Precious Moments – Numbers 3 and 4

The Romaniac Mini has been on tour again.


Laura started off the ‘Precious Moments’ posts (Precious Moments 1) (Precious Moments 2) and as I’ve been a bit greedy and had two Precious Moments this week, I thought I’d share them in one post.

Last Thursday I met up with the very lovely Romaniac, Jan Brigden.  I was heading for London that day for an authors’ event with my publishers so it seemed the ideal opportunity to arrange to meet Jan.

photo (97)Jan hopped on the train just outside London, I had text ahead to tell her which carriage I was on and that I was saving a seat for her. Throughout the journey I tried to look as mean and menacing as possible to put people off sitting next to me. My tactic worked, although I did have to employ full scowling mode the closer the train got to London and the more passengers got on.

We had a lovely pub lunch of good old fish and chips and didn’t stop talking once – not very lady like when you’re eating, but it was a precious moment and we had lots to fit in – food and words!

My other Precious Moment was with the equally lovely Romaniac, Laura, and her family having a day out to visit me in West Sussex.  Again, I don’t think there was a moment where one of us wasn’t talking and time just flew by.

photo (67)

We had a walk along the seafront at Felpham and lunch at The Lobster Pot. It was a bit too chilly and breezy to do much sightseeing, but I did slow down at one point and wave my hand in the direction of Blake’s Cottage (home of the poet William Blake)  for Laura to look at as she followed behind in her car.

photo (66)

It was great to see Laura and her family – I was sad to see them go.

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Tuesday Chit Chat with Caroline Kirkpatrick

Today we’re delighted to welcome the lovely Caroline Kirkpatrick, from Piatkus Entice.

piatkus blog

Hi Caroline – great to see you here on the Romaniac sofa. Coffee? Tea? And the chocolate cake is just out of the oven…

Ooh lovely! A cuppa sounds great, and I won’t say no to the chocolate cake too!

Was a career in publishing ever on your list of dream jobs when you were at school?

I always absolutely loved English language and literature at school, and studied English at A Level. But then my life took a different path and I’ve trained and worked as an actress, as well as living in Dubai and working as a flight attendant for the Royal Family of Dubai. I then got into publishing when I began working as a personal assistant at the Darley Anderson agency.

Who has been the most help to you in your career so far?

So many people. Friends and colleagues in the industry have always offered me great advice. My mum has been a brilliant support too.

What books do you read for pleasure?

My favourite authors are Catherine Alliott and Marian Keyes. Rachel’s Holiday is one of my favourite books ever. And I love the gritty realistic crime of Martina Cole.

Do you write yourself, and if not, do you think you will?

I haven’t tried yet, but I have thought about it. Perhaps one day I will. For now though, I’m very happy editing other people’s work.

What is the most exciting part of your job?

Buying a new author and making their dreams of publication possible.

And the reverse of the coin – what do you find stressful/tedious at work?

Nothing tedious, but it’s a busy department and there are often not enough hours in the day!

Which famous authors would you most like to have dinner with?

Can I go back in time? Would love to have Charles Dickens over for dinner. And from the present day, Hilary Mantel.

What is your most unusual ambition?

To work with endangered orangutans

Thanks so much for dropping in, Caroline – please have some more cake or I’ll be forced to eat all the leftovers. Good luck with the latest Piatkus Entice publishing competition. Looking forward to the results at the Festival of Romance next week. See you soon…

Truth or Dare? by Laura E James. Published! Play the game, if you dare!

There is much excitement at Romaniac HQ today; party hats are on, balloons blown up and plenty of cake and fizz to hand. We are so proud of our Laura – her gritty contemporary novel TRUTH OR DARE?, published by Choc Lit UK, is now available! A split era story where love is a dangerous game and, sometimes, the wrong thing is done for the right reason.


To celebrate this, we’d love you to join in with a game of Truth or Dare?.  Here’s how to play:-

Choose one of the questions below to answer truthfully. Leave your answer either in our comments section or on Twitter using the hashtag #ToD.

If, however, you feel you cannot answer truthfully, then take the dare! Simply click on the curtain to reveal your dare. Again, leave ‘evidence’ of your dare either in our comments section or on Twitter with the hashtag #ToD.

We will be joining in too and can’t wait to see your answers.

Question 1

What is the worst excuse you have given for cancelling a date? 



Dare 1

Question 2

If you had the chance to make one of The Romaniacs your slave for the day, who would it be and why?



Dare 2

Question 3

What is the longest period of time you have gone for without either washing, brushing your teeth or not wearing any deodorant?



