Monthly Archives: July 2012

Free Critiques!

THE WRITERS’ TOOLKIT: online launch and free critiques

I’ve just heard about this book by my writing buddy and tutor par excellence, Penny Grubb, and co-author Danuta Reah. The Writers’ Toolkit, they say, takes commercial fiction and strips it down to its basic components, then shows how all the pieces fit together. A writers’ manual with a difference that provides answers to questions such as: Where’s the best place for a novel to start? What pulls a reader into one book over another? What do you do if you can’t get any tension into a scene that should be high-drama? How do you lift a scene that seems to drag? Are you fed up with staring at a blank page?

Praise for The Writers’ Toolkit:

“Enjoyable and SO helpful. I learnt so much”

“I didn’t think I had a novel in me. Thanks to you I am now motivated to try”

The book is to be launched online and as part of the launch event, authors are invited to send in the start of their unpublished novels for professional critique free of charge.

Interactive launch event takes place on Facebook on FRIDAY, AUGUST 10 and SATURDAY, AUGUST 11.

As well as professional critiques, the online event will include: Mini Tutorials; live Q&A; useful tips & tricks and live chat with the Fantastic Books Publishing editorial team.

The critiques will be done on a strictly first come, first served basis so don’t delay, submit today! Link for submissions for free critique

For each copy of the book sold between now and the end of the launch event, FBP will donate £1.00 to the World Cancer Research Fund.



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RNA Conference 2012

Kate Thomson, Christina Courtenay (Pia), self and lovely-lady-whose-name-I-missed. Thanks to Jean Bull for the pic.

OK, I’ve finally found time to talk about the Romantic Novelists’ Association, 2012, at Newton Rigg Campus, Penrith. Despite the fact that my journey of 3hrs 50mins (according to AA Maps) took five hours in hurtling rain, we had a mainly dry weekend, with some sunshine!

As is usual at any RNA gathering, funky footwear was of paramount importance, especially at the gala dinner on Saturday evening.  (Mine on the right.) (Sorry, I forgot to pack tights.)

Conference highlights for me were the talk on social media by Talli Roland, Pixar storylines from Julie Cohen and the analysis of women’s fiction from Kate Harrison.

The Romaniacs, plus a few friends.

Debbie White shows off her wax job. Nikki Goodman can’t look.

And the fabulous company of fabulous friends.



And the kitchen party hosted by the Romaniacs on Friday evening.

Great conference. Loved it.

Kitchen party! So sorry for those we kept awake.


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Workshops and the Festival of Romance 2012

On Saturday I gave a one-day workshop on writing short stories for publication or competition hosted by The Write Place at The Mick Jagger Centre, Dartford. Attendees ranged from beginners to those who sell regularly to the weekly magazine market – I put aside thoughts of ‘teaching Gran to suck eggs’ in favour of ‘pooling our knowledge’ – and it was a good mix.

I’m pleased to have lost weight in the last few months but that would soon change if I visited The Write Place very often. We began with Chocolate Hobnobs, had Mars Bar sweets on the desk, went on to a fabby lunch (thank you Elaine) and sumptuous afternoon cakes (thank you Francesca), rounded out with bottomless tea and coffee. Gorgeous.

The attendees were engaged and reactive and I couldn’t believe how quickly the day whizzed by. Suddenly I was handing out handouts and signing books and it was all over.

My thanks to everyone who attended, Elaine and Francesca for doing all the hard work of putting on the workshop, and to Mick Everest for the photograph.

On the subject of workshops, I’ll be leading one at the Festival of Romance 2012 16th-18th November (Festival programme here). These are the workshops for the 17th November:

9.30-11.45am Writing Pocket Novels/Category Romance with Sally Quilford
11.45-2pm Writing Fiction for Magazines with Helen Hunt
2.15-4.30pm Writing Romantic Novels with Sue Moorcroft

Straight after my workshop I’ll be heading for the Meet the Author Rockstar Party, followed by the evening party. As there’s a ball on the evening before (Friday), you can see why the Festival of Romance is my kind of event. I had such a great time there, last year (nothing to do with Love & Freedom winning the Best Romantic Read Award, of course) that I can’t wait to get back.

You can see from the programme that there are loads of great events throughout the three days of the Festival. My hotel room is already booked …


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