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A Question of Romance – Book Quiz #2

Everyone loves a love story. Following the romance of two characters from their first meeting to their (hopefully) happy-every-after is one of the great pleasures of reading. Here are fifteen couples whose love stories have captured readers’ imaginations. Do you know which book they appear in? (Extra points if you know the author!)
Answers below the questions.

  1. Scarlette O’Hara and Rhett Butler
  2. Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser
  3. Bella Swan and Edward Cullen
  4. Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe
  5. Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun
  6. Lou Clark and Will Traynor
  7. Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney
  8. Jenny Cavilleri and Oliver Barrett IV
  9. Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist
  10. Hazel Lancaster and Augustus (Gus) Waters
  11. Pelagia and Antonio Corelli
  12. Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew
  13. Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth
  14. Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey
  15. I and Maxim de Winter

Answers:

  1. Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler – Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  2. Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser – The Outlander series – Diana Gabaldon
  3. Bella Swan and Edward Cullen – The Twilight series – Stephanie Meyer
  4. Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe – Anne of Green Gables ( series) – L M Montgomery
  5. Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun – The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
  6. Lou Clark and Will Traynor – Me Before You – Jo-jo Moyes
  7. Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney – Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  8. Jenny Cavilleri and Oliver Barrett IV – Love Story -Erich Segal
  9. Ennis Del Mer and Jack Twist – Brokeback Mountain – Annie Proux
  10. Hazel Lancaster and Augustus (Gus) Waters – The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  11. Pelagia and Antonio Corelli – Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
  12. Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew – One Day – David Nichols
  13. Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth – Persuasion – Jane Austen
  14. Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey – Fifty Shades of Grey (series) E L James
  15. I and Maxim de Winter – Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

Plotting the Way Forward – Tom Williams – Burke In The Peninsula – This Writing Life #24

Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Burke in the Peninsula – the latest in historical novelist Tom Williams’ series of novels about Napoleonic-era spy, James Burke.
Over to Tom with a guest blog about the research that goes into writing a historical novel…

I keep coming across discussions by writers about whether it’s better to be a plotter or a pantser: that is whether it is better to plot your novel out before you start or whether you should make it up as you go along (flying by the seat of your pants). As somebody who writes historical novels, I can only dream of the freedom to make things up as I go along. All my stories are based on actual historical events and though the adventures of my hero, James Burke, are largely imaginary (less so in the first novel: Burke in the Land of Silver) the world that he inhabits is as accurate as I can make it. This means that for every day that is spent writing, several days can be spent researching the historical detail and then working out how to fit the story around it. With Burke and the Bedouin, I even had to factor in the moon, because we have accounts at the time which describes seeing things by moonlight. (I know historical novelists who, even when the historical record makes no reference to things like moonlight, check astronomical charts to make sure that they get these details right. I admit to not going so far.)

Research is often the best bit and can even be an excuse to travel to the site of one of the adventures. So far, historical research has taken me to Borneo, Argentina, Waterloo, and Egypt.

Researching and planning books is, in my experience, much more fun than writing them.

I’m a lazy writer. Nowadays there is pressure on writers to produce books quickly (that’s the way Amazon’s algorithms like them) so there is a lot of emphasis on the speed at which people write. Many authors produce a very quick first draft and then tidy it up afterwards. Because I plan everything in advance, I prefer to write slowly and sometimes don’t actually produce a second draft at all, but this does mean only turning out about one book a year. (There seem to be more coming out this year, but that’s because I’ve saved them up and published them all at once.) I used to write non-fiction for a living and when you do that it’s all about word count per day, so now I’ve retired I have no intention of getting caught in that trap again.

It’s a pleasant enough way of life, if not very profitable. I enjoy what I write and I know that there are people who enjoy reading it. I hope you might become one of them.

About Burke In The Peninsula

Things getting a bit messy in Spain. Lots of irregulars. Civilians joining in the fighting. That sort of thing. Wellesley needs all the help he can get. They need a man who can pass for a Spaniard. Someone who can make himself useful with the irregulars. Someone who is prepared to fight dirty if it gets things done.1809 and Burke has barely returned from South America when he is sent off again, this time to join the war being waged by Spanish guerrillas against the French. It’s not long before he’s fighting for his life, but which of the Spaniards can he trust?Burke faces new adversaries and finds old allies in a dramatic tale of adventure during the Peninsular War, set against the background of the bloody battle of Talavera.

It’s real history – but not the way you learned it in school.

Purchase here (left click + Ctrl) : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08JLJ8SC1

About Tom Williams

Tom Williams used to write books for business. Now he writes novels set in the 19th century that are generally described as fiction but which are often more honest than the business books.

Tom writes adventure stories about Napoleonic-era spy James Burke (based on a real man) and rather more thoughtful stories set at the height of the British Empire. Burke in the Peninsula is his eighth book.

Tom blogs regularly on his website, http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk where you can also find details of all his books. You can follow him on Twitter as @TomCW99 or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams).

