Highlights and Highlighters.

We, at Romaniac HQ, have had a busy year, baking cakes and not cleaning the office. In fact, we would go as far as to say it has been quite extraordinary.

The blog kicked off in February and has maintained a steady readership, for which we thank you, and we have been privileged to have met many of you throughout the year. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy 2013.

Here are our highlights. We would love to hear about yours.

Laura: The official formation of The Romaniacs is right up there. Bonkers.

Pens and notebooks for Christmas rate quite highly, too.Bar

Attending conferences and writing courses also feature at the top of my tree; Penrith, pitching and kitchen parties – perfect. Tremendous fun was had at the Festival of Romance too – I’ll leave our Celia to tell you about that, and the RNA parties provided great opportunities to say hello to friends in real life. As modest as I would like to appear, I cannot deny I loved achieving two runner-up positions in Choc Lit’s Short Story competitions, and grinned for weeks when six Romaniacs were shortlisted for the FoR New Talent Award. I’ve experienced the thrill of submitting my manuscript to publishers, been fortunate to be in a position to absorb as much information as humanly possible from experienced writers/tutors, and been touched by the unwavering kindness of my fellow writers. Without a doubt, the crowning glory on my tree, is the incredible friendships formed throughout this challenging year. You are all stars, and I love seeing you shine. Glow brightly in 2013.

Celia: I have felt as if I have a huge, all-enveloping Romaniac comfort blanket this year. We have all been through some very emotional times over the last few months – the sort of things that could easily stop you writing for good. But because of the girls’ support, and the fun we’ve had with all of you who regularly visit our blog and join in the banter, nothing has seemed quite so bad. My personal writing highlight was the moment when, with a huge mouthful of bread and planning my next drink, I heard my name called for the Piatkus Entice award for a contract. I’m now in the middle of edits (steep learning curve) and feel like a proper grown up. Sort of.


It still amazes me that so many people take the time to drop by our blog and eat a virtual cake/biscuit or have a rummage in the Romaniac cocktail cabinet. Love to you all, and I wish you a healthy, happy and truly fabulous 2013.

Jan: The day I became a member of The Romaniacs was a massive highlight for me. I don’t have my own blog so it was a definite leap out of my comfort zone. I can remember my feelings of trepidation at writing my first individual blog post, worrying how it would be received, whether I’d let the side down, etc, and then the huge feeling of elation upon actually publishing it. The support, friendship and encouragement I’ve received from all the girls and, indeed, from all my other fabulous writing and non-writing buddies this year has been tremendous. The RNA summer and winter parties, plus the local chapter meetings I’ve attended in London have been fun too – it’s so lovely to meet up for a good old chat about our writing achievements and aspirations. The advice is always fab and the banter superb.


It’s also been great seeing so many of my writing buddies either successfully self-publish their novels, or obtain contracts. I’m thrilled to bits for each and every one of them. It’s certainly spurred me on to finally finish my work in progress, that’s for sure. Another personal highlight for me this year would have to be dipping my toe into the world of proofreading. Do you know, I’m really looking forward to 2013. Here’s hoping it does you all proud too 🙂 x

Catherine: My highlight has to be the RNA conference. Not only did I learn lots, I laughed harder than I have all year. It was like tonic. My goal for this year is to concentrate more on writing and finish writing Baby Number Two.

Lucie: My highlight of 2012, writing wise, was definitely the RNA Conference in Penrith. What an amazing time I had and I learnt SO much – don’t drink home brewed wine without preparing your stomach first, don’t stay up too late if you have workshops the next day, don’t do an impression of the gruffalo with Wotsits when there are cameras around….. Oh, I also learnt a lot about writing too!LucieGruffalo
Another highlight for me, was getting my first piece of writing published, in the form of an article for Romance Matters. It was only a small piece, but I will always remember it as being my first ever piece of published work.

Goals for 2013? Write more! That’s a given. And try to meet up with my Romaniac buddies more – we’re still yet to all be in the same room at the same time. There’s always at least one missing ….. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we all stepped into the same room at the same time…..Maybe something magical?

Vanessa: I’ve been lurking around the edge of this post, putting off adding my bit, because after a very difficult couple of months, I just wanted 2012 to be over… Then I was reading the other bits of the post and thinking – has it really only been a year the Romaniacs have been together? Surely not – surely I’ve known these lovelies for ever…

They’re the biggest highlight of my year – for friendship, support and sheer daftness, every one of the Romaniacs is a highlight. I’m smiling as I read about memories of the conference because – yes, of course, 2012 wasn’t all bad, was it? The conference was amazing, I laughed until I cried (more than once) and learned so much from so many wonderful people. And the RNA summer party – being there to see my lovely friend Evonne Wareham win the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Scheme Award. A definite highlight. I had a short story published in Writer’s Forum, got shortlisted in a few competitions, finished a book I love, started another.

I’m ready to look forward to 2013 now – my agent should be sending my book out, so it’ll be nail-biting time again, I’ve got the next one to finish, another conference to attend, more parties to go to. All of which I get to share with my fellow Romaniacs.

Debbie : My highlight is an easy one, when so many of the Romaniacs were shortlisted for the New Writers’Award at the Festival of Romance this year and then seeing Celia’s face when her name was read out for winning a publishing contract with Piatkus. As for a new year’s resolution, well, I’m going to spend more time on myself, doing the things I like to do (include writing in that!).

Sue : So many highlights this year, it’s hard to pick one that really stands out. At a push I would have to say the RNA Conference. Not just because I learnt so much from the workshops and being able to meet up with lots of great people I had got to know through Facebook and Twitter, but also because of the fun we had – I don’t think I have laughed so much for so long in one weekend. The same could also be said of a weekend I spent at Tetbury with the author/reader group Love A Happy Ending. I have made some truly lovely friendships this year, which has been an on-going highlight. On the writing front, two big occasions are up there – publishing my book and getting short-listed for the New Talent Award. So, what of the new year? More efficient use of my time so I can get more writing done.


Would love to know what your highlights of the year have been and any resolutions you have for the new year?

In the meantime, from all of us here, have a fantastic 2013.