Life Cycle of a Writer: Lucie’s Publication Day


These last few weeks have been crazy!

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.

balancing_life_lag8-229x300However, 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. 20170509_091421

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 🙂 20170509_091406

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.


Congratulations, Lucie Wheeler!

Congratulations, Lucie Wheeler!


It’s sparkles galore at Romaniac HQ as we congratulate and celebrate with our lovely Lucie Wheeler on the release of her debut novel, The First Time Mums’ Club.

Lucie, we are so incredibly pleased for you and proud of everything you’ve achieved. You are a human dynamo, with an infectious energy and a quick and witty sense of humour that makes us laugh out loud. You are a warm and loving person, who gives everything, and we treasure your friendship and warmth.

We are so utterly delighted, excited and thrilled for you.

The First Time Mums’ Club is going to fly.

Have a brilliant day.

Lots of Love,

The Romaniacs 


The Blurb:

Meet Pippa…

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.

And Ellie…

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!




Raising a Romaniac glass here in the Midlands, Lucie – well, actually it’s a cup of tea cos it’s only six a.m, but I’ll try harder later, promise! Congratulations, and all the luck in the world for your brilliant debut. We are all cheering and waving our pompoms in traditional Rom fashion, couldn’t be prouder. Love you squillions, Celia xxxx

HONK HONK!! Congratulations, lovely Lucie. It’s your special day and you fully deserve all the fanfares and success out there. So proud of you and so excited for you and your fabulous debut novel. Love you muchly, Jan xxxx

Wishing you the MOST fantabulous day, Lucie. I don’t know how you juggle it all with your studies and domestic duties. Your debut novel is SOOO well deserved. You should be so proud of yourself. We are! All the best for today – enjoy the moment – and for your future writing career. You’re a star, sweetie. Love you lots. Deb xxxx

Super proud of you, Lucie, I know how hard you’ve worked, not just with getting your novel finished and everything else that entails, but with all the other things in life that you manage so successfully. Have a wonderful day, you so deserve it! Lots of love, Sue xxxx


Behind the Lie: Amanda James and her fabulous new release.

The kettle’s on, the best china’s out, and I’m welcoming Amanda James to Romaniac HQ this morning. We’ve got a batch of scones fresh from the oven, and I’m sure Mandy, having travelled all the way from that there Cornwall, will tell us the proper way to eat them. Cream first or jam?

By eck’, Celia, I’m knackered! It takes longer to get up here than it does to fly to Lanzarote! Imagine that? Are you imagining it? You look kind of puzzled…is my hair a mess? No. Good. Sorry I do tend to ramble on a bit as you know. My goodness those scones look lovely. And the Cornish way to eat them is jam first…I must admit I like them cream first though. I expect that I will be banished to Devon now for admitting such a thing.

Blimey, let’s hope not. You’d miss all those pasties and stuff. Right, that’s the most important business of the day sorted, now for our writerly chat. Mandy, I’ve heard that you’ve been enjoying interviewing some of your latest characters from your new novel ‘Behind the Lie, to really get under their skin. Have you got any more of these up your sleeve that you could share with us?

As luck would have it, I have prepared a little piece for you. I thought I’d let you ‘see’ it rather than just tell you about it – so here’s a chat I had with Simon, the main character’s husband. Hopefully readers will be able to get to know him a little better before they read the book. If they do. Don’t want to assume…

Oh here he is at last. Fashionably late as always. I watch a tall dark-haired man weave through the crowd at the bar and then he turns his head in my direction. His grey eyes sweep my face as he makes for my table. I notice a few other eyes notice him as he walks, female eyes of course. Simon always gets noticed with his assured, confident manner, sharp suits and intelligent gaze. He undoes the middle button of his charcoal jacket and sits opposite, a wide smile lighting up his face. I smile too and lean back in my chair, but Simon laughs showing his flawless white teeth and takes my hand, kisses the back of it.

‘Darling, you always try to avoid my kisses. How are things?’ he asks.

‘Things are good, Simon. I was wondering if we could have a little chat so people can get to know you better?’

‘Of course! You know that talking about myself is one of my favourite things.’ He winks and strokes the stubble on his chin. There is a pause as he watches a pretty waitress sashay past. Then he turns his charm offensive back to me. ‘I’ve ordered champagne, sweetie, hope that’s okay?’