Laughing Out Loud – Kathleen Whyman – This Writing Life #23

I’m delighted to welcome Kathleen Whyman with a guest post about her journey to publication. Kathleen’s hilarious debut novel, Wife Support System, is out now. Over to you, Kathleen…

Hi Lynne.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog.

For those who don’t know me (Hello! Nice to e-meet you), my name’s Kathleen Whyman. My first novel, Wife Support System, came out in July, published by Hera Books, and was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award.

My second novel, Second Wife Syndrome, was shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print prize in the unpublished comic novel category.
After having longed to be a novelist all my life, I can’t believe this is happening, but it definitely hasn’t been an overnight thing.

I’ve always loved writing. My style is witty (you may disagree after reading this blog post) banter and when I’m writing it’s as though I’m chatting to friends. I wrote my first book, The Ghost of Cripple Creek, when I was 10. It filled two exercise books, although quite a lot of that space was devoted to illustrations. These must have been awful, as I can’t draw for toffee. Fortunately I don’t like toffee, so I’m not too concerned about this. I submitted it to a publisher, who sent me a letter saying that it wasn’t right for them, but that I should keep writing. They didn’t return the book though. I’m still upset about this.
I wrote short stories throughout my teens – I have several rejection letters from Jackie magazine – and started a couple of novels in my twenties, but never got very far with them. (I blame the close proximity of my local pub.) I wrote a novel when I was pregnant with my first daughter Eve (not being able to go out drinking meant that I had much more time on my hands than I was used to), about the pros and cons of being pregnant. The main con being not able to go out drinking. I finished the novel, but wisely abandoned it.

As an NCTJ-trained journalist, I had an outlet for writing in my day job, but I still longed to be a novelist. I got slightly sidetracked from this goal over the years by work, children and MadMen box sets. It was Eve’s words – ‘Stop talking about writing a book and just write one’ – that gave me the motivation to knuckle down and write Wife Support System. I began writing the day my youngest daughter, Elena, started primary school and it got published a week after she left in year six. If someone had told me it would take seven years, about 15 rewrites and countless rejections from agents and publishers I’d probably have cried and gone back to watching Mad Men.

As I didn’t know this though, I kept going, absorbing every piece of feedback and advice I was given. The fact that agents were taking the time to give me feedback, rather than just issuing a standard ‘thanks, but no thanks’ email gave me hope that my novel wasn’t total crap. Just a little bit crap.

Along the way I had to axe one of the main characters (the one who was most like me because she was too boring – no offence taken), cut thousands of words, add scenes and flesh out characters and cut even more thousands of words. I’m not sure what kept me going really. Probably a combination of determination, delusion and dark chocolate. (I nibble on Hotel Chocolat’s 100% dark chocolate puddles while writing. Because they don’t contain sugar, I’ve convinced myself that these are so healthy they’re practically one of my five-a-day.))Along the way I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) and enrolled on their New Writers’ Scheme. As part of the membership you can submit a novel to be critiqued by a professional. This is such a fantastic resource and the feedback I received definitely helped shape Wife Support System.

It was at an RNA event that I met Keshini Naidoo, cofounder of Hera Books. She asked to see Wife Support System and emailed me a few weeks later saying that she and her partner loved it and wanted to publish it. This was at the beginning of January (best start to the new year ever!) and after a few months of more editing and proofreading, my novel came out at the end of July to coincide with the school holidays.

It’s only been a few weeks and I’m still on a high. Working with Keshini has been a joy (I’ve never met anyone so hardworking, motivating and cheerful – even when juggling work with home schooling and lockdown!). Being published has given me confidence that I’m not wasting hours and hours writing and that maybe, if I’m very lucky, this could be my actual job, rather than something I reward myself with when I’ve done the boring jobs.

If ever you’ve been tempted to write a book, please go for it. It might take a while, but if you love writing then it’ll be worth it. And it’s a great excuse to eat lots of chocolate!
*
Thank you so much, Kathleen, for telling us about your journey to publication. I very much enjoyed Wife Support System, a book that really did make me laugh out loud.

About Wife Support System

We’ve got the balance all wrong. Instead of living with our partners, struggling to do everything by ourselves and only seeing each other now and then, we should do it the other way round. We should live together and see them now and then.
Erica knows her suggestion’s extreme, but when her nanny leaves without notice, she’s extremely desperate. Polly and Louise aren’t convinced, but when circumstances force them to move into Polly’s enormous but run-down house, they have to admit life’s much easier when the childcare and workload is shared.

At first, communal living seems like the answer to their prayers – childcare on tap, rotas for cleaning and someone always available to cook dinner (no more last-minute pizza delivery!). But over time, resentment starts to grow as they judge each other’s parenting styles and bicker over cleaning, cooking and whose turn it is to buy toilet rolls.And as one woman has her head turned by a handsome colleague, one resorts to spying on her husband and another fights to keep a dark secret, they need each other more than ever. But can Polly, Louise and Erica keep their friendship and relationships strong? Or will their perfect mumtopia fall apart?

