Excitement at Romaniac HQ

It’s an exciting day here at Romaniac HQ as we all participate in some group happy dancing to celebrate the e-publication of Laura’s second novel

Follow me, follow you.

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Don’t you just love this cover?

Set along the beautiful Dorset coast, Laura’s home county, it’s a fantastic read and we wish Laura every success Follow me, follow you deserves.

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Dorset coast

 

Blurb

You save me and I’ll save you…

Seth_on_Chesil_Beach

Seth on Chesil Beach

Victoria Noble has pulled the plug on romance. As director of the number one social networking site, EweSpeak, and single mother to four-year-old Seth, she wrestles with the work-life balance.

Enter Chris Frampton, Hollywood action hero and Victoria’s first love. His return from LA has sparked a powder keg of media attention, and with secrets threatening to fuel the fire, he’s desperate to escape.

But finding a way forward is never simple. Although his connection with Victoria is as strong as when he was nineteen, has he been adrift too long to know how to move on?

With the risk of them breaking, will either #follow their heart?

Sales link Amazon.co.uk here

Author Bio:

Laura_Head_Shot_1

Laura is married and has two children. She lives in Dorset, but spent her formative years in Watford, a brief train ride away from the bright lights of London. Here she indulged her love of live music, and, following a spectacular Stevie Nicks gig, decided to take up singing, a passion that scored her second place in a national competition.

 

Laura is a graduate of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, a member of her local writing group, Off The Cuff, and an editor of the popular Romaniacs blog.

Laura was runner-up twice in the Choc Lit Short Story competitions. Her story Bitter Sweet appears in the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Anthology. Truth or Dare?, Laura’s debut novel, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Romantic eBook 2013 and the 2014 Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award. Follow me, follow you is Laura’s first Choc Lit novel published in paperback.

  1. lauraejames.co.uk
  2. twitter.com/Laura_E_James
  3. facebook.com/LauraE.JamesWriter

And if you’ve made it all the way down here – thank you! You’ve reached the link for book trailer.

Follow Me Follow You.

 

Roving Romaniac – Lucie hits Milton Keynes!

Last weekend it was my turn to go roaming the streets and this particular Romaniac was let loose in Milton Keynes.

Saturday 7th June was the annual agency day for the Kate Nash Literary Agency and, having signed with Sarah Taylor in January, I was invited.  

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This was our ‘selfie’ for the Online Romance Festival which was on the same day.

I can’t tell you how excited I was. It has been quite some months since I last attended a writing event so I was looking forward to seeing other writers in the flesh – and knowing that there are still other crazy people Out There.

The day was amazing. Lots of useful and essential tips and information was on offer both from Kate and Sarah, and also fellow writers, too. Ranging from industry trends, to the latest bestsellers, to marketing. Throw in lots of laughter and lovely food and you get a jist of why I had so much fun.

After a day of talking – and sipping back on the free tea, coffee and biscuits – we retired to our rooms to get ready for an evening out. The agency day coincided with Jane Lovering’s publication day. Falling Apart celebrated its birthday in true, author style.

It went out and PARTIED!

For a more in depth look at Falling Apart’s antics – pop over to my blog, here. *WARNING* Not for the faint hearted …

We had a lovely evening out in Milton Keynes. Dinner, cocktails and lots of dancing. Kate and Sarah put together a fantastic day and I am sure I am not alone when I say a massive THANK YOU to them both for a wonderful weekend.

*Kate and Sarah are both accepting submissions at the moment, so If you would like to submit to either of them, please do! You will find submission guidelines here. *

 

Sarah Taylor, me, Kate Nash (Allen)

Sarah Taylor, me, Kate Nash (Allen)

 

And now to look forward to the RNA conference where a number of Romaniacs will be let loose … don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

 

Giselle Green – Finding You

I am incredibly excited to have the very talented, and very lovely, Giselle Green at Romaniac HQ today. Here is what she had to say about her new book.

*****

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Thank you so much for coming on the blog today, Giselle, it is an absolute pleasure. We hope you are well?

Yes thank you,  and the pleasure is all mine.

I have read your latest book, Finding You, which was out on March 28th and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn’t at all what I expected it to be. Can you tell everyone a little about it?

This story is a sequel to an earlier book, Little Miracles, which looks at the devastating effect on a couple when their toddler goes missing at the beach. Here, we join the couple soon after they’ve got their child back. I know we’d all assume everything would be now wonderful for them but all is not well. I guess the lesson is, here, that if something terribly traumatic like that happens to you, then simply having the situation put right, or back to how it should have been, can’t mitigate the effects of it happening in the first place.  They find they can’t just pick up the pieces and carry on … there are still some things that need some healing, first.  

You can tell from reading the book that a lot of work has gone into it, are you pleased with the final result? Without giving too much away, what sort of research went into writing, Finding You?

