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

CATHERINE CONTRACTED BY CARINA!

CATHERINE CONTRACTED BY CARINA!

Catherine & her two beautiful girls

Catherine & her two beautiful girls

We have superb news for you.

Our very own Catherine Miller has signed a two-book deal with Carina UK!

We’ve been celebrating in style at the Romantic Novelists’ Association annual conference and at Romaniac HQ, with wine and cake aplenty.

Catherine

 We are absolutely delighted for you.

Many congratulations on your wonderful news.

Baby Number Two is a fabulous read and we cannot wait to see your first book baby making its way in the big, wide world 😀

Now, lets hear from the chilled-out mum-of-two and lovely lady herself …

 WAHOO!

Much love,

Your Romaniac Buddies

xxxxxxx xx

RNA, NWS : Joan Hessayon Award

As you may know, The Romaniacs all met through the RNA‘s New Writers’ Scheme back in 2011. Since then we’ve all made great strides in our writer careers and, amazingly, last year three of us achieved our ambition of becoming published authors. This has meant ‘graduation’ to full membership with the RNA and sees us eligible for the Joan Hessayon Award; the winner of which is to be announced at the RNA summer party in London on 22 May 2104.

Celia J Anderson – Sweet Proposal

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Laura E. James – Truth or Dare?

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Sue Fortin – United States of Love

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We are in fabulous company and wanted to wish everyone the very best of luck. We are looking forward to the evening very much and to meeting up with all the other attendees, especially the other new writers.  Here is the full list of nominations.

Alison May

Eileen Hogg

Elaine Everest

Helen Phifer

Jane O’Reilly

Jennifer Young

Jessica Thompson

Jill Steeples

Jo Thomas

Kathryn Freeman

Lin Treadgold

Pauline Bennion

Susan E Willis

Teresa Morgan

Congratulations everyone on becoming published

and

very best of luck!

 

Truly, Madly, Deeply – The RNA Anthology

TMD 24Truly, Madly, Deeply – The RNA Anthology.Author_Pose

I am delighted to announce the release of the Romantic Novelists’ Association new anthology, Truly, Madly, Deeply, published by Mills and Boon and available in paperback with 24 stories, and as an extended eBook, containing an additional 11 stories. A bumper selection of all-new specially-selected stories from the leading lights of commercial women’s fiction as well as some exciting new names!

My short story, Bitter Sweet is included in the digital extension, and I am thrilled, honoured, and privileged to be part of such a great anthology, alongside wonderful authors for whom I have deep respect.

The blurb:

24 specially selected stories from bestselling authors including Adele Parks, Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews, Miranda Dickinson and many more. From wedding days to special anniversaries, steamy one night encounters to everlasting loves, Truly, Madly, Deeply takes you on an exciting romantic adventure where love really is all you need. Plus, eBook edition includes 11 additional stories!TMD_eBook cover

It’s a must-have!

Please join us on Friday 21st from 09:00 at our Facebook Online Launch Party, and on Twitter, using #TrulyMadlyDeeply and #RNA

Here are the all important links:

Mills & Boon:

Facebook

Twitter

Mills & Boon: Truly, Madly, Deeply

Amazon:

Paperback

eBook

iBooks

Google Play

Kobo

Enjoy!

Laura x

Romaniac Shorts – Out There For Everyone To See

Romaniac Shorts Cover

Now the Romaniac blog is 2 years old, we’re toddling around in Shorts.

Our cover depicts each Romaniac. Can you guess who has which shorts?

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Laura: This is stuff of fantasies, so I chose the red Daisy Dukes, 6th on the line. Remember Daisy from The Dukes of Hazard? I’m never going to get away with wearing tight shorts, so I’m dreaming the dream, baby. Oh yeah.

Jan: An easy choice for me. Turquoise is my favourite colour. Proud to be flapping on the Romaniac line … 

Sue: I opted for the pretty green flowery ones. Whenever I’m thinking up plot ideas, I always doodle flowers, so it seemed the obvious choice.

Lucie: I’m a red head … so naturally I went for orange shorts!

Debbie: It has to be the plain green ones for me, to go with my old green wellies for when I’m ‘at one with nature.’

