Thursday, 16 March 2017

Awards and Remembrance

On Monday, a huge press of people gathered in St John's, Smith Square to celebrate and say farewell to Carole Blake. The memorial service had been organised to perfection by her colleagues at Blake Friedmann Agency and was both achingly sad and very beautiful at the same time. I didn't realise it was possible to laugh with tears in my eyes for that long.

I miss Carole every day, but it was a fitting occasion and - as was said by many people - she's still with us, pushing us on. And she would SO have approved of the drinks.

RoNAs reception in the Reading and Writing Room
From one celebration to another - in true Carole fashion - a lot of us then took a brisk twenty-minute walk up the road to One Whitehall Place for the Romantic Novel of the Year awards.

Awards presentation in the Gladstone Library
It was another well-organised event, full of writers talking books, glammed up for our special day.

I cleverly managed not to take a usable photo of the displays of shortlisted books for the various categories, but this is the Paranormal/Speculative Fiction shortlisted group (taken by the mega-talented and very patient Marte of MLR_Photos). I am delighted beyond measure that our award went to my pal Kate Johnson for MAX SEVENTEEN, especially as I nagged her into publishing the book in the first place.

Christina Courtenay, Jan Jones, Kate Johnson, Hywela Lyn

Other category winners were Janet Gover LITTLE GIRL LOST (Epic), Penny Parkes OUT OF PRACTICE (Romantic Comedy), Kate Kerrigan IT WAS ONLY EVER YOU (Historical), Debbie Johnson SUMMER AT THE COMFORT FOOD CAFE (Contemporary), Scarlet Wilson CHRISTMAS IN THE BOSS'S CASTLE (RoNA Rose). The supreme Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year award went to the Young Adult category winner, Sophia Bennett for LOVE SONG.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

RoNA Giveaways!

I'm still excited about An Ordinary Gift being shortlisted for the 2017 RoNAs, and even more so when I look at the other terrific books on the various shortlists. So much so that a group of us have got together to offer free extracts.

If you go to Rhoda Baxter's web page, you will find brief details of a number of shortlisted books across the different categories. Click on the links and those nice people at Instafreebie will deliver the extracts to your inbox. Hopefully, you will find some new favourite authors to enjoy.

So, thank you to Rhoda and to everyone else... Happy reading!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


Lovely news today - AN ORDINARY GIFT has been shortlisted for the inaugural Paranormal/Speculative Romance RoNA award.

This is the book set in Ely, featuring ghostly singing boys in the attic - amongst other unexplained occurrences.

It was originally a serial in Woman's Weekly, then I rewrote it and added extra threads to reinvent it as a short novel.

It is also out in Large Print this month, so do order it from your local library if you prefer the feel of a physical book as opposed to reading on a Kindle.

The RoNA winners will be announced on March 13th. The full set of shortlists are here.

I have LOTS of friends on the lists, so it promises to be a smashing evening.

Monday, 9 January 2017

One Year On

Just over a year ago I had written a complicated five-part serial for Woman's Weekly with 70s flashbacks and featuring David Bowie. It was accepted, scheduled for publication and I then rewrote it to the length of a short novel ready to publish on kindle when the contractual period allowed me to do so.

And then... and then the news broke that David Bowie had died.

I was so shocked. So, so shocked. It had never occurred to me that his creativity would one day not be there. I would have felt bereft anyhow, but I had just been intensively immersed in those growing-up years when his music had woken me up. The loss was unbearable. I couldn't do anything, couldn't promote anything. I wrote the Roundhouse 1970 poem because writing is my instinctive reaction to deeply felt emotion, but anything else seemed appallingly trivial.

So I left the blog as it was. And left it some more. A month became three months, became six. All through the writing of new stuff, the editing and republishing of my Regency backlist, I left my David Bowie tribute there at the top of the blog. 2016 was not a good year. More heroes were taken, good friends lost, there was a lot of personal sadness, but I still couldn't blog, couldn't bring myself - after this long - to move Roundhouse 1970 down the page.

It's now been a year. The grief is still raw. Mourning never stops. But ONLY DANCING will be out at the end of the month. It's time.