Dare 3

Question 4 :

If you could go on a romantic dinner date with one of your colleagues, who would it be?



Dare 4

Question 5:

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you, ever?



Dare 5

HUGE congratulations, Laura.

Truth or Dare? is an absolutely fantastic read. Wishing you every success you deserve.

Choc Lit
Laura E James
Author of Truth or Dare?


Truth or Dare?

Love’s a dangerous game … 

Kate Blair’s sick of unrequited love. She’s quietly waited for Mickey for the past six years and finding a compass-carved heart, with their initials scratched through the middle, only strengthens her resolve: no more Mickey and no more playing it safe.

It’s time to take a chance on real love and Declan O’Brien’s the perfect risk. He’s handsome, kind, and crazy about her so it’s not long before all thoughts of Mickey come few and far between.

But old habits die-hard. Kate may have started to forget … but has Mickey?


Thank you to everyone who joined in with the fun. So you can still see the dares and responses, we’ve copied them all below : –



8 thoughts on “Dare 1”

Aggh – I chickened out on all the above, and now I have to riverdance in my kitchen! But my kitchen has big glass doors and outside that are three (hunky) builders putting up a conservatory for me. Please, I don’t have to do this in front of them… do I?! Later, she promises, when they’ve gone! Laura – I wish you loads of success and I’m really looking forward to reading Truth or Dare (much more than I am doing a river dance!).

  • The Romaniacs

24/10/2013 at 11:38 am Reply(Edit)

Thank you, Kate – you’ve made me lol in my kitchen, where there are no hunky builders, just a doorstop. I’m looking forward to seeing your dance  Laura xx

I’ve taken the dare! I blame The Romaniacs! #ToD @TheRomaniacs @sherylbrowne #lahe PS. My postman thinks I am officially mad! GOOD LUCK, LAURA!!  xx

  • The Romaniacs

24/10/2013 at 11:41 am Reply(Edit)

I want you at every party I ever hold, Sheryl! Laura xx

I did the dare. Well I had to really, I’ve never cancelled a date (call me needy) and anyway the dog enjoyed it (the riverdance – not the date, what sort of woman do you think I am??) tsk

  • The Romaniacs

24/10/2013 at 11:44 am Reply(Edit)

Thank you, Cathy. Nothing like an early morning workout. Was it anything like an early morning workout? Just asking Laura

Still in bed at the moment and my teenage daughter would be too embarrassed to see me doing that so have to bottle out I’m afraid!

  • The Romaniacs

26/10/2013 at 4:48 pm Reply(Edit)

I bet you’d pull it off though, Cara  Thank you for popping in. Laura xx

Dare 2


2 thoughts on “Dare 2”

Why are there no pictures? Hmmm, maybe I’ll post mine tomorrow….

  • The Romaniacs

24/10/2013 at 12:18 pm Reply(Edit)

I’ve seen pictures, Beverley – they may appear here later… Laura x:-)

Dare 3









Dare 4









Dare 5









One thought on “Dare 5”

I took Dare 5. Rather than divulge my most embarrassing experience, I ate curry powder. Go to to see


Precious Moments – Number 2

On Weymouth Beach
On Weymouth Beach

At the beginning of July, I wrote a post called ‘Precious Moments’, when Celia and I managed a rather lovely cake-filled meet-up. It can be read here.


A few weeks ago, Sue Fortin climbed into the Romaniac Mini and spent the day with me in Weymouth.

I took Sue to the Oasis Café, on the pebbled end of Weymouth beach. This café, although not named in the book, features in Truth or Dare?. We had a wonderful fish and chip lunch, and then chatted away as we visited the Victorian beach huts, and Greenhill Gardens.

Victorian Beach Huts
Victorian Beach Huts
Fish at Greenhill Gardens
Fish at Greenhill Gardens

We were lucky with the weather – I enjoy showing off my home town, especially when the blue of the sky is reflected in the colour of the sea.

Now to plan the return trip…

Laura and Sue
Laura and Sue. Trouble. With a capital ‘T’. That is not a halo.

Laura x

Stealing Lines

Well, it’s a first for The Romaniacs, or at least, as far as we know, it seems we have a thief with us at HQ today.

[Don’t worry girls, I took the precaution of locking all notebooks, WIPs and valuables, such as cake and wine,  safely away beforehand.]

So, in the time honoured tradition, Romy Sommers, Stealer of Lines, over to you …

RomyI have a confession to make.

I’m a kleptomaniac. A word kleptomaniac. If I see or hear words I like, I write them down and (shhh…don’t tell anyone!) sometimes I use what I steal.

