Wow, we can’t believe it’s the end of the year already and Christmas is just a few days away. We’ve all been busy this year, both of the writing front and on the home front, so we thought we’d end 2017 with a quick round up of what we’ve been doing and what we’re up to at the moment.
Sue : I’ve had two books published this year, Sister Sister and The Birthday Girl. I’ve been delighted with how they’ve both been received so a HUGE thank you to everyone, I really do appreciate all the support, both directly and indirectly. I’m busy writing my next book and am hoping to be able to share more news on that in the new year.
Laura: My year has been one of discovery, adventures and turning fifty. It began with What Doesn’t Kill Youbeing published in paperback, with a cover quote from the number one bestselling author, Sue Fortin … Who’d have thought when we ladies met and formed The Romaniacs, anything like this would happen? Such a thrill and honour to have Sue’s quote on my book. In July, I went on my second visit to Arte Umbria and rediscovered my writing mojo. What a wonderful week, spent with great hosts and fabulous friends. Health has been a pain, in particular, fibromyalgia, but I’m adjusting to the challenges and finding ways to manage. I’ve had a great time travelling the country with my offspring, as we looked round universities – adventures that will stay with us forever. And possibly find their way into a novel or two. I am totally immersed in my current wip and desperate to get my characters together. My goal is to finish a novel, having not completed one for some time. I, too, would like to thank you all for your continued support, and I wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a 2018 full of happiness and good health xx
Vanessa: Since I started writing my first book several years ago, I’ve begun each year hoping it would be THE year – the year I got a book deal. I’m so thrilled to be able to say that 2017 really was THE year! I came back from a family holiday at the end of May to the exciting news that my agent was ready to send The Murder House out on submission. After a crazy, life-changing few weeks, The Murder House sold at auction in the UK, the US, Germany and Spain, with rights also sold in France, Poland and the Czech Republic. I am living proof that if you have faith and never give up, dreams can come true. The Murder House will be published by Sphere in January 2019, and Grand Central in the US in March 2019!!
Celia: For me, it’s been a year of getting used to not being a teacher any more and of realising that I can write pretty much any time I like for the first time ever! I’ve had some fabulous holidays, spent more time with the family, had more exercise (although no less wine and cake, there are limits to this healthy stuff) and signed with an agent who I respect very much. She is working on a submission package as we speak and plans to send the new book (working title 59 Memory Lane) out to publishers week beginning January 8th. Lets hope they’re not all too full of Christmas pudding to appreciate it!
Lucie: Well, 2017 has been a crazy year for me. I had my first book published in May – The First Time Mums Club – and in July it was released in Paperback format too which was super exciting. I will never forget the feeling of holding my very first paperback novel in my hands. Priceless. I spent most of 2017 juggling writing, promoting, marketing, studying, working and making memories with my friends and family. I went on a writing retreat with some of my lovely Romaniac pals, I went on holiday to Kessingland with our friend and her children and then away with more friends to Devon later on in the year. I celebrated my 31st birthday, started a YouTube channel, attended the prestigious Harper Collins Summer Party and throughout the year met some incredible people (including the very handsome, David Walliams and super lovely Giovanna Fletcher). I watched my best friend marry her soulmate, completed a fitness plan with The Body Coach (which subsequently changed my life in more ways than I could ever imagine) and lost 5kg and 10.5 inches in the process (Thanks Joe and his super lovely team at Body Coach HQ!). I had a book launch party in a real bookshop (thanks Foyles!) and met some incredible people along the way. I also wrote my next book which is coming out in March so watch this space in the new year for a cover reveal and some fun online promo to get involved with! So as you can see, 2017 has been an incredible year and I am so grateful to all those people in my life who made it special. Thank you for being part of it, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. To all my old friends, thanks for sticking by me on the rollercoaster that is my life! To all my new friends, thank you for coming into my life and making this year count. And to all of you reading this now – thank you for your amazing support and encouragement. Here’s to an awesome 2018! Have a great Christmas and New Year! Love and hugs xx
Jan: It’s been an up and down year for me, healthwise, but I’m determined to finish my sequel to As Weekends Goand thank everyone for all the love, encouragement and wise words of support I’ve received. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year. Much love & hugs aplenty xx
Debbie: Well, it’s taken almost seven years and after another (long) health hiatus following my jaw surgery, I finally get to say, ‘THE END’ to Living In The Past, although it isn’t the end, is it? It’s actually just the beginning … The doubts have kicked in, but … the query letters have begun. I’ve started the quest for an agent. More details when it’s my turn on our Lifecycle of a Writer. I have everything crossed that 2018 is going to be a successful and productive year. I wish you all the same. God bless us, everyone. xx
Catherine: Blimey, what a busy bunch we have been! I’ve had a whirlwind of a year as well (no wonder we haven’t blogged as much) with writing and the publication of THE GIN SHACK ON THE BEACH and CHRISTMAS AT THE GIN SHACK. I am so grateful for how well received they’ve been and how everyone is loving the character of Olive. Personally, it has been the year I became a single mum and my twin girls have been a massive focus for me. I’ve dubbed it the Year of Finding Dragons and we have had lots of fun and adventures along the way. Next year is set to be another exciting one – work wise there are plans for several more books and we’re yet to decide what we’re looking for on our adventures… perhaps some unicorns, because, as updates from The Romaniacs above prove… anything is possible! Go grab 2018 with both hands and let it know you mean business!