I’m really happy with it, Lucie, though I’ll admit this one stretched me!  Some of the topics covered in the book are closer to home than I usually venture and there were areas where on the first writing I was tempted to skim or gloss over bits of the narrative. As that would have been cheating the reader, I had to go back and re-do them. There was one scene which I re-wrote a total of seven times before I finally got it to work. The main research I needed to do revolved around the possible effects of abduction on a child Hadyn’s age. That was important because his mum and his dad take very differing stances over what might be causing the problems he’s come home with. They’re split on it, and yet they’ve both got valid reasons for thinking the way they do.         

The book deals with very serious and heart wrenching issues. As a mother, I found some parts extremely emotional, did you feel the same writing it? Was it hard to not get too emotionally attached to it?

I’m glad you were able to engage with the story at that level. Actually, getting emotionally attached to the narrative is the only way to go, for me. If I’m not attached in some way I find it almost impossible to write.  The more attached I can become, the easier the writing flows.  And yes, there are some scenes in this book which still make me feel sad every time I read them, but not in a bad way.  

Where did the idea for Finding You come from?

As mentioned above, it’s a sequel to an earlier novel Little Miracles. I wrote it, quite honestly, because so many people emailed me and asked me to do it. At the start, I had no idea which direction the narrative would take once the initial question of whether ‘it was him’ or not had been answered. To write another whole novel, I needed to give the couple some more problems, more conflicts to resolve, and I decided to begin by exploding the premise of the ‘Happy Ever After’ that most people would naturally assume follows on when you’ve had your deepest wish granted.  The couple are reunited, both with each other and with their child, who’s unharmed … or is he? Life goes on, throws up the next challenge and that became the basis for the second book.

Do you have a daily routine that you work by for your writing? Juggling social media, promotion etc?

I prefer to write in the morning, because that’s my best creative time and it’s also the most lovely ‘quiet time’. When it comes to social media and promotion I’m afraid I feel woefully lost and ‘out of it’ most of the time! I don’t understand the half of it. I’m rather proud of myself that I’ve managed to get an author facebook page up and running though – it gives me the opportunity to let people know of anything new going on, in the easiest way.   

You have been both traditionally published, and self-published, do you have a preference?

There are swings and roundabouts. Traditional publishing brings with it a certain comfort, in that once you’ve done your bit as an author, it’s tempting to feel that the rest of the time-consuming things  – editing and checking stuff, marketing and promotion etc, will all be taken care of for you. To some extent, that is true, but not always to the degree that you might imagine. It’s wonderful if you have an editor who’s on the same page as you, guiding you if you need it, too. And of course, there’s also the kudos of being associated with an established publishing house not to mention that if we’re talking physical books, their marketing arm can way exceed what an indie can hope to achieve on their own. The big publishing houses hold fabulous publishing parties too!

On the other side of it, being self-published means I can work to my own time-table. I can write exactly what I want to write without being too ‘typecast’ or hemmed in by what the ‘powers that be’ believe is what readers want to read. It is not always possible to predict what’s going to fire the public’s imagination!  Once the novel is ready to go, I can choose my own cover, set my own price point and keep control over a lot of variables. An indie novel can go out very quickly, for instance, traditional novels take a lot longer lead time before they can go out. More control means more responsibility inevitably, but if you’re conscientious, that’s okay.     

What would you say your favourite part of writing is?

Dare I say it’s writing ‘The End?’ I think finishing a project is always a time for celebration and a great relief because writing a novel is such a huge act of faith. 

You deal with lots of serious issues in your books and I personally think you do it very well. If you could sum up your books/writing style for others, in one – or a couple (I know how hard it is to just do one!) – sentence(s), how would you sell it?

I’d say I write high-impact emotional women’s fiction, usually dealing with a huge moral dilemma. 

A little quick fire:

Hot or cold? Depends if it’s soup or ice cream, I guess.

Left handed or right handed? Right.

Pizza or pasta? Pasta. Yum.

Xfactor or Strictly? Game of Thrones.

Beach or forest? Beach. Mind you, forests can be lovely too.

Computer or pen & paper? Both, these days.

Rain or shine? Shine, but I’m not adverse to a little atmospheric rain!

Great answers, Giselle!

Thank you so much for coming on the blog today. It has been lovely to listen to you talk about the new book, I will be recommending it to all.

finding u

Finding You is out now! Click the picture for more details. And if you grab it today – you’ll get it for just 99p!

Giselle has a website – www.gisellegreen.com 

She is also on Facebook under Giselle Green Author

And on Twitter at @GiselleGgreenUk

 

Welcome, David Nicholls …

 

Wow! What a way to start the week. We are thrilled and honoured that David has kindly taken time out to chat to us. 

 

 Image Credit © Kristofer Samuelsson

Image Credit © Kristofer Samuelsson

David, can you tell us about what you’re working on at the moment?