TV shows are especially good fodder for my addiction. They are to me what a pair of high-heeled glittery Louboutins are to a shoe fetishist – a temptation impossible to ignore.

My books are littered with stolen words. A phrase here, an image there, a snatch of dialogue – I use them without compunction. And until those sneaky TV writers stop writing such good words, I don’t know that I’ll be able to stop.

My only regret … there was this one conversation from Haven I haven’t yet managed to work into any manuscript – I may have to write an entire story just so I can use it!

So here’s a challenge to anyone who reads my new book The Trouble with Mojitos: if you can spot the image I shop-lifted from Hunter S Thompson’s The Rum Diary, I’ll gift you a copy of my first book, Waking up in Vegas. (Heehee – though that does mean you have to read both books first!)

The Trouble with Mojitos by Romy SommerThe-Trouble-with-mojitos250x382

Turquoise blue waters. Sandy white beaches. Mojitos… Film location scout Kenzie Cole has found herself in paradise. Working in the Caribbean for a week is just what she needs to escape the long line of exes in her closet. Though the last thing she expects is to be picked up at the resort bar by a disgraced former Prince!
Luckily for Kenzie, exile is suiting the man formerly known as Prince Fredrik very well. And it’s not long before his rugged, pirate charm is proving hard to resist.
But Rik’s been spending his time in paradise exorcising demons of his own and he has danger written all over him. If Kenzie was sensible she’d run a mile instead of lose herself to lust – although, they do say sometimes you have to get lost before you can be found….

The Trouble with Mojitos is published by Harper Impulse, a division of Harper Collins, and is available from the following online retailers:
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks

About the Author:

I’ve always written stories for myself, but didn’t even think of being an author until I realised that being over thirty and living in a fantasy world was a little odd. Writing those same stories for other people makes it a lot more acceptable!

By day I dress in cargo pants and boots for my not-so-glamorous job of making movies but at night I come home to my two little Princesses, in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I live, and I get to write Happy Ever Afters. Since I believe every girl is a princess, and every princess deserves a happy ending, what could be more perfect?
You can follow Romy on Twitter, Facebook,Goodreads or on her blog.


“A mojito, please.”

Kenzie sagged against the bar counter, not caring that her order sounded desperate or her body language suggested impatience. She needed alcohol, and she needed it now.

The benefit of an empty bar was that the drink came reassuringly quickly, poured from an ice cold jug ready and waiting, and complete with swizzle stick and paper parasol. She ditched both and tossed the drink back.

“Rough day?” The dreadlocked bar tender leaned on the scarred wooden counter.

“You don’t know the half of it.”

“Want to talk about it?”

“Thanks, but I didn’t come here to talk.” She’d done enough of that all day. Talk, talk, talk, and still nothing to show for it. Now she understood how used car salesmen felt. Used.

It was enough to drive a girl to drink. Or at least to the resort’s beach bar, since hitting the mini-bar in her hotel room was just too sad to contemplate.

She didn’t drink alone. For that matter, she didn’t usually drink. Not these days.

Beyond the thatched cabana, the sky flamed every shade of pink and orange imaginable as the sun set over the white sand and surf. But here inside the bar was dark, shadowy and strangely comforting after a day of white-hot heat.

“She’ll have another.”

She turned to the wryly amused voice, and wished she hadn’t as she spotted the dark figure at the shadowy end of the long bar. Great. The resident barfly, no doubt. As if she needed another reason to hate this resort, this island, and the whole stinking Caribbean.

“I can order my own drinks, thank you.”

The shadowed figure shrugged and turned his attention back to his own drink. “Suit yourself.”

What was it with the men in this place? Didn’t think a woman could order her own drinks, didn’t think a woman could do business, wouldn’t even give her the time of day. She ground her teeth, the effects of the first drink not quite enough to blur the edges of her mood. “I’d like another, please.”

She ignored the deep-throated chuckle down the other end of the bar as the barman removed her glass to re-fill it.

The second drink followed the first a little more slowly, and this time she took a moment to savour it. Now she felt better.

But she was still screwed.

Neil had known it when he sent her out here. He’d known she’d be stone-walled, he knew he’d set her an impossible task, and still he’d sent her. He’d expected her to fail. Perhaps even wanted her to fail.

There were days when her past seemed very far behind her. And then there were days like today, when it seemed she’d never escape the follies of her youth.

“Sod him!”

“That’s the spirit.” The stranger at the other end of the bar slid from his bar stool, out of the shadows and into the yellow lamplight.

