Clouds, Rainbows, Chocolate & Unicorns – My first RNA meeting!!

The Belmont Belles – LEICESTER CHAPTER OF THE ROMANTIC NOVELISTS’ ASSOCIATION, which June Kearns and I organise, were very pleased to welcome a new member, Louise Jensen.

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The second my book deal was announced and I was able to share I’d now also be writing love stories under the pen name Amelia Henley (you can read about that here), I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. The very second. Before I tweeted my news or posted on Facebook, I was eagerly signing up for membership.

I had waited a long time to join. I didn’t know exactly what the RNA was but isn’t the name wonderful? Romance conjures such evocative images (raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens).

After I’d joined I was super excited to discover there are ‘chapter’ meetings held in various locations throughout the UK. My local one was Leicester. I was thrilled. My son is at Uni in Leicester so I’d be able to go to a meeting and then see him afterwards. Immediately I sent him this message telling him my news…

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So pleased to accept a Sunshine Blogger Award – Nominated by Jessie Cahalin

New book deal. New genre. New beginnings. My HAPPY news!

I’m always interested to see what motivates a writer to take a bold step. Good luck Amelia, I prefer romance to crime.

fabricating fiction

Writing thrillers is something I am super passionate about. It fulfils the Enid Blyton’s Famous Five obsessive inside of me, the Scooby Doo and the gang need to solve the mystery addict. But I’ve always had another dream. A dream I clutched tightly to my chest promising it one day, eventually, and when I’ve got more time but I never seemed to have more time and eventually never came.  It felt like a secret. A secret I couldn’t quite share. You see, I’d had my heart broken at the age of eight after reading Little Women and that was when I knew with certainty I wanted to one day write a story which would make readers fall in love with the characters, cry for them, hope, question ‘what would I do in that situation.’

It was while I was on holiday in Lanzarote, gazing out to sea that…

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Book review: Lizzie Lamb’s Three Contemporary Romances Set in The Highlands of Scotland

Great reviews from Samantha Henthorn for my Scottish romances 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Samantha Henthorn finds the right words

Thank you for joining me in this month’s what Samantha read next.

When I was a little girl, my mum used to watch a programme set in Scotland called Take the High Road. I remember very little about the programme apart from the warm Scottish accents. In 2014, I was introduced to the 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith. And, one day, several years ago, when visiting my Northumberland based in-laws we walked over a bridge, and Father-in-law said ‘WE’RE IN SCOTLAND NOW!’

I’m just setting the scene of how Scotland to me, as a proud Mancunian is a place of romance and comfort. I’ve always held this romantic view – then I read three of Lizzie Lamb’s books… sigh… The three books I will mention here have confirmed my idealised view of a romantic Scotland and I recommend you read them all, especially if you’re all…

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#GuestPost Preview! Make sure you read this blog on Saturday (BURNS NIGHT) for a special treat from @lizzie_lamb #IARTG

Many thanks to Sam for featuring me on her blog. Watch out for the Burns Night post on Saturday 25th.

Samantha Henthorn finds the right words

Hi Everyone! The special treat is that best-selling uplifting romantic novelist Lizzie Lamb has agreed to guest post on my ‘What’s in a (Character) Name?’ Regular blog post. When Lizzie put her post together, the focus was on location – particularly because of the three HIGHLAND BRIDES NOVELS

Scotch on the RocksSo, before Saturday – when I expect you will be all reading Robert Burns’ poetry, wearing a kilt and eating haggis, I thought I would treat everyone to a snippet of Lizzie’s post before the big event – Burns night.

downloadCastle Stalker Castle Stalker (Photo from Lizzie Lamb – more of this on Saturday).

Here is a bit of Lizzie’s guest post –

Take Me, I’m Yours – a small town romance full of love and passion

Closing the door behind her, India sank down on the padded window seat and, drawing her knees up, pulled a cushion towards her, hugging it for comfort…

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My 2020 guide for becoming a (successful) indie author –

I’m often asked about my route to publication. I thought I’d update some of that information and share with you as I head into 2020 and finish my 6th novels. I hope you find the blog post helpful and informative.