At the time of writing, I’m just finishing the second draft of my fourth novel, ‘Us’, to be published in September. I’ve been away from fiction for a while – it has been nearly five years since One Day came out, seven years since I started writing it – and I’ve loved getting back to books. For years after One Day, I found it impossible, but this one has been a pleasure, and has come relatively easily; a little over eighteen months from first sentence to publication.

What are you most proud of writing?

At the moment, the new novel. I suppose there are some similarities to One Day – a love story, the same mixture of happy and sad – but it feels a little more grown-up. It’s about family and married life – the working title was ‘Married Love’ – and it follows a couple from their beginnings, through eighteen years of parenthood, to the relationship’s (possible) end. I’m 47 now, and was starting to feel a little foolish writing about twenty-somethings on dates. ‘Us’ is still a romantic story, but maybe a little tougher, more varied and mature in subject and tone.

I also loved working on The 7.39, the two-part TV drama that was broadcast in January. Unlike the solitary world of fiction, film and TV are entirely collaborative and while that has its pleasures, it can also be madly frustrating, nerve-wracking, stressful. The final product rarely matches the story you told in your head, but The 7.39 was one of those rare times when everything came together. I loved the casting, the production team, there were hardly any rows or feuds or walk-outs and I think some of that harmony came across on screen. The only other time I’ve been as happy with a show was when I did Tess of the D’Urbervilles for the BBC, about six years ago now.

And One Day too. I’ve come to accept now that it’ll probably be the thing I’m known for, and I’ll always be proud of it.

In ‘One Day’, we know that Emma makes some mix tapes for Dex, but which three tunes would definitely feature on David Nicholls’ mix tape?

Probably some of the same tracks that Emma chose. There’s a playlist here – Emma Morley’s Mix Tape– that contains a lot of the music I looked to for inspiration while writing the book.

Of those songs, I think you’d choose ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ by Aretha Franklin, because of the incredible singing and the Bacharach melody, then ‘Protection’ by Massive Attack because of its sentiment, and finally ‘These Days’ by Nico, because it’s such a simple and beautifully bittersweet song.

Also in ‘One Day’, Dex is such a complex and interesting person, where did you get the inspiration for his character?

He was written as an antidote to the male characters I’d created in my first two books – rather modest, nice, arty, self-effacing men. I wanted to write someone who had an excess of self-confidence, a chauvinist, a philistine, but nevertheless someone who contained the seed of a decent human being. I used to be an actor, and a lot of the young men who started out at the same time as me had extraordinary success, and of course it affected them. They all became Dexter. I was a rotten actor, so never faced that dilemma.

 

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What is your biggest challenge when adapting a novel for screen?

The first thing you lose when you adapt a book for the screen is the character’s inner voice. Books are about emotion and thought as much as action and dialogue. In a screenplay, it’s all about what people say and do, rather than what they think or feel. Conveying that is the great challenge. Of course, actors help, but voice-over  on screen is useless, and how else do you convey an inner monologue? This was the great dilemma with Starter for Ten – all the best jokes were in the character’s head, and it made no sense to say them aloud.

Also, budget is not a consideration when writing a book. On screen everything costs a fortune so everything has to serve a need. You’re constantly being asked – do we need this scene? Do we need the rain? Does it have to be London? As a screenwriter, you’re spending someone else’s money, so of course you’re asked to change things. Books are ink on paper, and unless you’re being dull, no-one minds a little more ink.

Finally, accepting the loss of control is always hard. In fiction, there’s the novelist and no-one else. With TV and films, the writer has very clearly defined responsibilities – you’re not the designer, the composer, the casting director, the editor, you’re just part of the team. Trying to make the screen version look exactly like the story you have in your head is almost impossible. Sometimes the finished version might be better than what you imagined, sometimes not. But if you can’t accept that loss of control, then it’s best to stick to  books.

Can you tell us a bit about the readings you’ve given and what inspired you to start?

As an actor I was largely mute, which was just as well given that I was such a shocking old ham. But I do enjoy readings, though I find them very nerve-wracking and worry a great deal about being dull, or pompous or indiscreet. I still over-act, but I do love meeting readers, and to be reminded of why I wanted to do this in the first place.

What is your ideal writing space, and do you prefer to work in silence or with background noise?

I’m lucky enough to have an office that I go to each morning. I try to be at my desk by 8. If I’m sensible, I turn the internet off immediately and hide my phone in a cupboard. (The internet is the enemy of concentration, especially for someone with no willpower, like me.) I try and write until lunchtime, though there are inevitably distractions. I write on Word, but try to edit on pen and paper then type that revised text back in; it’s too easy to let your eyes slip across the computer screen. I read for an hour at lunchtime, then work on scripts in the afternoon, though I rarely do anything good after 4pm. I use to listen to pop music, then only Bach – solo piano or cello – but now have to have silence. But distractions – the postman, the phone call – are always hugely welcome.  

What makes you laugh?

Old golden-age Hollywood movies – Billy Wilder or Preston Sturges or Lubitsch. Walter Matthau films, David Sedaris, Lorrie Moore, Wes Anderson, Dickens. My children.     

