Roving Romaniac – Lucie’s loose in London!

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Last month when my friend, Leanne, tweeted me  saying ‘this looks good, we can go after uni!’, it was the start of a very exciting conversation. She is fantastic and is sometimes an extra pair of eyes on Twitter for things exactly like this event. Because I spend a lot of my time either writing books, writing university papers or reading textbooks, my time on social media comes about in fits and starts, so I sometimes miss these great announcements of events and by the time I see them, they are sold out! This is where it is handy, as a lover of books and writing, to have a friend like Leanne to scout these events and tweet me about them! She did the same about the Paige Toon event I went to last month which I shall blog about next week as I totally forgot to at the time! (I blame university/book brain!)

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Arriving at the News Building, ready to join the queue!

So fast forward to yesterday, the day had finally come. We were off to London to the offices of Fabulous Magazine for their author event. Not one, not two, but THREE fantastic authors were there to chat to everyone and sign books. A-MAZ-ING, right?

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Lindsey Kelk

So, we had the very lovely and VERY funny Lindsey Kelk, author of the ‘I heart’ series alongside other novels. Her latest book, ‘We Were on a Break’ is OUT NOW and promises to be another incredibly funny and witty read.

 

Next we have the amazing Giovanna Fletcher, super talented author of books such as ‘Billy and Me’, ‘Dream a Little Dream’ and her most recent novel, ‘Always with Love’ is a great read. Mum to Buzz and Buddy and wife to Tom, Giovanna amazes me with how she manages to fit everything in and still manage to meet fans and

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Giovanna Fletcher

enjoy an evening out.

 

And last, but by no means least, the incredibly talented and super friendly Mhairi Mcfarlane. Mhairi is one of the nicest people I have met; easy to chat with, identifiable and  a total word wizard! Mhairi’s latest book ‘Who’s that Girl’ is OUT NOW. I am about a

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Mhairi Mcfarlane

third of the way through it and LOVING IT!

 

So, what do you get if you add three FABULOUS writers and a FABULOUS magazine – you got it, a FABULOUS evening! A free glass of wine – tick – a free book – BIG tick and a stunning view – phenomenal tick! The ladies chatted about their books, how they write, what they write, why they write. The topic went from cats with urine infections (don’t ask) to Tom Mcfly killing off Giovanna’s characters and using the lives of friends to help create the most craziest stories. There was laughter, lots of it, and great questions from audience members. The interview was filmed for a short while on Facebook Live which added a great dimension to the evening and the room in which the event took place was kitted out amazingly with lights, music from a DJ and a wonderful buzz of excitement that flew around and into every nook and cranny of the space. 14708104_517561595109091_4382367823175074922_n

I had the chance to meet all three wonderful ladies and have my books signed. We did have to queue for quite sometime (they are popular women) but when each and every person arrived at the front desk, it didn’t feel rushed or awkward and each person was given adequate time to chat and enjoy the company of their idols. I had some lovely conversations with each of the ladies, I almost wish I could have pulled up a pew and indulged in conversation all evening.

But unfortunately, as all good things, the evening had to come to an end. My friend and I left – with another friend of mine from back in high school who I recently have started to bump into at these book events (Hi Hannah!) – and we strolled back to London Liverpool Street station ready to embark on our journey back home.

But not before a quick snap on London Bridge to add to our souvenirs from another very enjoyable event.

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Selfie on London Bridge!

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Bumping into school friend, Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Fabulous Magazine for hosting a great event.

 

Thanks to Lindsey, Giovanna and Mhairi for providing many laughs and incredible books.

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And thanks to my friend, Leanne, for finding the event, accompanying me and providing yet more laughs on the journey home at the expense of her jacket!

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All That is Left of Us Blog Tour: Meerkat Research

Creating Owerdale Zoo: The Research

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When I first pitched this book to my editor, the zoo was always going to be central to the story. In essence it was going to be a tale of three mums who regular met at the zoo to catch up. This was the original pitch:

Never work with animal and children, but a weekly coffee can’t hurt, right?

