Hello and welcome to the PHS #UKRomChat Column. Here at #UKRomChat we’re used to welcoming folks, but up till now it’s been to our weekly live Twitter chat. This week Eilidh K. Lawrence introduces you to Lucy Flatman and the RomInAFlash contest.
Hello, hello. Gather round. We have news, much news…
First, we have a new host. While I’ve been writing this, friend of @UKRomChat, Lucy Flatman, who has guest-hosted previously, has agreed to come on board permanently and we are stoked! We’ll ask Lucy to introduce herself here next month. Yaaaaay!
As well as that awesome development, we’re also super excited here at @UKRomChat because next month is our first birthday. I think I’ve said this before, but we could never have imagined what a success @UKRomChat would be when Jeanna Skinner first suggested it. So we’ve decided to mark the occasion…
We hereby introduce The RomInAFlash Contest, a free writing contest for writers who have not had a piece of short romantic fiction of 2000 words or under published in a magazine or journal—online or print—or on a publishers’ website (e.g. a ‘Free Read’). Self-published short stories are fine, if they are available free of charge (e.g. on your blog or Wattpad). Published authors of works 3,000 words or longer may also enter. You don’t have to be based in the U.K.. Feel free to check with us via RomInAFlashContest@gmail.com if you are interested but aren’t sure if you are eligible.
Send us a piece of romantic flash fiction between 500 and 2000 words by 21 May 2019 and you will be considered for what we think is a pretty fab prize: Publication here in this column and a Submission Package from Wonder Writers. This will include a review and feedback on your cover letter, one-page synopsis and the first three chapters of your manuscript. There will be other author-donated prizes, including a copy of Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance (our romance-writing Bible).
The only requirement is that the piece is set in the U.K. and has a PG-13 type rating. All time periods and sub-genres are welcome. We’ll be judging on:
Entries will be anonymized and judged by Jeanna, Eilidh and Robyn Rychards, Senior Editor here at the PHS. Details on how to enter can be found on a special Facebook Event Page.
Closing Date: 21 May 2019 (Our Birthday)
Did we mention how happy we are about Lucy joining the team? Guess what? There’s still room for one more!
We are currently advertising on Facebook for a Reader and Co-Host (Job Share). Queries and expressions of interest can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. You have until 21 April 2019 to apply. We’d love to hear from you. Good luck!
All About Eilidh
So, I had a look at my author bio and @UKRomChat founder co-host and PHS contributor are front and centre, but you already knew about those…
I started writing romantic fiction in late 2016, not long after finishing a Creative Writing evening class. Alas, the class hadn’t helped me figure out what I wanted to write. I landed on romance because someone in my book club mentioned that Mills & Boon give their prospective writers a lot of guidance on what they are looking for. Oh, and they accept unagented submissions. Go M&B!
While I may not have grown up stealing my mum’s Mills & Boons (which she did have stacks of, btw), once I started reading category romance, I felt at home. My first piece of romance-writing encouragement came from the responses I got to the So You Think You Can Write ‘Update the Meet-Cute’ Writing Challenge.
I mean, ‘Wow!’ seemed like a good sign! This gave me the confidence I needed to enter the SYTYCW #AmishBlitz. A Blitz is a time-limited call for submissions to a particular Harlequin line. *Whispers* I didn’t even know Amish Romance was a thing before this. But I’ll shout out loud: I love them! I love that they are gentle and positive and don't have sex scenes. I squirm reading steamy love scenes!
I was both excited and terrified because every entry meeting the brief would receive editorial feedback. I saw this as an amazing opportunity to find out what areas I needed to work on. What I never expected was to receive a full manuscript request!
Since then I’ve made slow progress, as I’ve never written any sort of book before. But I’m soldiering on, along the way reading craft books, meeting critique partners, and joining a writers’ group (which meets at a bar, where I really fancy the bartender, but that’s another story.) The opening of my Amish story Returning with a Secret placed in the 2018 TARA and WisRWA Fab Five RWA chapter romance writing contests. Yaaaaay!
I have lots of other romance stories in my head, and heart, which is wonderful because before I started reading and writing in this genre, I never had any ideas at all.
I’m also a songwriter, and I sew and paint a bit. Perhaps more unexpectedly, I am a former prosecutor. I have a Diploma in Forensic Medical Sciences too, but, no, I would not rather be writing crime! Stop asking me that, world! I’m all about happy-ever-afters. Many moons ago, I studied English Literature alongside Law at The University of Glasgow and am currently studying towards a BA in Creative Writing with the Open University. That is also slow going, but I’m keeping on keeping on!
I intend to start offering a sensitivity reading service for anxiety and mood disorders. I’m not charging yet, so if you’d like your manuscript looked over for free, hit me up on my website contact page.
Jeanna said last time that most people don’t like talking about themselves. Clearly this doesn’t apply to me!
March 2019 at @UKRomChat
It’s really important to us that we stay current and keep up with trends. Publishing ones that is (but one of us did go to fashion college). With a view to doing just that, as soon as we heard about the Harlequin #LoveInspiredAuthorSearch, we approached the very, very lovely Danica Favorite. Danica writes for Love Inspired and previously wrote for Love Inspired Historical, and we’d been plucking up the courage to invite her to join us for ages. Danica is also an admin for the Harlequin Writing Community Facebook page. She’s a social media whiz, so the chat went amazingly. As well as giving advice to would-be LIAS entrants, Mama Danica was hugely kind and gave all sorts of brilliant hints and tips, generally and to individuals (like me!). Her advice about changing markets was especially well-received. She also shared wonderful pics from her Rocky Mountain home. #WellJel.
We were pretty darn starstruck by our next guest, not least because we all have a copy of one of her books: Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance.
Fresh from her Outstanding Achievement Award win at the Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards, Liz was an amazing guest, and quite the catch! Colour us proud and excited! As you can imagine, this was one of our busiest chats yet, with Liz giving The #UKRomChat-ters the benefit of her award-winning and bestselling writing skills and knowledge and experience. Check it out for the invaluable writing tips. Mansfield Park aficionados may wish to look away, though… Spoiler: Everyone hates it!
In mid-March we made @UKRomChat history when we welcomed our first follower with a debut novel to share. Emily Royal has been an active supporter of @UKRomChat for as long as we can remember. She’s now been published by Tirgaarr Publishing and has another book due out soon, from The Wild Rose Press. It was great to see the love Emily got from the #UKRomChat Family, and for her book The Sins of The Sire, and to hear about her writing journey. We look forward to Emily’s next release.
As I write we’re looking forward to another returning guest, author Negeen Papehn. Negeen was one of our very first guests, back in June 2018, and we’re thrilled she’s coming back!
We’ll be chatting about Negeen’s second novel, Forbidden by Destiny (Forbidden Love Book 2), the follow-up to Forbidden by Faith. Both novels tell the stories of young Iranian American women trying to find themselves and falling in love, whilst struggling with overbearing family obligations. The first two Forbidden Love books are out now.
In the May issue of The PHS we’ll be learning about our newest team member, Lucy Flatman. Can’t wait! (I’ll be reading it by the pool…)
You can find the #UKRomChat team on Twitter as @UKRomChat, and get information about upcoming guests on their Facebook page and Instagram feed.