seemed to shrug and say we know how to do this. It isn’t necessary to cover synopsis. WHAT!!

What do you do when the going gets tough? 

It’s so hard to remain positive. I try to step away and sulk. I go to the sea. It’s only a few steps away from me so that’s no hardship. I always have my tea makings with me on my travels and will stop off anywhere to brew up.

Who is your favourite hero? 

Do you have all day? J.D Robb’s ‘Rourke’ of course. Linda Howards McKenzies. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, but in the books not on screen. Generally, its the hero of whatever book I’m reading. So what next?

Can you tell us a little about your work in progress?

I’m hoping my first book will be the first in a series. I’ve completed my second MS with this idea in mind.

Ivy Murphy is born in the Dublin Tenements. When her mother abandons the family Ivy, at the age of nine, becomes the family’s main earner. At the sudden death of her father Ivy’s life takes an unexpected turn. Ivy forms a friendship with Livery owner Jem Ryan and together the two determine to break out of the poverty they were born into. Through Streets Broad and Narrow is a story of strength and determination. Ivy Murphy is a heroine who meets life with her head held high and her chin out. 

Thank you Gemma for sparing time to talk to us today. We wish you every success with your books. Best wishes, Freda 

Find out more: 
Publisher: http://www.poolbeg.com 
Blog: http://www.gemmajacksondubliner.com 

Interviews on the RNA Blog are carried out by Freda, Henri and Livvie. They are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact: freda@fredalightfoot.co.uk 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Interview with Leah Fleming

Leah Fleming was born in Bolton. She has published 16 novels. Shortlisted for RNA awards in 1998 as Helene Wiggin and 2010 for Remembrance Day. The Captain’s Daughter won the Premio Roma Award for Foreign Fiction in Rome 2012 under the title: La Strada in Fundo al Mare. 

I know that your latest book The Girl Under the Olive Tree is one close to your heart. Tell us what inspired you to write it. 

It’s lovely to be here again with a chance to talk about my latest book. This is the story I once jokingly called: Captain Corelli meets The Island. It’s been ten years in the making born out of our very first visit to Crete and discovering its wartime history. Once I found out some of the true stories I was hooked.

So how did you set about the research?

Leah researching military artefacts in Crete 2011

Researching, of course was really hard work. It meant lazing under the olive trees sampling fresh figs and apricots, sipping ouzo in Chania Harbour dreaming how it might have looked all those years ago, reading every military tome on the Battle of Crete known to man and learning some Greek. Plus it’s so hard having to live there in the sun for five months making sure to get the locations correct... Seriously it was a labour of love. We worked as tour guides in the little Synagogue in the city steeping ourselves in the Jewish history that is an important part in the tragic history of the island.

This is quite a complex story based on a true event, did you do much planning before you started writing?

I don’t start writing until I feel sure all the research is composted in my head but I had to keep a strict map and timeline of real events as this is the back bone of my imaginary narrative.

Which would you say is your favourite character in the book, and why?

My favourite character is Rainer Brecht, the German officer. I found researching him very revealing and challenging. He is a sympathetic character but a soldier of his time with complex motives and passions. He also is making his own pilgrimage back to the island in search of peace in old age, having to come to terms with what atrocities were done there.

I rather liked him too, and really do hope he keeps that promise he makes. Which did you find the hardest part of the novel to write, and how did you get through that?

The hardest part to write was the round up of the Jews in June 1944. Using eye witness accounts and by now knowing where each family lived and worked in the Jewish quarter, I had to relive this and imagine the terror of their fate as best I could. The fact that the restored Etz Hayyim synagogue remembers its lost community each year and being present at these memorials, helped me tell their tragic story through the eyes of one imaginary family.

The story is set in two time periods, do you write first one then the other?

The story being in two time periods wasn’t a problem to write. I took my characters round NW Crete as if they were on holiday but at every significant place that triggered off a memory, we slip back into past time. So you also get a mini tour of interesting parts of Crete.

I believe you won an award for your last book: The Captain’s Daughter, do tell us how that came about.