When three old school pals meet at an antenatal class, they decide to support each other through motherhood and get an annual pass to the zoo to meet once a week. But as past secrets come out, and a meerkat becomes a changing bag stowaway, will they make it through their maternity leave as friends, or enemies?

The book evolved from the original idea to be focused on Dawn who is acting as surrogate for her sister-in-law, Rebekah. But the meerkat idea was still going to be central and turned into the best research I’ve ever had to do.

At the point of only having a story outline, I needed to do some research to find out as much as I could about meerkat behaviour. In All That is Left of Us, Dawn’s son, Archie, is obsessed with the Owerdale Zoo meerkats and spends every Saturday morning documenting what they’re up to so it was important to have as much knowledge as possible.

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When it came to research, books and documentaries weren’t going to be enough so I contacted Paulton’s Park to see if they could help. They have their own mob of meerkats so I asked if anyone would be able to answer some of the weird and wonderful questions I had in relation to the storyline. Thankfully, they were really helpful and I met with the livestock manager, Geoff Masson, and he helped answer all of my questions regarding meerkats and their behaviour. I’ve tried to portray them as accurately as possible and any mistakes are my own. I have to confess to this being one of my favourite parts of the novel. The friendship Archie has with the meerkats is very real and his relationship with animals reflects that this is a story of love in its many forms, even the ones we don’t understand.

I really hope any readers of All That is Left of Us enjoy the relationship between Archie and his meerkats as much as I enjoyed researching and writing about them.

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Now I just need to decide what research to incorporate into the next book.

Catherine xx

HONNNNKKKKKKK!

HONNNKKKK!!!

The fireworks are being lit, the cake is coming out of the oven and the glasses are overflowing with pop as The Romaniacs celebrate the paperback release of our lovely Jan Brigden’s As Weekends Go.

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Laura: Many congratulations, Jan. What an exciting day! Your first paperback. And isn’t it gorgeous? I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a signed copy. I am thrilled for you. So well deserved, my lovely, hardworking friend xxx

Catherine: Congratulations, Jan! The honkometer cannot withstand such excitement! This level of celebration may be enough to put it into early retirement! Enjoy the day and we’ve stocked up on additional cake to mark the occasion! Xxx

Vanessa: HUGE congratulations, lovely Jan. I hope your day is filled with cake and champagne – I can’t wait to add the wonderful As Weekends Go to my Romaniac shelf!

Sue: Honkity-honk-honk-honk! Congratulations, Jan on the release of your paperback. It’s a fantastic story and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. It will take pride of place on my bookshelf with the other Romaniac publications! I also get to stroke Alex Heath!! Well done, my friend, thoroughly deserved. xx

Celia: Sooooo excited for you, our lovely, talented Jan! Loved the Kindle version and can’t wait to see the book in paperback form, in all its glory. Massive congratulations and honks. Very, very proud of you and all you’ve achieved xxxx

Lucie: How amazing is this, Jan? I am SUPER proud of you, my friend! I cannot wait for this to be on my shelf. You are an inspiration and I hope you are celebrating in true Romaniac-style with plenty of fizz and HONKS! Love you lots xxx 

 

With love from The Romaniacs

xxxxxxx

 

 

Life Cycle Of A Writer: When It All Happens At Once

The writing life is full of waiting and I’ve discovered in more recent months that when it does happen, it all happens at once! Following a successful book launch for Waiting for You, I then had my deadline to reach for Book Two.

Sending the next book in was more than nerve-wracking. I’m so used to getting other’s opinions and I didn’t get the chance this time so I was thrilled when my editor informed me that it’s wonderful! So I’m delighted to be able to share the title and bio for my second book:

All That Is Left Of Us

One of My Own…

Dawn loves being a mother. No matter how Archie came into her life, or the fact he’s a little different from other children, he is precious and loved. He is hers, after all. Especially because she’s never told anyone who the father of her son is.

So when Dawn’s twin brother David and his wife Rebekah are struggling to have their own child, Dawn agrees to become their surrogate, as it is the one thing she can do to help.

