Saturday 26 February 2011

Panel at Lakenheath

I haven't done any promotion for a while, so it was lovely to be invited to take part in "A Touch of Romance" at the library on Lakenheath Air Base in Suffolk last week.

After the nicest and most courteous car-search in history, my fellow panellists and I were made very welcome with tea and chocolate biscuits. I cleverly forgot to take my camera, but the room soon filled up with a mix of readers and writers. Everyone was attentive, laughed in the right places (thank you, you have no idea how encouraging that is) - and the questions were so interesting and flowed so well that we went way over our allocated time.

Even so, we barely scratched the surface when it came to research, developing characters and our own individual methods of writing. I think all of us could have talked for much longer!

Many thanks to Lakenheath Air Base library - and of course to my fellow Romantic Novelist Association members Louise Allen, Jean Fullerton and Roger Sanderson. I think we made a pretty good team!

Thursday 10 February 2011

RNA Love Story of the Year 2011

Woohoo! At last I can announce my sheer delight at being on the shortlist for the 2011 Love Story of the Year!

I was thrilled to be shortlisted in 2010 with my Regency romance Fair Deception - I’m stunned and ecstatic to have made the cut again this year with the sequel, Fortunate Wager!

Fortunate Wager is a story very dear to my heart as it is set where I live in Newmarket. I loved stepping back 200 years or so to find out what the town would have looked like and felt like then.

The Love Story of the Year is administered by the Romantic Novelists’ Association. The full shortlist for 2011 is:

Abby Green - "Bride in a Gilded Cage" (HM&B)
Jan Jones - "Fortunate Wager" (Hale)
Caroline Anderson - "Mother of the Bride" (HM&B)
Valerie Holmes - "Moving On" (Thorpe Large Print)
Mary Nichols - "The Captain's Mysterious Lady" (HM&B Historical)
Louise Allen - "The Piratical Miss Ravenhurst" (HM&B Historical)

To be in such company is an honour in itself, but the overall winner will be announced at the Pure Passion Awards Champagne Reception on Monday 7th March. The event takes place in the Gladstone Library at One Whitehall Place... and I for one can’t wait!

Saturday 5 February 2011

Capturing the moment

All writers are observers. We carry notepads, murmur into recorders, rattle fingers over netbooks. Which is all very well if you are scribbling overheard scraps of conversation, or if you are gifted enough to be able to produce spot-on descriptions with zero notice. (I'm not, by the way. We are talking blood, sweat and concentrated staring into space here.) But what if you want to capture the essence of a moment? Something that you can refer back to months or even years later. Something that takes you back to Yes, then, that was it, that was how I felt at that exact moment in time.

As I'm sure I've said before, I use poetry. It doesn't have to rhyme. It doesn't have to be grammatically correct. But done right it will have its own internal rhythm and it will have the right keywords, in the right order, to capture the moment.

Last night, waiting in the car park to give my son a lift home from the late bus, I saw something I'd never seen before. It was beautiful, scary, left my heart pounding in my mouth and was over in seconds.

So once it was settled in my head, over my last mug of tea, I wrote it into a poem. A tiny, reusable, time capsule.

This is an example. There was no time to film it.
Otherworld Running
by Jan Jones

After dark is a lawless world
of energy and dares
of scary, arc lit follow-my-leader
of grace
streamlined running
lithe darting
one-handed hurdling
trellis climbing
roof sliding . . .

Then, gone
all of them

as suddenly as they were there

melted away

The last bus rolls in
With yellow windows and solitary passengers

As I start the car my heart subsides in painful jerks to my chest
the echoes of slapping feet held suspended in my mind