Roving Romaniacs – Life Cycle of a Writer goes to Chichester

The Life Cycle of A Writer has been a popular feature here on the blog for over a year now where we all take it in turns to update what’s been going on in our writerly worlds. Last week saw the first live date, when The Life Cycle of a Writer went to Chichester library. It went really well and we are hoping to book some further dates at other libraries along the south coast. Here are a few photos and words from Catherine, Laura and Sue to sum up the evening.

sue laura catherine chi library

Sue: It was a great evening and although I was nervous to start with, once we got chatting I felt much more relaxed. It was good to see some familiar faces in the audience and we received some really positive feedback. Thank you to Chichester Library who were fantastic hosts.

sue laura chi library

Laura: I agree with Sue. It was a great evening. The audience was attentive and engaged and asked interesting questions, the library was a superb venue with lovely staff, and going on tour with Sue and Catherine was fun. I was chairing the panel, although that involved little input from me as the discussion flowed naturally and all three Romaniacs kept the conversation moving forward. I was in my element. I was ‘on stage’, and chatting about writing and books. I’m very much looking forward to taking the talk to more venues, and would love to return to Chichester library. So pleased we were able to encourage and help new writers.


Catherine: I’m the one that talks with my hands. As I waved through my parts of our talk, it was great to have an audience to engage with (us writers normally have to chat to ourselves) and the Q&A session provided some excellent questions. Thanks to everyone who joined us and hopefully they’ll be another one soon. 


Motivation Monday – 29th February

DragonflyCelia: To celebrate Leap Year Day, I’m not going to propose marriage to any of you (although I’m sure you’re all very eligible and charming) but to say Happy Birthday to anyone unfortunate enough to be born on February 29th. I remember my lovely Grandpa bemoaning the fact that he only had one birthday to everyone else’s four, and having a huge cake for his 21st (also his 84th). So for all of you, and also for anyone who, like me, is celebrating getting their writing Mojo back after a long dry spell, here’s a big cheer. This week I aim to:

  1. Finish the revisions on my brand new romance with a dark twist.
  2. Write a synopsis that isn’t as truly awful as the last one.
  3. Rewrite my author bio so I don’t sound so much of a psycho.

How about you?

Lucie – After a rocky start to 2016, I am not going to focus on the bad this week. This weeks motivation for me is to keep my head up, and smile. I am going to look at all the positives going on in my life – and yes, I do have some – and move forward. So my list this week:

* Smile

* Not put so much pressure on myself

*Refocus and organise.

January and February haven’t been great, but March is the start of a brand new month. Onwards and upwards. Lots of love xx


LCOAW – Getting Marketing Right

The title of this post is a bit misleading. In order to talk about getting marketing right, I’d have to have some concept of whether I was achieving that myself. And to be fair, I haven’t got a Scooby Doo.

My degree in Physiotherapy and the months of catching five minutes to write while looking after my twin girls haven’t exactly primed me for the Buy My Book phase of being an author. But here I am with just over two weeks to go before my debut novel is out and ARRGGHHH I’m so unprepared for this! I’m not in a position to spend hours at a laptop sending out suggestive hints as to why Waiting for You should be THE BOOK you buy today. So I’ve tried to promote the book in some other ways in an attempt to be a bit different, but also to allow the marketing to fit in with family life.

WFT new

Firstly, I did a promo day as a Facebook event. I called it Don’t Wait for… Waiting for You and it was with the aim of getting all those who were considering purchasing the book to do it on a single day. As there were prizes, it also attracted some others to pre-order. Overall it worked well to spread the word about the book and allowed me to concentrate my efforts on a single day and it was something slightly different to the Publication Day parties that are often popular.

As this is my first book and I have worked so bloody hard over several years to get to this stage, I wanted to make sure I did something special to send it on its way. Having harnessed my inner Milly Johnson (Milly does the best book launch parties) and read Jane Wenham-Jones’ Wannabe a Writer We’ve Heard Of, I now have the perfect (rather unique) spot for my book launch – The Oasis Down to Earth Farm, a local community farm.

Book Launch

It was an interesting challenge trying to think of the perfect place to launch a book that is digital first so not necessarily suitable for a more traditional book shop venue. In the end I think I’ve ended up with something that will be unique and exciting and it’s great to think the day will be raising funds for the farm. If you are local to Southampton and free that day it would be great to see you there.