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given to date in your career?

I’m not sure who said it, but I once read that the secret to writing was to decide how you want your reader to feel, and then work out how to achieve it. Which is easier said than done I suppose, but I think that’s why One Day worked. I wanted to write something that would have the big emotional rush you get from a great pop song, something that would be both funny, then heart-breaking, sometimes on the same page.

Everyone tells you this, but I do think reading – and watching – as much as possible is invaluable. Everything I’ve written has been inspired by, or stolen from, something else. There’d be no Starter for Ten without Rushmore, Billy Liar and Great Expectations, no One Day without Much Ado About Nothing, Annie Hall and Tess of the D’Urbervilles (no, really). Inspiration can be found in all art, high or low, and you have to give time to sucking everything up. I set my alarm so that I can read an extra hour a day. Of course it means that I’m asleep on my desk by nine-fifteen, but at least I try.  

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Any other creative passions?

I’m an enthusiastic but rudimentary cook, and I’ve been known to snatch Lego out of the hands of my children.

Quick Fire

West End Musical or Night at the Opera?

Opera

Yorkshire Dales or Welsh Valleys?  

Both lovely, but the Dales

 

 

 

 

Three Dream Dinner Party Guests, past or present?

Billy Wilder, Cary Grant, Kate Bush.

Favourite London Landmark?

St Paul’s from the southern end of the Millennium Bridge.

Checkov or Shakespeare?

That’s the hardest choice. Shakespeare at a push, though The Seagull is my favourite play.

Thank you so much for being our guest today, David. We wish you the very best of luck with your forthcoming novel ‘Us’ and needless to say, we can’t wait to read it.

https://www.facebook.com/davidnichollsauthor

 

 

 

Follow Me, Follow You: Cover Reveal

Follow Me, Follow You

Helen Ellis Photography

Helen Ellis Photography

It’s a red letter day, as my mother used to say. The sort of day when she’d place a sticker on the page in her diary.

I am thrilled to announce that my second novel, a contemporary romance titled Follow Me, Follow You, is to be published by the wonderful Choc Lit, in both digital and paperback formats, and will be available in the autumn. This will be my first paperback publication.

In celebration, and to reveal the beautiful cover designed by Berni Stevens, I have created a short vlog. Take five, settle back and help yourself to tea and cake – our Celia’s been baking again.

Enjoy.

Laura x

Follow Me, Follow You:

Victoria Noble has pulled the plug on romance. As director of the number one social networking site, EweSpeak, and single mother to four-year-old Seth, she wrestles with the work-life balance. 

Enter Chris Frampton, Hollywood action hero and Victoria’s first love. His return from LA has sparked a powder keg of media attention, and with secrets threatening to fuel the fire, he’s desperate to escape. But finding a way forward is never simple. Although his connection with Victoria has lasted the test of time, has he been adrift too long to know how to move on? With the risk of them breaking, will either follow their heart?

Follow Me Follow You

You save me and I’ll save you

Teri Riggs and her Resolutions

Teri Riggs

Today, we are delighted to welcome to Romaniac HQ, Romantic Suspense writer, Teri Riggs.

Please come in and put your feet up. It’s very informal here. Earl Grey? Breakfast tea?

Breakfast tea, please with a pinch of sweetener.

As we settle into our chocolate cake, tell us about Teri Riggs.

I live in Marietta, Georgia, with my husband and have one daughter still living at home. My other two daughters live within five minutes of my home. Life is good. I have been writing for almost 15 years. Writing is my third career. First, I was a NICU nurse, and then a stay at home mom.

Please introduce the Romaniac readers to Resolutions, and fill us in on the hero, ‘Mac’.

Resolutions is about a strong-willed female DEA agent, Eve, who joins forces with her alpha male ex-lover, Mac, to stop a drug lord who has teamed up with a group of terrorists. Old feelings of love, and hate, resurface. They must learn to trust each other again in order to stay alive.

Mac is an alpha male driven to protect the woman he loves. His mother died while doing dangerous UN work and he tries to shelter Eve from harm until she finally reaches her breaking point and leaves him. Two years later, Mac has a chance to show Eve he’s changed—or has he?

Do you have a clear idea of your heroes before you write?

With Mac, I did. I wanted a strong, alpha male type. I had to have a hero Eve could butt heads with.

How do you then go about developing their characters?

I write a pretty detailed character description, both physical and emotional, and start there. I always end up adding to the list as I get deeper into the manuscript and the character leads me in a few more directions.

In terms of traits, what are your must-haves for your heroines, and why? 

I like my heroines to be strong and independent enough to play off the hero. But at the same time, I think they have to have some vulnerability. Without it, how would the hero ever get under their skin?

What draws you to the romantic suspense genre?

There’s nothing like a little suspense mixed with a good dose of romance to keep me on the edge of my seat.

Do you find writing a book is as exciting as reading one?

