RNA NWS Feedback

I was absolutely thrilled when I returned home from Swanwick to discover a large envelope had arrived which The Hubster left on my desk. He hadn’t let on during the week that it had arrived, but only because he didn’t realise what it was. I’m glad he didn’t tell me as I would have been begging him to open it lol.

Sorry, for those of you new to my blog I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists New Writers Scheme. You send them an MS and then an anonymous reader gives you feedback. The readers are all full Romantic Novelist Association Members.

In my cover letter to my anonymous reader I explained that “Tangled” was in first draft form (I haven’t even reread it all the way through since I wrote it) and that I really didn’t have a clue where to start editing. Also, that I needed guidance on whether it was too “thrillery” to be considered “Contemporary Women’s Fiction” and I got my answers on both those questions….

The first sentence of the feedback cheered me up! My reader said “This has an interesting story line with a good twist at the end so that it possibly has the potential to become an exciting novel.” So far so good I think πŸ˜‰

As regarding genre, my reader said “…the opening is exciting and shocking and quickly draws the reader in, leading to the expectation that some kind of thriller will follow. It would be worth considering therefore that the whole book should be developed as more of a thriller, by adding more suspense, intrigue and tension…. Hmmmm, ok, so it’s not a romance lol… I suspected as much.

She went on to write at least 1 paragraph of feedback under each of the following headings:
Show not Tell
Meaningful Scenes/Dialogue
Emotional Tension and Suspense
Presentation – Layout/Punctuation
5 pages in all of feedback, mainly consisting of details where I could expand, scenes that don’t work, areas to work on and a good luck message at the end.

There was one thing that my reader said that I’d like your opinion on (I’m going to be asking everyone and his dog about this now lol). She suggested that i get in early details of the ages of my main characters because she thought the names Anna and Tim could suggest much younger characters (in my mind Anna is 48 and Tim 10 years older).What do you think? I don’t know anyone under the age of 50 called Tim. Would love your views.

On the whole I’m really pleased and would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to my anonymous reader. Her feedback will be invaluable when I start editing πŸ™‚

I can highly recommend joining the New Writers Scheme if you’re thinking about writing romance. Perhaps I should find out if there is a “thriller” scheme I could join instead now πŸ˜‰

Writing Blogger Challenge – Day 1

I must admit, I’ve been thinking my blog is/was a little stale recently. So this morning when I was reading blogs and having a major catch up I noticed that one of my favourite bloggers, Hunter Emkay is hosting a Writing Blogger Challenge which will run for 10 days. Ok, well that sounds interesting.

So I’ve signed up πŸ™‚ (you know me, I like to be stretched lol).


So today is Day 1 of the challenge and the prompt is…

Introduce your latest writing project with an elevator pitch or maximum 250 words.

Now you all know everything about two of my novels (Still & Tangled) but I have a 3rd one lol. During Nano last year I decided to write, or rather, try to write a Mills and Boon novel *sniggers* I managed it, but, in just under 22,000 words, which is well short of the 50,000 that is required. So it will need some major editing, I need to add more angst, and add two sex scenes *blush*

So here is my 250 word pitch for Sorrento Sunrise

Kate works for a travel magazine and when her boss asks her to visit a hotel in Sorrento to interview the owner, little does she know that the sexy, dark Italian will become more than just another assignment.

After a hellish journey and mistaking him for a bellboy, Damiano initially thinks that Kate is a typical arrogant journalist, but he soon changes his mind as they get to know each other intimately on the hotels private beach and over the course of her stay.

Damiano asks Kate to meet him in the bar on her last night where he is planning to ask her to stay on, but when Kate arrives she see’s him with another woman and flees back to England.

Damiano tries to contact Kate but she refuses to speak to him or respond to his e mails, having now researched him online and discovering the string of Italian models he’s been photographed with over the last few years. Already having arrangements to visit London Damiano goes to Kates house with a huge bouquet of roses but as he gets out of the taxi he see’s her hugging a man who is holding a toddler.