As well as both these things I’ll be doing my share of tweeting, FBing and a blog tour supported by Carina. Because all in all I’m not sure what works. Not when my degree taught me the origin and insertion of every muscle in the human body and not the persuasive charms of selling books. I figure I’ll do it in a way that I enjoy and hope that in turn people will enjoy Waiting for You.

To finish, on a totally unrelated note, please BUY MY BOOK 😉

Til next time,

Catherine x

Demotivated Monday

It’s nearing the end of February. We’ve been swamped with work. And some weeks the only thing you can manage is reading a good book and eating an exorbitant amount of cake. So today is dedicated to all the things that help us find our mojo again:




We do seem to have a universal theme of using food and cake to get our mojo back. We do occasionally stretch to fresh air as well. What do you do to find your motivation?



Follow Up Friday – 19 February

Well, how did we get on with our goals this week?

Laura: Well … I’ve not written much, but I’ve had a writerly week, meeting up with friend, author, tutor and mentor, Sue Moorcroft, which was fab, and meeting authors and publishers at the Purbeck Literary Festival, which was also fab 🙂

I spent time with my family, too, which has been lovely.

Sue: Not too bad considering it is half-term. I’ve spent a lot of time with my youngest, which was my main aim so anything else is a bonus. I did manage some admin type tasks, like merging my website and blog into one place, creating a new header and making some book marks for next week’s library talk. I didn’t get to read any of the books on my TBR pile though – there’s always next week!

Celia has had a great week too, meeting all her targets. That will be the smutty ghost story and weaving some more story lines into her WIP!

Have a great weekend everyone!










Motivation Monday – 15 February

author picSue : Hello, hope you all had a good weekend. I’m sure I said this before, but I can’t believe how quickly this past fortnight has gone.

This week it’s half term so I probably won’t get much writing time but I’m hoping to complete a few writing related tasks in addition to #1 on the list.

  1. Keep my daughter occupied and have some days out.
  2. Organise my first newsletter.
  3. Laminate some book marks.
  4. Start building new website.
  5. Read two of these books – rather optimistic but I’ll give it a go. Can’t quite decide which one to start with though. Any suggestions?



Laura: Like Sue, I have children at home this week, but they appear to have plans of their own, so I’m hoping to get down to some serious writing when they are Author Pic 7occupied. I had a successful week following my week of cough and cold, so apart from one task I must complete, the way is clear for the wip.

  1. Create slide show for the Romaniacs on Tour at Chichester Library.
  2. Write like a mad woman.


Celia: After my epic fail last time, I’m now feeling a bit more positive, so this week I’m going to;

1. Begin something that popped into my head in the middle of last night – it can only be described as a slightly smutty ghost story.

2. Continue editing my WIP – have got a couple of new ideas to weave in. 

Wish us luck, and the same to all of you as motivate yourselves for the week.

Let’s PARTY!


It is that time of year again – its our blogaversary! The Romaniacs have been blogging for 4 years. Can you believe it? I doesn’t seem but five minutes ago that we were meeting each other for the first time and getting those awkward ‘hello’ moments out of the way.

Who am I kidding, we can be called a lot of things, but awkward certainly isn’t one of them!

We’ve baked cakes (well, Celia has) and there are sparkles galore adorning our HQ. Laura has already started singing on the Karaoke machine, Sue and Catherine are shimmying through the hallway, Vanessa has begun sticking the sequins that were meant for the table, all over her face, Jan is trying to pull some order together but her mischievous giggle is giving her away and Debbie is making sure we all constantly have a tipple in our hand.

And me? Well, I’m making sure all is documented so that I can embarrass them all in the weeks to come – they always know they can rely on me with my camera to make some (permanent) memories.

And so, in true author style, we decided to hold some interviews with our amazing followers to celebrate our birthday. We asked for some questions from you beautiful lot and what great questions we have had to answer from you. Thanks to those who contributed – we hope you all enjoy our *uncensored* answers! I

1/ If you were all thrown into a time machine, and a new person was created out of your joint personalities, what kind of person and writer would we have?

Catherine – The person springing to mind is David Bowie. Such a sad recent loss, but I think his ability to shine brightly and his level of creativity are the essence of all The Romaniacs..

Sue – Gosh, that’s a heck of a question. Where to begin? We all have our different traits and range from both ends of the spectrum to the other, with everything in between.  The sum total of us would be confident, yet shy, cautious, yet gung-ho, out spoken, yet diplomatic, impatient, yet impatient and so on. However, there would also be traits that we all share, like sense of humour, compassion and determination.