Yes. Writing is a lot more work than reading, but every bit as fun. Plus, I get to have the ending I want!

Quick Fire Round:

Opera or Rock?

Opera.

Ocean or lake?

Ocean.

New Year resolutions or anytime resolutions?

To keep perfecting my writing. I’d love to push myself to write a little faster and put out 2-3 books a year.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Teri, and congratulations on Resolutions. We look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

Thanks for having me.

Teri Riggs Resolutions cover

Honor Guard Series

Resolutions

by Teri Riggs

DEA agent Eve Taylor has had her fill of alpha males. When Resolutions’ operative and former lover, Dillon “Mac” McKenna, threatened her hard-earned independence, she ran. On a mission to gather evidence against a Colombian drug-lord, Eve discovers the drug-lord is helping terrorists plan an attack on American soil. Before she can escape with the vital information, she’s captured and comes face to face with her mortality…

As a teen, Mac watched his family fall apart after his mother died doing dangerous U.N. work. The possibility of losing Eve to a mission ignited an overwhelming need to protect her. When he forced her to choose him or her job, she walked away. Two years later, it seems all his nightmares have come true and he’s tasked with rescuing her from a Colombian prison. Mac has never stopped loving Eve, but does he dare risk his heart when he’s so terrified of losing…

On the run, Mac and Eve must learn to trust each other again in order to stay alive.

Note: Resolutions is a private black ops agency specializing in the near-impossible extractions of kidnap victims, hostages, and all forms of intelligence other agencies have failed to retrieve.

Resolutions

Romantic Suspense

Honor Guard Series

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks | Decadent

What Readers are saying:

“I love the sexual tension between Eve and Mac. The hot, steamy Colombian jungle makes a great backdrop for a love story that begins with two ex-lovers on the run.”

-K. Kishpaugh, Amazon

“The action and suspense were nonstop. Eve was believable as a tough and persistent female protagonist. And I liked how she and Mac’s characters developed throughout the story.”

-Marie, Amazon

“Nonstop action and plenty of sexual tension between the lead characters. A quick, suspenseful read. I would recommend this to my friends.”

-Lady A, Amazon

“A good read with plenty of action. I liked the gun battle scenes. They were well paced and for fairly accurate. Mendoza was played well and I enjoyed Mac and Eve’s determination to stop him.”

-Cooper, Amazon

About the Author:

Teri Riggs was destined to be a writer. As a small girl she didn’t read bedtime stories, she made up her own. Who needed Little Red Riding Hood or The Three Little Pigs when there were so many great tales bouncing around in her head? When she grew up and became a mother to three little girls, she continued the tradition of making up bedtime stories. On the occasions she chose to tell conventional fairytales, Teri usually gave them a bit of tweaking here and there or added a new ending. Her girls loved it.
After her daughters had the nerve to actually grow up and leave home, Teri discovered she had a passion for writing and jumped right in. It came as no surprise she chose to write mysteries and happily-ever-after’s since that’s the genres she loves to read.
Teri lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband, one of her daughters and two dogs that seem to think they rule the world. And some days Teri thinks maybe they do.

Contact Details:

Website: http://teri-riggs.com/

Email: teririggs@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Teri-Riggs/329379907142621

Twitter: @TeriLRiggs

Blog: http://teririggs.blogspot.co.uk/

Enjoy the following excerpt for RESOLUTIONS:

Beefy hands wrenched Eve awake from a fevered sleep, pulled her from the cell, and shoved her into a musty-smelling hallway. I’m being moved? A guard pushed her with one hand, keeping a tight grip on an AK-47 rifle with his other.

Her shoulder throbbed in perfect cadence with the pains shooting through her broken wrist, and she had one badass headache from being punched in the face a few too many times. Using her good hand, she walked fingers across one cheek, then the other. The right side was totally numb. Her eye had swollen shut, and she couldn’t see a damn thing out of it. She ran her tongue across her teeth and tasted the tart, copper flavor of blood. Three teeth loose. Well, at least they’re still in place.

In spite of the relentless pain, she stayed determined to survive whatever Mendoza dished out. She wasn’t a quitter. No, sir. Duncan Falls, Iowa didn’t grow quitters. Eve ignored the constant ache in her ribs, courtesy of a guard’s overzealous kick, and took in a deep breath. She willed herself to stay alert, to keep pushing. Escape. Third times the charm.

Eve slapped the guard’s dirty hand. “Hey, Pedro, stop being so damned pushy. Where we going anyway? We got a hot date I’ve forgotten about?”

He looked puzzled then shoved her again.

“Don’t understand English, do you, Diego? Bet you understand this.” Eve drove her elbow into the guard’s face. Thick rubbery cartilage gave, and she whooped triumphantly.

Blood squirted from his nose and he screamed.

Eve stepped back. “Yep, I’m pretty sure you understand that.”

Unable to grab the guard’s assault rifle, she clutched her injured shoulder, and took off in a slow jog, no longer able to push any harder.

