Roving Romaniac – Jill Mansell’s You and Me, Always Book Launch

Jill Mansell & Laura

Jill Mansell & Laura

As I write this post, I am still in recovery.

The event was THAT GOOD.

Jill Mansell has been a huge source of inspiration for me as a writer ever since I read Good At Games seven years ago, and I was thrilled to be at the launch of Jill’s 27th book, You and Me, Always.

The event was on the sixth floor of Carmelite House on the Embankment, London, a fantastic venue with a stunning view.

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The view of the Embankment

I was excited for two reasons – I was celebrating a book launch with one of my all-time favourite authors, and I was meeting up with friends from the writing and blogging world, some of whom I was meeting in real life for the first time.

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Jill Mansell

The evening kicked off with a warm and charming interview with Jill, followed by the launch and a book signing session, which led to the party part of the ‘launch

Alison May & Laura

Alison May & Laura

party’. I was on orange juice and sparkling water, but the drinks, including wine, and the canapes were in abundance, and the staff were attentive and friendly.

Laura & Julie Cohen

Laura & Julie Cohen

Sue Moorcroft & Jan Jones

Sue Moorcroft & Jan Jones

It was a great evening, with a fab opportunity to talk books, with Jill’s name never far from people’s lips, as we discussed our favourite Jill Mansell book, and the reasons we love to dive in to her fictional worlds. I remarked that I recently read Jill’s Three Amazing Things About You, and as soon as I started reading it, my husband asked why I was smiling. I replied it was because opening one of Jill’s books was like coming home.

Thank you so much to everyone, bloggers and authors, who took the time to chat with me. The evening will stay with me for some time.

I missed my train home, despite the gallant efforts of the lovely taxi driver who did his best to get me to Waterloo on time. I paid for another ticket and caught the later train, which was the most entertaining carriage in which I’ve ever ridden. Six strangers partied. Oh yeah.

And I’d do it all over again.

Laura x

 

 

 

 

Life Cycle Of A Writer – Face Palms, Facebook Adverts and PowerPoint Presentations

Keyboard

It’s been a challenging few weeks in the James household, with the male of the species succumbing to the awful flu virus, and the females under pressure to learn and relearn skills, be it for forthcoming exams in my daughter’s case, or me putting together a slide show for a talk.

I also had to contend with my PC being absent from my desk while Gajitman upgraded it, and my laptop throwing a hissy fit, presumably because it was brought out of hibernation. At one point, I wrote a blog post from my phone. Thank goodness for apps.  And thank goodness for a teen and an IT engineer husband who made everything all right.

Upon the return of my PC, I had to get to grips with Windows 10. For the first two days, my grasp was weak, but I’m pleased to report, it is acquiring strength. It is a matter of time, as one of my friends told me. I will get used to Windows 10 and everything being in a completely different place …

In the meantime, my second Choc Lit novel, Follow Me Follow You was, and still is (until 31st January), on promotion, so I thought I’d try my hand at creating a sponsored advert for Facebook.

Here’s what I learnt:

The advert cannot possess more than 20% text.

FOLLOW ME_front highresThis became a problem when primarily I wanted to promote my book by showing its cover. A cover which consists of my name, title, and the publishers name and logo. Needless to say, on my first few attempts, I fell foul of the 20% text limit imposed by the Facebook rules and received emails inviting me to examine why I’d failed.

I even failed that task.

Face palm.

So I asked Google.

Phrasing the question took several attempts, but eventually I put all the right words in the correct order and was led to this very informative blog: http://bit.ly/1pukRrO from Jon Loomer, where I learned it’s all about where the text is placed. I tried using the FB grid, as suggested in Mr Loomer’s post, but as I IMG_2308mentioned earlier, I was having all sorts of technical difficulties and the grid would not load, so I drew my own grid to fit my laptop screen, and later, another to fit my PC monitor.

IMG_2314Using Canva, and it’s template ‘Facebook Post 940px x 788px’, I created my adverts, ensuring text did not take up more than five boxes. I had to move the image and the text around until I’d got it right, but the advert was approved and accepted by Facebook.

The trick with the text/sales pitch is to write it in the status box, including the links to the product, leaving the space for your advert free for a clean, clear image.

My ad read:

SALE. Digital download 99p.
http://bit.ly/1OsLFCT
‘Follow Me Follow You’, the second novel in the Chesil Beach series is on sale at 99p.
‘Original, uplifting, poignant, it’s a must read.’

With the risk of them breaking, will Victoria Noble and Chris Frampton follow their hearts?

If you like your romantic reads darker and set firmly in reality, the Chesil Beach books are for you.
Second in the series, ‘Follow Me Follow You’, can be read as a standalone.
A 2014 lovereading.co.uk Editorial Selection.

99p (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was my first advert success! Whether or not it made an impact on sales remains to be seen.

My next challenge was to produce a PowerPoint Presentation for a talk a writer friend and I were to give at the Weymouth Civic Society. Our title was ‘Inspired by the Jurassic Coast’, and photographs were required to enhance our talk.

It had been some years since I last played with PowerPoint, but I volunteered my services to create a slide show.

Actually, truth be known, I volunteered my daughter’s services, as she’s far more knowledgeable than I about techy stuff. Thankfully she didn’t mind and came to the rescue, giving me a crash course on how to create slide shows. Between my daughter, with her patient teaching methods, and Gajitman showing me how to connect the laptop to the projector, slide show presentations are GO!

I’m available for gigs …

Laura.