Leah in Rome being presented with her award

Winning the Premio Roma Award was great fun. I was invited to the Italian Ambassador’s House in London for a gala evening and told I was shortlisted. We were flown to Rome, wined and dined in great style and chauffeured to the ceremony unaware that I had won. I was seated alone wondering why I was here when suddenly TV cameras zoomed in on me. I was whisked off for interviews knowing I would have to climb the podium of the amphitheatre to receive statues, plaques and flowers but as I was rising up I tore one of my tights into a great hole. So it was a dash to find a loo to strip them off and reveal my pasty legs to the world. I had to make a speech with no Italian to a live broadcast. A night to remember indeed! So what next?

Can you say something about your wip? 

Look out for The Postcard, out next year. It’s the story of four generations of a family who are linked by a mysterious postcard. Thank you for inviting me again.

“The Girl Under The Olive Tree” is out in paperback on June 6th 2013 ( Simon and Schuster). It tells the story of a British woman who returns to the island in 2001 reliving her wartime experiences. Alongside a Jewish nurse she met in Athens, Penny found herself stranded on Crete during the battles of 1941. Both hide with resistance fighters during the 4 years of occupation to face danger and separation. This emotional return is a holiday journey with a difference for an old woman with a secret past.

Thank you for sparing time to talk to us today. We wish you continuing success with your books.
Best wishes, Freda 

Find out more: 

Interviews on the RNA Blog are carried out by Freda, Henri and Livvie. They are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact: freda@fredalightfoot.co.uk

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Interview with The Romaniacs

Clockwise from bottom left: Vanessa and Debbie, Lucie and Celia, Catherine, Laura and Sue, & Liz and Jan
Today I'd like to welcome the Romaniacs, a group of writers who decided to get together and offer each other support and encouragement. They are Vanessa Savage, Debbie White, Lucie Wheeler, Celia Joy Anderson, Catherine Miller, Laura E. James, Sue Fortin, Liz Crump, and Jan Bridgen.

Do tell us what decided you to form a support group
Celia: Most of us met for the first time in November 2011 at the Festival of Romance. As aspiring authors and members of the NWS, we all needed encouragement and a healthy shot of cheer-leading to build our confidence. The friendship element of the group evolved quickly, first as a private Facebook page - after this the more computer savvy amongst us suggested a joint blog to give us momentum. It’s hard to meet face to face as we are spread over the length and breadth of the country (very bad planning - virtual hugs, wine and cake are never quite as good as the real stuff.)

How do you encourage each other as writers?
Debbie: This is easy to answer. We can best help each other by being honest and open. The girls don’t dish up any Pollyanna feedback! They all tell it like it is. I think this is because we all have different strengths and different skills and feed off each other, and because we’ve grown to know each other so well, we have huge respect for one another. We can say what we think without fear of it being taken the wrong way. Because of this the girls have made me think outside my comfort zone, and I’ve sometimes had to do things I don’t want or like to do. That’s very important as a writer.
Onwards and upwards

How did you hear about the RNA, and has the NWS benefited your career?
Sue: I found out about the RNA in a roundabout way. At the same time as working on my first manuscript, I read a Sue Moorcroft book which led me onto a writing handbook she had published and to Sue's website. I saw that the RNA was mentioned quite often, and a quick Google of RNA soon took me to the website and through there I found the NWS.

Laura: My mother introduced me to the wonderful books of Jill Mansell, the first I read being Good At Games. At the time, I had an arm in plaster, and related to one of the characters in the story. I enjoyed the book so much, I read it from cover to cover. Towards the back, Jill mentioned she was a member of the RNA. I went online, checked it out, and discovered the NWS. And what a discovery. What a find! Thank you, Jill, for not only entertaining me and tugging at my heartstrings, but for leading me down this most exciting path. The friendship, advice and support of the members is priceless. The RNA is a very generous organisation in terms of help and time. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be a member.

Debbie: I heard about the RNA on a Caerleon course a few years ago and managed to get on the scheme the following January. The NWS has been a huge benefit. In the time I’ve been a member I’ve served my ‘writing apprenticeship’ and really honed the craft in every aspect; structure, plot, dialogue, etc. I’m embarrassed to look back at old work; how I thought I could write when I started! Of course I’m still learning and perfecting all the time but as a direct result of feedback from the NWS, I entered the first
Having a giggle
chapter of my novel in a competition and have an agent waiting to see the finished MS.