‘That’s lovely. Shall we make a start though while we’re waiting?’ A flash of irritation shows behind his eyes. I can tell that he expects me to be more impressed about the champagne. Simon always expects adoration and subservience. That’s half his trouble. ‘So are you happy with my portrayal of you in the story?’

He leans back mirroring me. ‘Yes and no. I think you might have been a little hard on me in some respects but you have managed to get over my good points. Good looks.’ I get the annoying wink again. ‘Intelligence, ambition and determination to succeed. You have shown my caring side too from time to time.’

The champagne arrives and he raises his glass. I copy him and say, ‘Okay, so where was I hard on you? Wasn’t I just telling it like it is?’ I sip my drink and watch him shift in his seat – a sure sign that he’s on the defensive.

‘Not really. Holly was always your favourite. I mean look how many words you give to her compared to me. You let her ramble on and on about how she feels and what she’s doing. I only get a few short chapters…hardly fair is it?’ Simon’s grey eyes become steel chips.

‘But then the main story is Holly’s, isn’t it? She’s convinced that your son is alive and we all want to find out if she’s right.’ I set the glass on the table annoyed that he’s managed to get me on the defensive now.

‘That’s the thing, Mandy.’ Simon leans forward, folds his arms on the table. I don’t like the way he draws me into those expressive eyes of his. It’s as if I’m a moth to his flame. ‘You never really allowed for my feelings. I lost a son too but my anguish and heartache was just brushed off in a few little throw away lines. Of course I am a successful private consultant and a very wealthy man, but success isn’t everything to me. I have a heart too. It was a shame that you neglected to let me prove that.’

There are lots of responses to this, but I fear I might give too much of the story away of I allow any to leave my lips. I look at my watch. ‘Well I’m sorry you feel that way, Simon. I tried to be honest…and I really must go now, thanks for the champagne.’

His neutral expression darkens in anger. ‘But we only just started…’ Simon stops his words and pours himself another glass. ‘No matter, I’m sure that there will be others willing to share this bottle with me. And thanks for creating me. Without you, I would just be a jumble of words waiting for structure.’ He tries a sunny smile but I can see a few clouds in it.

‘You’re welcome Simon.’ I stand and shrug on my coat. ‘And once I create a character they can never be destroyed. They will always live on in the readers’ head, whether they like it or not.’

Simon’s smile is cloudless now. ‘They will indeed. And I can’t see anyone not liking me, can you?’

‘You never know. There’s no accounting for taste, eh?’ I briefly touch his shoulder and hurry past. I’ll leave it up to you, dear reader to decide…

Wow! You were lucky to get out of that little chat unscathed, I reckon! But, still on the subject of book characters, I was wondering which ones from your childhood (or later) inspired you, and do you see yourself or your own creations in any of them?

I loved George (Georgina) from the Famous Five books. She hated being a girl, but I think she just hated what it meant to be a girl back in those days. As a kid in the 1960s I could identify with that. I wanted to be strong and confident like her. I believed girls were just as good as boys and should be able to do what they did. Do I see her in myself or my creations? Yes, I do like a strong female character. Myself – yes. I am a feminist and do my utmost to get those ideas of gender equality across in day-to-day interaction with, let’s say, perhaps less enlightened people? 

Is it difficult to leave your characters at the end of a story? What is it about some of your own book characters that makes you want to want to bring them back in sequels?

It’s always hard to leave my characters as I have really got to know them well over a three to six-month period. It’s like saying goodbye to old friends. I have written only one sequel and that was Cross-Stitch. A Stitch in Time was very popular and people more or less demanded a sequel! I had left it open, so it was fairly easy to do. I might write the third and final one too. I have one chapter written…

Now some quick-fire questions. You’re at a great party with a brimming glass of bubbly in your hand. Would you rather chat to:

Gandalf or Legolas? Gandalf

Bilbo or Frodo? Bilbo

Maid Marion or Robin Hood? Maid Marion

King Arthur or Guinevere? King Arthur

Aslan or Lucy? Aslan

Worzel Gummage or Stig of the Dump? Stig! I loved that book.