 

 

Motivation Monday

Is it Monday again already?! It’s a new week and a new list of targets for some of us…

Vanessa:

  1. Finish my edits! I’ve set myself a target of sending the revised ms to my lovely agent by half term, which is w/c 15th Feb, so I’m hoping to finish the edits this week so I have a couple of weeks to polish it and make it all nice and shiny!
  2. Polish first 3000 words of ms for a novel competition
  3. Finish a short story for a mid-Feb deadline
  4. Non-writing related: make birthday cake for father-in-law’s birthday, calm nine year old’s nerves before her first youth theatre panto appearance next weekend!

What are everyone else’s plans for the week? I’ll let you know how I got on on Friday!

Vanessa x

Lucie: Wow, it’s Monday again – where did that weekend go?  I had better set my weekly targets then…

  1. Carrying over from last week, write up a plan for my contemporary series.
  2. Complete more of my Autism training.
  3. Write the blog posts that I need to do.
  4. Get some editing done!

Hopefully I’ll have a more successful week, writing wise, than last week. Good luck everyone! X

Follow-Up Friday

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How did your week go? Did the freezing temperatures spur you on or keep you tucked up in bed?

Here’s how the Romaniacs got on.

Laura:

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.

I’m still working on attending my writing group on a more regular basis, but the talk at the Weymouth Civic Society went well. It was a great evening, with the Power Point presentation well received, and I did sell some books.

I read through the wip from the beginning, and it was a wonderful feeling getting to know my characters again. As long as my current headache and dizziness remains at a low level, I should be able to type up my hand-written pages this morning, but I won’t hit 5000 new words. It’s a start.

DD and I discussed her ideas for her photography studies, and I did my best with the wholesome food, but cooking isn’t a natural talent of mine. DS is feeling better, but Gajitman is still poorly.

Boy, the celebrations with Catherine were great :D – see below.

 

Catherine:

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

Catherine's WFY Cover Pic

After a successful promo day, Catherine is now hibernating.Catherine's WFY Promo Day Chart

 

 

 

Lucie:

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.

Well, lets see how I got on this week. I did lose a day from being ill with a migraine which wasn’t in the least bit helpful, but hey ho!

1/ I completed the tasks I needed to and sent back my feedback – before my deadline! Get me!

Don’t get too excited, this is about the extent of my achieving…

I have written up VERY simple blurbs for the two new ideas but not in enough detail for me to even call them first drafts. I am hoping to complete these over the coming weekend. Number 4 just did not happen AT ALL! I spoke with my agent and am hopefully meeting up with her soon, so that’s good and I did get some sleep – always good. I didn’t do any work on my Autism course (not good) and nor did my ironing pile get done (you didn’t actually expect me to have done it, did you?) So on the whole, I achieved some things… and some just roll over on to next week. Here’s hoping I have a productive weekend!

All round, not a bad week, and certainly worth celebrating with a bun or two.

We’d love to hear about your weekly celebrations – every one counts.

xx

Open Season!

Open Season!

This February, we Romaniacs will be celebrating our 4th birthday, and we’d love for you to join in with the fun.

Here’s what we’d like you to do …

Ways to contact us:

email: romaniacgroup@yahoo.co.uk with your videos and/or questions

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheRomaniacs

or by leaving a comment below on this page.

Remember, the 1st of February is the deadline, and we know how much you all love a deadline :D

We look forward to answering your questions …

The Romaniacs

Invitation to the Don’t Wait For… Waiting for You Promo Day

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Tomorrow (Monday 18th), I’m hosting an event day over on Facebook. It promises to be a fun day of chat and competitions to support my debut novel, Waiting for You. Please click this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1540695472924264/ and click ‘going’ to get all the updates on the day and the chance to win some prizes.

I hope to see you there,

Catherine x

Follow-Up Friday

Every Monday, we’re posting our weekly targets, aiming to achieve them by the end of play on Friday.

This week, Sue and Laura posted their aims. How did they do?

Sue aimed to: 

  1. To write three chapters.
  2. To successfully negotiate the first week back at school by remembering all the after-school clubs that are starting back up and packing the appropriate equipment/kit for not only the right club but the right child.

IMG_6365Laura aimed to:

  1. Get up extra early on Monday to wish DS a happy birthday, before we all go our separate ways for the day.
  2. Be at my desk ready to write from 09:00 Mon-Thurs.
  3. Write 5000 words by Friday evening.
  4. Plan talk for the Weymouth Leviathan and Maritime Festival.
  5. Have earlier nights to allow for reading time.

Laura: I managed Monday’s targets and DS had a lovely day. I’ve also been ready to start work at 09:00, so I’m pleased with that.

I’ve not advanced the wip or planned my Weymouth Leviathan talk, but I did have news of a talk for the Weymouth Civic Society, which is happening on the 18th January, so this took priority. This week consisted of me trying to create a slide show for this talk, but my PC and laptop refused to cooperate. I am currently tapping this out on my phone … Thankfully, my husband is an IT engineer, so my PC and laptop are now being sorted. I will continue to aim for earlier nights …

Sue: I seem to have successfully negotiated the return to school challenge, so that’s good.

ms targetI ended up having a particularly busy week with lots of family commitments which took me away from the desk for as much time as I spent behind it. However, I did manage to write one and a half chapters of my novella, clocking up over 1700 words on Wednesday.

Thursday I began to seriously think about the edits for my next full length novel. These edits actually came in before Christmas but I’ve only just looked at them properly. There’s a fair amount of work to be done but generally, I do enjoy the editing process.  So, not a bad week, all thing considered.

 

How did you all get on?