Posts Tagged ‘Romantic Novelists’ Association’

The RNA Conference 2017

Anna Belfrage, Claire Watts and Gill-Marie Stewart

It’s amazing how much fun it can be to sit in a student kitchen with your friends and talk about everything under the sun!  From happy-ever-afters to religion, women’s football to social welfare, hot heroes and suitable heroines, and most of all how the writing is going …  That is the wonderful thing about the RNA conferences!  There is never a dull moment and you never run out of people to talk to and catch up with, or topics of conversation.

I must have been to at least fifteen of these conferences by now and it never gets old.  Each year it is just as much fun and there are always interesting talks on a variety of subjects.  I learn something new each time and come away feeling inspired and more enthusiastic about writing, fired up and ready to go … once I’ve had some time to recover from the late nights and early mornings.  Because who needs to sleep, when there is so much to do?  Sleeping can be done afterwards!

Anna with a member of our audience

This time I attended some great talks, among them Janet Gover’s excellent one about how to manipulate pictures using programmes like Adobe Photoshop – I am now itching to go and play around with photos to see what I can do!  There was also the brilliant and very useful talk by Ruth Long (R F Long) on how to do talks at schools.  She had some great advice and made me feel inspired to give it a try.

I also participated in talks myself – one with the lovely Anna Belfrage, where we discussed time slip vs time travel and what an author writing in these sub-genres has to bear in mind.  We had a wonderful audience who had some great suggestions when it came to finding a way to time travel that a reader could find plausible.

Then there was the talk with my fellow Paisley Piranhas (Gill-Marie Stewart, Claire Watts and Katy Haye) in which we discussed romance and relationships in YA novels.  Our audience braved the early hour (nine on a Sunday morning after the gala dinner!) and we had some fun creating a YA plot together.

The Paisley Piranhas – Claire, Gill-Marie, me and Katy

As happens every year, there were some great talks that I missed – because you just can’t be in two places at once, sadly! – and people I didn’t have time to chat to, but there is always next year and I’ll definitely be there! Huge thanks to the organisers for this time!

Claire and Gill-Marie heading off to the gala dinner with Henriette Gyland

The Piranhas in our glad rags

At the gala dinner with Henriette

You need special conference nails …

… and shoes!

The RoNA Awards 2017 – Shortlistings!

As I’ve been away, I’m a bit late posting about this, but I was absolutely over the moon to find out that not just one, but TWO of my books have been shortlisted for this years RoNAs!

The RoNAs are the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual awards for excellence in romantic fiction, and this year they comprise seven categories (one more than last year).  My novel The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight is shortlisted in the newest category, Paranormal, as it features ghosts and other paranormal phenomena, and it’s lovely to be one of the first books acknowledged in this way.  I’m up against some great RNA friends of mine – Jan Jones, Kate Johnson and Hywela Lyn – and it will be very exciting to see which one of us triumphs on the night.

New England Dreams by Pia FentonAs if that wasn’t wonderful enough, New England Dreams, written under my own name, has been shortlisted in the Young Adult category.  I’m really pleased about this as it was self-published and this is the first time the RNA has allowed independently published books to feature on the shortlists.  I may also be the first author to be shortlisted under two different names in the same year (?!), which would be an added bonus.

The awards event will be held on Monday 13th March and whatever happens I know it will be a fun evening – can’t wait!


Catching Up

Receiving a lovely thank you gift from the RNA President Katie Fforde and the new Chair Eileen Ramsay

Receiving a lovely thank you gift from the RNA President Katie Fforde and the new Chair Eileen Ramsay

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks that brought a major change to my life – I am no longer the chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association.  As of their AGM (on 21st May) I finished my term in office and was free to attend the RNA’s Summer Party as just another member – bliss!  As you can see from the photos here (and below), it was a fun evening as always, hosted by my successor – the lovely Eileen Ramsay!  I’m sure she’s going to be a fabulous chair and I wish her all the best!

With Gill Stewart, Janet Gover and Joss Stirling

With Gill Stewart, Janet Gover and Joss Stirling

I have enjoyed my two years as chair very much (have I told you I’m very bossy and love organising things?), but I can’t deny it’s eaten into my writing time (and other things) so it will be nice to get back to something resembling normality again.  Since the party, I have already finished off a new Regency novella I’ve been meaning to work on for ages – which will hopefully be published in the not too distant future – and have been working on edits of book three in my YA series about the teenagers at Northbrooke High, New England TLC.  With a bit of luck that will be published very soon!

BullarMeanwhile, I had a mini holiday in Sweden visiting friends and relatives and catching up on my cinnamon bun consumption – trust me, they are truly delicious!  I think I may need to do some baking very soon …

Brigid Coady - winner of the Joan Hessayon Award at the RNA party

Brigid Coady – winner of the Joan Hessayon Award at the RNA party

With Catriona Robb and Giselle Green

With Catriona Robb and Giselle Green

With Alison Morton and Gill Stewart

With Alison Morton and Gill StewartR



Festival of Romance 2013

Last weekend I attended the Festival of Romance in Bedford and thoroughly enjoyed myself!  At the moment, it’s the only event of its kind here in the UK, and if you ask me, we need more of them because it was such fun!

The weekend started with an Art & Romance evening on the Friday night at the newly opened Higgins Museum, which was great.  We were given a quick tour and being a history buff, I really liked the China collection (especially the tea pots and caddies), fascinating pieces of furniture and other displays.  The house itself was lovely too!  After the tour, there were readings by authors of historical novels, including me.  Most of us had dressed up in period costume and mine was that of an ordinary woman of the 1640s (English Civil War) – this was in order to fit the clothing of the heroine from my novel The Gilded Fan.

Romance Fair

On the Saturday, there were lots of things going on at the same time – a Romance Fair, a Coffee & Cake morning with readings, an author panel (led by the brilliant Louise Graham), plus talks and workshops.  I enjoyed all the events I took part in and only wished I’d had time to go to everything.

Author panel led by Louise Graham

The day culminated with the FoR Ball and Awards, where Choc Lit triumphed as Publisher of the Year and a lot of my friends won other categories – Liz Fenwick for Best Romantic Read, Charlotte Betts for Best Historical Read, Fiona Harper for Best Short Romantic Novel, among many others.  I also accepted an award on behalf of the Romantic Novelists’ Association who were inducted into the FoR Hall of Fame for “being a defining, driving and positive force for the genre since 1960” – well deserved I think!

Accepting the RNA's award from FoR organiser Kate Allan

All in all, it was a great weekend which even the miserable weather couldn’t put a dampener on!

Choc Lit's awards!

Historical reading

Jenny Barden, Liz Harris and John Jackson

My 1640s costume

Liz Harris and I at the Fair

With Sue Moorcroft and Jane Lovering at the Fair

With Adrienne Vaughan and Liz Harris at the Ball

Saying thank you on behalf of the RNA

Shortlistees for Best Historical Read