Something For The Weekend: Whatchya Reading?

We’ve brought you notebooks, pens and autumn over the last few weeks, and as the colder days come upon us and the nights draw in, we’ve turned to thinking about snuggling under a cosy fleece and settling down with a good book.

Here is a selection of what we’re reading right now.

Laura: Kind of Cruel: Sophie Hannah. I had the extremem pleasure of meeting Sophie Hannah at the Sherborne Literary Festival a few years ago. A great speaker.

Laura: Kind of Cruel: Sophie Hannah. I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Sophie Hannah at the Sherborne Literary Festival a few years ago. A great speaker.

Laura: I'm also reading Yasmin Selena Butt's Gunshot Glitter, and loving it.

Laura: I’m also reading Yasmin Selena Butt’s Gunshot Glitter, and loving it.


Sue is getting to know Andy McNab’s Tom Buckingham

Lucie is embracing her inner child and reading David Walliams' latest.

Lucie is embracing her inner child and reading David Walliams’ latest.


Jan’s halfway through Elle Turner’s debut short story collection ‘Tapestry’ and thoroughly enjoying it!


Jan’s also started reading Lisa Jewell’s latest and has both thumbs well and truly up! :)


Catherine’s reading Katie Fforde

What are you reading?

The Romaniacs xx

Life Cycle of A Writer: Bananarama, Broken Bones and Back To School

I have an ear- worm, and the best way I know to rid oneself of an ear-worm is to share, so here it is: Bananarama’s Cruel Summer.

The six-week school holiday mostly passed by in a blur of grey skies, grizzly, drizzly and occasionally torrential rain, and dim light.

My children didn’t seem to mind. The damp days were an excellent reason to stay home and play computer games, draw, and read, and, bless them, they didn’t object to me spending some of that time in the edits cave with What Doesn’t Kill You.

Not upgrading until the edits are complete ...

Not upgrading until the edits are complete …

With the years whizzing by, I’m keen to spend as much down-time with my children as possible – their adulthood is lurking around the next corner – so I kept my daylight editing hours to the minimum. I saw 3:00 am a number of times, and worked right through until 5:30 am on the last night/day to ensure I returned my work on time. This is no reflection on my editor – she is lovely and actively encouraged me to spend time with my children over the holidays, but once I get stuck into edits, it’s better if I keep going, so I can keep a mental track of the changes. Last year I explained the process to my youngest in this way: Imagine you are calculating a sum with lots of different actions – brackets, additions, subtractions, equations – working out each sum as you go along, trying to hold all that information in your head so you can give a final answer – that is what editing is like for me, except with words, plot and structure.

Beach Shack

There were a few sunny days when we managed to nip out for a spot of fresh air and exercise. We live five minutes away from the beach, and although we’d hoped to make more use of it this year, it was not to be. Thankfully, I took lots of photos of our trips out – days that earned the hashtag #summerholidaysinoneday. (I now have another ear-worm going on – Crowded House – Four Seasons In One Day, which, by the way, we experienced in one morning.)

IMG_0674 IMG_0685 IMG_0599 IMG_0663

I purposely did no other writing during the holidays as I find it difficult to swap from edits and characters in one novel to the characters and plot of the work-in-progress, so book 4, as yet untitled, remained untouched. I’m panicking a little, as I’m only 15,000 words in, and I have six months to complete and revise. So far, a year is the shortest time I’ve taken to write a novel …


The plan was to return to book 4 once the children were back at school, but those plans have been put on hold a little longer, as my daughter fractured a bone and tore a ligament in her knee in a Tae Kwondo accident, three days into the new term. We have come through the first week, so it’s onwards and upwards now.

Such is the life cycle of a writer …

Take care,

Laura x


Vanessa Savage – Inspired by…

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s in a small Gloucestershire village – back then, there were only four channels on the telly and as a teenager there was nothing to do and nowhere to go. My nearest library was ten miles away, my nearest bookshop twenty.

I was never one of the hanging-round-on street-corner kids, I preferred to stay in and read. As a teenager, I remember endless rainy Saturday afternoons when there was nothing but horse racing and darts on TV and my mum and dad’s bookshelves became my escape. Lack of access to bookshops meant I had to make do with what I could find and expand my reading genres – once I’d worked my way through the teenage reads in the school library, I read anything and everything we had at home. On my mum’s shelf, there was Mills & Boon and Catherine Cookson, Jackie Collins and Shirley Conran. On my dad’s, it was Alistair MacLean, Stephen King and James Herbert. I read my dad’s non-fiction books about nature and war, I read cookbooks, I read the bible. I read every copy of 2000AD stashed in my brother’s room and I even read the Watchtower magazines the Jehovah’s Witnesses stuffed through the letterbox.


