Welcome to our newly-refurbished blog. We hope you like the new design. The photo is temporary although we’ll probably keep changing the image over time.
It’s not just the design that’s changed, though. Here are three major changes we’ve made:
Change 1 – Our Names
There are nine Write Romantics and some of us write under our real names (maiden or married) but others write under pen names. Over the last week or so, Julie and Deirdre have taken the decision to write under a brand new pen name.
I’m excited to say that I’m now writing as Jessica Redland. I’ve been toying with a pen name for some time and made the definite decision whilst at the recent RNA Conference. It’s not that I don’t like my real name; far from it. I actually consider myself to be very fortunate in that I’ve always liked the name Julie and I love the surname of Heslington that I married into. So why change it? For me, there are three main reasons for using a pen name. I wanted to have:
- A timeless name that wouldn’t date me and potentially alienate me from my target market (my characters are all a good decade or more younger than I am)
- A separate social media presence, particularly on Facebook, to keep my family photos and personal information separate to my writing identity
- A product to market. I don’t consider myself a good salesperson. The thought actually gives me the fear. Yet in my day job in recruitment, I’ve regularly promoted the companies I’ve worked for to potential candidates and I’ve been good at it. If I created “Jessica Redland The Writer”, I figured I may have a more detached mindset where I’d find it easier to promote Jessica instead of me
So why Jessica Redland? I wanted the surname to mean something and the most meaningful writing-related moment for me was coming up with the idea for my debut novel and realising I wanted to become a writer. At the time, I was living in Reading, Berkshire, on a road called Redlands Road. I simply dropped the ‘s’. As for Jessica, it’s a timeless name, one I love, and it is still the same initial as my real name so doesn’t feel too detached.
So, from now on, all my posts on this blog will be as Jessica and all my writing activity will be through my Jessica Redland persona. It feels like absolutely the right decision.
A pen-name wasn’t for me; I was adamant about that. If ever I wrote a book worth publishing I’d want everyone to know it was me. A kind of ‘so there’ attitude if you like. Then I went to the RNA conference and all around me were these successful writers who wrote under one or more different names, carefully chosen to match their genres and intended audience. Belatedly, it dawned on me that inventing a pen-name wasn’t a pretentious flight of fancy or something to hide behind but a business decision in the name of that all-important buzz-word – Marketing.
‘Deirdre’ is not a commercial-sounding name, hardly anyone spells it right and it’s not a name that people are drawn to unless they’re stalwart Coronation Street fans. Anyone will tell you that. I kind of wish somebody had told me… Anyway, having had a complete turn-around, I trawled my family tree and came up with Harriet James. It sounds like a writer’s name, I think, and there’s a nice touch of gravitas about it. All I have to do now is remember what it is so that if the call comes, I won’t say ‘wrong number’ and hang up!
Change 2 – The Content of This Blog
Our menu bar used to be full of sections which we didn’t update very regularly. We each had a page devoted to our writing journey and, whilst some of us had updated them, this had been quite some time ago. We’ve cut this back to much shorter bios to give a snapshot of who The Write Romantics are with links to our individual blogs or other social media platforms for those who have them.
We’ve removed the writing samples as this wasn’t a regularly-used section and we’ve removed our book reviews section BUT we have replaced it with The Write Romantics Book Group over on Goodreads. We all love to read and, although we’ve occasionally reviewed books on the blog, we haven’t had a space to discuss them and find out what you think. The Book Group will be like any other book group in that we’ll read a book each month and then discuss it. The only difference is that we won’t all be meeting up for tea and cake. Each month a different Write Romantic will chose a book and take care of the Goodreads group. And as we all write and read different kinds of romance you can be sure we’ll be selecting some interesting books. We’re also very open to suggestions so if you’ve read any good books then let us know and your suggestion might be the next on the list. We’ll be announcing the book for August on Wednesday 6th August. We really hope you’ll join in and get the discussions going. You can find the Goodreads group here so please do pop over and join us.
As you can see, we’ve also added an Anthology page which we’ll regularly update as we get closer to the launch in November.
Change 3 – What We Post
For most of the history of this blog, we’ve run a Saturday Spotlight and a Wednesday Wondering. We’ve occasionally made a Mega Monday Announcement when there’s been big news to share (like this post or a publishing deal) and we’ve also posted the occasional mid-week entry.
We’re keeping the format of regularly posting on Saturdays and Wednesdays but with the following adjustments:
- The Saturday Spotlight will be purely for guests. We used to do a mix of WRs and guests but have so many writers we’d love to host that we’ve decided to make this slot purely theirs
- The Wednesday Wondering will be a once-a-month slot on the 2nd Wednesday of the month
- The last Wednesday of each month will be the review of the book of the month and the announcement of the next one
- The remaining Wednesdays will be slots for The Write Romantics who will talk about writing or anything but writing; depends what they have to say at the time
We hope you like the changes and really appreciate all the support we’ve had since we launched last year. Long may it continue.
Jessica, Harriet & Alys