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Best Book Launch Party – EVER!

On a cold and miserable February morning, June Kearns, Mags Cullingford and I set out to catch the 11.32 from Leicester to St Pancras. We had our friend Maisie with us and were looking forward to meeting our bestie, Jan Brigden later that day. Why were we there? Why, only to attend the BEST BOOK LAUNCH PARTY – EVER for Adrienne Vaughan’s latest novel, That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel.

‘Seahorse’ is Adrienne’s fourth full length novel but she has also written a book of poems and short stories, and produced two collaborative works. You can find out more about Adrienne, here.

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After lunch at the fabulous Betjeman Arms we sallied forth for some retail therapy, homing in on the new MAC shop where I bought some makeup brushes and WHISTLES where Mags bought a fabulous tunic . An Author has to look glamorous, right? And the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s  annual awards (aka the RoNAS) are just around the corner. Anyhoo, I digress . . . At 4.30pm we rocked up the a private room in the Betjeman Arms where Adrienne was waiting to greet her guests.

As friends, family, and fellow writers gathered, the excellent and attentive staff made sure that no one’s prosecco glass went unfilled. Adrienne, her agent and publisher Lisa Eveleigh and Natalie Keene, Associate Director at AVA PR,  had ensured that the room looked fabulous and books were available to purchase. Many of us had already downloaded Summer at the Seahorse Hotel but were keen to obtain a signed copy for our bookshelves.

Upon arrival, each guest was asked to choose a tarot card from a set proffered by Adrienne. I drew The Emperor and then settled down as Adrienne read extracts from ‘Seahorse’. Click  here  to read the first few chapters of That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel. You will also be able to download a copy here, too. Seahorse Cover Thumbnail

Earlier, Christina Courtenay had drawn THE KNIGHT OF SWORDS from Adrienne’s pack and that was declared as the winning tarot. Her prize was a copy of ‘Seahorse’ and a some chocolate to take home. Readings over, books purchased, we all queued up to congratulate Adrienne, and then had a great time catching up with friends. RNA members in attendance were: June Kearns, Mags Cullingford, Lizzie Lamb, Sue Moorcroft, Jean Fullerton, Cathy Bramley, Pia Fenton and Julie Vince.

All that remained was to gather New Romantics Press together for one last photo before catching the train back to Leicester.

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Fabulous blogger Anne Williams who’d written a review of ‘Seahorse’ earlier that week was also in attendance. You can read Anne’s review here. Two other bloggers/book reviewers have also reviewed Adrienne’s novel, Many thanks to Rosie Amber and Jessie Cahalin for their support.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, I’ll be spending mine within the pages of ‘Seahorse’, I can smell the briny and hear the waves crashing on the shore from here.

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Happy Birthday New Romantics Press

New Romantics Press - Five YearsIt’s five years since New Romantics Press published their first novels. We won’t repeat how the group formed, our path to publication has been covered in previous posts. Here we are in 2012 looking all fresh faced and hopeful. So you ask, what have we achieved since then, and what next? Cue drumroll and clash of cymbals.

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Lizzie Lamb

A retrospective is a great idea. It gives us a chance to thank readers/reviewers/bloggers and friends for the help and encouragement NRP has received over the last five years. I have a #1 bestseller (historical Scottish) and #3 bestseller (Scotland’s/Highlands and Islands) under my belt and have rubbed shoulders on Amazon with Diane Gabaldon and Jenny Colgan. I look at my four novels and ask myself: did I really write those?  It turns out that I did. I’m now working hard on a romance set in Wisconsin USA, then its back to Scotland and the Black Isle for #6. Thank you for travelling with me on this amazing journey. 

 

From Wednesday 22nd November to Wednesday 29th November my novels will be available to download for 99p. So, here’s your chance to stock up on some great romances and hunker down in front of the fire with until the first shoots of spring appear. 

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June Kearns

First, a huge thank-you to the lovely readers who are still discovering my first two books and reading and reviewing them!

