Posts Tagged ‘RNA’

On the RoNA Shortlists!

The RoNA (RNA’s Romantic Novel Awards) shortlists have been announced and I am thrilled to have The Secret Kiss of Darkness nominated in the Historical Romantic Novel category!  I have known for a while but was sworn to secrecy so it’s lovely to be able to tell everyone at last 🙂

I’m up against some fabulous historical authors and am very much looking forward to reading their books.  Here’s the list:-

2016 historical books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and here are the author photos:-

2016 authors Historical-1

 

 

 

(photos courtesy of the RNA and put together by the lovely Janet Gover)

 

 

 

Special shout out for fellow ChocLiteers Melanie Hudson, Alison May and Angela Britnell who are also shortlisted in various categories – so exciting!

The awards ceremony is on the 7th March – please keep your fingers crossed for me!

RNA Conference 2015

Me and Gill-Marie Stewart settling in

Me and Gill-Marie Stewart settling in

This year’s RNA conference was held at Queen Mary University in Mile End, London, and although most of us had a bit of a struggle to get there (thanks to a tube strike), a fantastic time was had by all!  I certainly came away buzzing with ideas and enthusiastic about writing – it was fab and just what I needed!

There was so much going on, it was impossible to go to all the talks or to see/speak to everyone, but here is a short summary of the events I attended (and a couple I participated in):-

Caroline Sheldon, Hannah Ferguson, Carole Blake and Tim Bates (with Eileen Ramsay and Jan Jones behind them)

Caroline Sheldon, Hannah Ferguson, Carole Blake and Tim Bates (with Eileen Ramsay and Jan Jones behind them)

The Agents’ Panel on the Friday which was superb – brilliantly chaired by Carole Blake of Blake Friedmann, it included Caroline Sheldon(Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency), Hannah Ferguson (Hardman & Swainson), Tim Bates (Pollinger) and Lisa Eveleigh (Richford Becklow).  It’s always great to get the agents’ perspective on what is happening in publishing so this was fascinating.

Matt Bates, the lovely fiction buyer from WH Smith Travel gave a great talk about what sells and doesn’t sell in his stores.  I especially loved his insights into covers and the huge importance they have!

Sarah Broadhurst, book reviewer extraordinaire, told us about her lifelong love of books and her career – very entertaining and interesting!

Relaxing with Ann Ankers, organiser of the RNA Marcher Ladies

Relaxing with Ann Ankers, organiser of the RNA Marcher Ladies

An Editors’ Panel, chaired by Jane Johnson (who is also an author) gave more fascinating insights, and a panel of book bloggers/reviewers told us what reviewers are looking for and how to approach them.  This panel included the lovely Charlie of The Worm Hole blog, whom I’d had the pleasure of sitting next to at dinner on the first evening.  We share a love of castles!

Author Hazel Gaynor talked about promotion; Eileen Ramsay (RNA’s new chair) led a panel discussion that featured Katie Fforde, Jane Johnson and Daniel Hahn (chair of the Society of Authors); and author Ruth Long gave a fabulous talk about magic and folklore that made me want to rush home and write fantasy books!  Then Alison Baverstock taught us about marketing, Tamsyn Murray analysed three YA books to find out why they’ve been such huge successes and Kerry Fisher talked about her road to traditional publication.

Our two volunteers in 'uchikake' kimono robes

Our two volunteers in ‘uchikake’ kimono robes

I did a talk on “Show don’t tell” with the brilliant Sue Moorcroft, utilising some of the many Japanese things I’ve collected over the years and finally I was one of many who ended up on Jane Wenham-Jones‘s Sunday Sofa to discuss our quirks …  Are you exhausted reading all this?  Well, then you’ll see why I now need a week to recover from the conference 🙂  But I’m already looking forward to the next one!

Liz Fenwick looking like a princess!

Liz Fenwick looking like a princess!