To purchase Wife Support System, please Left Click + Ctrl on the links below:
https://buff.ly/3eTjmC1Ahttps://amzn.to/2AHNthj
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2ATmbEq
Apple: https://apple.co/2zJTskYAbout Kathleen Whyman

About Kathleen Whyman

Kathleen Whyman’s first novel, Wife Support System, is published through Hera Books and was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award. Her second novel, Second Wife Syndrome, was shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print prize in the unpublished comic novel category.
As well as being an author, Kathleen is a freelance journalist and copywriter. She writes a column for Writers’ Forum and contributes to the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s magazine Romance Matters. Kathleen lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two daughters.

Twitter – @kathleenwhyman1

Instagram – @kathleenwhyman1

Facebook – @kathleenfwhyman

I am a Crime Writer, Not a Murderer – Anna Legat – This Writing Life #22

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Anna Legat with a fascinating guest post about the characters in her books. Over to you, Anna…

I am a Crime Writer, Not a Murderer

Anna Legat

Crime writers are adept and often merciless when it comes to body count. Murder is the name of the game. Death rules supreme. But even the most barbaric crime writers struggle to kill off their heroes at the end of the story. The mystery may be solved, the culprit apprehended and the balance between good and evil restored. And although we do write THE END when it’s all done and dusted, we can’t always bring ourselves to say farewell to our characters. Thus, we resort to serialising crime.

Readers, just like writers, form relationships with characters too. I have my favourite fictional detectives, Hercule Poirot, Wexford, Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Raisin, to mention a handful. I enjoy meeting them again and again. In the end, crime fiction isn’t just about solving crime. It’s also about continuity, familiarity and shared values. It is about restoring law and order in the community. And communities are made up of characters. Those pesky characters come to life and get under our skin. We try to understand them. We worry about them, get angry with them and love them to bits. Both as writers and readers. We are, after all, human, whether we’re fiction or real.

Anyway, where does reality end and fiction begin? Fictional characters are reflections of real people. Some of them are our self-portraits, often distorted or embellished, but still recognisable. Others are snapshots of people we know or have known – people who left lasting impressions on us. Some of our characters are collages of ourselves and those around us – our mini-me Frankensteins. They are constructs of our observations, likes and dislikes, fears and memories. Once we’ve put them together and breathed life into them, they go out into the world, make new friends and new enemies, and take on a life of their own. It’s hard to kill them just because we have reached the end of a story.

It is for that reason that I write series. My DI Gillian Marsh crime series is now on its fifth instalment. A Conspiracy of Silence (Headline Accent) will be published on 15th October. Much has changed in Gillian’s personal life since she first hit the pages of the series in 2016. And she isn’t finished yet. Life goes on for her as it does for all of us. I tried to terminate Gillian and move on. But in typical Gillian fashion, she was having none of it and forced her way into my new cosy crime mysteries, The Shires, and will make cameo appearances there alongside a brand-new cast of characters. I just couldn’t bring myself to let her go, even though she is not an easy woman to get on with. She is a terror.

In my debut novel Life Without Me (Headline Accent), I created an ensemble of characters whose lives were interlocked with one another in a network of official and secretive relationships, dependencies and hostilities. And even though some of those characters died in the story and others vanished from the scene, I was unable to let them rest in peace. Although it has been more than five years since I wrote Life Without Me, I have since written more stories revolving around some of the characters from that book.

My dystopian novel, The End of the Road (Crooked Cat/darkstroke) features Tony, an enigmatic lawyer who was the rival, lover and avenger of my heroine Georgie Ibsen in Life Without Me. The End of the Road launched yesterday. Another character from Life Without Me, the heroine’s sister Paula also lives on (in a manner of speaking) in her own story, Paula Goes to Heaven. I am working on it at the moment. All in all, there is no rest for the wicked and they all have to earn their crust.

The End of the Road:  

The fight for survival has begun.
All-out war spins out of control, and it doesn’t discriminate. Governments fall, continents are obliterated, deadly viruses consume everything in their path, and what’s left of humanity is on the run. Caught in this global refugee crisis are a few unlikely survivors.
Tony, a philandering London lawyer, escapes the doomed city and his own murky past as he evacuates to the continent.
A hapless flock of Belgian nuns prays for a miracle as they watch their city turn to rubble.
Bella, a naïve teenager, thinks she is going on holiday when her father drags her across the globe to New Zealand.
Reggie, a loyal employee of a mining corporation, guards a hoard of diamonds in the African plains, fending off desperate looters.
Alyosha, a nuclear scientist, has been looking for the God-particle in Siberia, but now the world is at an end, he wishes to return home to Chernobyl.
A pair of orphaned children are cowering in the Tatra Mountains, fearing the sky will fall in on them.
Will they find an escape route before it is too late? Or are they doomed to fail?

