Author Archives: newromantics4

SANTA BABY, PUT A NOVEL UNDER THE TREE

Happy ChristmasWhat would YOU like Santa to leave under the tree, apart from a food hamper and an army of staff to serve Christmas dinner for you? Maybe a nice armchair to curl up in with a good book . . .

Talking of which – here is the latest selection from The New Romantics 4: BOOT CAMP BRIDE, A CHANGE OF HEART, 20’s GIRL, THE GHOST AND ALL THAT JAZZ, TWINS OF A GAZELLE.

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 Boot Camp Bride by Lizzie Lamb

Boot Camp BrideTake an up-for-anything reporter.  Add a world-weary photo-journalist.  Put them together . . . light the blue touch paper and stand well back!

Posing as a bride-to-be, Charlee Montague goes undercover at a boot camp for brides in order to photograph supermodel Anastasia Markova. At Charlee’s side and posing as her fiancé, is Rafael Ffinch award winning photographer and survivor of a kidnap attempt in Columbia. He’s in no mood to cut inexperienced Charlee any slack and has made it plain that once the investigation is over, their partnership – and fake engagement – will be terminated, too.

Soon Charlee has more questions than answers.

What’s the real reason behind Ffinch’s interest in the boot camp? How is it connected to his kidnap in Columbia?

In setting out to uncover the truth, Charlee puts herself in danger. And, as the investigation draws to a close, she wonders if she’ll be able to hand back the engagement ring and walk away from Rafa without a backward glance.

Buy Boot Camp Bride from Amazon

Twins of a Gazelle by Margaret Cullingford

Twins of a Gazelle Only fifteen months since her low-key wedding, anxious, lonely, Calista Blake begins to realize she should have followed her instinct and not been persuaded when Adam Burgess sweet-talked her into marrying him.  Feeling guilt for what she believes was her role in the break-up of his first marriage, she suspects Adam goes along with the premise, marry your mistress, you create a vacancy.   She hopes their holiday on the magical Greek island of Ithaca will banish her disenchantment. Instead there Calista is spellbound by P.J. Wood – ‘I take photographs. Tell stories . . . True ones. . . . Where-ever there’s trouble.’  Meeting P.J. added to what Adam reveals when she questions him,  makes Calista’s previous angst seem mild compared with the cauldron of trouble she falls into, the consequences of meeting P.J. Wood.

Read TWINS OF A GAZELLE to discover how Calista resolves her dilemma.

The Twenties Girl, The Ghost, and All That Jazz by June Kearns

The Twenties Girl, the ghost, and all that jazz1924. The English Shires after the Great War – all crumbling country houses and no men.

When her jazzing flapper of an aunt dies, Gerardina Mary Chiledexter inherits some silver-topped scent bottles, a wardrobe of love-affair clothes, and astonishingly, a half-share in a million-acre ranch in south-west Texas.

Haunted by a psychic cat, and the ghost voice of her aunt Leonie, Gerry feels driven to travel thousands of miles to see the ranch for herself.

Against a backdrop of big sky, cattle barons and oil wells, she is soon engaged in a game of power, pride and ultimately, love, with the Texan who owns the other half.

Buy The Twenties Girl, The Ghost and All That Jazz from Amazon

A Change of Heart by Adrienne Vaughan

A Change of Heart ‘Maeve Binchy meets Jackie Collins’ says one fan of Adrienne Vaughan’s latest novel A Change of Heart, the standalone sequel to her highly-acclaimed debut, The Hollow Heart.

Escaping to a remote Irish isle, journalist Marianne Coltrane had not bargained for a tumultuous affair with movie star Ryan O’Gorman.

When Ryan leaves to pursue his career, Marianne remains on the island to care for those who need her most, but Ryan soon realises he cannot live without her and returns to woo her back.

Tricky enough without his problematic ex-wife or the contract he cannot break, but when a good deed puts all they treasure in jeopardy, it’s time to take stock and fight for what matters most …or is time running out for this charismatic couple and everything they hold dear?

Buy A Change of Heart from Amazon

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 Christmas TreeSo, tell us, what would YOU would most like to find under the Christmas tree.

The most amusing or original reply will win an Amazon voucher which will enable the winner to download one of our novels onto a kindle.

