Tag Archives: Romantic Novelists’ Association

Shortlists: Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2024

Now updated with winners in Bold
Sarah Mallory RNA RNOTY 24

AND SHE WON!!
HUGE CONGRATS TO SARAH

The Night She Met the Duke, by Libertà hivie Sarah Mallory, is in the shortlists (in the Historical Romantic Novel category) for this year’s Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.

These awards are judged entirely by readers, without input from any industry professionals and there are some great books on the lists, including many by good friends of Libertà.

Woman in a bare-shouldered party dress with champagne glass in her hand looks across a night time city scape and smiles.Congratulations to each and every one!

The winners of the awards will be announced during the Romantic Novel Awards ceremony, which is being held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City, 8-14 Cooper’s Row, London EC3N 2BQ, on Monday 20th May 2024 at 6.30pm.

THE CATEGORIES AND FINALISTS ARE BELOW
(authors are listed alphabetically in shortlists)
Winners in bold green (updated 21st May)

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Writer’s Loop and needing to break out

exploding ideas instead of writer's blockI’ve called this blog Writer’s Loop because that’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.

It’s a bit like being a mad inventor. You sort of know what you want to do, need to do, are desperate to have done and left behind…

But somehow you can’t stop tinkering. Try one more experiment, one more plot twist or character revelation. And a bit of you has started to believe you will never stop. Continue reading

Joan Hessayon New Writers Award

reader chemistry by the fireThis time last year, my diary tells me, I was reading The Bookseller and saw the writers listed for the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award. It gave me a warm glow then. It still does, remembering.

That warm glow is one of those really solid jobs, like thinking about Christmas. It has a lot of history, some of it personal. Well, quite a lot of it personal, actually. And it includes people crying with happiness, a huge amount of generosity and some seriously good parties.

The list for this year’s Joan Hessayon contenders is due to be published on 20th June. So I thought I would try to share some of the history and a little of the glow this week.

RNA New Writers’ Scheme 1960 style

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Romantic Fiction Rocks! But Respect?

Busy fizzRomantic fiction rocks, judging by the enthusiastic turn out at this year’s Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards. Roars of delight, from the home team (publishers, friends, fellow writers-in-the-genre) greeted every winner’s name. Celebration was definitely the key word of the night.

Romance even made it into The Economist last week, (11th March 2023, p23). Although I have a couple of issues with the piece, it’s mostly good news. They report that sales of romance and saga fiction in Britain have risen by 110% in three years, to £53mn annually, their highest figure for a decade, according to Nielsen BookData.

Regency reading woman

print courtesy of 2023 Award Winner Louise Allen

Publishers, they say, “are starting to take notice.”

Well, some of them were cheering their lungs out the Monday before this article was published (see above) so that’s fair enough far as it goes.

Only – call me picky if you will – but even in my experience, they’ve been doing that for a good twenty-five years before the pandemic shut down the RNA annual thrash. Started to take notice? Continue reading

A pearl anniversary…

One score and ten years ago…

Busy fizzWith apologies to Abraham Lincoln – I couldn’t resist – it is thirty years ago, almost to the day (it was actually December 2) when my first book, An Image of You, was published.

It was my fourth attempt to write a book for Mills and Boon. I do, somewhere, still have my first rejection letter. I seem to recall the word “wooden” used to describe my characters, and a suggestion that I read books by Elizabeth Oldfield and Vanessa Grant. As you can tell, it is ingrained in my memory.

The book…

I later had the enormous pleasure of meeting Elizabeth at author lunches, along with so many fan-favourite romance authors. But back to that precious moment. The arrival of my first box of books. I’d been out somewhere and when I came home the box was sitting on my desk, with my husband and daughter staring at it, waiting for me to open it. Continue reading

Points of View

I’ve called this blog Points of View because that is what I’ve been thinking about, off and on, since the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference two weeks ago.

Not just in a relation to writing, either, as you will see.

I admit, however, that I have been struggling for some time with POV issues. I’m in the process of an Absolutely Last Edit of a book that, when I first imagined it, had a first person vibe. It didn’t last and it has much improved as a result. But in some places the “I voice” has left an uncomfortable shadow.

At least, I think that’s the answer. Especially after a really excellent workshop on Psychic Distance from Emma Darwin.

RNA Conference

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Red Boots and Bow Tie (or RNA Awards Ceremony)

Hello again. I’m back about the RNA Awards…

Recently I was here with Louise Allen, chatting about how it felt like to be shortlisted for the RNA Awards. Now the Awards are over, and I’m back to tell you all about it.

RNA Awards invitation

Romanceland has been buzzing about the RNA Awards

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Genre Romance – Respect Romantic Fiction

Image from Pixabay f.richter64@gmx.de

Tweets urging us to respect romantic fiction have been appearing daily in my Twitter feed this week. There is even a new Twitter hashtag: #RespectRomFic.

After the events set out in my last blog, the Romantic Novelists’ Association wrote an open letter to the Sunday Times. It pointed out the significance of romantic fiction to UK publishing. It also took them to task about the paper’s neglect and, indeed, apparent ignorance of the genre.

There has been considerable follow up. Best seller Milly Johnson had an article in The Bookseller. To their credit, The Bookseller reached out, as the phrase goes, and commissioned it.

The RNA sought the views of three of our members who have hit the Sunday Times best seller list: Milly Johnson, Philippa Ashley and Heidi Swain. The blog, called Love in the Time of Snobbery, went up yesterday (Saturday 18th December). Continue reading

Inventive Punctuation and the Popular Novelist

exclamation mark in fireLet me start with an admission: I love inventive punctuation. Of course, you can do an awful lot, just by changing a comma into a dash. But some people go the whole hog into brackets, asterisks and the wild excesses of the exclamation mark. It all fascinates me.

Most people, of course, ignore it. Well, readers pick up the writers’ signals, I hope. But they don’t actually play around with the stuff. Why should they?

For some people, though, punctuation is a real headache, indissolubly tied to (horrors!) grammar. It’s a terrible shame.

That was the reason that, several years ago, Elizabeth Hawksley and I wrote a simple guide. Its working title was Punctuation for the Petrified, which the publisher vetoed for excellent reasons. It reflected our feelings, though. We wanted people to learn a few principles, have a source book to check things that worried them and, above all, relax and have fun. Continue reading

Buckingham Palace Garden : trees, family, courage

Buckingham Palace, garden front

Garden front, photograph by Elizabeth Hawksley

This week I had a great treat. I visited Buckingham Palace Gardens. For the first time they are open for members of the  public to explore on a so-called “self-guided tour”.

The idea has been so successful that demand for tickets outstripped supply. So there are now additional ticket for dates throughout July to September.

Indeed, it looks as if even the newly released  tickets have already sold out. But they urge you to check back for possible cancellations. Given the uncertainty of British Weather – that great Cleopatra, as Charles Lamb called it – I should think there may be plenty

Two go to Buckingham Palace

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