Life Without Me:

A darkly and brilliantly funny look at what being a fly on the wall is really like, Life Without Me is Anna Legat’s debut novel.
Georgie Ibsen is a successful, cynical, fortysomething hotshot lawyer. She runs her life, professional and personal, with precision and clear purpose. She’s just made a breakthrough in a crucial case, her family is growing more independent … things couldn’t be better.
Until it all comes to a screeching halt when she’s involved in a hit-and-run and ends up in a coma.
Somehow, in her comatose state, Georgie is given unique glimpses into the lives of her nearest and dearest, their most intimate secrets: her boring husband’s intense involvement with a colleague; her son’s lovelorn yearning for his mother’s nurse; her fifteen-year-old daughter’s bad boy boyfriend, who just might be linked to the criminal mastermind involved in her last big case…
Throw in a neurotic actress sister, a senile mother with a traumatic past, and a smug subordinate barrister who’s out to ruin her case in her absence…oh, and a sex-god lawyer extraordinaire who’s a deeply troubled soul with a penchant for some unsavoury practices…although Georgie is out of action, life certainly isn’t boring without her!

About Anna:

Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. She dabbles in a wide variety of genres, ranging from satire to dystopian. A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She read law at the University of South Africa and Warsaw University, then gained teaching qualifications in New Zealand. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.

Anna’s website and blog: https://annalegat.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LegatWriter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13956428.Anna_Legat

My Writing Journey – Julia Wild – This Writing Life #21

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Julia Wild, with a guest post about her writing journey.

Hi, Julia. Thank you for guesting on my blog. It’s lovely to have you here…

Hello there! Thank you to Lynne for inviting me onto her lovely blog and add that I really enjoyed her latest book, The Summer of Taking Chances, a cracking read!

My writing journey began in 1989 whilst working on a Saturday in a quiet double-glazing showroom; I decided it’d be good to write a book… I thought you wrote your story, posted it off and waited for a cheque in the return post. I know! Ridiculous – but that’s what I thought. I had a lot to learn… I happily wrote what I thought was an amazing 28k book featuring a Don Johnson lookalike detective and a hot romance and sent it off to Jilly Cooper’s publishers, I had their address because I read her books… Well, the cheque didn’t turn up, but I had a charming rejection letter suggesting that I try a different publisher. Unsurprisingly, more rejections followed. I was hooked on writing by this time.

I’d always been an avid fan of Winston Graham and the Poldark books, and also loved many other authors’ books in that era. So, I decided to write in the late 1700s. I hadn’t done history at O level – so poured over children’s history books, diaries from the 1770s and joined the British Library gaining access to the Newgate Calendars. A history professor at Cambridge University suggested I might enjoy them when I phoned him up (yes, I know!) to ask when the last person was married off the gallows…  (1648 if you’re interested, too soon for my time slot) Well, three swashbuckling historical novels later I still received rejections. My postage bill was becoming outrageous.

Then I won a competition for a week at a historical writing course for a promising first chapter. The course tutor said I must join the RNA and submit my historical, Kelsey to the New Writers’ Scheme. That was summer 1993. I joined and had a great critique back that suggested 230K word was a tad long, (!) but the story could make two books…   Finally, in 1997, I came through the Scheme to win the New Writers Award (now the Joan Hessayon Award.) with Dark Canvas. I was on cloud nine.

Illusions, my last traditionally published book won the RNA’s first Shorter Romance Prize in 2003. Although I carried on writing, I didn’t get published again until I got made redundant in 2014 and self-published my back-list as ebooks helped by generous members of the RNA Lizzie Lamb. Thank you! One of many fabulous supportive pals met through the RNA.

My journey has a hopeful diversion. Charlotte Ledger of One More Chapter read a historical of mine and asked me to write something, we came up with: The Secret Notebook, A dual timeline story featuring a WW2 romance, framed in the present which I am currently polishing.

In the meantime, below is the link to Illusions, if you’d like a peek.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Illusions-Julia-Wild-ebook/

Thank you, Julia, for joining me here today.

For more information on Julia Wild’s books, please visit her fab website: www.juliawildauthor.co.uk

She is also on Facebook and Twitter:

Facebook – Julia Wild Author page

Twitter – @juliawildauthor

In Pursuit of the Happy Ever After? – Melissa Oliver – This Writing Life #20

Today, I’m delighted to host a guest post from Melissa Oliver about her journey to publication. Melissa’s debut novel, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight, was published in June this year. Over to you, Melissa…

My journey to publishing has been a long and winding road but then again, I wouldn’t have it any other way. That pivotal moment when it all came together was the sum of everything my life had been- up until the moment I was offered a publishing contract at the end of 2019.

As a child, I was always making up stories; whether it was writing stories, plays or role-playing. I had a furtive imagination and loved nothing better than to escape to into the wilds of make-believe. They were happy, care free days that slipped into the more uncertain, murky waters of angst and self-doubt of being a teenager. Still, I managed to navigate my way through until I had those all-important decisions to make about my future.