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School’s Out For Summer

F01At the end of each summer term we could look forward to an eight week break from rules, homework and school uniform. Since forming the New Romantics 4 and publishing our first novels last autumn we’ve learned that tide, time and readers’ expectations wait for no man. Last week, we met in Lizzie’s garden to draw up the road map for the months ahead, culminating in the launch of our second novels on Amazon as kindle downloads and paperbacks, individually launching our novels on our websites, attending the Festival of Romance and hosting four Red Carpet Road Shows in November.
Wisely, Lizzie wouldn’t let us have any prosecco until we’d been through the Agenda, and revealed our writing schedules for the next couple of months. They look something like this.

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Lizzie’s Cunning Plan

Having edited #2 and had it back from beta readers I’m leaving it to ‘settle’ before giving it one final edit and then sending it to be checked by a copy editor and proof reader. Then the exciting bit, sending the finished manuscript to Jane Dixon-Smith to be formatted for e-reader and paperback, while I choose images for the front/ back cover. There will be a cover reveal in September, followed by a tweetathon when the book is launched – so you won’t have long to wait. Last time I held a tweetathon, I was locked up in Twitter Prison for sending out too many tweets!! Next time, you’ll need L plates, pink stetsons and bum-freezing skirts to take part in the fun. Oh, and if you can speak Russian, that’d help, too. Intrigued? Good!

I’m also planning to launch my brand new website www.lizzielamb.co.uk with some giveaways and competitions and hopefully starting a quarterly newsletter. And to thank those friends and readers who came to our launches last autumn and bought Tall, Dark and Kilted, I will be hosting a garden party at Chez Lamb on July 28th.

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Too Cool for Skool – Adrienne Vaughan

Aha amigos, isn’t it strange how the’ Brrr…’ of the British Isles succumbs to the ‘Meh!’ of the Mediterranean whenever we are blessed with more than a few days of consecutive sunshine?

Well, here in the wilds of South Leicestershire, all the doors and windows are flung wide, the heat is on and we love it!

As the tabloids scream ‘SIZZLE’, ‘SCORCHING!’ and ‘PHEW!” with reason enough to display as much exposed flesh as they dare, even those donning layers of linen beneath exotic parasols have to admit, to be able to plan a meal outdoors is heaven. Even better to sip a cool cocktail, watching the sunset as a soft evening breeze flutters candles in the dusk. Blissfully romantic, even if you’re only sharing the view with next door’s cat!

My horoscope said recently that if I stopped looking elsewhere I would find paradise in my own back yard. On days like this, the stars are not wrong. As for editing the new novel…ah manana!

Have a great Summer, see you in the Autumn, when my new novel, A Change of Heart will be ready just in time for a cosy, fireside read.

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An Ideal Summer – Mags Cullingford

My ideal summer holiday was, is and always will be to idle away endless days beneath the shade of a Tamarisk at the far end of a secluded Mediterranean beach listening to the soothing schurr-schurr of waves displacing pebbles.  A vast sweep of bay, in the distance a harbour, a white-washed village, a backdrop of spectacular mountains, olive groves shimmering silver in the sun covering the foothills.  Just being, observing the sea’s changing hues, at dawn milky opal, later aquamarine – turquoise – jade – sapphire – streaks of red-gold as the water reflects the setting sun.  A change of scene, submerge, discover the plants and creatures below the water’s surface, or simply float on top face to the sun, eyes closed, let your body rock in its silky cradle. This restores a tired mind, heals an unquiet spirit.

This summer, “due to circumstances beyond my control”, I must be content to live vicariously while polishing my second novel, Twins of a Gazelle for publication in October.  Calista Blake spends three weeks on the Greek island of Ithaca.  Will the island’s magic work its spell, banish the disillusionment she feels about her marriage? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see.

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Distractions From The 20s – June Kearns

This summer, after chop-chopping and pruning A 20’s Girl’s Guide to Ghosts and All That Jazz (still a working title! Eek!) – I’ll be mostly colouring in.

Like many of us, I suppose – when I start writing, it’s all light and shade. Then, some slash and burn, before adding quirky bits and tweaks that hopefully zizz the story up and bring it to life. That’s my colouring in.

But … desk is a mess of old bits of paper, crumpled post-its and blue-tacked bon mots (who said that? why did I need it?)

Plus, I keep drifting over to last, seductive stage, where I fling sequins and sparkly bits all over it!

That 20’s music, it’s distracting me. Tunes of the time. Sniffing out titles as snazzy as the (much later) George Formby hit, that someone in this house keeps singing: ‘If Women Like That Like Men Like Them , Why Don’t Women Like Me?’ (Oh, boy.)

I’ve found ‘Doo-Wacka-Doo’ and a few more gems. ‘Olga, Come Back to the Volga’. Other top 20’s titles, anyone?