How would you describe your own books? Under what genre or sub-genre do they come, and what is its special appeal for you?
Laura: I write women’s fiction with a strong element of romance, focus on an issue, and develop the story from there. I like to get into the nitty-gritty of a problem and delve into the psychology behind it, and I enjoy the challenge of turning weaknesses into strengths. It’s the way I tackle life, and it possibly stems from me living with a disability.

Debbie: I like to think of my own work as gritty, kitchen-sink dramas (remember the angry young men – John Osborne, Alan Sillitoe, Stan Barstow) so definitely women’s fiction/sagas. I love writing about ‘real’ people with ‘real’ issues, the complexity of relationships and what makes people act the way they do.
What do you think is the most essential element of a good novel?

Jan: Great characters with all their many varied, weird, and wonderful quirks and emotions that make us all human, people you care enough about to root for, love or loathe, just as long as you FEEL something. Plenty of secrets, conflict and character growth, and I’m hooked.

Catherine: As The Romaniacs are obsessed with cake, I thought I'd compare a good book with a good muffin. First, it has to be appealing on the eye. If the cover stands out, I'm practically sold. Then the taste has to be good. A good book has to have me in its grip within the first 50 pages. (I know some would say first, but I have to feel involved by page 50.) Of course the texture has to appeal. Paul Hollywood might describe it as a good consistency. Then there needs to be a nice surprise in the middle, preferable gooey chocolate, but equally something gritty will do. By the end I need to feel satisfied as in 'that was yummy, when can I have another?'

Should writers follow the latest hot fashion or write what they love?
Jan: Personally, I’d say write what you love, what stirs you and sings to you, as that passion, excitement and strong voice will shine through in your writing.
All glammed up and places to go

Have you suffered rejections, and if so, how did you deal with them?
Vanessa: Yes! At first I did NOT deal with rejection very well. I started sending my first novel to agents just after my mum died, when I was probably least prepared for rejection. The first came in – lovely, polite, form rejections, one actually personalized with a couple of suggestions – and I thought it was the end of the world. I think that was the first time the book went away in a drawer. I got the dusty MS out again after joining the NWS, carried out a massive re-write after receiving a hugely helpful report and started submitting again. This time, I found I was getting requests to read the full manuscript, and eventually I signed with a literary agent. Of course, I thought that was it, the end of rejection but… the book didn’t sell. That, I think, was harder than the agent rejections, because it really was the end of the road for my poor book, which, for now, has gone back in the drawer.

The main way I dealt with rejection, though, was to just get on with writing something else. Read the rejection, learn from it if it offered any critique and move on. My latest book is now with my agent and a NWS reader somewhere (eek!) And while I wait, I’m planning my next. Here I go again…
In the bar!

Sue: It’s horrible the very first time but if the reasoning behind the decision is constructive then you can turn the rejection into a positive. I try to avoid any knee jerk reactions, letting the 'No' settle for a couple of weeks, then going back to it once I've put a bit of distance between it and my feelings. That way I can then be objective about taking on the comments.

Liz and Lucie also send their regards, and all the Romaniacs would like to thank the RNA for inviting them on the blog.

Thank you for sparing time to talk to us today. We wish you continuing success with your writing.

Best wishes

Interviews on the RNA Blog are carried out by Freda, Henri and Livvie. They are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact: freda@fredalightfoot.co.uk

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June New Releases

Lady of Passion - Freda Lightfoot

Severn House
Hardcover 978-0727882875
30 June 2013

Beautiful and talented actress, poet and fashion icon, Mary Robinson was one of the most famous women of her time - yet she died virtually penniless, her reputation in ruins. Mary was destined always to be betrayed by the men she loved - her father, her husband and, most seriously, by the Prince of Wales, later George IV, for whom Mary gave up her career, her husband and her independence, only to be cruelly abandoned. This is her enthralling story: a tale of ambition, passion, scandal and heartbreak.