The Cat in the Hat or Noddy? The Cat in the Hat

Well, you must be exhausted after all this socialising. Before you go, Mandy, could you tell us which book you’ve got your nose in at the moment and also what you’ve enjoyed reading lately?

I am totally exhausted and might need reviving with bubbly and more scones. Er…lemme think… Oh yes, I am reading Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. It’s about a woman in a coma and very intriguing. And the one that I enjoyed lately was the brilliant and twisty The Silent Girls by Ann Troup.

And finally, what are you working on right now?

I have a few ideas on the go, all set here in Cornwall. I do have a quirky one called The Calico Cat that is hard to place in a set genre. Thank you for reading it by the way J I do adore it, mainly because I would love to be like the main character, Lottie. I might self-publish that later. I have never self-pubbed so it’s an exciting thought.

Thanks for dropping in, Mandy. I’ve packed the rest of the scones for your journey back. Try not to get crumbs on the train seats, okay? See you soon, and good luck with the new book!

Thank you, Celia! I have loved being here and why not come down for a visit? xxx

Well, I don’t mind if I do. #rushesofftopack

Author bio – Amanda James has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true.

Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published. Her time travelling debut – A Stitch in Time was published in April of 2013 and has met with great success.

Amanda lives in Cornwall and is inspired every day by the beautiful coastline near her home. Three of her novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel and Behind the Lie – April 2017 pub – HQUK ( HarperCollins)

Amanda can usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

Author links – Amanda’s blog –

Twitter – @akjames61

Facebook mandy.james.33

Book Blurb Holly West has turned her life around. She’s found a successful and loving husband in Simon and is expecting twins. She is definitely a woman who has taken back control of her future.

Until she gives birth, only for one twin to survive. Holly can’t let it go.

Holly’s world is in a tailspin and suddenly she can’t trust herself or anyone else. No one believes her, not her husband or her best friend. Because she thinks she knows the truth…her son is still alive and she won’t stop until she finds him.

Buy Links –

Summer in Tintagel (Urbane Publications July 2016)
Cross Stitch (Choc Lit December 2014)
Somewhere Beyond the Sea ( Choc Lit April 2014)
Dancing in the Rain (Choc Lit March 2014)
A Stitch in Time (Choc Lit) –
Righteous Exposure (Crooked Cat) –

Life Cycle of a Writer – Sue Fortin

I was just looking back at when I did my last update for Life Cycle of a Writer and can’t believe it was as far back as the end of November where I talked about feedback and had some great input from Sue Moorcroft and Louise Jensen, you can see the post here.

In that post I had recently gone through the editing process for my latest novel Sister Sister and now, by pure coincidence, I am going through the editing stage with my next book – currently untitled and no set release date yet.

In between these two editing stages, I’ve been pretty much occupied with writing my current wip. I must admit, I struggled for several weeks to settle on an idea. I had hoped it would just sort of come to me or that I would find inspiration in my folder marked ‘Book Ideas’. Sadly, this wasn’t to be, all the so-called book ideas either didn’t have enough story or no story whatsoever. I kept telling myself not to panic, that something was bound to occur to me but as the days and weeks rolled by, I started to question my wisdom. In the end I had to sit down and force myself to come up with at least one good idea.

I started by writing down themes I would like to explore and relationships that interested me. Then I wrote down some situations or circumstances that would put these ideas to the test, where there would be conflict and resolution needed. It took some time, but eventually I began to get the inkling of an idea. It wasn’t a clear idea and then took a few more weeks to develop into anything meaningful. By this time, I was up against the clock for my March deadline.

Towards the end of last year, myself and three other Romaniacs, Laura, Catherine and Lucie had planned a writing retreat weekend and this fell at the right time for me. It was the impetus I needed to kick-start some serious writing and to immerse myself in my story for three days without interruption. It was a lovely luxury and I benefitted hugely from it and went on to complete the first draft in just two months. I must admit, it was hard going with this one. Some books seem to flow and other books need rather more coaxing – this one was definitely a high maintenance one, but I got there in the end.

So now I’m about half-way through my structural edits, with several more rounds to go. Once the final proofed edits have been returned to my publisher, it will be back to plotting another novel, which hopefully will be more straight forward as I seem to have ignited my imagination again and already have three new ideas for books roughly plotted out.