No, no! Headphones off. Head down. Must get on. Apparently, someone’s arranging a London book launch for us this year. Ooh heck!

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WHAT HAVE YOU GOT PLANNED FOR THE SUMMER? Please leave a comment – we’re dying to know.

Midsummer Madness

Rushes at dusk“All poets are mad [Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy] – for ‘poets’ read writers.

The Solstice and Midsummer’s Day 2013 have been and gone, and, pardon the cliche, were more damp squibs than wildly mad, I feel.   Today (28 June) in Leicestershire, as I write, we’re enjoying typical Glastonbury weather – 16 degrees Celsius, and rain, rain, rain.  In Britain, Glastonbury is as near as we get, I guess, to the midsummer bonfire celebrations in Scandinavia, Austria, Russia, Spain.  The next, once-upon-a-time bonfire opportunity is Lughnasa, or Lammas if you’re Saxon.

Hazy, crazy daysAccording to a former NASA scientist (thank you Wikipedia), Astronomical Lughnasa this year, in the Northern Hemisphere, will occur on 7th August, the mid-point between the Solstice (21 June) and Autumnal Equinox (21 September).  Maybe the weather will be good enough to at least light the barbecue, and burn sacrificial sweetcorn and burgers to a crisp in commemoration of Lugh, Celtic god of light whose power was transferred to ripening grain, and was consequently sacrificed when the cereal was harvested.  Some of the grain was saved to sow in the following spring.  By doing this Lugh was resurrected, and the cycle begun again.

At Lughnasa ashes from the bonfires lit in Lugh’s honour were used to bless fields, and people; in particular, handfasting couples who traditionally committed themselves to a trial marriage for a year and a day.

Apologies if you already know all this, but I think vestiges of ancient mythology must linger in the psyche without our being conscious of it.  Though self-possessed and independent, the main female characters in my novels to date, Monica Sommers in Last Bite of the Cherry, Calista Blake in Twins of a Gazelle (to be published this year), and Lexie Neave in my WIP third novel, in the heat of the summer, become entangled with men they know full well will be trouble, a kind of madness. It was only thinking about and writing about Midsummer Madness that I realize I’ve done this in all three stories.

Does anyone else find similar subconscious similarities in their own stories?

Mother GoddessRed, I remember reading somewhere, is associated with the Mother Goddess, so this picture’s for her.

Books That You Would Never Lend?

photo (5)Just before to leaving school and throwing my hat into the canal, my English teacher presented me with a long list of books that he said I must read.

Half-way through, I came across The Dud Avocado, by Elaine Dundy. At that time, neither book nor author, were well known, but oh – I just loved it. It’s so funny and clever and heart-liftingly brilliant, and still my favourit-est book ever.

 

So, sixteen years later, with the book now well-thumbed and out-of-print, I was faced with my wonderful, unselfish sister-in–law asking to borrow it, for a holiday read.

I immediately felt shifty – (I don’t come out of this well) – huffed and puffed and tried my best to put her off, but in the end, grudgingly, I handed it over

So, the book was in a holdall in the back of the car, outside a French hotel. There was a smash-and-grab and horror of horrors, my precious paperback, (out of print! irreplaceable!) was now lost  for ever. And serve me right, too, you might say.

After ages of high-and-low searching, I managed to get hold of a second-hand copy and now that the book’s been reprinted, I keep spares – you know, just in case.

photo (6)Several years later, we went to the South of France, with my husband’s five siblings and assorted infants, travelling in convoy.

I’d never camped before; I was forty-six. At the first stop, after trolling up and down fifty or so steps, loo roll under arm, I lay on a narrow cot, watching flies circle overhead and thought – oh help, it’s like Tenko! – the TV programme about a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp for women. Ging Gang Goolie? No, thank you.

Then my sister-in-law (same one) gave me a copy of The Republic of Love, by Carol Shields, another quirky, funny, wonderful book. Outside our tent, next to lakes, on beaches, crossing the Pyrenees, my nose was buried in its pages.

It was the beginning of another love affair, with another author and books that I just don’t like to let out of my sight.

What are your absolute favourites? Do you ever let them leave the house?

 

What She Said!