 My latest novel – Take Me, I’m Yours

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India Buchanan plans to set up an English-Style bed and breakfast establishment in her great-aunt’s home, MacFarlane’s Landing, Wisconsin. But she’s reckoned without opposition from Logan MacFarlane whose family once owned her aunt’s house and now want it back. MacFarlane is in no mood to be denied. His grandfather’s living on borrowed time and Logan has vowed to ensure the old man sees out his days in their former home. India’s great-aunt has other ideas and has threatened to burn the house to the ground before a MacFarlane sets foot in it. There’s a story here. One the family elders aren’t prepared to share. When India finds herself in Logan’s debt, her feelings towards him change. However, the past casts a long shadow and events conspire to deny them the love and happiness they. Can India and Logan’s love overcome all odds? Or is history about to repeat itself? You can read an extract.

2.This is the first book I’ve set outside of the UK. Here’s why . . .

Back in the day I trained a teaching student from Oshkosh University for two terms. We became great friends and I had a standing invitation to go over to stay with her in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. I did just that for five weeks one summer and when I flew back from Chicago I promised I would write a romance set in Wisconsin. Last year I learned she has Parkinson’s Disease and that galvanised me into action – this book is for her.

3. I like writing about sexy, highland lairds. I hope you like reading about them.

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I am a dyed-in-the-wool romantic. For some women, it’s Regency Rakes, Cowboys or Navy Seals, but for me it’s a man-in-a-kilt. If he’s a highland laird or the heir to a highland estate so much the better. Not because of wealth or  belonging to an aristocratic family but because I love a hero who isn’t afraid to shoulder responsibility, care for his tenants and who has a strong connection with the land. Those attributes, allied with a sharp mind, a sense of humour and a willingness to care for the heroine wins me over – every time. 

4 and 5 My writing journey prior to New Romantics Press being founded

I bagged an agent (the late Dot Lumley) and HM&B were showing interest in my writing.  In 1990 I reached a crossroads, continue with my writing or accept a deputy headship of a large primary school. Because of the demanding nature of teaching, I knew I couldn’t do both and chose the latter. In 2006 I took early retirement from teaching joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted and submitted it for a critique. I was told it was ‘almost ready’ to start sending out to agents but needed more polishing. In the meantime, I co-founded NRP with other members of the RNA/NWS. Then, over lunch in my garden, author Amanda Grange advised us to consider self-publishing on amazon. The algorithms were changing and . . . well, you can read more about it here –  That was in 2012 and we’ve never looked back. I only wish I’d had the chutzpah to self-publish a year earlier because terms were more favourable on Amazon at that point.

New Romantics Press is keen to find new readers and share our work with them. Over the last six years we have published fifteen books between us and are currently working on new titles. Our motto is: Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves and you can read more about us on in this blog

6 The benefits of collaborating with other authors?

I love working collaboratively with others. That means I’m never more than a phone call away from a good mate who will listen to my writing woes, meet for coffee and offer sound advice. As being a member of New Romantics Press and the RNA I can tap into a wealth of knowledge about publishing, social media, PR – and what one of us doesn’t know, the others will find out! I couldn’t imagine being without my support system.

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We try to make our events sound fun . . . Most readers and bloggers mention how much fun we have promoting our books. Writing can be a lonely occupation. As authors, we spend most of the time hidden away in our studies/offices tapping at the keyboard. When we do get out, we like to let our hair down. Warning: our events involve laughter and prosecco, so only like-minded writers and readers need apply.

My husband Dave - Roadie, supporter and all round wonderful guy
My husband Dave – Roadie, supporter and book seller in a kilt

In 2019 I offered a series of workshops for novice and intermediate writers, sharing my knowledge and giving writers the confidence to finish their WIP. In November of 2019 I attended the Narberth Book Fair where I outlined my 10 point guide, met readers and sold books.

