A long time ago, (well, five and a bit years ago), two aspiring writers met online…

Today – 1st April – is a very special date for The Write Romantics. It’s not because we’re fans of the April Fool’s tradition of playing practical jokes, but because it’s our anniversary and 2018 sees us celebrating a whopping FIVE YEARS together! Happy Anniversary to us!

1. Happy Anniversary

We’ve been reflecting on where we started and how far we’ve come in that half decade and the results have been quite astonishing. We think that we’re proof to anyone wishing to pursue a dream of becoming a writer that patience and persistence pays off and that dreams can come true. More on that shortly.

This is the first in a series of posts across four days to celebrate our first five years together, starting with how it was then and how it is now ….

In the beginning…
There were two unpublished writers – Jo and Jessica – who’d met virtually through the RNA, had exchanged several emails, and decided to form The Write Romantics as a blogging duo.

1069991_10151820110344073_1918962117_nIt seemed like a great idea at the time and they set up a wordpress account, full of enthusiasm and started blogging. It didn’t take them long to realise that there was no way two unpublished writers were going to be able to think of enough interesting content to blog regularly so they decided to see if any other new writers would be interested in becoming Write Romantics. They thought that maybe two or three would join the group. Eight writers replied!

The line-up of ten has only changed once with Sharon Booth joining us in September 2014 when Lorraine wanted her writing to take a back seat for a while. Jessica and Alys had known Sharon for the past year and she’d been a huge supporter of the group before joining so she was a very logical choice for a replacement, already feeling like an honorary WR.

2. Who we are

 

When the ten-strong line-up started, all members were in the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and dreaming of publication. Deirdre had dipped her toe in the water with an indie release but many of us hadn’t yet finished writing our first book so that publication dream was certainly there … just quite a distant one.

Our trailblazer, Helen Phifer, had secured a publishing deal with Carina and was about to dip out of the NWS, although her debut novel hadn’t yet been released so we really were all at the very start of our journey.

Rachael Thomas was next to secure a life-long dream of being published by Mills and Boon, following success in a competition they’d run, and then it slowly but surely started happening for all of us. Late 2014 and into 2015 was a time of big change as that was when many of the WRs secured a publishing deal or released their first indie book.

Anthology coverFive years down the line, every single Write Romantic has had at least two novels published plus a short story included in our charity anthology, Winter Tales.

We published Winter Tales in 2014 with stories from the Write Romantics featuring alongside stories from other successful writers we’d met through the RNA. The aim was to give all proceeds from sales of the paperback or eBook to two charities close to our hearts: Teenage Cancer Trust and Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

winter tales newbieWe rebranded the anthology with a fresh new look for winter 2017/2018 and are delighted that it continues to sell.

So far, we’ve been able to send £220 to each charity but we’re about to add to this…

I am thrilled to exclusively announce that we’ve raised another £350 so cheques for £175 per charity are being written as I write this. Woo hoo!

Thank you so much to all those who contributed their stories, and to all those who’ve bought the anthology, raising £395 per charity … so far! You can buy Winter Tales here.

 

From that starting point of one indie book and one publishing deal in the bag, a heck of a lot has changed for the WRs over the past five years. Here’s some figures for you:

3. Reach for Stars

Wow! From one novel to 69 of them in five years! Woo hoo again!

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting some thoughts from The Write Romantics about what they’ve learned over the past five years, and also sharing some photos as our group of geographically-dispersed strangers became friends.

I’ll finish this post with an enormous thank you to anyone who has downloaded an eBook, listened to an audio book, borrowed a book from Amazon’s lending library, or purchased any of the books/novellas/short stories/pocket novels the group have produced. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.

I’m off to raise a glass of something bubbly to celebrate. To be fair, it will probably be a Diet Pepsi as it’s a little early to partake, but the thought will be there!

Happy anniversary, Write Romantics!