Angry, and thinking he has been lied to he continues with his business in London, the purchase of a new hotel and decides to get on with his life, trying to forget about Kate.

Several months pass and Kate is given an assignment to attend a new London hotel opening. She is shocked and embarrassed when the owner gets up on a podium to make a speech and it is Damiano. Their eyes meet and Damiano realises that he can’t get on with his life unless Kate explains herself. Having traditional family values he is shocked that she could have been the way she was in Sorrento knowing her husband and child were waiting at home.

After a small “scene” at the party Damiano finally manages to drag Kate to his office and demands an explanation. Kate is shocked and after explaining that the child is hers but she is a widow and that the man was her brother Damiano feels an idiot. But Kate doesn’t let him off the hook easily. She demands to know who the woman was that she saw him draped all over in the bar. Damiano explains that she was his cousin.

Ha ha ha….that’s 394 words and I haven’t even told you how it ends! But it is a Mills and Boon, so I’m sure you know lol

Oh well, I think I’m gunna need to work on that.

Any guesses as to how it ends? πŸ˜‰

Monday Interview with Vikki Thompson

My guest post on The Write Romantics blog where I talk about the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers Scheme πŸ™‚


Vikki Thompson lives in Kent with her husband, 3 adult children (who refuse to leave home) and 2 cats. She blogs, (or should that be rambles?) at The View Outside (http://www.the.view.outside.com) and spends her time fantasising about being the next EL James but isn’t too keen on having to write Erotica to achieve that (unless Robert Downey Jnr is available for research). She enjoys writing courses and workshops and can be found yearly at Swanwick (http://www.swanwickwritersschool.co.uk)


We know that, like us, you are a member of the NWS but we wondered if you could tell us a bit about how you came to join, how long you have been a member, the genre you write in and what inspired you to start writing?

I heard about the New Writers Scheme early last year, so was determined to try to get a place for 2013. So this is my first year…

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Classic Reads Blog Hop


Today, I’m taking part in a blog hop πŸ™‚ it’s being hosted by Molly Greene Terri G Long Christine Nolfi and Rachel Thompson

The idea is for me to share the books that i think are classic reads, and to tell you what makes a read a β€˜classic’ for me. Old, new, controversial, heartwarming – what are the things that catapult a book from a great read to a must read?


The minute I saw this blog hop mentioned there was only 1 book, for me, worthy of the title πŸ™‚ It’s a book I read back in 2006, but the memory has remained. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available in printed form, (unless you buy a pre-owned copy on Amazon) but you can get it on Kindle.

My recommendation as a Classic Read is Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard


Let me share with you the blurb:
Rose Leonard is on the run from her life. Taking refuge in a remote island community, she cocoons herself in work, silence and solitude in a house by the sea. But she is haunted by her past, by memories and desires she’d hoped were long dead. Rose must decide whether she has in fact chosen a new life or just a different kind of death. Life and love are offered by new friends, her lonely daughter, and most of all Calum, a fragile younger man who has his own demons to exorcise. But does Rose, with her tenuous hold on life and sanity, have the courage to say yes to life and put her past behind her?

And now let me share with you my review:
OH WOW!!!!! I loved this book! I usually read a book a week, this one, i read in less than 24 hours!!!! When i say it was unputdownable…i am NOT joking! The setting is magical and i want to visit!!!!! No scrub that, i want to live there! I did find myself getting a little bit annoyed with Rose at one point, i mean there was Calum, dishy, kind, interested, available…and a poet….. What more could a woman want????? I’ve heard a lot of people who have read this book have been inspired to be creative…… Oh that is an understatement! I want to create something now lol

Can you tell I liked it? πŸ˜‰ If you like a bit of romance with an incredible setting, you’ll love this as much as I did.

For me, a classic read is something that you fall in love with, and I definitely fell, big time for this! Even 6 years later I can remember opening the book to that first page and virtually not moving from my chair till I’d finished it. My husband went to work with me reading it and he came home just in time to see me finish lol πŸ˜‰ There was just something magical about the characters and the beautiful description that touched my heart.

