Catherine and Sue are heading up a one day workshop in September where they will share their methods, strategies, experiences and tips for turning writing into a full-time job. Details as below and feel free to contact either Sue or Catherine for further details.
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.
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
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!
Lucie: I am so proud of you, Catherine, and everything you’ve achieved xxx
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.
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. xxx
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
Our last round-up of what we have all been up to was before Christmas, so as another cycle of this feature comes around, it’s time for us to summarise the last few months.
Sue: My major event has got to be becoming agented, when I signed with Kate Nash of the Kate Nash Literary Agency. I’ve also completed and submitted book 4 to my editor, completed structural edits and am currently awaiting the next round of edits. I have a publication date of 21 April but as yet, we haven’t agreed on a title. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share that soon.
Laura: I attended my first festival as a published author, leading a panel on ‘The Small Publisher as an Option.’ This was at the Purbeck Literary Festival on Valentine’s Day. On Thursday 25th February, along with Sue and Catherine, I visited Chichester Library chairing our Romaniac Life Cycle of a Writer talk, which was great fun. I love getting out there and connecting with readers and writers in person. I’ve been working on my presentation for the next festival, the Weymouth Leviathan Maritime Literary Festival, where I’ll be giving a talk on The Coastguard Versus Pulpit Rock. This will take place on Sunday March 13th. And my third novel, What Doesn’t Kill Youwas released at the end of November 2015, and is the first title to be released under Choc Lit’s new imprint, Dark Choc Lit.
Celia: My latest book, Moondancing, came out digitally in January with Tirgearr and I was thrilled to be included in a paperback anthology of short-listed stories for the Exeter Story Prize with ‘Naked in the Rain’. I’m currently battling with the synopsis and doing a final revision of my new, darker romance and thinking about having another attempt at rewriting a children’s novel.
Jan: I’m proud to have featured on several fellow writers’ blogs since Christmas, which has been lovely and has given me the chance to chat about all sorts of subjects; my background, blogging with The Romaniacs, how my Libran personality traits affect my writing and, of course, about my debut novel As Weekends Go. I’ve also been getting involved with lots of research for Book 2, some of which has been a real eye-opener! My mojo as far as actually cracking on with the writing of Book 2 still seems to be playing hide and seek with me a little bit, but I’m sure as we go into March, I’ll rediscover it.
Vanessa: My main writing acheivement so far in 2016 is to have completed a major re-write of my work-in-progress! It’s now gone over to my lovely agent and I’m back to obsessively checking my email in-box as I wait for feedback! I have this week bought a new notebook so I’m now officially ready to start thinking about a new book and I’ve been enjoying writing some flash fiction and short stories.
Catherine: I absolutely CAN’T believe my debut novel is out next Thursday. I’ve been busy finishing the first draft of my second book and prepping for the launch of Waiting for You. It’s been a somewhat crazy period of time, but then that’s pretty standard these days.
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: 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.
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.
It’s the beginning of a whole new week. A new chapter? Certainly a fresh page.
Here’s what a few of we Romaniacs wish to achieve in the next five days.
Laura: Last week was a little disjointed for me, with a poorly lad at home and a sick husband to boot – not literally – I didn’t kick the man when he was down. Writing took a back seat, but I put together a slide show for this week’s talk, and I managed some promo. This week, all things being equal and all family members being well and going about their business, I intend to get back to work.
Here’s the plan:
1 – Attend my writing group on a more regular basis.
2 – Give a great talk at the Weymouth Civic Society, and sell some books.
3 – Write or type up 5000 words of the wip by the end of the weekend.
4 – Help my daughter with her photography studies.
5 – Restore my family’s health with good, wholesome food.
6 – Celebrate with Catherine Miller.
Catherine: Yay to Laura’s last goal for the week! Mine are:
1 – Have a fab day celebrating Don’t Wait for… Waiting for You promo day
2- Collapse in a heap and wonder why I didn’t wait until the twins were at least in school full time
3- Get a couple more quotes for having a new heating system put in
4 – Get back to the WIP after Monday’s excitement
Lucie: Well, what a start to 2016 I have had. I started the New Year vowing to focus down on my writing and start moving forward. A week into 2016 and my mum was rushed into hospital and I have spent the last 14 days rushing back and forth to the hospital (3 hour round trip) whilst trying to fit in the day job, household duties, parenting duties, pet owner duties (3 dogs – brave or mad?) as well as trying to get my writing back on track. So to say things have been a bit hectic would be an understatement – thank goodness I am currently on a 4 week break from University, Imagine that!
So with the good news that Mum is improving, I can try to get back to my original goal of moving my writing onto the next level. So with this in mind, along with some general life goals, here are my goals for this week:
1/ Complete the writing related tasks that I am doing for other authors and send back the work required.
2/ Write up a first draft blurb for the two new ideas that I have had for my adult and children’s series.
3/ Clear my ironing pile (I don’t like this one AT ALL, but it has to be done :-()
4/ Consolidate the plan for my book series ideas and have a clear focus of where I am going with them.
5/ Speak to my agent with an update.
6/ Continue work on my Autism course.( I’d really like to complete this before I return to Uni next month)
7/ Sleep…at some point.
I’m actually looking forward to seeing where I am at with it all on Friday. Wish me luck!
How is your week looking? What are your goals? We’d love for you to comment below and come back on Friday for our Follow-Up post and let us know how you got on.
Last year we started the Life Cycle of A Writer feature where we take it in turns to blog about our writing journey and share the highs and lows, give and receive encouragement and generally chat about how things are going. This has proved a very popular feature and we are delighted to announce that we now have our first live gig!
Laura, Catherine and Sue are taking The Life Cycle of a Writer to Chichester Library next month where they will talk about their paths to publication, what has happened since signing their contracts and also what inspires their novels.
If anyone is in the Chichester area and fancies coming along for a chat, Laura, Catherine and Sue would love to see you.
We are hoping to take The Life Cycle of a Writer to other parts of the country and will keep you posted with any future dates.
They arrived in style on 4th July. The first (Amber) via forceps delivery and the second (Eden) via emergency C section after some complications. After a short while on neonates Eden is doing really well and after 11 days in hospital we’re now getting used to family life at home! The twins will always be known as Roma and Nia on here after the Romaniacs decided they were good names. I do think that takes branding to a somewhat extreme level. Here’s the Romaniac twins and the reason I haven’t/won’t be about as much in coming weeks…