Her escape was short lived.

Price: 2.99

Resolutions was a finalist in the prestigious Daphne Du Maurier contest.

Romancing The Soul – Sarah Tranter

Sarah Tranter

Today is publication day for Sarah Tranter’s second Choc Lit novel, Romancing The Soul. This is one of the books I am desperate to read, and listed it in our recent Romaniac Reading Resolution blog, No More Butterfly Reading.

I am a huge fan of Sarah’s, and her debut, No Such Thing As Immortality is up in my top ten favourite reads. It stayed with me long after I returned it to my bookcase. It has a gorgeous cover too.NSTAI Cover

We have a little longer to wait before finding out what the sexy, kind-hearted Nate has in store, as Romancing The Soul is not part of the No Such Thing trilogy.

RTS is a story of past-life regression, soul-mates, and love.

There are people with whom one instantly connects – have you ever wondered why? Perhaps you’ve met in a different life? I was told my daughter and I were together in a past life, as mother and daughter. Apparently, it is extremely rare for two people to reconnect as family. I’m open-minded, and if nothing else, it’s a lovely and pleasing idea. I feel no need to test the theory. I can tell you we have a fab relationship, and often communicate without words. We simply know. Kudos to Sarah, however, who underwent a past-life regression in the name of research for RTS. That’s dedication. And I know it will shine through her story.

Sarah Tranter Romancing

I do have a theory that we are meant to meet certain people in our lives. Gajitman and I met in the early nineties. We were in our twenties, living in Bedfordshire. Early in our blossoming romance, we discovered our grandparents used to live in London, in the same road as each other. Not only that, they were but a few doors apart. Gajitman and I were toddlers then and didn’t know of one another’s existence, but I’m pretty certain we’d have met, as we both knew and played with the children who lived in that road.

But that’s a whole different story.

Sarah – wishing you enormous success with Romancing The Soul. I cannot wait to get my hands on the paperback. In fact, it’s on pre-order …

Laura x

You can follow Sarah on twitter: @sarah_tranter

and on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.tranter.73?fref=ts

The Blurb

Sarah Tranter RomancingRomancing The Soul:

Your Soul Mate is out there! Let a past life lead the way
Rachael Jones hasn’t exactly chosen an average career path. She’s a ‘past-life regressionist’ and is now hoping to help her clients find their Soul Mates through reconnecting them with their past lives. But despite her best intentions, there are problems. Rachael made the mistake of regressing her best friend, Susie Morris, who has since been haunted by events that occurred in her past life.
When Susie meets Hollywood actor, George Silbury in unlikely circumstances, she is completely unprepared for her reactions. There’s an intense mutual attraction that neither can explain nor ignore.
Can George help Susie to overcome the sense of desolation she feels as the result of her past-life regression or will history’s habit of repeating itself ruin all chances of her finding happiness?

2014 – No More Butterfly Reading – and that’s a promise!

Leaf B

The Romaniacs have decided to give up on the usual resolutions this December and focus on what really matters – books. Who wants perfect nails, a 22” waist and a healthy liver anyway? And my problem this year has been a nasty case of Butterfly Reading (stolen from our old friend Liz Crump’s Butterfly Writing issues which started the ball rolling for us so long ago) i.e. flitting from one thing to another, reading magazines in the bath and generally not getting through all the great offerings that are out there.

So in honour of the fast approaching 2014, here are the three (or more if we can’t stop) books we are dying to read in the New Year. They’re not things like War and Peace or the entire works of Keats; they’re not books that we feel guilty for not having already soaked up – they’re just our three personal must-reads. Please tell us yours too – there are always spaces for more on the list!

Hunger Games

Celia: The first of mine was going to be the third in the Hunger Games trilogy – Mockingjay – but I don’t know if I can wait that long – I’ve read the other two in quick succession and the third’s waiting on my Kindle … and it’s calling … My next is a re-read really but also a new one; our own Laura E James’ Truth or Dare. I’ve been saving it for a quiet couple of days but then the Hunger Games sneaked in. I loved the first draft so the polished version is going to be wonderful. And the last on my list is whatever Kate Atkinson or Elizabeth George write next. Either is fine, just hurry up, ladies. And anything by Terri Nixon and Mandy James. I could go on.

Sue: Mine are The Sword of the Templars by Paul Christopher, The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell. Someone To Save You by Paul Pilkington.

sword of temp

Lucie: Here are my three choices – Miranda Dickinson – Take a Look At Me Now, Persuasion – Jane Austen, Wish Upon a Star – Trisha Ashley.

Catherine: My three books I want to read are Dearest Rose by Rowan Coleman, Is this Love? by Sue Moorcroft & Sweet Proposal by our Celia. Would have read it already, Ce but these little girlies are so demanding! And I love sleep way too much!