Duchess of Drury Lane – Freda Lightfoot

Severn House
Paperback 978-1847514646
30 June 2013

Passion, jealousy, scandal and betrayal - a true-life Regency Romance of the rise and fall of an extraordinary woman born into extraordinary times. Growing up in a poverty-stricken, fatherless household, Dorothy Jordan overcame her humble beginnings to become the most famous comic actress of her day. It was while performing on Drury Lane that Dorothy caught the eye of the Duke of Clarence, later to become King William IV. Her twenty-year relationship with the Duke was one of great happiness and domesticity, producing ten children. But ultimately, Dorothy's generous nature was her undoing and she was to be cruelly betrayed by the man she loved.


Dreams of Yesterday by Jill Barry

D C Thomson People’s Friend Pocket Novel – new style
6 June 2013

In the autumn of 1939, Charlotte is faced with running the family garage business when her menfolk join the Army. She swaps dungarees for pretty dresses when local funfair owner’s son Robert makes his feelings clear. Inevitably they’re parted but the coming months test Charlotte and make her much more appreciative of those around her. There’s joy when Robert is given pre-embarkation leave but darker days loom before hope and love triumph.

Reforming the Viscount - Annie Burrows

Harlequin Mills & Boon
paperback, ebook
June 2013

Beautiful widow Lydia Morgan is in Town steering her stepdaughter through the shoals of her first Season. Her most important task is to shield young Rose from handsome, charming rakes like Viscount Rothersthorpe. Only...the Viscount isn't interested in pretty young debutantes, and never has been. He's set his sights on Lydia, the one woman who, ten years earlier, almost tempted him to turn respectable.

Beguiling the Barrister by Wendy Soliman

Carina Press
E Book
24th June

Book two of The Forsters.

England, 1814

Flick—more properly known as Lady Felicity Forster—was twelve when she decided she was going to marry her handsome neighbor Darius Grantley. Now, embarking on her second season, she's no nearer to that lofty ambition. She commits to making Darius fall in love with her, if only he'd take a break from pleading the case of the common criminal as a barrister at the Old Bailey.

Darius adores the lovely, high-spirited younger sister of the Marquess of Denby, but he's all too aware that Flick is far above him in social status, not to mention fortune. Winning the high-profile Cuthbert case will earn him a promised appointment to King's Counsel and just enough income to provide a home for his well-born lady.

But the cards are stacked against him. Not only do the newspapers trumpet his clients' guilt, but a powerful peer bribes the witnesses and threatens Flick unless Darius sabotages his own case…

A Throne For The Taking by Kate Walker

Harlequin Mills & Boon Modern Romance
June 7th 2013

A kingdom’s safety . .  .

Betrayed by those she loves, Honoria Escalona must now face the only man capable of bringing stability to the Mediterranean kingdom of Mecjoria. A cold, hard man who once called her his friend... Alexei Sarova-the true King of Mecjoria.

In exchange for her happiness

But Alexei's tortuous past has changed him into someone she hardly knows. He blames Ria's family for his bitterness, and his help-when he offers it-comes with a price: he'll take his rightful place as King with Ria as his wife, until she produces a true-blood heir...


City Fiction
Paperback and kindle
6th June 2013
Adrian Dexter is a corporate financier struggling through the turbulence of recession in 2012. Far away from the City of London, the love of his life waits for him in Johannesburg – as does his mortal enemy and notorious South African gangster, Nigel de Groot. As if that wasn’t enough, he is about to turn sixty. 

When Adrian meets the beautiful Helen Greenwood and they embark on a passionate affair, he begins to feel young again. But his newfound happiness is about to be rudely interrupted... 
Not only does Helen become pregnant – and there is doubt as to who is the father – but the mother is subsequently kidnapped as Nigel de Groot tries to hold Adrian to ransom. The rescue by DCI Sarah Rudd, now stationed at Islington Police Station, is dramatic and she is badly injured. She loses her libido and marital pressures follow. 
De Groot returns to the UK and says that he’s going to kill Adrian. He offers him a clue: “Seventeen days to go. This webb never meant you to escape but don’t see red.” This defeats the brains of the Metropolitan police and a private detective agency. 
DCI Rudd finally cracks it and races to a well known London landmark where she is to gain international recognition for what was later described as one of the bravest acts of courage ever committed by a serving police office. 
Adrian, meanwhile, flies to Johannesburg to make a last desperate attempt to find happiness...pity about those nasty fatty deposits lurking under the surface. 
As Sarah and Nick Rudd walk through St. James’s Park she has some interesting news for her husband. 

