Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Romantic Novel of the Year Awards: The judges are...

It’s just three weeks until the RNA announces the books that have been shortlisted for the RoNAs – the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards - and we are now unveiling the judges who will decide on the Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year 2017.

The RNA gives seven awards for different types of romantic novels. The categories are: Contemporary, Epic, Historical, Paranormal or Speculative Fiction, Romantic Comedy, the RoNA Rose for a shorter romantic novel and Young Adult. In the first two rounds of the contest the entries are judged by a panel of readers who choose the winner in each category.  These seven winners then go forward into the overall Romantic Novel of the Year Award for excellence in romantic fiction.

The four independent judges who will read each of the category winners to decide the overall winner are:

Matt Bates, the Fiction Buyer for WH Smith Travel, writer and journalist Fanny Blake, bookseller and publisher Ron Johns and Caroline Sanderson, writer and books journalist.

 RNA Vice-Chair and Award Organiser, Nicola Cornick said:  ‘We are thrilled to have such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable panel of judges with such a commitment to the romantic fiction genre.”

Matt Bates is the Fiction Buyer for WH Smith Travel. In 2013 he judged the HNS International Award and has contributed to book-related articles in Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, The Bookseller and Writers Forum magazine. In 2015 he was named Bookseller of the Year by the RNA.

Fanny Blake was a publisher for many years before becoming a freelance journalist and writer. She is books editor of Woman & Home and has written five novels including Women of a Dangerous Age and House of Dreams. Her new novel Our Summer Together will be published in in July 2017.

Ron Johns opened his first bookshop in 1974 aged 20. He now owns several bookshops and also created Mabecron Publishing, which publishes books with a West Country flavour and to date has published 23 titles. Ron has been a Costa Prize judge and is a council member of the Booksellers Association and the Independent Booksellers Group.

Caroline Sanderson is a writer and books journalist, and Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Worcester. She is Associate Editor for The Bookseller, and the editor of ALCS News. Caroline is the author of five non-fiction books, and co-hosts a monthly book club on BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

A total of 300 books were entered for this year’s Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.
The shortlisted books will be announced on the RNA website on February 7th and the RoNA Awards will be presented in London on March 13th. For tickets

For more information about the RoNA judges, visit our website news pages

To learn more about the awards, go to http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/awards

For more details on the RoNA Awards event, or to buy tickets, visit our website activities pages.  http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/activities 

Monday, January 16, 2017

FOCUS ON: Chelmsford Chapter

It's a great pleasure to welcome the Chelmsford Chapter to our series. Carrie Elks was kind enough to answer Jean Fullerton's questions.
Welcome to the RNA blog, Chelmsford members!

Where are you based, Carrie?
helena fairfax

We are the Chelmsford Chapter, based in Essex. You don’t have to live in Chelmsford to join us though, you just have to get here by train, plane or automobile!

How long has your chapter been running?
Around ten years. We began as a casual group of romance writers meeting for lunch, and only later became a chapter of the RNA. Since then, the chapter has grown, but some of our founding members still remain. 

How often do you meet?
We meet on the last Thursday of each month. The dates are published in advance, but we also send out an email reminder (because we’re all busy writers!)

Where is your regular meeting place?
We’ve just moved to a new venue. We now meet in A Canteen in Chelmsford, a delightful delicatessen and cafĂ©. 

How many members attend your meetings?
It varies from month to month. Sometimes there can be only six of us, and other times (especially at Christmas) we can number up to about twenty. There’s no pressure to attend monthly, just whenever you can. 

Do your meetings include a meal?
Yes, the food in A Canteen is very nice, and the atmosphere is lovely. We find chatting over lunch is a great way to share our thoughts and news. 

Is your chapter open to non-members of the RNA?
Though we’re primarily members of the RNA, we do have a few chapter members who are no longer part of the organization. We are all writers though – whether at the start of our careers, or well-established.

helena fairfax
                How long are your meetings?
This varies, too. We meet at 12 noon, though some members arrive a bit later due to public transport restrictions. We’ve usually finished around 2:30pm (perfect if you need to pick up children from school) but nobody worries if you need to leave earlier. We’re very relaxed! 

Can you give an outline of speakers/guests you’ve had in the past year?
We’re primarily a support group, so haven’t had any speakers in 2016. However, we did help to organize the Colchester Cream Tea in April this year, which was a lovely event for all involved. 

What do you have planned for 2017?
I’m just working on that now. We’ve had a fabulous new bookshop (Foyles) open up in our city, and it would be good for us to forge some closer links with them. Apart from that we’ll be doing our usual plan of eating, talking, and having fun!

What would you say makes your chapter of the RNA so special?
Probably the same as all chapters – the people. We are a varied bunch. We range from authors on the New Writers' Scheme, to those who have been published for decades. Each of us brings something unique to the group, whether it be experience of the publishing industry, knowledge of digital marketing, or connections that might help a fellow writer. I only joined a year ago, and I immediately found the chapter to be very welcoming and generous with their support. It’s great to spend time with like-minded people. 

