Monthly Archives: October 2011

Best Romantic Read Award – whoopeeeee!

Isn't it pretty?

I’ve spent the weekend at the Festival of Romance at Hunton Park, Hertfordshire, England. It was a GREAT event. I really enjoyed it. There were loads of interesting panels and debates and the venue was lovely. Including the food. (Am feeling hungry again just thinking about it …)

I participated in several ways. I ran a workshop on Friday morning, about writing romance. As my niece, Nikki Goodman, was present, I chose her as my beautiful assistant and got her up to talk about her hero, Alex, in her WIP, The Lost Weekend. Then the audience made suggestions for the heroine who would … well, I was going to say ‘suit him’, but I mean ‘give him headaches and conflict and generally kick his butt if he got too much above himself’. Nikki has done this pretty well, herself, in her heroine Charley, and the audience suggested heroine traits that coincided, to a large degree. We talked out the conflicts, too, and then put together a few of the other elements we felt were needed, like secondary characters, setting … And someone suggested plot. Good idea!

I MC’d a charity quiz to raise money for children and teenagers with congenital heart disease; took part in a panels about chick lit and on novel openings and made a fool of myself by dressing as a waitress for the authors’ fashion show, where I was outclassed by a Victorian, a Japanese lady in fabulous kimono, Marilyn Munroe, a Regency miss and a chicken. But it was a lot of fun. And I thoroughly enjoyed the keynote interview with Carole Matthews and the debate on men and romantic fiction.

Authors' fashion parade

The Have a Heart Ball was the highlight of the weekend, for me. The food was great, the marquee grand and the company wonderful. And then came the Awards:

The Best Romantic Read Award

The Best Historical Read Award

The New Talent Award

I had been shortlisted for the Best Romantic Read Award, with Love & Freedom, but seeing the formidable shortlist, of Carole Matthews, Fiona Harper, Talli Roland and Juliet Archer I was literally shocked speechless to win! It was one of those dreamlike moments of utter joy. And the Award itself is so gorgeous and pretty. It’s one that I get to keep, so it will forever grace my home, and remind me of one of those fabulous dream-come-true moments when Laura from sponsors Total E Bound, opened the envelope and read out my name.

Laura and Heidi, from sponsors Total E Bound

That so many friends, both old and new, including Lyn from Choc Lit, were there to share in my joy, doubled it.

Jean Fullerton won the Best Historical Read and Henriette Gyland the New Talent Award.

And then, some of us stayed in the bar until one. Some singing took place (thanks to Laura James and Mandy Baggot).

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Super Special Promo for Kindlers!

As this is National Chocolate Week – yes, there really is such a thing! – Choc Lit and their authors have decided to celebrate by bringing you a really excellent deal.

Special offers for your Kindle!

For this week only, you can buy All That Mullarkey for less than £1.

Just CLICK HERE! Enjoy!

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Big Red Read, Guildford and iPad 2

Did you vote for any of the Choc Lit authors in the Big Red Read?

Self, Christina Courtenay and Juliet Archer

If so, thank you! Juliet Archer won overall and I was a runner-up, Christina Courtenay won the Historical category. Here we are, clutching our flowers. Thanks to Redbridge Libraries for the Big Red Read initiative. We had a great evening at Gants Hill Library on Tuesday 4th October.

Margaret James, Paul Vlito, Self, Kate Johnson, Juliet Archer, Christina Courtenay. This was just before we began - we didn't ignore the audience and talk amongst ourselves!

The week before, Juliet, Christina and I, plus Kate Johnson and Margaret James, appeared at the Appleseed Bookshop at Guildford University, talking to students and readers about publishing, books, heroes, heroines, and anything else we could think of. The panel was ably chaired by Paul Vlito, author and tutor.

Great to meet so many readers, especially Rachel, from the Choc Lit tasting panel.

Finally, someone’s reminded me that I’d promised to report back on my new iPad2 case. You can find it here. It’s called a microshell from gearzap.com and I really like it. It’s sturdy, though not light, and when you open the cover, the iPad wakes up (a bit like the light coming on in the fridge when you open it). If you have the iPad landscape-wise, you can fold the cover back and use it as a stand, which was really useful on the train. You’re supposed to be able to do it at two angles, but I failed to make it work at the steeper angle. The iPad just slid out. I have a lot of confidence in this case as in terms of protection and safety. Definitely value for money.

I got an iPad 2 screen protector, too, as I found I couldn’t read ANYTHING on the screen in the sun. The screen protector makes the iPad usable in the sunshine, but I found it a bit squinty. I like the feel of it when I touch the screen, though – it’s kind of silky.

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