However, creating the perfect family doesn’t always go to plan and when Dawn realises just how much her nephew needs his mother, she begins to wonder if the time has finally come to confront the past she has kept secret for so long.

It has gone up on Amazon for preorder today! So if you want to help me through this round of revisions please click preorder. It’s due out in September.

If that wasn’t enough excitement for the week (bearing in mind it is only Tuesday), I’m now able to share the news that Waiting for You has been shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon Award this year in a stellar list with 14 other friends and authors.

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The results for that will be announced at the RNA Summer Party on May 19th. I had my photos taken by the talented Chris Neaves of Neaves Brothers Photography and although I now have some super serious author shots, don’t be concerned, in real life it’s business as usual:

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With all that having happened over the course of a couple of months, I need a spa day to rejuvenate. It’s a shame my twin girls have other ideas! Why is it all the excitement is always clustered? Maybe it’s because the powers that be know I need a lengthy period to recover.

Catherine x

A CROSS-GENRE ROMANCE SET IN ONE OF AFRICA’S MOST VOLATILE HOTSPOTS

Today, we are very pleased to welcome Louise Rose-Innes to talk about her new novel A PASSION SO WILD.

Louise:

As I wrote A Passion So Wild I realised it didn’t strictly fit into the contemporary romance genre, but was more a Louise R-I A Passion So Wild - Louise Rose-Innescombination of suspense, adventure and romance. While there is no doubt the love story between gorilla vet, Lexi Carrington and the wildlife park’s benefactor, Sir Anthony Remy is the central storyline, the pace quickens in the second half of the book when rebels attack the park and Lexi goes on the run with a gorilla carer and an injured boy. With the rebels tracking their every move and Sir Anthony and his SAS buddies not far behind, the stakes are raised and the suspense escalates until the very last chapter.

The unpredictability of the setting provides a perfect environment for heightened tension, both sexual and physical.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a politically unstable, volatile country where rebels run riot, corruption is rife and daily life is fraught with danger. The wildlife sanctuary is situated in the tropical rainforest which provides risks of a different kind. The characters have to deal with limited internet connectivity, electricity from generators, no cell phone signal, scorching humidity, tropical thunder showers, and of course all the wild animals and creepy-crawlies one finds in a jungle.

In this book, the jungle seems to have a personality all of its own. I didn’t plan it that way, but when Lexi goes on the run, the lush foliage and dense undergrowth provide shelter and protection as well as limited movement and other hidden dangers. It is at times nurturing, and other times terrifying.

One of the benefits of being an indie author is the freedom to experiment with my novels, themes and genres. With my last traditionally published book, Personal Assistance, I was under the capable but inflexible hand of my assigned editor and my book had to conform to the style and requirements of the publisher’s imprint. While this is perfectly normal, it did limit my creativity somewhat, and at the end of the process the story had changed so much that I hardly recognised it.

With this book, I’ve stuck to my guns and woven the suspense around the romance in a way that I hope my readers will find appealing and exciting. I’ve also brought in aspects that I uncovered in my research which really moved me – such as the endangered mountain gorillas (only 880 left in the world!) and the terrible plight of the villagers who live in the jungle and are at the constant mercy of marauding rebels and government militia.

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The DRC is not all war and chaos, however. There are definite glimmers of hope. The creativity of the people shines through as they learn to cope and even prosper in the war torn environment. Children play in abandon airports, artisans sell homemade produce, rangers risk their lives to protect the wildlife and animal doctors spend hours in the field treating and healing wounded gorillas to ensure their survival.

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All of the research I did created an elaborate and interesting canvas on which to weave my story, but the overriding theme in the novel is one of love, hope and happily ever-afters.

A Passion So Wild is now available at  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01A4HA4HW/

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Former socialite, Lexi, adores her new, fulfilling life as a gorilla vet in the Congolese jungle. Even the surrounding political volatility can’t dim her contentment – until she meets the sanctuary’s enigmatic benefactor, Sir Anthony. He’s wealthy and arrogant, appearing more concerned with his company’s image than the welfare of the sanctuary he’s endowed. He symbolizes the empty, pampered life she left behind – so why is she falling for him? When rebels attack the sanctuary, Sir Anthony is the only man who can keep her safe – yet he’s also the biggest threat her heart has ever faced.