Here endeth the first part of my talk. Do join me next time when I will be covering the following aspects of writing:

My planing method being explained to fledgling authors
  • the difference between self-publishing and indie publishing
  • advice for writers considering self-publishing/indie publishing
  • my thoughts about taking a hybrid approach
  • plotters vs pantsers
  • top tips for finishing a novel 
  • choosing and researching the location of my novels
  • why I write happily ever after novels 
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Bliadhna Mhath Ùr – Happy New Year


 

Welcome to the last chance saloon

Howdy pardners – a heads up –

Just to let you know, in case you missed it, that my novels are available to download for 99p/ $1.25 until December 27th. After that, they revert to £1.99/ $2.20 – less than a cappuccino in your favourite cafe or bar. And – the really good news – if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber you can download them and read for FREE. (well, the cost of your subscription). So of you’ve overdosed on Christmas novels try something different. Or download at this price and read later . . . the choice is yours.

So, what are my novels about? Well, you won’t find any murders in them, although in Boot Camp Bride you will find a fake engagement, a boot camp for brides on the Norfolk marshes where some very dodgy stuff is going down. Interested? Readers have said they love Boot Camp Bride for the sparky dialogue between drop-dead gorgeous hero Rafa Fonseca-Ffinch and my up-for-anything heroine Charlie Montague.

Try a free sample here – and make up your own mind.

If you fancy a romance set in Chicago and small town America, look no further than Take Me, I’m Yours. I loved writing this novelo because it took me to a different place and reminded me of the five weeks I spent in Wisconsin researching it. I loved that one reviewer saw it as a modern day Romeo and Juliet trope where an ancient family feud gets in the way of lover Logan and India.

Next up my Scottish novels

What can I tell you about these? Only that I love visiting my home country for inspiration each summer and can’t wait to get in front of the pc and start writing. What fires my imagination? The scenery, the history, the hauntingly beautiful setting of loch and castle and the arduous task of dreaming up another to-die-for hero in a kilt. What’s not to like? Tall, Dark and Kilted was my debut novel and readers still sigh over Ruairi Urquhart. Follow the link, read and extract and check out some of the 112 reviews.

In Scotch on the Rocks I feature a very naughty parrot, a hunky American who raises more questions than my heroine can answer, a crazy raft of secondary characters who nearly ran away with the novel. Read an extract, check the reviews and see what you think. You won’t be disappointed.

Who could resist reading about a disgraced academic forced to hide away in a Scottish castle while she figures out how to restore her tarnished reputation. Not me. When writing Girl in the Castle I felt compelled to add a penniless laird with a tragic past and a Jacobite treasure just waiting got be found. Read the extract to find out what happens to Henriette Bruar. .

So, what does 2020 hold in store?

Once the festive season is over and the baubles have been packed away I’ll get down to finishing I’LL BE IN SCOTLAND – Highland Brides book 4 and, hopefully, publish in the summer. So fire up your kindle and download my novels while they’re hot. They won’t be this price again for a l-o-n-g time. And I never give them away for FREE (except on #KU). Have a great Christmas, kick back and enjoy the holidays and see you in the new year.

Our conservatory where you’ll find me when I’m not writing, watching tv or listening to my favorite tunes on Spotify

By the way, if you prefer a paperback click here. I sell my paperbacks from my website at way below the amazon price AND you get a personalised bookplate and bookmark. And, if you do download one of my novels and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon – it really helps an indie author to get her name out there.

Pre-Christmas check in …

That was the year that was – 2019 . .

January
February
March
March -and there’s more . . .
April- come she will (click here for a song)
May – she will stay
June – will change her tune (we head for Scotland)
July – she will fly – research for #6 Plockton
August – the Isle of Wight
September
October /November
December and beyond …

Looking ahead . . . 2020

What does 2020 hold for us? More trips away in the van, certainly. Have tickets for the Braemar Highland Gathering in September to celebrate Dave’s BIG BIRTHDAY. Other than that, we’ll take life as it comes and touch base with as many friends as possible. Keep in touch and let us know what you’ve been up to. Love from Lizzie and Dave

Pssst – all of Lizzie’s books are available to download for 99p until December 31st
viewAuthor.at/LizzieLamb
You can find her paperbacks here (cheaper than Amazon, just saying)

Make Your Own Luck – tips for indie authors

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Photo by Leo Cardelli on Pexels.com

As an indie author it’s important for word of my books to get out there. If I don’t go the extra mile to promote my novels, no one else will. So – how do I achieve this I hear you ask? 