On to book three, where I’m currently in the middle of 1960s London, unravelling the lives of three women (and one man) when their histories suddenly collide. The mother, no longer alive – a former D-Day Dame. Her daughter Lillie, now in the midst of an exploding London fashion scene, together with Margaux, the Frenchwoman who brought her up – formerly a seamstress at a Paris fashion house. Add an arrogant American photographer on a mission to that mix, and shake vigorously!

(I was in London myself at exactly that time and have probably been enjoying the research a bit too much!) Publishing date? Spring 2018. A headsup – my novels will available to download for 99p from 23rd November – 29th. So, fill up your kindle. 

Adrienne Vaughan

The last five years have certainly been a whirlwind. To achieve my life’s ambition to become a novelist is, without doubt, a dream come true and quite simply wouldn’t have happened without the support, encouragement and friendship of Lizzie, June and Mags.

To date, we’ve independently published a number of highly-acclaimed and award winning novels including my series of Irish-American romantic suspense – The Hollow Heart, A Change of Heart and Secrets of the Heart – each shortlisted for reader awards by the Festival of Romantic Fiction. Together with my collection of short stories and poems, Fur Coat & No Knickers – recently shortlisted for the coveted Irish literary CAP Award – this now means I have four warmly-received books being enjoyed by readers every day. What a thrill!

 My latest novel That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel, is published in January 2018 and in honour of this and my forthcoming birthday, I’m delighted to offer all my books for 99p for one week from Tuesday 21st November – Enjoy!

 

Mags Cullingford

Where I am now

Five years on, I am half way through writing my third novel. My intention was not to be so ‘palely loitering’. Regrettably, this tantalising stage was reached eighteen months ago, but real-life events have had to take priority. So, no ‘writer’s block’ to report as a sorry excuse, or losing the plot by having no idea of what happens next. That’s all there in my head, and now, with the Fates’ permission, I plan on publication by Midsummer 2018.

My third novel – title yet to be decided – is a departure from my first two. In both, a clever but emotionally naïve woman falls for the wrong man, or men, before meeting the right one. Number three involves mystery and intrigue although, inevitably, tortured relationships do figure. Private investigator, Forbes discovers past secrets and lies after Lexie Neave, the only daughter, and heir of a single well-heeled parent, is threatened after her mother’s suspicious death – and begins: Alexandra Neave, you now have something valuable, very valuable which by rights is mine.

Link to author page:  http://tinyurl.com/qj2hzlf 

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Here’s a slideshow of some of the highlights of the past five years.

 

 

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New Romantics Press @ the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Conference

Two members of New Romantics Press – Lizzie and Adrienne, travelled to Telford to attend the Romantic Novelists’ Association‘s conference. First stop was the LAMB INN – most appropriate, or so we thought – until we discovered it was the-inn-which-had-no-food. They were prepared to make us a tuna sandwich (thanks, but no thanks) so we quickly got back into Adrienne’s car and headed for Harper Adams University.

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The eponymous Lamb Inn – which had run out of food!

Luckily, we managed to hit the snack bar before it closed, then high-tailed it to our rooms where we unpacked and got ready for the highlight of our day: the Indie Authors’ Cocktail Party,  which Adrienne and I hosted in our kitchen. The guest of honour was lovely Freda Lightfoot  (author of over 48 books) who went from saga writer to hybrid author, publishing her own backlist on Amazon in 2010. Freda was joined by another hybrid author, Margaret Kaine who has been a great supporter of NRP since it was first formed. Listening to Freda’s fascinating summing up of her career, we wish we’d put our books on Amazon before the algorithm changed and T&C became less favourable. The old adage time and tide wait for no man certainly

The old adage time and tide wait for no man certainly applies here. Cue clock face …..

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Tempus Fugit – The clock tower at Harper Adams University

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Freda talking to Margaret Kaine, hybrid author and supporter of NRP, about the difference between ‘then’ and ‘now’.