A fast-paced, romantic suspense novel from Amazon Bestselling Author, Louise Rose-Innes.

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Biography

Louise Rose-Innes writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She lives in Surrey, in the United Kingdom and when she isn’t writing, is traipsing through the beautiful countryside or kahaking on the river Thames. Visit her at www.louiseroseinnes.co.uk.

 

No More Waiting! Catherine’s Debut is Here!

HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY, CATHERINE MILLER!

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Laura: The first time I met Catherine, she was waiting for me at an M3 service station. It was 06:00, it was dark and we were both heading to Watford for the inaugural Festival of Romance. It was October 2011.

We had no idea if the other person was a mad axe murderer, what we really looked like, or whether we’d get along. All we knew was our Twitter handles and the fact we were both in the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme.

By the time the car door had shut and we’d pulled away, leaving a rather concerned Mr Miller wondering with whom his wife had driven away, Catherine and I were friends. We did not stop chatting on that journey, or any journey we’ve taken together since. I can’t see us bucking that trend any time soon.

We became writing buddies, fellow Romaniacs, and family friends, and I am absolutely delighted to be able to say, Catherine, congratulations on the release of your wonderful debut, Waiting For You. You have written a gorgeous story that’s full of heart. Happy publication day, my lovely, energetic, make-me-laugh-out-loud, talented friend.

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Catherine & Laura

Sue: Happy Publication Day, Catherine! Waiting for You is officially out there – how fab is that? Since we first met, back in 2011, I have been in awe of your motivation and drive but that’ s not just with the writing, you do an equally awesome job with your twin girls too and I still have no idea how you combine the two roles. Anyway, my lovely friend, who makes me laugh every time we meet, who straight talks and keeps a cool head, here’s to Waiting For You. Sue xxx

Sue & Catherine, Festival of Romance, 2011

Catherine & Sue, Festival of Romance, 2011

Celia: Catherine’s effervescent energy keeps us all going – goodness only knows where she gets it from, but even when she’s been entertaining her lovely,  lively twin girls for hours on end, she can still manage to knock out a fabulous new book. We are now going to watch her fly – go, Catherine!

Celia, Debbie, Lorraine and Catherine

Celia, Debbie, Honorary Romaniac Lorraine, & Catherine

Catherine and Baby Amber

Lucie: I am so proud of you, Catherine, and everything you’ve achieved xxx

Lorraine The Honourary Romaniac

Laura, Vanessa, Debbie, Catherine, Honorary Romaniac Lorraine, Celia, Lucie & Sue

Catherine & Katie Fforde, with the Katie Fforde Bursary Trophy

Catherine & Katie Fforde, with the Katie Fforde Bursary Trophy

Vanessa: I’m so proud of our Catherine –  She’s such a talented writer and worked so hard for this day (even with the distractions of her lovely twins!) and deserves all the success in the world with her wonderful book, Waiting For You.

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Catherine & Vanessa

Debbie: Oh, Catherine, how proud I am to join in the celebrations of your special day! ‘Wonder Woman’ is the first name to spring to mind. I’m in awe of how you manage to juggle being a wife, splendiferous mummy to toddler twin girls and have achieved what you have writing-wise. You are the personification of the saying, ‘Make every second count!’ I don’t know how you’ve done it in between the sleepless nights, teething, weaning and daytime naps but I salute your energy, resilience and sheer dogged determination to never give in. I often refer to the Romaniacs as a tin of ‘Quality Street’ (each one different and every one someone’s favourite!) Catherine is, ‘the purple one’ – one of my writing besties with the nut (nutty??) middle, wrapped in smooth caramel and coated in chocolate. Purple conveys bold and brave, the nut middle says it all as let’s be honest; you are the nuttiest of the group, albeit you’re sweet with it. It’s as if having the twins has unleashed your potential. You’ve had so many successes; the Katie Fforde bursary was the pinnacle. I tip my hat to you and wish you every continued success because you have so earned this moment. Enjoy my friend. xxxCatherine Quality Street

