Senior Editor, Christy Kate McKenzie, is here to catch us up on all of the exciting happenings over in our PHS Aspiring Authors group & the Forum this month...
Would you believe we are still suffering from a heat wave through much of the UK? It is insane. We are even looking at a hose pipe ban in my area later this week! For some, this heat has been the perfect excuse to get outside in the sun. For me, it’s the perfect excuse to stay in and sit directly in front of my computer… And my fan.
Yes, I know, I’m a poor excuse for a girl from the US South, but the heat has also given me an opportunity to catch up on all things PHS, especially the Aspiring Authors Group on Facebook which is bursting at the seams with incredible talent. Some of which we will no doubt be reading soon, as the 27th of July was the deadline for our first ever short story contest! The PHS Team are looking forward to reading the entries this month.
While that is exciting, there is something even more exciting going on over on our PHS Aspiring Authors Forum. Starting on the 30th of July, the incredible Kate Walker joined our forum to deliver a twenty-four-day workshop entitled ‘The 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance Course’. Kate’s introduction for the workshop was as follows:
From Kate Walker:
‘Hello! I’m so happy to be here! I’m looking forward to spending time with you and hopefully discussing the best ways to write romance.
I’ve been writing for Harlequin Mills & Boon since 1984. During that time I have had sixty-six romance novels published and am working on my 67th. My novels have been published in over thirty-five countries and more than twenty different languages worldwide, including North and South America, France, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Australia, Italy, Russia, Arabia, Norway, Israel and Japan. There are even Japanese Manga Editions of my books on sale. My recent titles have all been on the Booktrack Top Bestselling Fiction 100 list in America. In January 2010, The Konstantos Marriage Demand, was awarded the Reviewers’ Choice Best Presents Extra 2010 by the American magazine Romantic Times and her 2011 title The Proud Wife was shortlisted for the same award. Recent publications have been: Destined For the Desert King (December 2015) Indebted to Moreno (October 2016) A Proposal to Secure His Revenge (February 2018). I’m currently working on the second part of a duet that is linked to that book.
When I was young and told everyone my dream was to become a published author, no-one ever thought I’d achieve that. Everyone told me to aim for a ‘sensible job’ and so I became a librarian. But the hope of being published still held on to me, and once I was published I wanted to try to help others achieve that goal, too. So, for a long time now, I’ve been teaching as well as writing.
For years I’ve been running writing days and workshops on fiction and in the UK I have taught writing romantic fiction at weekend residential courses with Writers’ Holidays in Fishguard in Wales and in various other parts of the country with Relax and Write.
But a lot of people didn’t have the time, or couldn’t afford to travel to join one of my courses, so I set
out to write the 12 Point Guide to help those who couldn’t do that. It would also be a reference book to remind students of the things they’d learned in my workshops. The idea and the title of the book developed when I was running an internet workshop and I started by saying ‘The 12 most important parts of writing romance are . . .’ And the 12 Point Guide was born!
It was first published in 2004 and introduces the essential skills needed to succeed as a writer of Romance. This book won both the CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Best Book for Writers’ 2004 Award and the CataRomance Readers’ Choice Best Writing Reference 2004. Since then it has been reprinted and expanded several times. At one point I published it myself, but this year a new publisher approached me and asked to publish it in a new edition. I grabbed this opportunity to revise, rework and bring the book up to date, and the new edition was published at the beginning of July this year.
To mark this republication, I was thrilled to be asked to join the PHS Aspiring Authors to run a 12 Point Course, based on some of the material from the book. This course will run over twelve days, looking at a different point each week so I hope you’ll join me for those on-line workshops. I’m also giving away a copy of the new, revised edition of the 12 Point Guide both in the July edition of the PHS Magazine's Free Books section, and to someone who comes along to join the workshops—so you might be lucky there!
I’ll start talking about those important ’12 Points’ at the beginning of August and I hope you’ll join me! If it inspires you and makes you want to take part, perhaps I should tell you I have a list of almost twenty past students who are now successful (and multi-published!) authors, and I’m always hopeful of adding to that number. I’d love to think that maybe I could have the chance to help one or more of you achieve your dreams like I did mine. So do join us—and ask questions—that’s the best way to learn!’
Kate's workshop has been very popular already, even Harlequin shared it among their groups online! If you would like to take part in this workshop—and be in with a chance to win Kate’s 12 Point Guide Book—head over to the Forum now!
To learn more about the leader of our Aspiring Authors team, Christy Kate McKenzie, check out her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Is there something you would like to see us doing in the #AspiringAuthors Facebook Group or our Forum? A workshop you would be interested in? A Beta-reader/Critique partner date night? Advice from editors on pitchfests? You tell us. Your wish is our command!