I learned a lot from all of them, but most of all I learned not to be a reading snob: I appreciated a good thriller or a sweet romance as much as any of the classics we read at school.

Some of those books still sit on my shelves – all my old Enid Blyton and Noel Streatfield books, the Narnia books, What Katy Did and Little Women. But also my dad’s Stephen Kings and Alistair MacLeans, my mum’s Catherine Cooksons and Jackie Collins.

Now I’m all grown up and writing my own stories – whether it’s short stories, flash fiction or novels, I’ve written thrillers and romance, comedy, fantasy, sci-fi and horror. I like to think the access my parents gave me to all those wonderful fictional worlds has helped shape me as a writer and I want to thank them for that – I only wish they were still alive to see where their love of books has taken their daughter.


At the moment, my eldest daughter is only interested in books with horses in them and my youngest books about fairies, but I’m hoping they’ll find their own inspiration in my bookshelves as they get older – shelves that offer romance and crime and horror and fantasy, a fictional look into the past and the future, classic books and future literary classics.

I hope that some rainy afternoon when there’s nothing on TV will open up a whole new world for them like it did for me.

Vanessa x

Part One: In The Romaniac Sparkle Spotlight Is …

They’re here! The Sparkle Spotlight interviews!

During the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Conference, July 2015, The Romaniacs set up the Sparkle Corner, equipped with a red carpet, chilled Prosecco, the Romaniac banner, and a camera. Interested to learn more about our writing friends, we invited delegates to answer three questions, which tie in with our regular, weekly feature, Life Cycle Of A Writer.

We asked our sparkling guests to tell us about their writing highlight, lowlight and to tell us a little about their current project. Over the following days, we will be airing our videos, which include authors, an editor and an agent.

Thank you to everyone who took part with such fun and enthusiasm, and please feel free to share the link and spread the word; the writing world rocks, and romance is alive and kicking.

First up, we have the marvellous main conference organiser, Jan Jones, the elegant editor of the RNA magazine, Romance Matters, Adrienne Vaughan, and the Chairman of the RNA, Eileen Ramsay.

Take it away, Jan …


Part Two will follow later today … Come back and find out who we’ve put in the Sparkle Spotlight.


SFTW – #RNAConf15

Watch this space! First conference video coming later today!

 The RNA Conference July 2015 – The Video.

And here it is! Grab your cup of coffee, tea, or wine, sit back, and put your feet up for five minutes, and relive the experience that is the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference.

We’d like to thank the entire Conference Committee for another amazing event, and thank everyone who took part in our Sparkle videos, including this one, with such fun and sense of adventure.

Our Sparkle Spotlight videos will follow throughout the week, where you will see and hear from authors, editors and agents about the life cycle of the writing world.

We had a great time bringing this new element to the fabulous RNA conference and hope you enjoy watching.

The Romaniacs x

SFTW: The Romaniacs as BABIES: Part 3. The Answers

Over the last fortnight, we’ve teased you with our baby photos, but could you tell which Romaniac each baby grew into?

Here are the answers.

This Romaniac baby is ...

This Romaniac baby is …

This Romaniac baby is...

This Romaniac baby is…

Lucie Wheeler. Web: Twitter: @lucie_wheeler Facebook:

Lucie Wheeler.
Twitter: @lucie_wheeler

The chocolate muncher is...

The chocolate muncher is…


Romaniac Bridesmaid at 2 years old was …

Mum and Romaniac baby...

This Romaniac baby grew up to be…












Vanessa! @VvSavage on twitter

@VvSavage on twitter

Did you guess The Romaniac with the cheesy grin ...

Did you guess The Romaniac with the cheesy grin …

celia baby

Who wore the coolest bonnet? Celia, now drinking gin rather than formula…

Did you guess who?

Did you guess who?

It's Jan! @briggy44 on Twitter Jan Brigden on Facebook

It’s Jan!
@briggy44 on Twitter
Jan Brigden on Facebook