My love for history and the arts meant that I had difficulty choosing what I should study at university and at this point in my life I wasn’t sure whether I could be a writer. So, I went down the visual arts route with a degree in textiles (and fashion) but strangely enough these were transferable skills that would later prove invaluable for writing. To create and collate inspirational ‘mood’ boards to inform the design process is not all that different actually, from the stages within the writing process. Only, I substituted paints, fabrics, patterns and materials, to use words- creating characters, inhabiting worlds, woven within the context of a story.
A couple of years after I graduated, on that first run of the ladder, my beloved mum, who was more like my best friend, became terminally ill. Consumed with grief, I eventually gave up my design job to be her full-time carer.
This was a huge turning point in my life…
Looking back, the loss of my beautiful mum which was devastating, did later make me think about what I wanted from life.
When I became a mother myself, the writing bug which had always been there- an itch I needed to scratch, became more insistent and something I couldn’t shake off. I was a tutor in fashion and clothes-making and also made wedding dresses privately but it wasn’t what I wanted to do.
However, once again I doubted my ability to be able to write a novel so I pursued screen/ playwriting. After many inevitable rejections, a radio play that I had submitted, caught the eye of a BBC development producer. We worked on it together and got it through the submission rounds only for it to fail at the last hurdle. However, the Editor of Radio 4 asked for the play to be resubmitted, subject to certain changes, which I naturally agreed. I fleshed out the characters and tightened the story with the producer and got it through all the submission rounds only to be rejected again, right at the very end.
Dejected, I turned my sights to the one thing I had always wanted to do but had never felt confident to do – write a novel…
I wanted to embrace and merge my interest in romance and history, which I had always been passionate about- sweeping stories that transport me to another time and place. And that is exactly what I did.
After many, many years of learning, honing my craft, persevering, and not giving up, I’m now lucky enough to do just that!

The Rebel Heiress and the Knight

She must marry the Knight
By order of the King!
Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious – even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!

To purchase The Rebel Heiress and the Knight, please highlight and left-click on the links below:

Amazon U K:https://amzn.to/2ZjOE0i
Amazon USA:https://amzn.to/2AFzurH
U.K Mills and Boon:-  https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/collections/all/products/hqnsingle-07216901?fbclid=IwAR2DlRVjAv_jnaNjSYc1QmUucBi81v5t0RpofRI9M2OM2Hwycf5IzNGbFiw
U.S Harlequin:-  https://bit.ly/3dXWgcB

About Melissa:

Melissa Oliver is from south-west London where she writes historical romance novels. She lives with her gorgeous husband and equally gorgeous daughters, who share her passion for decrepit, old castles, grand palaces and all things historical. When she’s not writing she loves to travel for inspiration, paint, and visit museums & art galleries.

Twitter- @melissaoauthor

Facebook- fb@melissaoliverauthor

~ Thank you so much, Melissa, for sharing your journey to publication. I very much look forward to reading The Rebel Heiress and the Knight.

The Journey to Publication – Annette Hannah – This Writing Life #19

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Annette Hannah to my blog as part of the blog tour for her debut novel, Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Cafe. I asked Annette to tell us about her journey to publication.

Over to you, Annette…

Hi Lynne, thank you so much for having me on your lovely blog, it feels quite strange for me as being a blogger myself I’m normally the interviewer.

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I’ve been writing a book a year for four years now and after I wrote each one I would send it out to a handful of agents and publishers and then immediately start another one; One because the ideas kept coming thick and fast and two because it helped take my mind off the fact that my words were out there in unknown territory. It felt very exposing. Every time I received a rejection, I would take it on the chin and try and learn from any comments I received back. Then my third manuscript began to get some interest, I was still getting rejections, but the feedback was much more positive and showed me that I must be improving.

After the first year I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s, New Writers’ Scheme and I do think that that was a game changer, I went to annual conferences with workshops and talks by hugely successful authors and I learnt a lot. As a new writer I was entitled to a manuscript critique per year which gave me pointers as to how to improve my work. I also joined the London Chapter of the RNA and have made so many wonderful friends there. Being surrounded by like-minded people is brilliant as you can iron out any issues you may have and there’s always someone who has been through a similar experience that can help you out.

Eventually I was able to understand that the magic in writing is in the editing, I’d always disliked editing but when it clicked I began to enjoy it and could really see how it made my work better.

I’d seen the Orion Dash team giving a talk at the conference last year and really liked their energy and excitement at opening a new imprint. I sent my edited manuscript off and when I received a reply, I quickly scanned the email looking for the word ‘unfortunately,’ as I thought it would be a rejection. When I couldn’t find it, I read the email properly and saw that Victoria from Dash had said she’d fallen head over heels for my story and asked if it was still available. I burst into tears and my poor daughter thought something awful had happened. The next day I was delighted to be offered a two-book deal and since then I feel like I’ve been in a whirlwind.

My journey to publication has been wonderful and my advice to other new writers is to work hard, don’t give up and one day your dream will come true too.

Thank you, Annette, for sharing your journey to publication. Wishing Wedding Bells At the Signal Café every success.