Celia – The person that staggered out of the time machine would obviously have all our best bits and none of the features that we gloss over, so she would be calm, yet energetic, she would never procrastinate, she’d be able to juggle family life with her writing and she’d have an insane sense of humour. Oh well, we can dream…

Jan – An upbeat, cake-eating, don’t take yourself too seriously, author of romantic suspense! 
Vanessa –  Oh wow – what kind of person would that make??! Someone crazy, funny, loud and quiet sensible and silly all at the same time! As a writer, they’d write fiction with a touch of romance, a dark edge and a smidge of humour thrown in!

Laura – What a fascinating question. We are eight very different people, which works well for us within the group as our strengths complement one another. Likewise, what one Romaniac doesn’t know, another will. The melded person would be a diplomatic, creative, funny and chatty cake-maker extraordinaire, who asks lots of questions, drinks plenty of Prosecco, and has amazing parties.As to the kind of writer we’d make … I think we would create a whole new genre … The story would be emotional, dark, touching, sinister, thrilling, funny, romantic, suspenseful, a tad off-kilter and very Romaniacal.


2/ If The Romaniacs were forming a band, what would your position be?

Jan – Background singer – the less my voice is centre stage, the better!

Lucie – I would be a backing singer too. Unless there was wine – then I’d be centre stage, warbling away!

Catherine – I’d be one of the support singers and dancers with Sue at my side. As our Christmas get together proved, we have perfected the most awesome shoulder shimmy.
Sue – I can’t sing. I can’t dance. I can’t play any instruments other than the recorder and the piano badly. I’m struggling to find what use I’d be!
3/ Which celebrity do you most resemble?
Catherine –  Lorraine Kelly, so I’ve been told!
Celia – I am often likened to Victoria Wood, which I take as a huge compliment because I love her. I’ve got dinner-lady tendencies too.
Debbie – 543556_10151161123588012_144823655_nOne of my closest friends says whenever she watches, ‘Strictly Come Dancing,’ darceythird_2400905kDarcey Bussell reminds her of me. In my dreams!  
4/ You are at a karaoke night and it is your turn on the mic, what is your song of choice?
Jan – Rivers of Babylon by Boney M. I once sang it at a Christmas party with my sister and a friend and found it best suited my less than tuneful tones (even after a few vinos!).
Karaoke night: I would do anything for love by Meatloaf. 
Laura – It wouldn’t be the first time. I’ve spent a few nights out karaoke-ing. I like to get the crowd going, so I’d pick an upbeat number to start with, something like, ‘I Will Survive’.
You know I would!
Lucie – Literally anything – I love singing! Nothing too high, though, although I would give it a go. Not sure the venue would still be as busy after I was finished…

5/  What was the last thing you purchased?

laura pic.png

Laura – The Stargate SG1 DVD collection. We’ve been watching it on Netflix as a family from the very first episode, and we’d only reached episode four, series three, when it was announced the series was being removed. We were bereft. We love Stargate. Thankfully, Gajitman found the DVD collection online for a very reasonable price, and order and happiness was restored to the James household.

Sue – A laminator!

Lucie – A Designer Doll for a friend’s little girls’ birthday. Plus a card and gift bag.

Debbie – Several LED 50w equivalent spotlights. Oh, what a gripping life I do lead. 

6/  What are you currently reading?

Celia – I’m ashamed to say I’ve abandoned several excellent books I was reading (three of them were Romaniac ones – will return to these asap) and have dived back into the old favourites – my mum’s treasured collection of D.E. Stevensons. My husband always knows when life is giving me hard knocks because the first thing that happens is that the dust gets blown off this out of print, soothing, beautifully written selection. I’m deep into ‘Katherine’s Marriage’ today.

blacklands7.jpgVanessa –  Blacklands by Belinda Bauer

Lucie – Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey eliz is miss.png

7/  What is the best thing about being a Romaniac?

Vanessa – The wonderful friendship and support from an amazing group of women. 

Debbie – Feeling ‘normal’and being accepted for who I am.

Jan – The mutual support, encouragement and understanding with both writerly and non-writerly matters.