This morning, the Romaniacs are honoured to be taking part in the blog splash for a very talented author who also delivers a hugely entertaining and informative RNA conference session, especially if you put her in the same room with Jane Lovering and add a onesie or two.
In Rhoda Baxter’s new book, Girl in Trouble, both Olivia and Walter undergo changes that they feel are bad, but end up being positive. I’m taking this theme for my post, because it’s a subject close to my heart.
In my later working life, I spent many happy years as a primary teacher, throwing myself into messy art, drama and especially interactive writing lessons designed to make everyone believe they were already a real life writer. It was great. The kids enjoyed it, the school did well and there was always cake in the staff room.
Then we hit a bad patch and I had to turn to being part of the management team. To cut a very long story short, Ofsted didn’t like our style. Drama disappeared, as did art, and writing became a painful activity all about clauses and comma splices and suchlike. I left the job in summer 2016. It was a massive wrench.
The blessing in disguise part came after months of feeling like a deserter when I finally began to accept what early retirement meant. Although I really missed the kids, there was:
Time to write, day or night (that’d make a good t-shirt slogan)
Time to sleep, ditto.
No silly rules, except the one about not eating the last ginger snap without due warning. Oh, and sometimes being expected to help with cleaning things and gardening. I didn’t see that one coming.
A challenging job with the RNA’s RoNA organisation that made my brain buzz again, and the chance to make some new friends and read even more fabulous books.
I shelved the story I’d written over the last months – it was meant to be all cool and psychological but it was pretty bitter and depressing in places. I wrote a frothy one just for fun. And then I had a light bulb moment about the book I really wanted to write – 59, Memory Lane. That was the one that got an agent interested – and bingo!
So the sad time at school was a blessing in disguise, and this next chapter is turning out to be a whole lot of fun. I hope you thoroughly enjoy Rhoda’s book, and that all your blessings are GIGANTIC ones.
Girl In Trouble blurb:
Grown up tomboy Olivia doesn’t need a man to complete her. Judging by her absent father, men aren’t that reliable anyway. She’s got a successful career, good friends and can evict spiders from the bath herself, so she doesn’t need to settle down, thanks.
Walter’s ex is moving his daughter to America and Walter feels like he’s losing his family. When his friend-with-benefits, Olivia, discovers she’s pregnant by her douchebag ex, Walter sees the perfect chance to be part of a family with a woman he loves. But how can Walter persuade the most independent woman he’s ever met to accept his help, let alone his heart?
Girl In Trouble is the third book in the award nominated Smart Girls series by Rhoda Baxter. If you like charming heroes, alpha heroines and sparkling dialogue, you’ll love this series. Ideal for fans of Sarah Morgan, Lindsey Kelk or Meg Cabot’s Boy books. Buy now and meet your new favourite heroine today.
[The book is on sale for 99p on the 9th and 10th of October, after which it’ll climb up to 2.99. If you buy in the first week, you get some early bird bonuses – a short story collection and a recipe booklet containing recipes for the snacks mentioned in the Girl Having A Ball.]
I’m writing this with the soundtrack of ‘We Are Family’ playing in my head. A couple of months ago, the amazing human dynamo that is our Catherine Miller wrote a lovely post on here about how the Romaniacs have been having a series of ups and downs, and are in a phase of new beginnings. I’m not going to make lists here but some of the ups are…well, pretty uppish! The lows for some have also been spectacular and even bumping along in the middle lane has sometimes been a challenge.
For that reason, today’s LCOAW isn’t detailed – it’s just a celebration of a friendship group that’s standing the test of time with flying colours and never fails to be supportive, warm and not a little bonkers.
It’s been an amazing old time at Romaniac HQ of late. There’s been news on a scale we could never have imagined and it’s been made more magnificent by the fact it’s coming from every quarter.
