Tuesday, July 18, 2017

RNA Conference weekend

So here’s how the statistics for the weekend stack up:

First and foremost  - people to thank for a wonderful, fantastically well organised and stimulating conference once again  - Jan Jones and Roger Sanderson

Hours spent getting lost en route to Telford 2

Minutes left to prepare/change clothing/brush hair before Wellington Library panel 5


People attending Wellington library  panel  30

Wedding anniversary celebrated 1

Old friends met up with again  100- maybe more

New friends made – 30

Talks/workshops attended 20

Quiz won  - 1 (by ½ point!)

Bottles of wine consumed . . . err – lost count

RNA ex-virgins (from when I ran the first-timers group)and writers now published after my courses/12 Point Guide – Janet Gover Rachael Thomas Brigid Cody Iona Garrett Cathy Mansell

Discussions with past course students after one to ones -   10

Books added to my TBR pile – 15 – with special thanks to Janet Gover, Lara Temple (see above)

Person to thank for all the photographs – 1-   John Jackson

Late nights in the kitchen with wonderful friends – 4

Cats to appease after abandoning them for 4 days – surprisingly, none. The wonderful cat-sitter we  asked to look after them did the job so well we actually had no complaints, no sulks, no retribution when we came home. 

Except – number of mice sacrificed to cats’ need to bring presents for cat sitter – 3


Hedgehogs to feed in the evening after we got back – 4  - that’s including one brand-new half-grown Heck who is currently eating his/her way through everything we put out for it.

Bundles of washing to dump in the machine and get dry before we head out to Writers’ Holiday- 4

Days to go before I have to turn round and head out again towards Fishguard and teaching on this summer’s Writers’ Holiday – 3 ….


Eeek – thank heaven I planned the course well in advance and had only to pack my handouts etc.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Conferences and Covers

Heading out today for the RNA Conference and meeting up with lots of friends and fellow writers - so looking forward to this. But I just wanted to share - sometimes my covers seem a bit 'samey' but every now and then I get a new cover design that really stands out. So I was delighted with this from a French collection that I spotted today.

 And I'm in a collection with the wonderful Sara Craven who was one of the special writers who made me love the romance genre and I learned so much from her! So consider my day made with this.

Now I need to finish packing and get one the road - to everyone I'll see at RNA - travel safely - Oh, and yes, I'll be at Wellington Library tonight so if you're coming to that I'll see you there.

PS Perhaps I should say that the title of mine in this collection is Cordero's Forced Bride - which had a rather different cover

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Busy July

July is always a hectic month for me. So the coming week is going to need me to have my head down, nose to the grindstone - in theory this will mean finishing the book I've been wrestling with, for ever it seems.


The there will be the RNA Conference - where I have the appearance on the fantastic panel on Thursday evening 13th July, it's a free event at the local Wellington Library, from 7-8pm, so if you're in the area, and you'd like to come along, everyone's welcome - other fabulous writers on this panel are : Freda Lightfoot, Sarah Morgan, Nicola Cornick, Bernardine Kennedy.


At the RNA - as always - the Babe Magnet and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary of many, many years but as the conference is always so busy and so much fun, we'll have our private, personal celebrations once we're home.


T
hen the next week (we have 3 days to turn around, get clean clothes and head out again we're heading for lovely Fishguard in Wales and the fabulous Gerald P Hobbs Writers' Holidays where I'm teaching The Complete Romance Writing course and one Stephen Wade is running a course called 'Make 'em Laugh' - writing humour. (Note to self - must find out if there are any places still availab
le on this year's Writers' Holiday in case anyone's interested.)


So as I know I shall be very busy (understatement ) in the rest of the month - I'm going to be doing something a bit special for the next few days - and introducing you to a new writer. Someone who writes very different sort of books from mine but they're fascinating and great reads - well, I'm partial because I know her! But if you have young readers in your family specially those who love books of fantasy and darkness, magic, menace and a truly terrifying foe - then come along - and there will be a giveaway to enter as well.

So that's coming up soon.  I hope you'll come by and meet this writer.

Friday, June 30, 2017

I haven't mentioned the Hecks for a while

Just been out - in the pouring rain! - to organise the evening's food and water for our family of hedgehogs - affectionately known as the Hecks. We've just realised that since next week will mark the 28th anniversary of moving in to this place, it also marks the 28th anniversary of realising that we had the Hecks in the garden and taking over the responsibility of feeding them from the daughter of the previous family to live here. If we don't remember, they appear at the patio doors to demand their meal!