The purpose of the party was to celebrate the many successes achieved by indie authors, such as New Romantics Press and others, and to celebrate them. In recognition of the changing face of publication, the RNA  established the Independent Author category almost two years ago. Lizzie was the second member to make the transition from the New Writers’ Scheme, with Alison Morton pipping her at the post as the first! After three years Independent Authors become full members of the association and have voting rights accorded to them. Here’s a snapshot of some of the Incredible Indies who joined us at our drinks party, along with newly designed Chair of the RNA – Nicola Cornick and Vice-Chair Alison May.

Recent blogs have concentrated on the marvellous panel talks and workshops organised by members of the RNA. But this post is all about how we spent the weekend networking, talking to agents, meeting editors and generally having some downtime after publishing ten books between us in under five years. Twelve books, if we add on June and Mags’s books, too.

One of the best parts of the conferences is touching base with friends we only see on social media and this conference was no exception. Shrieks of delight and recognition greeted us every time we turned a corner and bumped into old friends.

The gala dinner is always the highlight of such events and Harper Adams did us proud, ensuring that the food was top notch and banished all thoughts of the tuna sandwich we’d earlier turned down! Lizzie was glad that her new dress from GRIZAS (Lithuania) had arrived in time and didn’t clash with Adrienne’s zig-zag catsuit. Purrfect.

One notable absentee at the conference was the late Carole Blake, a wonderful agent and great supporter of the RNA. Sadly, Carole died last autumn and this fabulous quilt was auctioned off in her memory. As a result, enough money was raised to pay for two delegates to attend the conference in Leeds next summer. Carole would have heartily approved.

At the end of the gala dinner, two lovely NWS members sought Lizzie out to tell her how much they’d enjoyed TALL DARK AND KILTED. Next day, they bought more of her books

Lizzie and Adrienne went their own way during the conference, attending those workshops which took their fancy, but meeting up back in the kitchen to share their experiences. Lizzie especially enjoyed the TIME SLIP seminar and Adrienne became a SCREENWRITER, albeit temporarily. Perhaps she’ll turn her Irish trilogy into a film? Wonder who’ll play the hero? Aiden Turner, perchance?IMG_4897.jpg

To round up the conference, Lizzie attended the ‘warts and all’ talk given by Mandy Baggot on her path to publication. New Romantics Press respect Mandy’s work ethic and how she’s made the transition from indie to contracted author at prestigious Ebury Press. Lizzie will be writing up Mandy’s talk for a forthcoming edition of Romance Matters, edited by Adrienne.

Well, that about wraps up this personal take on #RNACON17. Hope to see some of you at the Winter Party or an RNA Chapter Meeting very soon. Footnote: neither June nor Mags could make the conference this year and were missed. We hope they join us at the next one in Leeds, or at the Historical Novel Conference in Glasgow August 2018.

And finally, a big thanks to everyone who organised this fabulous conference – and a couple of photos which sum up the spirit of the conference for us and which we hope will leave you smiling –

And our favourite, taken by Anita Chapman . . .

Author Event at Waterstones, Kensington, London brings another successful year to a close!

 

The Girls in the Band

 

We are happy to ask you to join us in celebrating an exciting and successful year for the New Romantics Press.

Adrienne’s story:

When you think about it, our story might not be amazing, show-stopping or world-breaking …but it is interesting. What started as June’s original concept: “Let’s hold a showcase for our work.” Quickly followed by Amanda Grange’s advice: “Publish independently and then you’ll have something to show.” Add Lizzie’s gritty determination to keep us all on track; my PR background and Mag’s literary connections and I must admit, as my third novel sits patiently in the wings (ready to be launched at the end of this month), I feel a tiny smidgen of pride for what we have achieved. Nine novels, each individually penned, and one anthology of short stories, to which Lizzie and I have contributed … in just two years, is not bad going. 

Add, excellent reviews, not-to-be-sniffed at sales and some fabulous author-events, topped off with our ‘packed-house’ showcase at Waterstones, Kensington earlier this month and well, it could all be deemed rather dazzling, and perhaps one could take just a second or two to rest on one’s laurels. Ah, what a team!