And this isn’t like some kind of band break-up message. We’re not saying we’ve reached our peak -let’s end on a high. We’ve never been in a position to support each other more and celebrate at every stage.
But it has made me think about chapters. About how you never know what is coming in the story, but you have to hope it’s gonna be good. (And I’m not on about the chapters that we write and in theory are in charge of, I’m on about life chapters.)
We’ve had lots of that happening recently… chapters ending, stories coming to conclusions. It’s safe to say that the finales of those tales, of those personal endurances over time, they’ve all come good.
It’s also fair to say that some of those stories are still mid-chapter. They are still at the point where we don’t know what’s going to happen. Personally, I’m in the midst of a chapter that has proved to be a test of character. But that’s okay. I’m not stuck here because the trick is to keep going. And no matter how many chapters it takes to find your conclusion… keep going.
This is what it is to be a writer. And sometimes, this is what it takes to survive.
So, even for those of us who’ve recently had conclusions. For those of us (like me) who’ve recently finished books, despite writing The End, really it is just The Beginning. There will always be another book. There will always be the next thing that needs to be achieved.
And I never write The Beginning when I start a book. I always spend my time striving for The End. Striving to achieve the goal. When sometimes I need to appreciate the stage I am at.
Right now, The Romaniacs are in a new phase. Personally and professionally there’s a lot to be excited about. So, we are at The Beginning. We are once again faced with chapters that we have no idea how it ends up. Or how long we’ll be stuck mid-chapter. There’s a few things we do know though. We know we’ll have each other as support. We know half of the fun is in the journey. We know we’re never giving up.
For me, I am at The Beginning. Both personally and professionally there is so much to look forward to, even if I don’t know quite how the next chapter starts. All that matters is I show up and write it. And as my character Olive would say…
Well we are positively glowing over here at Romaniac HQ because our very own Vanessa Savage has gone and landed herself an AWESOME book deal with Sphere!
We cannot describe how proud we are of Vanessa’s courage, determination and sheer talent. We always had faith in her and her writing and we are over the moon to be writing this post and celebrating with her.
Vanessa, we are so proud of you and all that you have achieved. You are not only a super talented writer, but a loyal, kind and beautiful friend to us all. We cannot wait to raise a glass (or five!) with you at the conference next week.
We hope you enjoy this long awaited day 💗
Your Romaniac Friends
If you pop over to Vanessa’s twitter feed, you can read all about her epic book deal(s). @VvSavage
This usually Midlands-based Romaniac was out and about recently – seven days in the big city with RNA meetings and the summer party thrown in. Pretty exciting for a person who normally lives mainly in the thick of charity shops and card emporiums, you might say. But not only was it fun – the week away was a timely means of stepping out of my comfort zone and getting ready for the next writing chapter. A kick start was needed, in a very big way. Here are seven things I noticed, visiting the hub:
The RNA Summer Party is still a brilliant place to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and the committee meetings and AGM are NOT ONE BIT SCARY AT ALL. The welcome is warm, the Joan Hessayon Award is always a lovely tribute from a caring husband to a lady who believed strongly in the NWS and the short listed books are of a very high quality. Choosing a winner must be hellish. Dr Hessayon buys fizz too, every year. Congratulations to Kate Field – a worthy winner – The Magic of Ramblings is fab.
Sometimes, if you’re patient, surprising things happen. Tower Bridge opened for us (I’m assuming that was the reason) and I saw Stephen Fry in the very flesh (Yes, the real live Stephen Fry) just being his normal lovely self in Waterstones. I’d like to say I rushed up and wowed him with my witty banter but actually it wasn’t quite like that. Anyway, nobody fell over or burped or anything.
I CAN wear big shoes. It’s just…not for long.
Visiting places you’ve mostly seen on a Monopoly board is never going to get boring.
Maps are amazing – tube plans, guide books about Hidden London, street signs. I love them all. You have to have them the right way up though. Just saying.
A foxy new note book and pen is often all you need to spark off a brand new book. Or two in this case. #worryingbrainoverload
Going home is sad, but coming back is even more fun. In fact, I’ll be in the big city very soon. So all good. Just hope Stephen gets the memo.
In the run up to my publication day on Friday, things have been manic – juggling university coursework and study, writing guest posts for my blog tour, promoting the book on various social media platforms, working at my local special needs school… it was relentless.
However, all the stress and sleepless nights were forgotten the moment the clock ticked past midnight, signalling the start of Friday May 5th…PUBLICATION DAY!