Not sure how many generations of Hecks we've had since then, but thankfully they do seem to be thriving this year as well. I think that says something about the fact that parts of the garden are definitely left 'wild' for them. They also love the mixture of food left out. Since I'm often asked what to feed them:

A saucer of cat/dog meat – chicken in jelly is a favourite but please no meat in gravy. Not fish
Dried mealworms, crushed peanuts and sunflower hearts.
Cat biscuits
Hedgehog food found in garden centres and pet shops

A bowl of water is really important as many of the hedgehogs that arrive at rescues are dehydrated
Please no bread or milk
-Food and fresh water will encourage hedgehogs to return.

You can find more information at Prickles Hedgehog Rescue   or Hedgehog Friendly Town on Facebook

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Gift from a Friend

      It's a fact (unfortunately) that no matter how many books you've written and had published there is often (usually) a moment or two in the writing of the current one when, no matter if its #6 or #67 - which this one is - the hateful ravens of doubt come circling and you try to remember how you ever did this before - and are you sure you can do it again? Really?

      I have always had a special little message to myself that sits on my
      desk that helps me work through times like this - it's from my dear friend the great Michelle Reid and it says 'Just tell the story'. So that's what I do, and so far it's worked out right.

      But now I have a new message to add to that one - this is on a mug from another dear friend. And it just proves that there are friends who know you and are there to support you even when they're on the other side of the country. Thanks Marie Frances - you're so right - and your mug, filled with tea has been a real boost when the words have flagged

Preparing writing course

I've been spending the weekend preparing The Complete Romance Writing Course for the wonderful Writers' Holiday in Fishguard in July - so now I'm keyed up with anticipation and can't wait to go back to one of my favourite places ever - with a lot of my special friends - and making new ones I hope!

There are still some places on the week/the course that are available if you want to join us. If you'll be a new first timer do let us know so that we can make sure to welcome you. (I needed to add this as the story has got out that I have the nickname Ms Whiplash for Writers' Holiday! It's a joke, honest!)

This course is intended to provide information and advice for anyone who wants to learn how to write a popular romance genre novel. It gives an introduction to all the skills needed for success, from creating realistic characters, sustaining pace and conflict, packing emotional punch, writing sex scenes and crafting a satisfying ending. While the focus may be on romance novels, the techniques – dialogue, characters, tension, pacing, settings, hooks etc. will also be relevant to all forms of popular fiction.

Don't forget there are also great courses run by Carol Fenlon, Simon Whaley, Della Galton, James Morgan Nash, Susan Moody, Janet Laurence, Alison Chisholm, Susan Alison and Stephen Wade on writing humour

Oh, now I really can't wait

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Library Event

If anyone is around on the RNA Conference Thursday evening  13th July, there's a free event at the local Wellington Library, from 7-8pm, with Kate Walker, Sarah Morgan, Freda Lightfoot, Bernardine Kennedy and Nicola Cornick. You'd be very welcome.

Monday, June 19, 2017

One of the extra special things about being a writer is the way that I get to meet up with so many readers at such different stages of their reading experience. Last Friday was one of those days when I was invited to hand out the certificates to the readers who had worked hard to earn a completers' certificate in the Reading Ahead classes run by The Reading Agency.

To quote the Reading Agency web site:

One in six people struggles to read. However, research shows that when we ...inspire people to read for pleasure they benefit from far greater opportunities in everyday life, education and employment. Reading Ahead (formerly called the Six Book Challenge) is the gateway to these opportunities. Because everything changes when we read. 

Reading Ahead supports young people and adults by changing their perception of reading, opening up opportunities and building their confidence.

Run through public libraries, adult learning organisations, colleges, workplaces and prisons, Reading Ahead invites participants to pick six reads and record, rate and review them in a diary in order to get a certificate. The programme isn't just about books - it's about newspapers, magazines and websites too. The new name reflects this to help those for whom books might be a barrier to joining in.


I had a wonderful afternoon at a local library, meeting the successful readers, sharing in their delight in a new-found joy in reading and presenting their completion certificates. Thank you to all library staff for their warm  welcome - and tea and cake! - and to those new readers - keep on reading!
 

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