Here comes the bride…

Lucy Woods has always dreamed of running her very own wedding venue. After moving her eight-year-old son to the countryside she’s surprised to find the perfect location and her best friend, Abbie, eager to help make that dream a reality! Too bad Abbie’s older brother Dominic isn’t keen on Lucy or their big idea!

As a divorce lawyer Dominic doesn’t believe in love at first sight or wedding vows, he’s seen them broken more times than he can count. But when Lucy arrives back in town, his hardened heart begins to crack.

Making her dream come true is a huge undertaking, but Lucy knows that The Signal Box Café is her chance to finally make something of her life. If only the irritating (and oh-so-gorgeous) Dom didn’t make her imagine wearing a white dress and walking down the aisle…

Can Lucy and Dominic find a way to each other this summer or will the wedding bells chime for another couple?

If you would like to purchase Wedding Bells at the Signal box Café, please click on the link below or copy and paste into your browser:

UK: http://ow.ly/YUSB50A4M4k                 US: http://ow.ly/VcZv50A4NT5

About Annette Hannah

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is annette-hannah-author-pic.jpg

Annette Hannah is a Liver Bird who relocated to leafy Hertfordshire in the 80’s and now lives near a river with her husband, two of their three grown up children and a crazy black cocker spaniel. She writes Romantic comedies in settings inspired by the beautiful countryside around her and always with a nod to her hometown. As an avid reader she became a book blogger and eventually realised her dream to become an author in 2020.

She loves long walks along the river, travelling to far flung places, the odd glass of Pinot Blush and spending time with her friends and family. 

You can follow her on 

twitter @annettehannah

http://www.sincerelybookangels.blogspot.com

http://www.annettehannah.com

Cassandra Comes to Cornwall – Jenny Kane

Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Jenny Kane’s A Cornish Wedding. Over to Jenny…

Cassandra comes to Cornwall

Jenny Kane

Many thanks to Lynne, for inviting me to come along today to talk about my Cornish romcom, A Cornish Wedding, on the first leg of my book launch #blogtour.

A Cornish Wedding (previously known as Abi’s Neighbour), is the second novel to feature former Surrey resident Abi Carter. In the first book, A Cornish Escape (which doesn’t have to be read to enjoy A Cornish Wedding), children’s picture book illustrator Abi, leaves her perfect house in Surrey- complete with perfect neighbours – perfect cars – perfect furniture – and a feeling that she would never ever be good enough to fit in.

 

This existence of bossy career wives and inadequacy came to an abrupt end for Abi when her husband, Luke, died suddenly of an over-exercising induced heart attack. Taking her chance, Abi leaves everything behind, and heads south in search of a childhood dream. A house in Cornwall – a house her parents had always joked should be hers because it was called Abbey’s House. 

In A Cornish Wedding, happily established in a beautiful Cornish end terrace in the village of Sennen, Abi is relaxing into her new life with new friends. All is looking fantastic- until Abi discovers that the life she left behind is about to move in next door…

Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Heidi Swain and Milly Johnson, A Cornish Wedding is the best kind of summer escape.

Blurb

Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Heidi Swain and Milly Johnson, A Cornish Wedding is the best kind of summer escape.

Abi has what she’s always dreamed of: her perfect Cornish cottage, great friends and a gorgeous boyfriend. But her idyll is shattered when a new neighbour moves in next door.

Rude and obnoxious, Cassandra doesn’t make a good first impression on Abi. But with the unexpected wedding of one of Abi’s friends to prepare for, Abi has bigger things to worry about.

However, avoiding her new neighbour proves harder than expected and Abi and Cassandra soon realise they might have more in common than they first thought. . .

But with the wedding only weeks away, can they set aside their differences before the big day?

It is always fun writing a ‘bad guy or gal’. In this case, the baddies come in the form of Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton and her married lover, Justin Smythe.  If they aren’t names to strike terror into the heart of a Stepford Wives escapee, then just one look at Cassandra’s perfect complexion, figure and clothing would do the job!

Cassandra however, has her reasons for being as sharp as a drawer of knives. For a start, she really does not want to be in Cornwall…

Extract

She’d only come to Sennen in the first place because Justin had been so excited about their new start together. Cassandra had never imagined that start would begin with her hundreds of miles away from her lover, in a clapped out house with none of the comforts and amenities she took for granted in London. Hating how lonely and out of routine she felt, Cassandra abruptly stood up and began to visit each room in the house. The sooner she pulled herself together and got this place habitable, the sooner Justin would put it up for rent, and they could plan a proper future together.

Telling herself to be realistic, and that it wasn’t that unreasonable that Justin was required to work a weekend so soon after his promotion, Cassandra started to make a list of everything that had to be bought for the house. Quickly feeling better for being productive, she soon realised it was going to be a lengthy list despite the fact there were only two tiny bedrooms, one bathroom, a lounge-diner and a kitchen. Top of the list, she wrote, bed linen.

An hour later, blindly staring at the Cornish scenery as it disappeared and reappeared between the high hedges that sporadically lined the roads the taxi travelled the long miles to Truro, Cassandra made another list. A private one for her own sanity. 