I achieve this by accepting invitations to appear at book fairs, signings, author talks or library visits. I use these events to create blog posts and  promos which I disseminate via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and two retweeting groups I belong to. This could be viewed as casting my bread upon the water in the vain hope that the fish will bite. However, I find that getting my name out there in a variety of ways reaps dividends.

lizzie-lamb-new-email-signature-300pxHere are some of my top tips

There are many social media sites and they can be a real time suck, taking you away from your WIP. Experiment to find which ones work for you. I focus on: Facebook (personal, author page, groups) Twitter, Instagram and my website/blog. I also belong to many Facebook ‘groups’, it takes a little time to figure out which ones work get little or no traffic, so don’t be afraid to leave a group if you’re getting nothing from it. LIfe’s too short. 

Increase your social media presence

As a result of increasing my social media presence I have been invited to appear in Writers’ Magazine (blog tours – 2018), Writers Forum (my writing space – 2019) De Montfort University to lecture final year creative writing students, library visits, author talks and workshops. One word of warning – book sales are not always guaranteed so do check in advance that you will be paid for the talk, be offered petrol expenses and whether or not the venue will want 10% of your book sales. Yes, really (!)

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Narberth Book Fair – Wales – September 2019

Get out and about

I believe that my books deserve to be brought to the attention of the largest number of readers possible so I canvass different venues to see if they would like a visit from an indie author, or authors in the case of New Romantics Press. So far, I/we’ve appeared at Aspinalls of London, Waterstones Kensington High Street and hosted literary lunches at top Leicestershire venues to raise money for charity.  

Get organised

Keep your author bio, author photo, links etc up to date. Be organised, you don’t want to be hunting around for an excerpt of your novel when an outside agency approaches you. Invest in a mobile phone capable of taking decent photos and syncs with your computer.

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Join author groups where you can learn from others. I’ve been a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association since 2006 and co-organise the Leicester Chapter with June Kearns. What I’ve learned from other authors has been invaluable. I used to belong to local writing groups where members critiqued each other’s work. They didn’t work for me, but they might work for you.

Don’t be afraid to enter competitions, but choose wisely as they can be time suckage, too. Remember to publicise the good bits which you’re happy to share and project a positive image of yourself and your novels. 

Check out the great promotional apps out there: Canva, Ripl, Photolab Photofunia  – you have to stand out from the crowd. 

Once you’re published and have proven sales, join professional groups such as the Society of Authors. It might not do much to raise your profile in the short term but offers invaluable professional advice on contracts, tax matters. Using the #SOA tag on your profile identifies you as a serious writer.

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Carol Bevitt, Adrienne Vaughan, Lizzie Lamb, Marcia Holah, Caroline Bell-Foster, Marilyn Rodwell

Remember your fellow authors

Make friends, be generous to other writers but don’t expect them to always return the favour. Invite authors on to your blog, ‘like’ any blogs you read and (if time allows) leave a comment. Read and review their books (don’t be afraid to ask them to do the same for you). Retweet authors in your genre, like their posts on Instagram etc. A good time for this is via your mobile phone when you’re watching tv (!) Remember the USA doesn’t come on line until (roughly) 3pm.

Be ready for opportunities

Me and long-suffering husband

Over the past two years I’ve been offered an Amazon Prime Deal and an Amazon Kindle Deal in India. The former arrived via email when I was in John O’Groats on a research trip and I had to respond straight away. See what I mean about always having your phone with you, always being alert?!

I’m currently waiting to be accepted on the Women’s Institute and Rotaract circuit where I will talk about writing, travels in our caravan, I’ve just signed up to Kindlepreneur and downloaded software to hone my tags and categories more effectively and increase my novels’ visibility on Amazon. The learning never stops. 

AND FINALLY . . .

If I’m allowed a small boast (it’s my blog – right?) I’d love to share the article in WRITER’S FORUM where I talk about my writing space. Quite an achievement for an indie author. 

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So – good luck with all your enterprises. Don’t wait for luck to strike, go out and make it happen. And, if you see me on social media, do ‘like’ and ‘share’ my posts – I always pay it forward. 

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Slainte Mhath – 1ABF06F4-9A35-4815-861B-3C2BA6BF5266 (2) - Copy

 

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