Lizzie and Adrienne’s Literary Lunch

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In a trail blazing moment the New Romantics 4 hosted a literary lunch at The Belmont Hotel, Leicester. (See the poster on our EVENTS page) Adrienne secured the gig through a long-standing business connection and co-presented it with Lizzie. The event was part of Leicester’s 2013 Book Fest and fitted in well with the NR4’s aims to bring their books to the attention of a wider audience. The majority of the twenty-three ladies who attended the lunch were businesswomen – although one brave gentleman (Rodney!) and a fellow writer (Lilian) bought a ticket, too.

photo-10 Fortunately, Adrienne and Lizzie are no strangers to public speaking – so, the event held no terrors for them. Adrienne regularly gives talks to business leaders as part of her role as a MD and PR consultant; and after 34 years in education Lizzie declared that the audience was better behaved than the 350 primary children she regularly ‘entertained’ during school assembly.

The lunch consisted of a complementary drink and three courses followed by coffee – and the time simply whizzed by. The first talk was down to Adrienne and she described her reasons for becoming a writer. When it was Lizzie’s turn, she simply pointed to Adrienne and declared: “What she said!” – much to the amusement of the lunch guests. Between courses, Adrienne and Lizzie gave brief précis of their novels and then read an extract. This was followed by a question and answer session after a delicious dessert.

Their lunch guests were interested in all aspects of writing and were keen to know

  • where Lizzie and Adrienne they got their ideas from
  • if they’d be writing a sequel
  • were their heroes based on real men
  • how closely the heroines mirrored THEM !
  • what was their next novel called and when would it be published

photo-12To round off a very pleasant lunch, Lizzie and Adrienne read a further extract for their novels, posed questions and awarded a prize to the winning entries. There was a quick signing session of the guests’ complimentary copies of Tall, Dark and Kilted and The Hollow Heart (cleverly included in the cost of the luncheon) and then the hard working executives returned to their businesses. During a short de-briefing session, the literary lunch was pronounced a great success and it is hoped that June and Mags will host a similar event lunch sometime this autumn when the New Romantics 4 publish their second novels.

Literary Lunch at the Belmont

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The Bookstop Cafe, Steep Hill, Lincoln.

photo-8 To paraphrase President Obama, if you can’t get in through the front door, go round the back. If you can’t get in through the back – climb over the wall. This ideal has driven the New Romantics 4 forward in their quest to become published authors. And as a result, their novels became available on Amazon as kindle download and paperbacks last autumn.

photo-7 They took this ideal a step further on Saturday 4th May when June and Lizzie drove over to Lincoln for the grand opening of Joff Gainey and Becky Lindley’s Bookstop Café, 47b Steep Hill, Lincoln. An indie author himself, Joff has opened the BookStop Café to provide an environment where book lovers can browse the wonderful selection of books written by indie authors and rest awhile, drink coffee and eat home made cake.  Hopefully they will feel moved to purchase one of the excellent indie novels on display after reading the ‘shop copy’ as a taster.

The grand opening ceremony took place amidst loud cheers and applause, while inside the café a jazz band added to the carnival atmosphere. For the first three hours of the café’s opening, tea, coffee and cake were complimentary and the customers poured in.

Whilst writers rubbed shoulders with potential readers, Lizzie and June were happy to stand back and admire copies of Tall, Dark and Kilted, An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy, The Hollow Heart and Last Bite of the Cherry displayed on the back lit bookshelves next to Joff’s novel Sleeping on a Cloud. 

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 To paraphrase Obama again – the front door was barred, we knocked loudly on the back door but nobody answered – so we’ve climbed over the wall and into Joff and Becky’s Bookstop Cafe. Indie authors and proud of it, the New Romantics 4 will be adding new titles to the bookshelves in autumn 2013.

Follow the Bookstop Cafe on TWITTER.

Please click on the links below to purchase one of our books:

Last Bite Of The Cherry                               The Hollow Heart

Tall, Dark and Kilted                                   An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy  

Don’t miss this literary debut at The Belmont Hotel, Leicester

Picture Caption (L to R) Debut Novelists Lizzie Lamb and Adrienne VaughanTwo brand new Leicestershire authoresses have been invited by the Belmont Hotel, Leicester to host the hotel’s first ever literary lunch ‘Love a Romantic Read’ on Wednesday 15th May 2013.

Lizzie Lamb and Adrienne Vaughan, both members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) New Writers’ Scheme, have recently launched their debut novels and are attracting 5 star reviews on Amazon. Alison Coulam, the Belmont Hotel sales director, came up with the idea of putting the authors and the venue together.

“We take pride in being at the forefront when it comes to innovative ideas for events and celebrations here at the Belmont Hotel, so offering a delicious lunch in our newly refurbished restaurant, together with guest appearances by these new authors seemed a perfect combination,” said Alison, “I know the novels are being very well received, and many readers would love the opportunity to meet and chat with these new and talented writers.”