 1. Call Justin

2. Rent a car

3. Find a hairdresser

            ‘Are you sure you haven’t taken a wrong turn?’ Cassandra addressed the cabbie as she glared at her watch accusingly. ‘This journey seems to be taking forever.’

With the patience of someone used to ferrying unrealistic tourists around, the driver replied with steady practicality, ‘I’ve been driving this route for longer than you’ve been on this earth, me ’andsome. It always takes over an hour to drive to Truro. I’m sure they’d ’ave told ’ee that when ’ee booked the ride.’

 ‘I thought they were joking.’

‘This is Cornwall. This is how it is, me ’andsome.’

 Cassandra bit her lip, refraining from sharing her own opinion about Cornwall with a man whose relaxed acceptance was more annoying than if he’d got cross with her for being impatient…

Cornwall is going to have its work cut out winning over Cassandra. But perhaps, with the help of her next door neighbour, even that miracle is possible…

Universal buy link- mybook.to/CornishWedding

Many thanks for hosting me today, Lynne.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

Bio

‘I love Jenny Kane’s writing.’ Katie Fforde

From the comfort of her cafe corner in Mid Devon, award winning author, Jenny Kane, wrote the contemporary women’s fiction and romance novels, A Cornish Escape (2nd edition, HeadlineAccent, 2020),  A Cornish Wedding (2nd edition, HeadlineAccent, 2020), Romancing Robin Hood (2nd edition, Littwitz Press, 2018),  Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016),and Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013).

Jenny Kane at Costa Coffee talking about her new book.

She has also written 3 novella length sequels to her Another Cup of…..books:  Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent, 2016). These three seasonal specials are now available in one boxed set entitled Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection (Accent, 2016)

Jenny is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015)

Under the pen name, Jennifer Ash, Jenny has also written The Folville Chronicles (The Outlaw’s Ransom, The Winter Outlaw, Edward’s Outlaw – published by Littwitz Press), The Power of Three (Spiteful Puppet, 2020) and The Meeting Place (Spiteful Puppet, 2019). She also created four audio scripts for ITV’s popular 1980’s television show, Robin of Sherwood.

The Waterford Boy, Mathilda’s Legacy, The Baron’s Daughter and The Meeting Place were released by Spiteful Puppet in 2017/2018/2019.

Jenny Kane is the writer in residence for Tiverton Costa in Devon. She also co-runs the creative writing business, Imagine. Jenny teaches a wide range of creative writing workshops including her popular ‘Novel in a Year’ course. (www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk)

All of Jennifer Ash’s and Jenny Kane’s news can be found at www.jennykane.co.uk

@JenAshHistory

@JennyKaneAuthor

@Imagine_Writing

Jennifer Ash https://www.facebook.com/jenniferashhistorical/

Jenny Kane https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011235488766

Imagine www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk

Thank you for dropping by, Jenny. I look forward to reading A Cornish Wedding. Enjoy the rest of your blog tour.

Book Birds – Friday Night Book Quiz #1

Collage 2020-03-20 16_08_10For everyone who, like me, is missing their pub quiz, for everyone who loves book quizzes … actually, for everyone who’s stuck at home in these strange sad times, here is some entertainment for your Friday night.
Twenty quiz questions about books – with a bird in the answer (Answers after the final question):

1) Who wrote Gulliver’s Travels?

2) What species of bird is Hedwig in the Harry Potter books?

3) Which publishing house published its first book in 1935?

4) Which John Grisham novel was made into a 1993 film starring Julia Roberts?

5) Who wrote Beau Geste?

6) Which best-selling children’s novel was written by Arthur Ransome?

7) Which Jack Higgins novel had a bird in the title?

8) A famous Dashiell Hammett novel featuring detective Sam Spade?

9) Ken Kesey and Robert Gilbraith both wrote books featuring this bird in the title?

10 ) Jung Chang’s book about three daughters of China?

11) Lorry McMurty’s gentle, episodic Western novel made into a TV series?

12) Title of a Henrik Ibsen play?

13) The only bird featured in an Adam Dalgliesh book by P D James?

14) Julian Barnes witty novel investigating the life of Flaubert?

15) Rosemary Sutcliff’s children’s novel featuring Marcus Aquila?

16) Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize willing novel? Made into a film starring Gregory Peck.

17) The bird in the title of an Ian Banks novel – also made into a TV series?

18) The bird in the title of Flora Thompson’s heart-warming portrayal of country-life?

19) An Alastair Maclean thriller made into a film starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood?

20) The fourth novel in George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones series?