Sarah Tranter Romancing

Laura: My chosen list is Romancing The Soul by Sarah Tranter, A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell, and To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. And thank you, Ce xx

Vanessa: Only three?? Well, I got How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern from Santa so I’ll read that one first. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (loved the tv adaptation last night with Olivia Colman and Vanessa Redgrave) and I’m looking forward to the new Stephen King later in the year (think it’s called Mr Mercedes). There’s a new Jojo Moyes out in Feb too: The One Plus One. And I’m definitely going to read Life After Life by Kate Atkinson because I missed it in 2013 and forgot to put it on my Christmas list.

Life After Life

Over to you … Happy New 2014 Non-Butterfly Reading :)

P for Plotting, P for Polished, P for Enis …?

Today, we are delighted to welcome Jane O’Reilly to Romaniac HQ. Jane’s been managing without a P …

So you’ve (almost) finished nanowrimo – now what?

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If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ve most probably heard of Nanowrimo. It’s kind of like Movember for writers – instead of facial hair, Nanowrimo involves growing a book. Fifty thousand words, written during November, cut and pasted into the Nanowrimo site which will, once you reach that milestone, declare you a winner.

So you have your 50K words. Or maybe a few more (or maybe a few less). But what to do with them now? Having been on a tight deadline which required me to have not just 50K words, but 50K polished and ready-to-send-to-an-editor words by the end of November, I thought I would talk about my personal process of moving from a first draft to a finished story.

This started for me back in October, when I was asked to write 2 25K erotic romance novellas with a fairly tight turnaround (5 weeks). I had plotted the first, had no idea about the second, and had no written words of either. I got to work and wrote a lot of sex scenes in a very short space of time. Some of them were weird. But we won’t talk about that. More disturbing was the weekend I spent on writing retreat in Devon (with lots of other lovely writers) when the P on my laptop decided to stop working. For the first 5 thousand words of the second novella, my hero had an enis. It was distressing for both of us.

By 19th of November, I had my first drafts of both novellas. Phew. After a couple of hours of recovering from the weeks of panicking that I wouldn’t get those done in time, it was time to start panicking about revising them in time. This is a different sort of panic. It’s not a blank page, I have so much to do panic, more of a what if the story is insane panic. The only solution is to open up the document and read it, preferably somewhere private. People tend to think you’re a bit strange if they see you talking to yourself and crying. We’re often told to take a break from a manuscript before revising it, but my experience has been that if a draft is left for any length of time, it is very difficult to go back to, especially if you have started a new more exciting project. And once you’re on deadline, you won’t have that option. By all means leave it, but for a couple of days. Not for a couple of months (which can all too easily become years).

For anyone who has never revised a draft before, I’d like to start by saying this: revising is more than fixing typos. You do have to fix typos, don’t get me wrong – but a draft isn’t finished when that job is done, and it should be low down on your list of priorities. The first step, for me anyway, is to check that the three act structure is in place. At this point in my writing career, I am definitely a plotter. I didn’t start out as one, primarily because I didn’t know how to plot, but now it is vital. I write to the following structure – ordinary world, inciting incident, turning points 1, 2 and 3 (with a midpoint change that needs to occur exactly half way through the book), high point, black moment, darkest moment and climax. I also try to have the end of the book mirror the beginning as much as possible (so in the first of the two novellas, the book opens at a wedding, with the hero catching the heroine doing something she shouldn’t. It ends with the hero and heroine doing that something at their own wedding). Got all that? Good. If the idea of 3 act structure is new to you, I suggest taking a look at The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. (Yes, it’s a tome. Yes, it’s worth it.) Alternatively, if you can get yourself on one of her courses, get the lovely Julie Cohen to explain it to you.

As well as a rough plan for the turning points, I also have a fairly good idea of what the book is about (the theme) and some sort of logline worked out before I begin, so that I know the conflict is enough to sustain the story. (For more on this, Save the Cat by Blake Snyder and Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain are both useful).

Even with a plan, however, it is still possible to take a wrong turn. Fix the structure first, and everything else will follow. Making sure the structure is right and that I have all the right scenes in the right order takes me through a second draft. Each of those scenes and the sequel that follows on from it also has to have structure – a character must enter a scene with a goal and fail to achieve it, and in the sequel that follows, the character must rethink and set a new goal. (For anyone looking for help with scene structure, I would recommend reading Scene and Sequel by Jack Bickham.)

The third draft involves making sure all the back story is coherent. You know, how the hero was her neighbour at the start of the draft and he was her best friend’s brother by the end. All those threads have to be tied together so that as you move from scene to scene, there is strong internal consistency. I also fix other inconsistencies I find along the way, like random changes of clothing and position, dialogue that doesn’t make sense, and the best friend who started out as Charlotte and ended up as Dave. Random animals have to be removed, together with any unnecessary Star Wars references and/or enises. At this point, I can also start to see where I’ve repeated myself and decide which bits to cut and which to keep. (Saying the same thing 8 times in a first draft is mandatory.)