Does your chapter have a website, Facebook page or Twitter account?
We have a Facebook group, but haven’t yet made any other social media accounts. One to work on in 2017! 

Who is the contact for new members?
Me! (Carrie Elks) I recently took over as the organiser for our chapter, and am enjoying it immensely.
I can be contacted by email: Carrie.Elks@mail.com or by telephone 07530 859769

Thanks so much for joining us, Carrie!

About Jean:

Jean was born in East End of London and spent all her career as a district nurse in East London but is now a full-time writer. Wedding Bells for Nurse Connie, is her current release. Her next novel Pocketful of Dreams, set in the turbulent years of WW2, is due for release in June 2017 and is the first in next East London series.
Her first series with Orion Fiction was set in the Victorian period after which she jumped forward to post-war East London.
She is a proud graduate from the NWS and passionate about the local chapters, which is why she has taken on the role of Chapters Liaison. 

This blog was prepared by blog team member, Helena Fairfax

Friday, January 13, 2017



Thank you to Sheila Riley for compiling another bumper list of the latest romantic novels from our members. 


Meet me at Beachcomber Bay
Hardback and ebook
Headline Books
12th January
Back to St Carys in Cornwall for a summer of fun, when
Clemency falls for someone she really can't have.

Whispers in the Wind
Severn House
He is an earl who was left at the altar. She was his true love. Fate brings them together again.

What Doesn’t Kill You
Choc Lit/Dark Choc Lit
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger – but how strong can one person be?
It's Dorset coastguard Griff Hendry's belief that everyone is worth saving –
which is why he can't forgive his father, Logan, for what he did, nor can Griff
understand why his estranged wife, Evie, and his troubled step-daughter,
Tess, are keeping secrets from him. As the truth is uncovered, Griff is forced
to accept that perhaps he's never understood what real strength is.

Moorland Mist
Large Print
Emma Greig has seen little of the world at fourteen when she goes to work at Bonnybrae Farm.
Maggie Sinclair welcomes her warmly, Jim and William gently tease her, but their mother is haughty
and disapproves of their friendship with a maid. She is determined to keep Emma in her place,
so when a closer bond develops between Emma and William she sends Emma away without a reference
and banishes William from the farm he loves.

Puppy Love
Large Print Paperback
Linford Romance
1st January 2017
When pedigree dogs start to go missing in the village, Hannah,
her granddad and local artist Ryan, form an unlikely trio of amateur detectives.
Cute puppies and mysterious visitors keep the sleuths busy but there’s still time for romance.

GIfts for our Time (#4 in Rivenshaw series)
Hodder & Stoughton UK
January 2017
Christa fled from Germany during WW2 and as the war ended,
she found herself in Rivenshaw with Daniel and his aunt,
helping the struggle to keep the old house from being taken over by the council.
And will the secret cellar reveal its secrets at last?

Sister, Sister
digital and paperback
6 January 2017
Two Sisters. One Truth. Reunited after many years apart, sisters Clare and Alice reacquaint themselves in adulthood,
but as events take a sinister turn, nothing is at it seems and everyone must question who they believe.


Pushing the Limits
Format paperback,
January 1, 2017
"Houston, we have a hot-astronaut problem…"
Survival expert and control freak Jessie Odell has faced the most hazardous environments on earth.
Training astronauts should be a cakewalk. Nope. Enter candidate Hemi "Thor" Barrett and his hot, ripped bod,
and suddenly Jessie is breathless with raw excitement—something she hasn't felt for a long, long time—and it scares her to death.
Hemi isn't just some sexy distraction. Jessie actually likes the guy—and that makes him more treacherous than an Everest ascent.
It also means Hemi's that much harder to resist. With every hungry, heat-fueled encounter, Jessie skirts closer to that dangerous edge.
Falling for this space cowboy is definitely high stakes…but could the payoff be worth the risk?

Miss Bradshaw's Bought Betrothal
e-book and paperback
Mills and Boon
17th January
She'd done it! Plain, invisible Evelyn had escaped
Fed up with being a doormat to her evil stepmother, heiress
Evelyn Bradshaw pays a dissolute rake to pose as her betrothed so she can secure her freedom.
But then her fake fiance leaves her with his estranged brother Finn Matlock and disappears!
Having withdrawn from the world, Finn knows the last thing he needs is the temptation of a woman,
especially one like Evie. She has an irritating habit of causing chaos wherever she goes and being
in places she shouldn't including, as he soon learns, his heart!

Kind Hearts & Coriander (a New Forest romantic comedy).
Accent Press
16th Jan (paperback to follow in March)
On her mother's death, sous chef Polly learns she may be New Forest hotelier Charles Hetherin's illegitimate daughter.
Having grown up watching her mother do without, she's furious. The Hetherins have it all - including fabulous Hetherin Hall country house hotel.
Determined to discover the truth, Polly's mistaken for a job applicant but takes the waitressing position to get to know the family who may be hers.
Romance is the last thing on her mind, but she can't deny the sparks flying between her and Oliver, the grumpy but gorgeous restaurant manager.
However, it seems nobody is quite who Polly thinks they are ...