Celia: Mine are the denim cut-offs – one of my friends’ mums once asked me if I was dressed by Oxfam when I was wearing my best pair. Um … yes, actually …

Catherine: Mine are the yellow polka dot shorts for two reasons. 1) Excellent for the cabaret shows I perform for the twins. (The most effective way to keep two girls happy.) 2) They disguise the milk deposits.

VanessaMy daughters helped with suggestions when I was colouring up the shorts on the cover and they chose the red with white polka dots for me!

Did you guess correctly?

Romaniac Shorts is available as a download from Amazon, at £1, here. We hope you enjoy our briefs 😉

xx

Birthday Celebrations in Romaniac Shorts!

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You won’t believe it, really you won’t. I still can’t quite believe it myself. But … The Romaniacs are TWO YEARS OLD today.

Two! Our blog has been running for a couple of years now and still every day, we pinch ourselves at the immense support we receive from you all.  Thank you SO much.

We are celebrating today in usual Romaniac fashion. Can you guess how? Go on, have a go …

Yep, you guessed it – cake! And lots of it, too! The diets have been put on hold and we plan to devour our weight in cake, biscuits and chocolate. Oh, and then there’s the champagne. Got to have a bit of fizz on our blog birthday.

We’re even having a ‘bring your baby to work’ day, just so that we can make it more of a party. So, we have all the Romaniac children having a boogie, too.

I’ve got to say, it’s a lot of fun here and we would be so happy for you to all join us in a celebratory toast – go on, take a glass – and raise it up high.

To all things writerly, what a wonderful two years it has been. And also (no, don’t drink yet, there’s a second part) to our wonderful support network of friends, without whom, we would not be where we are today.

*CHEERS*

Oh, wait! In all the celebrating and, ahem, drinking, I almost forgot to tell you about our other exciting news. As from today, you will be able to purchase an anthology of short stories and flash fiction penned by none other than our lovely team. That’s right, we have all pooled together our creativity and have created an anthology for you. For those who missed our blog last week about it, let me explain …

Romaniac Shorts Cover

Romaniac Shorts is a collection of short stories and flash fiction that stretch across a number of different styles and genres. Each member of The Romaniacs has included at least two pieces for you to enjoy. We feel this anthology is fresh, exciting and most of all, a bargain at the mere price of £1 and it is available to purchase for your Kindle as from today.

We each believe that the Romantic Novelists’ Association has played a major part in getting us writers to where we are today – it was even how we met in the first place. We are so thankful to the RNA and especially to the New Writers Scheme which has seen us all as members at one time or another. Some of us even going on to be full members! *fanfare and confetti*

And so, to show our appreciation for such a wonderful and encouraging organisation, we shall be donating a percentage of our proceeds from this anthology, to the RNA, to help encourage and grow other writers. The remainder of our proceeds shall be passed to Dyslexia Action.

We know how isolating, frustrating and difficult writing can be at times and there are some people out there who have the additional struggle of dyslexia and such like. So we are very keen to help those who need it the most, which is why we have chosen the RNA and Dyslexia Action.

We hope you will help us help them by purchasing Romaniac Shorts and most of all, we hope you enjoy it!

Please do get in touch with us and let us know what you think.

Now, where did I put my cake …

Lucie x

Romaniac Shorts: Fashionably Brief

Romaniac Shorts: Fashionably Brief.

There has been much excitement at Romaniac HQ, but in keeping with today’s title, we’ll be brief.

Next Thursday, 13th February 2014, our blog will be 2 years old, and we have a very special celebration planned.

Romaniac Press has gone into production, and we are releasing our first anthology:

Romaniac Shorts

It’s a diverse collection of short stories and flash fiction, ranging from romance, to crime, to fantasy,  and we are thrilled to see one of our early ideas finally come to fruition.

Romaniac Shorts will be available as an eBook, through Amazon.

All profits from the sale of Romaniac Shorts will be divided between Dyslexia Action, and the Romantic Novelists’ Association .

We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have received guidance, advice, and friendship from the writing world, and we always aim to give something back. We hope this goes a little way to saying thank you.

Please enjoy our briefs.

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