At this point, I usually put the document on to kindle and read it on that. Changing reading format will give you a completely different view of the story – you will suddenly see the typo in a sentence that you’ve read a dozen times, see which sentences are clumsy and awkward, see where you’ve used the same word 5 sentences in a row. (Yes, you can fix the typos now. You mean you haven’t done it already?)

The final step, which takes me to 5 drafts, is to get the kindle to read the book out loud. More typos and sentences that need to be put down will make themselves known. Plus you get to imagine what it would be like if your sex scenes were being read out loud at a robot book club.

By this point, robot book clubs aside, chances are that you are completely fed up with your book. You may even hate it. This is the point at which to stop playing around with it and send it wherever it needs to go.

But before you do, I have one last task for you. Run spellcheck.

Jane O’Reilly writes contemporary romances for Harlequin Escape and erotic romances for Carina UK. Find her on twitter as @janeoreilly, on facebook at www.facebook.com/janeoreillyauthor or visit her website at http://www.janeoreilly.com/

Jane O'Reilly Cover Pic

Blurb:

When tabloid journalist Erica Parker is forced to take a holiday, she’s determined to make it the most miserable holiday she possibly can, but not even her impressive imaginative powers could have come up with sharing a tent with survival expert Nathan Wilde.    Nathan was a married man with a successful TV show before Erica got to work on his life. Now the hottest man she’s ever met is single, furious, and he’s got her alone in the wilderness for three long days…

Let’s Get Emotional with ‘Doubting Abbey’ author Samantha Tonge

A very warm welcome to Samantha Tonge on the Tuesday Chit-Chat slot.  First of all big Romaniac congratulations on the publication of her debut novel ‘Doubting Abbey’.  Today Samantha is getting all emotional – but in a good way.

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Let’s Get Emotional

Part of the reason I’m so thrilled that my debut novel, Doubting Abbey, is finally ‘out there’ in the big wide world, is that I have several unpublished novels under my bed. It’s been a hard slog, getting published – although a rollercoaster ride along the way, filled with disappointment, yes, but many highs, like the excitement of a new project; my first positive rejection letter; getting the full manuscript requested; finally bagging myself an agent.

In retrospect I can see what was wrong with the very first novels I wrote and one aspect only really became clear in the last year or two, thanks to an editor I worked closely with in the short story world. She said I needed to put even more emotion into my work. It makes sense to me now. Readers love a story if they care about the characters – to care they must feel what those fictional people are going through. Otherwise they might get to the end and ask “what was the point”?

So now when I write, I try harder than ever to put myself into the characters’ place and convey their emotions according to my own feelings. Nerves? Yes, a twisted stomach or sweaty palms. Fear? A dry mouth and racing heartbeat. Love? Flushed cheeks and a warmth spreading through my chest. Someone recently recommended a book to me called the Emotional Thesaurus and it is brilliant at listing such reactions.

Also, as the writer, you need to think of emotional actions, not just physical change. In Doubting Abbey, arrogant hunk Lord Edward is secretly a tortured soul. Hence the occasion when he’ll sit with his head hung in his hands. Pizza waitress, Gemma, who must pretend to be his posh cousin, Abbey, hates all the lies – which could be conveyed by a lack of eye contact and a wavering voice.

The emotional stakes can also be raised by particular storylines – in Doubting Abbey friends from the past are brought together. Reunions are emotional gold, making the reader care not only about the people in your novel, but also the plot and what happens – and not necessarily to flesh and blood. Lord Edward’s family must win reality show Million Dollar Mansion to save their beloved but run-down Applebridge Hall – a building I hope finds a place in readers’ hearts. With its cracked tiles and faded wallpaper, on the surface it’s just bricks and mortar – yet the family portraits from bygone centuries soon tell the tale of a place once filled with vibrant parties, kind-hearted residents, passionate love and unbridled laughter.

So next time you read a book, think about what moves you and makes you care. Have you laughed? Did your eyes well up? Did you fall just a little bit in love with the hero…?

Doubting_Abbey_Xmas_Cover

Swapping downstairs for upstairs… How hard can it be!?
Look up the phrase ordinary girl and you’ll see a picture of me, Gemma Goodwin – I only look half-decent after applying the entire contents of my make-up bag, and my dating track-record includes a man who treated me to dinner…at a kebab shop. No joke!
The only extraordinary thing about me is that I look EXACTLY like my BFF, Abbey Croxley. Oh, and that for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve agreed to swap identities and pretend be her to star in the TV show about her aristocratic family’s country estate, Million Dollar Mansion.
So now it’s not just my tan I’m faking – it’s Kate Middleton style demure hemlines and lady-like manners too. And amongst the hundreds of fusty etiquette rules I’m trying to cram into my head, there are two I really must remember; 1) No-one can ever find out that I’m justGemma, who’d be more at home in the servants quarters. And 2) There can be absolutely no flirting with Abbey’s dishy but buttoned-up cousin, Lord Edward.
Aaargh, this is going to be harder than I thought…

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