... and Liz from behind

… and Liz from behind

Lucie Wheeler and Katrina Power trying on 'zori' and 'geta' (with tabi socks)

Lucie Wheeler and Katrina Power trying on ‘zori’ and ‘geta’ (with tabi socks)

Gill-Marie Stewart and Sue Moorcroft chilling

Gill-Marie Stewart and Sue Moorcroft chilling

Katrina Power (and her megawatt smile) with Carol Townend and others

Katrina Power (and her megawatt smile) with Carol Townend and others

An 18th century Jewish cemetery in the middle of the campus - interesting!

An 18th century Jewish cemetery in the middle of the campus – interesting!

All the Choc Lit authors who attended this year's conference (minues one)

All the Choc Lit authors who attended this year’s conference (minues one)

And three of the Paisley Piranhas - myself, Gill-Marie Stewart and Katy Haye

And three of the Paisley Piranhas – myself, Gill-Marie Stewart and Katy Haye

With the lovely Sue Moorcroft – my talk ‘partner’

With fellow ChocLiteer Laura E James

With fellow ChocLiteer Laura E James

Kimono

Some of the conference first-timers looked after by Katy Haye

Some of the conference first-timers looked after by Katy Haye

What happens when we have to go home ...

What happens when we have to go home …

 

RoNAs 2015

The wonderful Gladstone Library

The wonderful Gladstone Library

The RNA’s annual awards event, the RoNAs, was held last night at the wonderful Gladstone Library, One Whitehall.  It was a celebration of the very best in romantic fiction and the awards were presented by the amazing Barbara Taylor Bradford, herself the author of thirty romantic novels.

The lovely compere Jane Wenham-Jones introduced the shortlists and the winners were:-

Contemporary category – Lucy Dillon

Epic category – Ella Harper

Historical category – Hazel Gaynor

Romantic Comedy category – Lucy-Anne Holmes

RoNA Rose category – Louise Allen

Young Adult category – Joss Stirling

And the overall winner of The Romantic Novel of the Year was Joss Stirling with her YA novel Struck, a wonderful story with a quirky hero and a multi-cultural heroine.  A truly worthy winner!

For me, it was my last awards event as chairman of the RNA so I was very glad everyone seemed to enjoy it.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s!

Making a speech

Making a speech

With fellow ChocLiteer Alison May

With fellow ChocLiteer Alison May

RNA Conference 2013

I have just come back from the 2013 RNA Conference, which was held at the conference centre called The Edge at Sheffield University’s Endcliffe Village site.  Apart from the fact that the air conditioning wasn’t working in the meeting rooms, I had a wonderful time!

Our stay began by helping to stuff the goody bags, which this year were brilliant silver and pink – they looked amazing when all 180 of them were done!

The sun shone throughout our stay and it felt more like being in a Mediterranean country than Sheffield.  Sitting outside under parasols at breaktimes and in the evenings was lovely and I really enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones.

(Photo by Lizzie Lamb)

The “ChocLiteers” were out in force – I think there were fourteen of us – and we scrubbed up nicely for the gala dinner.  The previous evening we had a little kitchen get-together too and it was great to meet the latest recruits.  One of the ChocLiteers – Kate Johnson – won this year’s Elizabeth Goudge award, which was a lovely surprise!

As always, I came home exhausted, but inspired by all the wonderful talks and fired up with the urge to write.  Can’t wait for next year’s conference!

Elizabeth Goudge finalists - Jayne Hall, Kate Johnson (winner) and Jacqui Cooper

RNA Summer Party

At the recent Romantic Novelists’ Association’s summer party I had the great pleasure of meeting Lindsey Davis, the best-selling historical novelist, and I just had to put up this lovely photo of us taken by the RNA’s photographer Marte Lundby Rekaa.

Ms. Davis was the guest of honour and, after a brilliant and very amusing speech, she presented the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award to the winner Jenny Colgan.

The RoNA’s 2013!

Susanna Kearsley, Charlotte Betts and Kate Furnival

I had a wonderful time at the RoNA Awards event on Tuesday evening, even though The Silent Touch of Shadows didn’t win its category.  The lovely Charlotte Betts won Best Historical Romantic Novel with The Apothecary’s Daughter – well deserved as it’s a fabulous book!

Other winners were Katie Fforde (Best Contemporary), Jenny Colgan (Best Rom Com), Rowan Coleman (Best Epic), Victoria Lamb (Best YA) and Sarah Mallory (RoNA Rose Award) – huge congratulations to all of them!  For lots of photos, have a look at the RNA website and blog.