Life Cycle of a Writer: An Open Letter to my Daughters

To my dearest daughters,

I want you to always dream big. To see sidewards of whatever situation you are in, and know that, whatever cloud you are chasing, it is entirely plausible to catch it.

There will be people telling you what you’re trying to achieve is an impossibility. That you should aim lower, and stick to making daisy chains while lounging on the grass gazing at those far away clouds. And no one, NO ONE in the world should tell you that the impossible is impossible. Because you are the only one who should set your limits. It will never be my job to tell you what to dream, only to be your cheerleader in whatever way you need.

And in that same breath, I hope I am showing you what it is to chase dreams, even when it means letting go of the ones you once held.

Because like clouds, life is everchanging, the format may shift in a moment.

What was once there may drift away in the breeze while you’re not looking.

Then once that cloud has passed: find firm ground. Find the people able to take that ride with you. Find the friends willing to lift you up onto their shoulders in support. Know that you are loved in abundance so many times over. Know that you can weather any storm.

Let’s not wait inside while it rains. Let’s go and feel those drops on our skin, let’s run wild like today is the only chance for an adventure. Let’s hunt for dragons in forgotten corners of the world. Let’s lie on our backs and stare at wide blue skies and even if we only ever get as far as making daisy chains, at least we did everything within our power to capture those wispy white clouds.

So, dream big. Dream loudly. Dream in a way that only you can master. Find happy. Chase after it like nothing in the world matters. Because the journey is important. And when you are on it, whatever way it takes you, remember to be kind. Be kind to everyone you meet, because if you are the ones to raise your friends up onto your shoulders, then when a time comes, and you have your own battles to get through, they will be there for you in return.

My dear girls, my best friends, my daily wonders, everything that has passed is a promise that I will never let go of my own dreams, and I hope, in turn, I help to fuel yours.

Love, Mum xxx

Life Cycle Of A Writer: Laura On Tour

Life Cycle Of A Writer: Laura On Tour

We here at Romaniac HQ have eaten our Easter chocolate, written our way through the holiday and enjoyed the occasional Prosecco. We hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend.

My poster for Littlemoor Library.

I’ve been busy on my mini tour, which continues this Saturday, 22nd April 2017, at Littlemoor Library, details here. I’m really looking forward to this Shared Reading event where I’ll be reading from WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU, and supporting my local library. It would be lovely to see you there.

Victoria Cornwall & Linda Mitchelmore

I returned last week from a trip to Exeter – the first Choc Lit Day, organised by my publisher, held at Exeter Library. It was a wonderful way to spend the day, among readers and writers. The four ChocLiteers – Margaret James, Victoria Cornwall, Linda Mitchelmore and Laura E James (me) spoke about our publication journeys and the importance of social media for today’s writers, held a fun quiz and chatted with members of the audience. There was an opportunity for writers to pitch to the Choc Lit editor, too. And Victoria Cornwall and I filmed our very first Facebook Live video.

The next Choc Lit Day is Saturday 20th May 2017, at Southampton Library, which I shall be attending, and a third date has been announced for Saturday 17th June 2017 at Stockton Library. Details here.

Following my visit to Exeter, I continued my tour with a drive up the M3 and the M25 to Watford, where I’d been invited by the Watford Writers to take part in the Watford Lit Fest. I grew up in Watford and was delighted to be asked there to chat about writing and my novels. I was interviewed by a long-standing friend with whom I used to work, Helen Nicell, herself a writer. It was a fabulous experience and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

As a thank you to Waterstones Watford, who supplied sale copies of both FOLLOW ME FOLLOW YOU and WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU at the Watford Writer’s event, I popped in to the branch the next day to sign a few books. It’s a wonderful new store in the high street and definitely worth the visit if you’re in the area.


It’s been hectic, but I’ve loved every minute of the tour so far. Of course, I’ve had to pace myself and allow recovery time between events, but I’m rested and ready to go.

See you on Saturday.

Laura x

Life Cycle of a Writer: Lucie

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:

Meet Pippa…

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. TFTMC CoverThis 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.

And Ellie…

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!


photo source:

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 bearu logo 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.

Lucie is also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

And she blogs for Anglia Ruskin University, here.