Laura –The absolute faith, trust and friendship that formed from day one and has remained since. There is something very special and unique about an immediate bond, especially between so many people. These girls are my sisters. They make me laugh, they accept my idiosyncrasies, and I have a few, and they are always there, and not in a menacing, keep-looking-over-your-shoulder sense. Four years has whizzed by in their company. 

Oh, and they introduced me to gin and tonic. It’s the tonic I really like.

funny.png8/ Tell us a joke?

Laura – A zero walks up to an eight and says, ‘Nice belt.’

Celia – Knock knock.

Who’s there?


Arfur who?

Arfur Got.

(Well, you didn’t say it had to be a good joke.)

Jan – Why did the cow cross the road? Answer – To get to the udder side! 😀 (So bad it’s good, Lucie!)

We hope you enjoyed our answers and thank you for spending the day with us.
















Follow up Friday

So… how did we do with our targets this week?


  1. I’m on target with my edits – I need to finish the final polishing of the wip this week ready to…
  2. Send the wip off to my agent!!

I did it!!! Finished the polishing of my edits Tuesday night and pressed send! Now it’s time to obsessively stalk my email in-box…

  1. Finish a short story for a mid-Feb deadline (still on the list from last time!!)

Sort of… Didn’t manage to finish the short story but I have written a new flash fiction piece for another competition. 300 words instead of 3000 🙂

  1. Non-writing related: when the wip has gone off, do some very neglected housework!

We’ll say no more about this one!


I’ve only written 500 words of the 5,000 word target, but there is still the weekend to go and I have babysitters to help get me to my deadline!

I have a nice shiny loooonnngggg TTD list.

Relocation occurring on Saturday!


How has everyone else got on this week?


Life Cycle of a Writer – Sue Fortin

This is my first Life Cycle of a Writer post this year, my last post was at the beginning of December, click here for a recap. So, since then a few exciting things have happened.

I had a fantastic few days in Shropshire where I met up with the other Romanaic girls and we had our Sparkle Weekend. It was a 70’s theme and we had great fun dancing in the kitchen and belting out some old school tunes.

edits1In my last update, I was waiting for news on the submissions I had made for my fourth full length novel. Since then I have had one official rejection, one assumed rejection as I never heard anything back, two offers of publication and one offer of representation by an agent, Kate Nash of Kate Nash Literary Agency. I was delighted to accept Kate’s offer which I blogged about here and was grateful of the advice as to which publishing offer to accept. HarperImpulse,who published my previous three novels, will be publishing my new novel – we are still deciding on a name for it though.

Last week I actually finished the first round of edits for Book 4 and I am now waiting for the next round to come in. Hopefully, we can get down to sorting out a name and book cover soon.

I’ve also been drumming up interest for the library talk myself, Laura and Catherine from the Romaniacs are giving in Chichester on 25 Febrary. Ticket sales are going well. If anyone is in the area and fancies coming along for a chat, we’d be delighted to see you there.

The Life Cycle of a Writer

After giving my house some love this week, aka doing the housework, I’m going to get back to the novella series I’m working on. The French Retreat was released last Autumn and I’m currently in the middle of writing book 2 in the Falling For France series; The French Affair. I had to put it to one side while I dealt with my edits for Book 4. I’m looking forward to going back to France with the novella and, fingers crossed, that we (me, husband and youngest) can get out to France for real and visit our cottage. We haven’t been for a while and are getting withdrawal symptoms. It will also be a good chance to do some research.

christmas hayley 089




Motivation Monday – 8th February

Happy Monday everybody! Time for some of us to share our targets for the week ahead – writing and non-writing related!


  1. I’m on target with my edits – I need to finish the final polishing of the wip this week ready to…
  2. Send the wip off to my agent!!
  3. Finish a short story for a mid-Feb deadline (still on the list from last time!!)
  4. Non-writing related: when the wip has gone off, do some very neglected housework!

What are everyone else’s plans for the week? I’ll let you know how I got on on Friday!

Vanessa x


Well, my targets for this week are: 1)  To complete and return my answers to some fab questions posed to me by a fellow writer for her blog. 2) To chase up some research enquiries for Book Two. 3)  To gear myself up for my next dental appointment this coming Thursday (second half of root canal treatment, oh joy of absolute joys!).


  1. Write 5,000 words minimum to be on target for book deadline.
  2. Relocate my twins and myself to my mum’s house while my husband stays behind and we have new heating fitted in the house.
  3. Write another TTD list for all the things I need to do in the run up to P Day! Just over a month to go!