Debbie and Catherine

Debbie & Catherine

Jan: I’m so pleased for Catherine, as is our faithful Romaniac Honkmeter, which is well oiled and firmly in ‘TOOT TOOT’ mode in celebration of her debut which I cannot wait to read. Congratulations my lovely talented friend. May you have much success and sales galore. Enjoy this special day to the max. You’ve worked so hard and fully deserve all the sparkle coming your way! Xx

Media Stars!

Sue, Catherine, Jan, Laura, Debbie & Vanessa

Many congratulations, Catherine,

and much success,

Love from

The Romaniacs xxxxxxx

Down on the Farm

Catherine Miller and the Girls

 

SFTW: AS Weekends Go

WAHOOO!

This is a very special Something For The Weekend.

It’s publication day for Jan Brigden’s debut As Weekends Go!

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As Weekends Go won the Choc Lit and Whole Story Audiobooks Search For A Star competition 2014/2015, and we are immensely proud of and thrilled for Jan. It is a fabulous novel, with a stunning cover. Jan’s warmth oozes from the pages.

Under normal circumstances, Jan is custodian of the Romaniac Honkometer, but we liberated it from HQ so we could do this:

HONNNNNKKKKKK!!!!!

And now for a few words from the Romaniacs …

Laura: Jan, many congratulations on the release of your debut. It’s a huge achievement and I am absolutely delighted for you. Not only are you a wonderful writer, but a genuine, supportive and warm-hearted person, who I am very lucky to be able to call my friend. Have an incredible day – take it all in, enjoy it, have fun, and watch AWG fly :-) xxx

Vanessa: HUGE congratulations, Jan! I’m thrilled to bits for you and your wonderful book. Enjoy publication day!! xxx

Debbie: Woo hoo!  HONKETY HONK! Dearest Jan, I’m sounding the ‘honkometer’ on your behalf today. Our little treasure; you’re the first to encourage, support and congratulate our fellow writer friends. Today the spotlight is on YOU although knowing you as I do, I don’t suppose it will come easily being centre stage, seeing as you’re always one to hide your light under a bushel! However for today, I wish for you to bask in the celebration of your publication day, immerse yourself in the experience and revel in the celebrations our writer friends cast in your direction.

This is what you have been working for, Jan. It is so well deserved and I’m sending you, my lovely Romaniac friend, heartfelt congratulations and every success with XXXX. This is your moment!  This is the time …

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life’s dream. And no-one deserves it like you! xxx

Catherine: I was slightly concerned that as chief honker in Romaniac HQ that the rest of us wouldn’t be able to use the HONKOMETER without Jan backing us up with some kind of IT support! Turns out we only needed to give it a jiggle to sound the honkets! And they are so well deserved after all your hard work and support! Like the girls said, bask my lovely, for today is your day! 

Sue : Ah, my lovely friend, I am so pleased for you!!!!!!  As everyone knows, you are such a fabulous supporter of other writers and here at Romaniac HQ we are thoroughly delighted for you. I absolutely can’t wait to read As Weekends Go and I definitely want a turn of the Honkometer – if I can wrestle it from the others! Have a brilliant day! xxx

Lucie: oh my goodness, Jan! Your debut novel is up, up and away! And fly it will! You are an incredibly supportive, genuine, kind hearted person who deserves every second of this. You are always there, bigging everyone else up. Now it’s YOUR turn to enjoy it. This is SO well deserved, I’m so proud of you. Love you millions xxx

Jan, our lovely supportive buddy – you so, so deserve every success in the world. You never fail to prop me up when I’m down, you’re hugely talented and I’m sure you’re going to be a honkmungous success as a published author (see what I did there?) Love you squillions, Celia xxx

 

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Congratulations, Jan😀

Love from

The Romaniacs

xxxxxxx