This is a piece of news I've known about for some time, but I have (mostly) sat on it until I could make a proper announcement -- and now I can!
As you may (or may not) remember, before I submitted Haunted Hearts to a publisher I sent it to the Romantic Novelists' Association's New Writers Scheme ("NWS") for a critique. This was an absolutely invaluable opportunity for me as a member of the RNA, and I can say fairly confidently that I don't think HH would have ever been published if it weren't for the critique report I received from the scheme.
Any manuscript that goes through the NWS and subsequently becomes contracted for publication becomes eligible for the distinguished Joan Hessayon New Writers Award. I am thrilled to announce that HH is one of this year's contenders! There is quite an extensive list of nominees (some of whom I know), made up of a wonderful mix of writers, books, and publishers. You can view the full list here. Congratulations to all!
The winner of the award will be announced at the RNA's Summer Party on 30th May. I'm hoping to attend but it's really quite close to my due date, so I'll have to wait and see.
In other news, I realized I should have provided an update for the Top 100 Favourite Romances yesterday, being that it was Friday. There's been a small shuffle in placings since last week, so I've annotated each placing a la the music charts :)
5. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (-1)
4. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding (-1)
3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (new entry)
2. Persuasion by Jane Austen (non-mover)
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (non-mover)
I'm planning on leaving voting open well into April -- possibly until the end of that month -- so please do continue to send in your nominations for the list. For more details on the aim of the project and how to get involved, click here.