In another time and place he might have looked gorgeous, but in low-slung jeans that had seen better days, black long-sleeved tee, with hair in drastic need of a cut, several days’ worth of beard, and darkly glittering eyes, he was devastating.

Pirate devastating. Bad boy devastating.

Kenzie swallowed. Double great.

Follow Your Dreams …

It was a very exciting day for me last week – my contemporary romance novel ‘United States of Love‘ was released by Harper Impulse.

It is set in the lovely historic towns of Chichester and Arundel, both local to me. I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some photos of the settings and scenes for my main characters, Anna, Tex and Mark.


Arundel Castle where  the creepy curator works
Swanbourne Lake where Anna and Tex find themselves in a nightmare situation.
photo 4
Arundel High Street looking up towards the castle.
Public garden alongside the River Arun, looking up to the cathedral
Bottom of the High Street


iphone 203
The Cross, centre of Chichester where Mark makes Anna an offer she can’t refuse.
iphone 204
An unwelcome surprise awaits Anna in Chichester Cathedral.
Bishop Palace Gardens 4
Chichester Cathedral from Bishop’s Palace Gardens

And this photo is of my daughter, taken a couple of years ago, which I think speaks for itself. It certainly worked for me and my publishing dream.

Follow your dreams
City Walls, Chichester

Thank you everyone for your support.

Have a great week.



Alison Morton and Perfiditas

We are delighted to welcome back to Romaniac HQ, Alison Morton, who last visited in May, chatting about her first novel in the series, Inceptio. (here.Today, Alison is telling us about the second book, Perfiditas. Take it away, Alison.

Alison Morton 2

Thank you, Laura and Romaniacs, for inviting me back on a very exciting day – publication of my second book PERFIDITAS.

When you start writing, you are often learning about not just the techniques behind producing our novels like structure, goal-motivation-conflict, characterisation and narrative thrust, but about publishing, book promotion and networking. When somebody asks, “How’s the book coming along?” there is only one book. You might have planned, even drafted the next one, but at this stage you’re focusing on the book – your heart’s darling.

Your website reflects the glory of that book, your blog concentrates on its progress, you seek professional advice, polish more, put it through the NWS, polish it more, decide on your publishing route and set off on that path.

On publication and launch days, you glory in the excitement of success, your friends, family and writing colleagues celebrate with you. You go off on a blog and or real tour and your book is in the market. You’re an author.

Then out of the shadows comes that whisper, “So, next book?” It could be from your publisher, friends, fans or yourself but you know you have to disconnect from the first one and concentrate your energy on creating or refining the draft of the second book. But as you settle down to it, you receive a request for a talk or piece about your first one, or it was submitted for an award and it’s been shortlisted. So you switch back with a smile to talk about the first book, your brain a little fuzzy as the details of the story are, unbelievingly, fading. If you’re writing a series, you have to remember not to blurt out what happens in the second that could spoil your article on the first one. Ditto if you give a talk or sell your first book at an event.

This is something I didn’t think about when I launched INCEPTIO. I’ve had to do some rapid running around to make sure my petticoat wasn’t showing when bringing PERFIDITAS to market.

But on the plus side, I’ve learnt that I can write a nearly 100,000 word story and not to collapse internally when I realised I needed to rewrite the last third with a completely different ending to the original (rather stupid) one. I’ve learnt about how to take and use criticism, some technical tricks when editing and a little about the publication path.

But the best thing about the second book is that you are starting from a base you established for the first one. You have gathered some lovely friends and supporters around you who have seen what you can do and who become your champions. That’s almost as good for its own sake as the buzz of getting that first book out.

And now? Fans have kindly asked, “When’s the next one out?” Well, here it is…

Alison Morton Perfiditas Cover

PERFIDITAS, the second in the Roma Nova thriller series comes out today, featuring heroine Carina and her adventures, not least her complex relationship with the enigmatic Conrad.  Rebellion is in the air, but even Carina can’t foresee the ultimate betrayal…

More about PERFIDITAS here:

Oh, and there’s an exciting trailer:

Laura says: From what I’ve heard, if it’s anything like the first in series, INCEPTIO, it’ll be a great read. Alison tells me that historic authors Simon Scarrow and Jean Fullerton, and writer and broadcaster Sue Cook have endorsed it, so I think I’ll take a look! 

You can buy PERFIDITAS through your local bookshop (paperback) or here via Amazon as an ebook or paperback.


The PERFIDITAS Kindle version will be on 50% special publication offer price £1.49, until 23rd October. 

You can read more about Alison, Romans, alternate history and writing on her blog:


Twitter: @alison_mortonAlison Morton Logo