I have 2 spare copies of this book going begging (no, you can’t have my signed copy, that’s staying with me for life!) so if you’d like one (these are pre-read by the way so not brand new) please let me know and I’d be happy to send πŸ™‚

So what constitutes a Classic Read in your opinion?

I’m An RNA NWS Member!

Ok, that probably means absolutely nothing to most of you, in English, the translation is…

I’m a Romantic Novelists Association New Writer Scheme Member!

The RNA opens it’s doors for membership once a year to people who have previously been unpublished, under the New Writers Scheme. There are 250 places and each year they are oversubscribed. Checking their website yesterday morning it seems that all 250 places were full and they only started taking applications at 12.02am on the 2nd!

So what exactly does this mean? Well, I get a critique of my MS which then goes into a kind of competition and I’m entitled to attend all RNA events! πŸ™‚

I guess I’ll be working on 2 novels this year then πŸ˜‰

Are you a member of any “Associations”? Do you think there are benefits to belonging to “official” writers organisations?

The NEW WIP *drum roll*

I’m up at Faber all day today, so I’ll post about that tomorrow….in the meantime…..

Ok, after my critique recently (and my IWSG post) I’ve had to totally rethink my WIP *gulp* Thanks for all your words of encouragement on my IWSG Post, by e mail, and Facebook. Right, that’s it, I’m bucking my ideas up….rolling up my sleeves….gritting my teeth, and DOING IT!

It’s been hard trying to use the same characters and the same basic plot line to come up with a new story, but, I think I’ve cracked it. So here goes, tell me what you think. This is more a blurb than a synopsis, although, I have written a synopsis that I’ll share at a later date. It needs a bit of editing πŸ˜‰

Be careful what you wish for… At the age of 40, Laura Hopwood finds herself in desperate need of excitement. The arrival of her husbands long lost brother means that again she finds herself torn between both men. Daniel, the one she’s married to, is dependable, doting, and just plain boring. Whereas Ronnie is mysterious, moody and dangerous.

But there are two things in life that Laura loves more than anything, her daughter Ruby, and the cafe she inherited from her parents. Just how much is she prepared to risk to recapture the excitement of her youth? Did she make the wrong choice 20 years ago? And will the devastating consequences of her actions mean she’ll lose everything, including her daughter, when she finds herself having to make a similar decision 20 years later?

So that’s the basics πŸ™‚ I have to say, at the moment, I haven’t really decided what will happen (although i have a pretty good idea!). But, I’m quite excited about it! Which is a good sign yeah?

But I do have 2 problems, so I need your advice…

1. POV Last time it was in multi 3rd person, which didn’t work. So I’m thinking perhaps I should do it in 1st person? Having Laura as the protagonist. In class they suggested Ruby, as I know from personal experience what she would be going through, but, I can relate more to Laura if that makes sense.

2. Timeline Where do I start the story? It originally spanned 25 years, but I’ve cut that down to 20 (and could possibly shave a few more years off that) Do I start at the beginning, or now when the action starts and feed in back story?

So I guess I better unveil the title…


I wanted a strong setting. They didn’t need to be rich accountants anymore. So now, Laura & Daniel run a cafe that Laura inherited from her parents. It’s also where she met Daniel & Ronnie in the first place, so has been the central, consistent setting throughout the whole story.

So what do you think? Honest opinions and any advice much appreciated!

Six Sentence Sunday 7th October

Today’s six sentences come from a piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

Paula stood in the empty dining room and smiled. Finally, the house was hers. It had taken months of negotiations, solicitors, and that awful nephew, who got greedier and greedier as the weeks dragged on.

Paula pitied him. The deceased owner had loved this house, it had meant more to her than money. If only he’d taken such an interest in his aunt when she’d been alive.


I’m thinking that this could actually be the start of a romance. What reason could there be for “the nephew” being greedy?

