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Editing Tips: How to Focus Your Story and Keep Readers Turning the Pages

In my work as a fiction editor I often give writers the same piece of advice: focus, focus, focus on your core story. There, I said ‘focus’ three times. And here’s an image of someone focusing, too. That’s how important I think it is! What do I mean by ‘focus on the story’? Well, a…… Continue reading Editing Tips: How to Focus Your Story and Keep Readers Turning the Pages

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What draws you into a story? How to create a great opening #amwriting

It’s March 2020, and time for one of our authors’ Round Robins. When author Rhobin Courtright set this topic a few weeks ago, we didn’t know then that we’d be plunged now into the middle of a pandemic such as the world hasn’t seen. The world is suddenly a very different place. Human beings carry…… Continue reading What draws you into a story? How to create a great opening #amwriting

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Romantic passages from The Book Lovers, by Leon Garfield #RNA60

When I was a teenager, I loved Leon Garfield’s books, and I still do. It’s very sad to see that a lot of them are out of print now – titles such as the fabulous The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris, and the sequel to it, Bostock and Harris. (My older sister queued up to…… Continue reading Romantic passages from The Book Lovers, by Leon Garfield #RNA60

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5 library books I’m looking forward to reading in #RomanceReadingMonth

This year the Romantic Novelists’ Association celebrates its 60th (Diamond) Anniversary, and I’m looking forward to sharing in a year-long round of festivities. Our recent RNA newsletter says: ‘The RNA’s mission was to demand respect for and celebrate romantic fiction and here we are, sixty years later, doing just that.’ To kick-start the celebrations, the…… Continue reading 5 library books I’m looking forward to reading in #RomanceReadingMonth

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Contemporary romance and love stories in the age of instant messaging

How can contemporary fiction cope with the rapid changes of today’s world? This is the topic of this month’s authors’ Round Robin, set by author Dr Bob Rich. Since I write romance, I’ve taken the liberty of adapting Bob’s topic a little: how can contemporary romance writers cope with rapid changes and incorporate new technology…… Continue reading Contemporary romance and love stories in the age of instant messaging

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‘Fallen in Love’: a heartwarming story for Christmas

It will soon be Christmas. Time to forget the shopping and the eating and the (sometimes) stressful gatherings. This is the season of hope and goodwill. Many years ago two of my friends had a long falling out and were reconciled on Christmas Eve. It was one of my best Christmases ever, and a small…… Continue reading ‘Fallen in Love’: a heartwarming story for Christmas

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Do you have a story to tell? Author J.Q. Rose shares advice and tips on writing your memoir

One of my most treasured possessions is a type-written account by my granddad of how he saw in New Year 1900 as a child. My great-grandfather lifted him aloft onto his shoulders and they walked through the streets of Dublin, where the bells were ringing. It’s a simple story, but one that’s poignant and brings…… Continue reading Do you have a story to tell? Author J.Q. Rose shares advice and tips on writing your memoir

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Princess Mary, Downton Abbey and images of Harewood House at Christmas

Last Christmas I visited Harewood House in Leeds, West Yorkshire, to see their Christmas decorations. Harewood House is one of my favourite places to visit in Yorkshire. It’s always stunning at any time of year. Here is the view from the library window over the terrace in summer, with the lake in the background: If…… Continue reading Princess Mary, Downton Abbey and images of Harewood House at Christmas

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Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Little Book’, written as a teenager, to come home to Haworth

I’m lucky to live only half an hour’s drive from the home of the Brontë sisters in Haworth, West Yorkshire, one of my favourite places in the world. (If you’re a Brontë fan, you might like to visit my post containing new photos of the parsonage, or my article on a writers’ workshop held at…… Continue reading Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Little Book’, written as a teenager, to come home to Haworth

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Three of the best books for fiction writers on the craft of writing

No matter what stage you’re at with your writing – whether still at the first draft, or with dozens of books to your name – there’s always something new to learn about the craft of writing. Besides writing, I also work as a freelance editor. (In fact, for quite a while now the editing has…… Continue reading Three of the best books for fiction writers on the craft of writing