Scandalous Lady
Endeavour Press
17 December 2016
Constantinople 1811. Ice cool diplomat Lord Berannes is involved in negotiating peace between the Turks and the Russians.
Then he encounters fiery, rebellious artist, Olivia Hartford. And after that, nothing goes to plan – for either of them!

Entertaining Death
Accent Press
December 31st
The second novella in the Alexandrians series about an Edwardian Concert Party.

The Vets at Hope Green: Part 1, Escape to the Country
19 January 2017
Working as a receptionist in a London vets, Sam is always broke,
rents a tiny flat and is constantly arguing with her boyfriend.
But the worst part is that her career is going nowhere. Something’s got to give ...
will a visit to her Nana Peggy's small picturesque village be the answer?

The Thief's Daughter
Choc Lit
6th December, 2016
Hide from the thief-taker, for if he finds you, he will take you away …
Eighteenth-century Cornwall is crippled by debt and poverty, while the gibbet
casts a shadow of fear over the land. Yet, when night falls, free traders swarm
onto the beaches and smuggling prospers. Terrified by a thief-taker’s warning as
a child, Jenna has resolved to be good. When her brother, Silas, asks for her help
to pay his creditors, Jenna feels unable to refuse and finds herself entering the
dangerous world of the smuggling trade.Jack Penhale hunts down the smuggling gangs
in revenge for his father’s death. Drawn to Jenna at a hiring fayre, they discover
their lives are more entangled than they first thought. Trust and loyalty are tested
to the limits, but can there ever be love, as Jenna is a thief’s daughter –
where blood always runs thicker…

From Rome With Love
E Book/Print on Demand
January 20, 2017
A holiday in Rome, staying in a beautiful apartment with a gorgeous guy, sounds like the perfect trip, right? Wrong
When Lisa finds herself saddled with childhood-friend-turned-enemy, Will Ryan, romance is the last thing on her mind.
She’s got more important things to focus on, like hunting down her estranged father.
But as they dig into the past, neither of them is prepared for the long-buried secrets they reveal.
Secrets that will turn both their world’s upside down …

How To Win Back Your Husband
HQ Digital
18 January 2017
Nicci has made one stupid and seemingly unforgivable mistake and, after eight years together, her husband Mark is divorcing her.
Her best friend is determined to help her get over it, start enjoying life again and move on, but Nicci knows getting over Mark
just isn't an option - she still loves him and she wants him back! With no clear plan in mind and only thirty days left until
the divorce is finalised, the race is on to prove her love, regain his trust and save her marriage, before it's too late.
A debut romantic comedy with a sprinkling of winter magic! 

The Girl on the Beach
Choc Lit
24 January 2017
Who is Harry Dixon?
When Ellie Golden meets Harry Dixon, she can’t help but feel she recognises him from somewhere.
But when she finally realises who he is, she can’t believe it – because the man she met on the
beach all those years before wasn’t called Harry Dixon. And, what’s more, that man is dead.
For a woman trying to outrun her troubled past and protect her son, Harry’s presence is deeply unsettling –
and even more disconcerting than coming face to face with a dead man, is the fact that Harry seems to have
no recollection of ever having met Ellie before. At least that’s what he says …
But perhaps Harry isn’t the person Ellie should be worried about. Because there’s a far more dangerous
figure from the past lurking just outside of the new life she has built for herself, biding his time,
just waiting to strike.

The Buttonmaker's Daughter
HQ, HarperCollins
12 January, 2017
May, 1914. Life at Summerhayes appears to offer the perfect country idyll,
but a feud in the Summer family and growing conflict in Europe, has tensions running deep.
As the sweltering heat of 1914 builds to a storm, Elizabeth Summer must decide how best to
save her family from danger and keep the man she loves. One thing is certain: nothing can stay the same.


An Unconventional Act
1st January 2017

A mysterious bookkeeper. A damaged actor-manager. An earl hell-set on increasing his
land by fair means or very, very foul. Secrets and subterfuge in the Regency theatre

Loving the Lost Duke
Epub for Kindle.
(Dangerous Deceptions Book 1) The first in a new series of historical romance with a twist of mystery. Seven years ago the young Duke of Calderbrook left England for the self-imposed exile that seemed the only way to save his life. Now he’s returned, to take back his birthright and discover who so nearly killed him – even if they prove to be someone he loves.
The truth and revenge are Cal’s aims, but his quest is stopped in its tracks by Society beauty Sophie Wilmott. He wants Sophie and Sophie, armoured against love by her own secrets, wants Cal. He needs to keep her safe, she needs to guard her heart – but death is waiting at the heart of the Duke’s great house and only courage and love are going to give them the strength to overcome it.