It was a scary feeling – it still is! I knew people were going to be reading my story, but nothing prepares you for that moment when you receive messages from both people you know, and people you don’t, telling you they have started reading your book. Will they like it? Will they hate it? Will they give me a bad review? Will they just not bother reviewing it at all? Will they think I am wasting my time… all these thoughts and more have been circling my mind for weeks and there is no sign of them letting up. But, I guess, this is just part of being a writer. I need to learn to accept the compliments (which is harder than it sounds when you are so self critical of your work) and grow a thick skin for those criticisms, because, lets face it, there will be plenty of those too.
So what did I do for publication day? Well, I indulged the whole day on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… all of them. Talking to my friends and feeling the pride wash over me as I listened to their wonderful words of praise and support. I was so surprised at the sheer amount of support I received on Friday. I knew the writing community was like no other, but I just didn’t expect such a huge network of praise and encouragement on that day. It was amazing – thank you to everyone who was part of my special day.
In the evening I hosted a live Q&A over on Harper Impulse’s Facebook page – please do pop over and take a look if you’re interested (There are two video’s as my phone decided to crash after 10 minutes! The wonders of technology!)
And of course, there was champagne!
The following day I held a small party at my house for my close friends and family and we celebrated in style with champagne, curry, chilli, jacket potatoes, Sambuca, music and disco lights! It was amazing! My friends and family were so generous with their gifts for me and my husband gave a little speech as he toasted me and it meant so much because, anyone who knows my husband knows he is not one for public speaking or showing his affection. I think the champagne helped him out 🙂
And now It is the following week and I have just yesterday started my blog tour. So please do take a look at my guest posts over the next week or so and I hope you enjoy reading them.
What a surreal few days it has been.
I can’t believe I finally did it … I published a book.
Oh my goodness, what a crazy few weeks I have had.
For those who may have missed it, last week I revealed the cover for my debut novel, The First Time Mums’ Club, which is out in eBook on May 5th and paperback on July 13th. I absolutely LOVE it! I think it captures the essence of the story really well; fun, friendly, and full of the antics of these pregnant ladies. However, as in real life, these ladies come up against a multitude of problems which make them really question what it is they really want.
Here’s the blurb:
After years of trying and a failed IVF attempt, Pippa is thrilled to see two little lines appear on a pregnancy test. Finally a precious baby to call her own. This is all Pippa has ever wanted…if only husband Jason could show just a little excitement.
A baby is the icing on the cake for Imogen and Alice – proof that their love for each other can overcome any obstacle. But when Imogen starts receiving malicious texts, it’s clear that not everyone is thrilled about the girls’ good news.
A drunken one-night stand and Ellie’s life is ruined! Pregnant, jobless and the relationship with her best friend, Chris, over- forever. Because Chris just happens to be the father of Ellie’s baby…and potentially the love of her life!
For these first time mums the road to motherhood is bumpier than most!
What do you think? Sound like a good read? I hope you think so.
I really enjoyed writing this story. It took me back to when my LO was born and the mixed feelings of elation, excitement and sheer terror as this little human looked up at me and I knew that her whole life was down to me and how I helped her to build it. She’s now 10 and I seem to be doing ok – well she hasn’t divorced me yet so I must be doing ok!
The run up to this cover release was hectic and I have been juggling more than I have ever juggled before. I have many balls up in the air at the moment and I’m trying my best not to drop any.
I am nearing the end of my second year at Anglia Ruskin University where I am studying a BA (hons) Early Childhood Professional Studies degree. It is hard work, but I am getting there. Even though I can see the end in sight (just 6 weeks left of the semester) these weeks are very VERY busy. I have coursework due in (a portfolio and two essays) and also over this summer I have to start researching and thinking about what I am going to do for my dissertation as I begin my final year in September. I have some ideas already and I know I want to try to incorporate my love of words with my love for childhood – so maybe something literature based. I’m not sure yet. So there will be no rest over the summer with that – alongside writing book two which is out towards the end of this year (around September, I think).
I have also signed up for some voluntary work and some paid work at my university to help broaden my experience and learn new skills.
One other thing that I have signed up to do that I would like to tell you about is that I am now a student blogger for my university. I love being a course rep and blogging for the university as a student was something that I felt would enrich my role there even more. So I will be blogging once a month about various things ranging from my course, to trips I go on, events I attend and how I manage to fit in studying around family life and a career as a writer. If you want to read my first post, it’s available here.
So that’s me. Frantically juggling many different passions I have but loving them all as I do!
Have a happy Tuesday!
Love Lucie xx
You can preorder Lucie’s debut, The First Time Mums’ Club, here.