Not flippin’ likely. Bag about to be packed for the ‘World Premiere’ of Secrets of the Heart, to take place where the story opens, Neary’s Cocktail Bar, Chatham Street, Dublin 2 on Wednesday, December 3rd, 7.30pm – 9pm. See you there? Did I ever tell you, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” by Queen, is my anthem? 

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June’s story:

Too far out? Too close to the City.

Pub, Club? Bar or Bookshop.

When son Patrick and his partner Tom suggested hosting a launch for us in London, it set them off searching the streets for weeks – (a bit like trying to find a house, but cheaper.)

Tricky stairs, dicky lift. Too blow-all-of-the-budget? Ooh, no buzz. A little bit Rovers Return?

Then Adrienne wrapped it all up with her cracking connection – Waterstones!

And, it was wonderful – a real winner,(see pictures!)

Wine flowed, books were sold, lots of lovely people came to support us,(thank you, all of you!!) and, as you can see from those pics – apart from missing Mags and her fab new book – we all had A Jolly Good Time.

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Mags’ story:

At a Romantic Novelists Association conference I remember a talk by a Literary Agent with a fearsome reputation saying she expected her writers to be healthy, and had no time for sickly ones. How ruthless, how unfeeling, I thought, but as an Indie author-cum-agent-publisher I now understand her. I was gutted not to be able to join my three New Romantics mates, Adrienne, June and Lizzie at our Author Showcase at Waterstones Kensington just 4 weeks after I had a much-needed, total right-knee replacement. Although in my head I believed I could be there, it finally dawned – duhh, no way. To compound my disappointment, my second novel Twins of a Gazelle was ready to be uploaded as a paperback on Create Space, and as an eBook ready for the event. I believed as soon as I was home from hospital I would steam ahead with this. Well, what did I know about how I’d actually feel in the aftermath of surgery?

I published my debut novel Last Bite of the Cherry) in 2012, and my second, Twins of a Gazelle will be available, I hope, in a couple of weeks. I can’t claim either novel is ‘romantic’, though both have a similar theme – clever woman, emotionally naïve, initially makes disastrous choice of man (men) before meeting ‘The One’. Not the conventional Girl-Meets-Boy love stories, but about love in its many guises nevertheless. To quote the latest reviewer of Last Bite of the Cherry, “This wasn’t going to be a straightforward romance. There were darker layers to this story. I was intrigued.” (Sharon Booth, Amazon and Goodreads). I hope readers will be equally intrigued by Twins of a Gazelle.

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Lizzie’s Story:

We little thought when we published Tall, Dark and Kilted, The Hollow Heart, An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy and Last Bite of the Cherry two years ago that we would go on to write second and third novels. Nor did we imagine, even in our wildest dreams, that we would hold an Author Event in a top London Bookshop – yet that’s exactly what we’ve accomplished. How? Through team work, keeping our eye on the ever changing publishing world and having determination by the shedload. For me, the Waterstones evening was a personal and professional milestone. When I set out to become a published author I thought I’d be happy with a few paperbacks to give to friends and rellies at Christmas, and to have the satisfaction of seeing my work in print. Yet, here I am – with readers emailing how much they loved both books; and with an accountant who, when asked what I could do to make his life better, said: “Get another book out there.” No pressure then.

Writing is a bit like trying to climb K9 – just when you think you’ve reached the summit, there’s another hill to climb to break through the clouds and into the sunshine. I couldn’t have got this far without the help of my husband Bongo Man, my many friends and fellow writers. So . . . Thanks to everyone who came to our Waterstones gig, even the Russian gentleman in tracksuit and combat jacket who drank a bottle and a half of red wine, ate all of M&S canapés and then scarpered when asked to buy one of our books. I only hope he wasn’t a famous editor/agent in disguise – or one of Vladimir Putin’s henchmen.

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Thank you for helping us have such a terrific year and here’s to a wonderful 2015 for everyone!

(All photographs are the copyright of The New Romantics Press/Carole Matthews)

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