Answers:

1) Who wrote Gulliver’s Travels?
Jonathan SWIFT
2) What species of bird is Hedwig in the Harry Potter books?
SNOWY OWL
3) Which publishing house published its first book in 1935?                                                            PENGUIN                                                                                                                                             4) Which John Grisham novel was made into a 1993 film starring Julia Roberts?
The PELICAN Brief
5) Who wrote Beau Geste?
P C WREN
6) Which best-selling children’s novel was written by Arthur Ransome?
SWALLOWS and Amazons
7) Which Jack Higgins novel had a bird in the title?
The EAGLE has landed
8) A famous Dashiell Hammett novel featuring detective Sam Spade?
The Maltese FALCON
9) Ken Kesey and Robert Gilbraith both wrote books featuring this bird in the title?
CUKOO (One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest and The Cukoo’s Calling)
10 ) Jung Chang’s book about three daughters of China?
Wild SWANS
11) Lorry McMurty’s gentle, episodic Western novel made into a TV series?
Lonesome DOVE
12) Title of a Henrik Ibsen play?
The Wild DUCK
13) The only bird featured in the title of an Adam Dalgliesh book by P D James?                          Shroud for a NIGHTINGALE
14) Julian Barnes witty novel investigating the life of Flaubert?
Flaubert’s PARROT
15) Rosemary Sutcliff’s children’s novel featuring Marcus Aquila?
The EAGLE of the Ninth
16) Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize willing novel? Made into a film starring Gregory Peck.
To Kill a MOCKINGBIRD
17) The bird in the title of an Ian Banks novel – also made into a TV series?
CROW (The Crow Road)
18) The bird in the title of Flora Thompson’s heart-warming portrayal of country-life?
LARK Rise to Candleford)
19) An Alastair Maclean thriller made into a film starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood
Where EAGLES Dare
20) The fourth novel in George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones series?
A Feast for CROWS

OWL (2)

#mencanwriteromance – R J Gould – This Writing Life #18

It is a truth universally acknowledged that most writers of romantic fiction are female. Today, I’m delighted to host a guest blog from R J Gould, talking about his writing life as a male writing in the romance genre.
Over to you, Richard …

#mencanwriteromance

R J Gould

Why the twitter hashtag #mencanwriteromance? I use it to wave a flag for the small number of males writing, and for that matter reading, Romance fiction. I’m one of only 1% of the members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association who are men.

Mid-life Follies_3D paperback (1)Actually, I didn’t set out to be a romantic fiction author, I just got placed there because I write about relationships, with my novels character-driven, although of course plot is important, too. I use humour to describe my protagonists’ bitter-sweet journeys in pursuit of frequently second-chance romance, carrying cartloads of baggage as they struggle to balance the pressures of work, friends and families on their tragi-comic search for love.

Here’s a confession. My name is Richard and I’m a coward. An agent suggested I use a female pseudonym to increase my largely female readership. “No way!” I declared with bold pride. “People are going to have to accept me for who I am.” That evening I considered Rebecca, Rosemary, Rachel and Rita before opting for the cowardly compromise of using R J instead of Richard. In retrospect, I should have resisted the change because being a man writing Romance is worth shouting about in that it provides my predominantly female readers with interesting new insights into relationships.

Here’s another confession. I gave in to a suggestion for style of cover, a ChickLitty cartoony type which doesn’t really fit in with what I write – I don’t do lovey-dovey. Two novels later, I was pleased to work with my publisher’s design team to come up with the clean lines for Jack & Jill went Downhill. I’ve kept with the same style for Mid-life follies, the first novel I’ve self-published.

four covers_rjgould (1)I believe that attraction to a cover is the vital first step the reader takes in deciding whether to investigate a novel further, so ultimately the test of whether my preference for untypical Romance designs is wise will be number of sales.

Mid-life follies

Mid-life Follies_3D paperback (1)‘When you look in the mirror, do you see someone young and vibrant like you used to be,’ Liz asks her husband, ‘or old and decrepit like you’re going to be?’

This question is the trigger for Liz’s decision to leave the comfortable family home in Cambridge after twenty-three years of contented marriage. A brisk walk to clear her head of the feeling of being trapped doesn’t work. On a brief escape to the seaside, a wholly out of character one-night fling makes things worse.
A baffled Hugh is left to figure out why his wife has abandoned him. Is she suffering a mid-life crisis? Is he experiencing the same affliction?
A succession of twists and turns prevents a restoration to the normality that the couple increasingly crave as their children, parents and friends discover that immaturity is not solely the preserve of the young.

“This tale of self-doubt, adultery and forgiveness is shot through with humour and compassion. A most enjoyable read.”
David Lister, The Independent

Available from:

e-book http://myBook.to/midlifefollies
Paperback https://www.feedaread.com/books/Mid-life-follies-9781839451874.aspx

(Please click on link or copy and paste into your browser)

richard gould (1)R J Gould is the author of four novels: A Street Café Named Desire, The Engagement Party, Jack & Jill Went Downhill and Mid-life follies. He is a (rare male) member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Having been selected for the organisation’s New Writers Programme, his first novel was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award. Ahead of writing full time, R J Gould led a national educational charity. He has published in a wide range of educational journals, national newspapers and magazines and is the co-author of a major work on educating able young people, all rewarding, but his passion is writing fiction. He lives in Cambridge, England.

Social Media
Website: http://www.rjgould.info
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RJGould_author
Email: rjgould.author@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richard.gould.14418