Fresh from their initial author events across Leicestershire, followed by a guest spot in Dublin, Lizzie and Adrienne were thrilled to be asked by one of their favourite venues to host the lunch together. Founders of the New Romantics 4 indie publishing group, the authoresses will describe their journey from avid readers to published writers, and guests will hear excerpts from the novels, as well as an exclusive preview of their forthcoming new books!

The event will include a three-course meal, drink on arrival and a signed a copy of each book. It’s a

‘don’t miss it’ one off event for all those who love good food, superb surroundings and a romantic read. Tickets £24.95 – book now 0116 2544 773 or contact the Belmont Hotel at: events@belmonthotel.co.uk.

 

In Dublin’s Fair City…

…diary of a virgin book clubber!

As a fledgling novelist, I daydream about what it would be like to have readers not only enjoy my book but to overhear them discussing it; talking about characters, themes, the cover – that would make me feel like a real author, I sigh!

Imagine how I felt when the call came through?

February 23: Leicestershire, at my desk researching (ie daydreaming).

“Hi Adrienne, Deirdre here,” says a blast from the past.

“Dee! Haven’t seen you in an age,” says I.

“The thing is, I’m in a couple of book clubs here in Dublin and we want to feature your novel. When we’ve read it, would come and talk to us about it?” says she.

“Would I what?!” says I, booking my flight before we’ve finished talking.

But what had I agreed to? Not only have the Irish produced some of the best examples of English literature in the world, the Irish are very well read. Yikes!

April 11: Getting ready in my childhood bedroom, Inchicore, Dublin 8.

Deirdre's book (and wine tasting) clubTo say I am nervous is a heart-stopping understatement, I’m petrified. Much of The Hollow Heart is set in Ireland; I haven’t lived here for over thirty years. What if these educated, intelligent and opinionated women think my voice is unauthentic, my characters unrealistic, my story…well, hollow? The Irish are lovely, warm and welcoming people, but don’t imagine they won’t tell you what they think, especially if you’re ‘one of our own’.

Our hostess Barbara and the Clontarf ladies book club, with Deirdre and Adrienne seated centre front.Deirdre, trying to put me at my ease, chatted away, giving me a profile of my waiting audience, as we drove across the city to a well heeled coastal suburb, where I was welcomed into a stunningly beautiful home by a charming lady called Barbara. Barbara greeted me warmly and I was shown to a chair in the centre of an elegant lounge; eager faces nodded and smiled as we made our introductions – I could barely sip the delicious glass of wine our hostess placed before me. I need not have feared.

An animated discussion ensued. How do I write? Where do I write? Who are my characters based on? Then debates about themes – motherhood, forgiveness and romance as a genre; these ladies take their literature seriously, I was honoured they had taken the trouble to read my book. I left elated and glowing, if I had given them a fraction of what they had given me, the evening had been a success.

Cathedral in DublinApril 12: Fidelma winds down the window so I can hear the bells of Christ Church Cathedral as we drive by. My mother Marion and Deirdre’s mother Edna are in the car – it’s Friday night, it already feels like a party.

We arrive as Deirdre opens the doors to her stylish home filled with candles, white roses and laughter. I was introduced and handed a drink as we crowded into the room. Deirdre started the questions and in no time the girls were firing all sorts at me, from how a book is produced, to how to write good sex – Loose Women had nothing on us!

Sheena - our quiz champion, Adrienne and event organiser supreme, Deirdre.I’d made up a quiz based on the novel, which some of the girls took so seriously they even tried to look up the answers. Sheena, however was a clear winner, and I was delighted to present her with her own Hollow Heart pendant – she knew more about the story than I did!

Saying goodbye, I signed the Harte sisters’ copies, including a comment on Nuala’s favourite page 245 – you’ll need to read it to find out why it’s her favourite – and we headed happily home, ending my very first encounter with book clubs; two different but equally wonderful experiences, so special just recounting them makes me want to cry with joy!

These gorgeous, intelligent women made me feel like a real author, they took me into their homes and my novel into their hearts. If my writing has done anything, it has rekindled old friendships and made new ones – without doubt the best thing about this whole experience.

I’ll certainly be back when the sequel A Change of Heart is published later this year…that’s if they’ll have me.

BookLaunch at the Bell, Burton Overy

BOOK LAUNCH POSTERS CHOSEN 3.indd