Introducing The Heroine

As most of you know (those who have been following me for a while now) I have a thing about characters lol. I do a lot of character sketches. It goes back to my childhood, playing with dolls and dolls houses. I just love making up life stories for people πŸ™‚

Sooooo, back in June I embarked on a Pocket Novel course, and my first step was to come up with a heroine. Please let me introduce you to Kate, the heroine of our story……

Kate has just turned 30. She has shoulder length chestnut brown hair and hazel eyes. A size 12/14 but constantly battling with her weight, she has a mole on her cheek and pale skin that easily burns. Most at home in jeans which she wears with pumps, she can be “girly” when required and enjoys dressing up for nights out with her girlfriend.

Single, she is still looking for Mr Right, but finds it hard to trust men after being hurt badly by an ex (who cheated on her). She works as a secretary in a large office in town (which bores her rigid) and at the weekends enjoys long walks with her dog. She lives with her dog Buster in a large Victorian house that has been converted into flats. Whilst she’s at work, the lady below, Mrs Peel has Buster.

Kind and thoughtful, she loves animals and has volunteered at the local Shelter. She bites her nails and suffers from confidence issues. An only child to divorced parents she has a good relationship with her mum. She rarely sees her dad, especially now he has a new girlfriend who is her age. She has a best friend Francesca, who she’s known since school, they work in the same company.

During her parents bitter divorce she spent a lot of time with her grandparents. Sadly her grandfather is now dead but she visits her grandmother every week without fail, in the sheltered housing accommodation she now lives in. Her hobbies are reading (mainly romance) and dancing. She likes to go to the local clubs on a Saturday night and goes to Salsa dancing classes when she can be bothered. Her gym membership is rarely used.

Often described as stubborn, she can be reluctant to change her mind after she’s made a decision about something, or assumption about someone. She dreams of one day having a husband who dotes on her and 2 children. She loves children and is beginning to worry that this may never happen.

So that’s Kate. I need her to be likeable, sooooo dear reader Do you like her? and is there anything else you’d like to know about her?

Insecure Writers Support Day August

It’s that time of the month again πŸ˜‰ Nooooo, not that time of the month, this time……


I can safely say that I am fully over deciding to bin the WIP, well, it’s the previous WIP now isn’t it? Lol πŸ˜‰

So what am I feeling insecure about this month? Everything……

My regular readers will know I was trying to write a pocket novel recently, and it’s because of that that I decided to attend Kate Walkers Introduction to Romance course at Caerleon.

Well, what an eye opener! I don’t really know what I thought a Mills & Boon novel was but, I now know its right up my street πŸ™‚

I love doing characters and I love emotional conflict. And that’s basically what a Mills & Boon Modern romance is. So guess what the plan is? Yep, that’s right, I want to try my hand at writing a Mills & Boon Romance! πŸ˜‰

Kate was very inspiring. She’s written 60 books and made me feel that yes, I can do it, well, that’s how I felt at the end of every session….that is, until I got home lol.

Now I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, a bit, I dunno, useless? Ha ha ha πŸ™‚ Seriously, I’m doubting that I have even the tiniest ounce of writing talent. At this current moment I’m thinking there’s no way I could ever match Kate Walkers writing abilities.

Caerleon was excellent, being surrounded by all those writers. But, sometimes, when I’m at those events I feel alienated, and that I haven’t got a hope in hell of being published *deep sigh*

So am I just kidding myself? Will I ever have the stamina, determination, and talent to match Kate Walker? This is a major self pity post, I know lol. I’m not looking for sympathy, and I know I’m not alone in feeling like this…..but sometimes, it’s just good to wallow πŸ˜‰

So what are you feeling insecure about today?

Six Sentence Sunday 29th July

I missed Six Sentence last week because I was in Caerleon, sooooo, here is this weeks offering πŸ™‚

Sam ran his fingertip across Ruby’s shoulder. Her skin tingled, the goosebumps spreading down her arm.

He leaned forwards and Ruby closed her eyes, expecting to feel his soft lips press against her own. Instead, she felt his hot breath on her cheek and his hand rest on her knee.

“Stay with me tonight?” He whispered.

Ruby’s heart fluttered as Sam’s hand moved up to her thigh.

I’m trying my hand at romance, so blame Kate Walker πŸ˜‰