I’ve been laid low with flu, so won’t post a long report, but here are a couple of more photos from the event!

Berni Stevens, Kate Johnson and Rachel Skinner

Susanna with Brigid Coady

Sue Moorcroft with Susanna and Brigid

TSTOS on RoNA shortlist!

Today the Romantic Novelists’ Association released the shortlists for this years’ RoNAs (Romantic Novel Awards) and I was absolutely delighted to find The Silent Touch of Shadows nominated in the Historical category!

The complete lists can be found here and the winners of all the categories will be announced at an awards event on 26th February, which is to be held at the RAF Club in Piccadilly.  The prizes will be presented by Richard & Judy!

A lot of my RNA friends were also nominated – congratulations to them all!  I’m especially thrilled to find my fellow ChocLiteer Sue Moorcroft in the Contemporary category with her novel Dream a Little Dream, my fellow “Heroine Addict” Susanna Kearsley with The Rose Garden up against me in the Historical category and Victoria Connelly nominated in the Rom Com category with The Runaway Actress.

I’m very much looking forward to the awards event!

A Long Weekend “Up North”

I’ve just come back from five fabulous days “up north”, more precisely Dumfries and Penrith, and I’m exhausted, but had a wonderful time!

The RNA’s annual conference was held at Penrith this year, just south of the border to Scotland, so I thought I’d take the chance to visit my writing buddy Gill in Dumfries first.  The area where she lives is absolutely stunning and when we went for walks I couldn’t stop taking photos so I thought I’d share some with you here.

The Forest of Ae appeals to me especially because it reminds me so much of the Swedish forests near the town where I grew up.  At a distance, they seem almost identical, but when I look more closely there are subtle differences.  For instance, the fir trees in Dumfries are mostly Douglas firs, whereas the Swedish ones are a slightly different variety that are less bushy.  The wonderful scents of pine and greenery are the same though, and we came across a river (in full spate due to all the recent rain no doubt) which made me long for “home”.

And once out of the forest, the far-reaching views, all the way across to the Solway Firth, were just stunning!  If it hadn’t been for the midges, I could have sat there and admired them all day.  I was very sad to leave 🙁

You would have thought that going to a conference held on a university campus would seem like a let-down after all that scenery, but not so.  RNA conferences are always huge fun – talks, workshops, meeting up with writing friends you usually only talk to via the internet, and of course the sessions in the bar and various communal kitchens in the evenings.  It was a non-stop whirl of activity from beginning to end, but I can’t wait for next year!

I leave you with a photo of the Morris dancing lesson, which I confess I chickened out of (was simply too tired by that point and had a six hour drive ahead of me).  I really enjoyed watching though!

RNA Summer Party

So the RNA’s annual Summer Party has been and gone, and sadly I didn’t win anything this time.  But I didn’t really mind because it was lovely to have been shortlisted and it was still an extraordinary evening of celebration for the whole Choc Lit team since Evonne Wareham won the Joan Hessayon Award for a new writer and Jane Lovering won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award!!  Huge congratulations to them!

Here are some photos, courtesy of talented photographer Marte Lundby Rekaa, of Evonne and Jane with their trophies, plus me and the other Choc-Liteers in party mode.  It was definitely a night to remember!

EvonneJane

Advance copies and RoNAs!

Seeing a pile of books with your name on it has to be one of the best feelings in the world!  And it was what happened to me this afternoon as the advance copies of The Silent Touch of Shadows arrived – yeah!  I was thrilled to see the finished version and love the cover – it definitely looks even better for real 🙂  It goes on sale at the beginning of July, can’t wait!

There’s more excitement to come next week at the RNA’s Summer Party, when the winner of The Romantic Novel of the Year Award (RNOTY) will be announced, as well as the winner of the Joan Hessayon Award for best new writer.  As I’m one of the finalists for the RNOTY, I was very happy to see an excellent article about it in today’s issue of the Daily Express (link here), written by Emma Lee-Potter.  Huge thanks to her for being so positive about romantic novels!