Jessica xx

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Love makes an April Fool out of us all

Hello

Happy April Fool’s Day!  With foolishness in mind and Julie’s reflection in the last blog entry about the ‘madness’ of love at first sight, my thoughts turned to the crazy things that people do in the name of love.

What’s the most foolish thing that you have ever done?  Mine was moving in with a man I’d known for less than a handful of days.  After ten years together, married almost nine of those, it might not seem so crazy – although I’m sure we both have days when we wonder why on earth we did it!  Yet at the time, everyone around me thought I was mad and one or two of those closest to me were so upset that they barely spoke to me in the weeks and months afterwards.

It all worked out in the end though and, even if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had the lasting reminder of a tattoo of an ex somewhere on my body.  That’s a modern phenomenon as a symbol of love and perhaps, arguably, another foolish act of love should it ultimately fade and burn.  Of course, most of us don’t fall in love thinking it will fail, so perhaps having the light of your life’s name tattooed on your body is not so crazy after all.   People like Katie Price have managed to disguise their exes’ names with clever designs, which are all well and good, but perhaps with her track record she will stick to something less indelible now… 

The funniest example of ‘love’ tattoos I ever saw was in a prison documentary about a guy who had five children by four different women, during his brief spells of freedom.  Each time he got a new partner her name was tattooed on his left arm and the children’s names on his right arm.  When the relationships broke down, the children’s names stayed put, but the partner’s name just got a tattooed line drawn through it and the new name written underneath!  Perhaps he could have found a reasonably popular name and just kept going out with Alisons or Janes to save himself the bother? In researching this article, though, I found out that the latest craze is to have a tattoo of your lover’s face etched on your body, rather than their name, but space for the likes of that luckless prison inmate would surely run out much more quickly!

So come on, tell us, what’s the craziest, most irrational or foolish thing you’ve ever done for love?  If you’ve never been done anything that might seem like madness in the name of romance and are looking for some inspiration, check out this list of potentially foolish things done for ‘love’ adapted from the website www.today.com:

  • Meet Kelly Summers who posted 62 You Tube videos of herself crying in a ‘diary of heartbreak’ to share with everyone when she found out her boyfriend had another lover.  Embarrassing in the future for the whole world to know your business? I’d say so! Yet it made her ex Keith realise how much he loved her, so perhaps not…
  • James Doyan advertised his divorced 63 year old mum, Sandy Firth, on eBay as he was so worried about her being lonely.  His starting price? One pound, but sadly the advert was pulled for violating the site’s policy on the sale of human body parts!
  • Mums can be just as embarrassing as sons though, as Colby Brin discovered when his mother, Geri, set up the dating site ‘Date My Single Kid’.  The business has gone from strength to strength and Colby now happily admits that ‘Mum knows best’.
  • What about Patrick Moberg, who saw the girl of his dreams on a subway train?  Anyone got a James Blunt song playing in their head now?  Unlike James in the song, Patrick took some decisive action, set up a website with a sketch of himself and this dream girl, including a big arrow pointing to his head with a sign saying ‘not insane’!  Amazingly it worked and the two are now in touch so, insane or not, perhaps not so foolish after all.
  • Then there is Charles E. Phillips, former president of Oracle, what was his act of foolishness?  Having an affair with a woman who, once scorned, got revenge on a thirty foot high scale.  After an eight year fling with lover, YaVaughnie Wilkins, Charles decided to reconcile fully with his wife Karen.  Scorned YaVaughnie not only set up a website featuring hers and Charles’ romantic photos and love notes, but hired billboards in San Francisco, Atlanta and Time Square in NY to let the world know of his deceit and take her revenge.

Doing crazy things for love can sometimes work out and sometimes end up leaving you feeling not just foolish but perhaps poorer to boot, as the examples above demonstrate.  Ultimately though, love has the power to make us all act out of character and do things the world might consider crazy, but which seem right to us.  It’s no new thing after all, Edward VIII gave up his kingdom for the love of Wallis Simpson, and where would us romantic writers get our inspiration without it?!

Jo xx