DARK MAIDEN by Lindsay Townsend

Ellora's Cave
Ebook and Print Book
13th June

As demons haunt medieval England, Geraint and Yolande rely on their love to survive.

The 1300s are a time of pestilence and unease, plagued not just by disease but by demons and the restless dead. Yolande wanders England and Wales, armed with her blessed bow and sacred herbs, laying the spirits to rest and driving the demons away. She’s bound to serve for a time of seven—though she knows not what that means.

Geraint the Welshman travels the countryside, juggling and tumbling to earn his keep. When he meets Yolande, he’s caught by her fierce yet sweet nature and vows to stay by her side. As they journey closer to Yolande’s final trial and face foes ever more cunning and dangerous, Geraint and Yolande have only their mutual love and trust to help them survive.
Night Music – Margaret Mounsdon

My Weekly Pocket Novels
23 May 2013
Price - £1.99

Marian Barr, dedicated concert pianist is engaged to world renowned conductor Georges Pascal the bad boy of classical music, but Marian has a secret of her own, one she thought no one knew about, until she starts receiving blackmail letters, threatening telephone calls and a stalker begins to follow her every move.


Destiny Calling - Chrissie Loveday

Ulverscroft (Large Print)
1 June

The final part of my Potteries series.

In 1952 William Cobridge has returned from a trip to America a different man.
Used to a life of luxury, he was sent away to learn about life in the real world. He meets Paula Frost on a visit to see her aunt, the housekeeper at Cobridge House. He is keen to see Paula again an asks her for a date. Could this be the start of  new romance? But things never go smoothly …

HUBBLE BUBBLE – Jane Lovering

Choc Lit Publishing
07 June

Be careful what you wish for…
Holly Grey only took up witchery to keep her friend out of trouble – and now she’s knee-deep in hassle, in the form of apocalyptic weather, armed men, midwifery…and a sarcastic Welsh journalist.

Kai has been drawn to darkest Yorkshire by his desire to find out who he really is. What he hadn’t bargained on was getting caught up in amateur magic and dealing with a bunch of women who are trying really hard to make their dreams come true.

Together they realise that getting what you wish for is sometimes just a matter of knowing what it is you want…


Bad Behaviour – Lesley Cookman

E-book, print later
19 June 2013

A small collection of previously published short fiction to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Accent Press


A French Affair by Lucy Felthouse

Xcite Books
3rd June

Sydney Tyler is renting a barn conversion in Northern France, planning to spend the fortnight getting some words down on her novel. Unfortunately, construction work in the other half of the building puts an end to her peace and quiet. Genuinely upset that the builders are going to disturb her, the property’s handsome English owner, Harry Bay, offers to make it up to her. He’s a little flirtatious, and after spotting his wedding ring, Sydney keeps him at arm’s length. Sexy as he is, she has no intention of getting involved with a married man. But when Sydney learns the truth about Harry, will their mutual attraction spur them on to work through their emotional baggage and make this more than just a French affair?

website: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk 

The Aphrodite Touch by Romy Gemmell

Tirgearr Publishing
e-published short novella
Now available

Carla hopes that ten days on the romantic island of Cyprus will finally progress her relationship with reserved Scottish boyfriend, Jamie, to a full physical commitment. Or prove that they have no future together. But they had reckoned without the intervention of the goddess Aphrodite and her lover, Adonis. Will Aphrodite awaken Jamie’s hidden depths and allow him to return the passion that Adonis senses in Carla?
This is the first novella in my new Aphrodite and Adonis series.

website                        www.rosemarygemmell.com

The Sea Inside His Head – Theresa Le Flem

Robert Hale Ltd
Digital ebook
30 June 2013
Website:                     http://theresaleflem.wordpress.com