I've set up this blog so that all my friends, relations and colleagues in the world of writing can keep up to speed with what I'm doing - from now on, I'll never have to say sorry for not keeping in touch.

Or anyway, that's the plan.

So do please link up with me on Facebook and Twitter - https://www.facebook.com/margaret.james.5268 and https://twitter.com/majanovelist

You can find my novels as digital downloads on Apple iTunes, Kobo, Kindle and Nook, and most are available as print paperbacks, too.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Choc Lit Short Story Competition

Sue Moorcroft and I recently had a very pleasurable time reading the competition entries for the first Choc Lit Short Story Competition.

Congratulations to everybody on the shortlist. It was difficult to choose ten stories because the overall standard of entries was very high. There were quite a few stories which very nearly made it.

Here's the shortlist, in alphabetical order of author:

Chloe Banks, The War of the Last Rolo

Jennifer Bohnet, Paris Can Wait

Debbie Freeman, For the Love of Chocolate

Lara Higgins, On a Night Like This

Geoff Holder, Blood and Chocolate

Laura E James, Bitter Sweet

Lucy Mouland, A Foreign Field

Margaret Mounsden, Black Market

Lucy Oliver, Her Life, in Chocolate

Marilyn Rodwell, Brazilian Dreams

The winner and runner up will be revealed on the 10th April.

1st prize - £200, publication on the Choc Lit website and Choc Lit’s authors corner blog and a box of chocolates from Plush Chocolates.
A runner up will receive £50 and a box of chocolates from Plush Chocolates.

We're hoping to run a second competition in the not-too-distant future, but the theme won't be chocolate next time. What will the theme be, then? Ha, wait and see!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Party party party

I had a lovely day yesterday at the RONA Awards ceremony, at which many of my friends scooped prizes in their categories. It was especially lovely to see my fellow Choc Lit authors Christina Courtenay and Jane Lovering win the Historical and Romantic Comedy Awards for their brilliant novels Highland Storms and Please Don't Stop the Music.

The lovely Katie Fforde won in the Contemporary Romance category, the equally lovely Sarah Mallory won the RONA Rose for a shorter romantic novel, and the amazing Rosie Thomas, at whose feel I regularly fall and admire both as a novelist and a fearless explorer who has gone to some of the world's most terrifying places in the course of her research, won the Epic Romance Award.

Too many lovelies, I know - but I do feel very happy today, so I feel I am allowed.

Who will win the overall award to become Romantic Novelist of the Year 2012? We'll find out in May!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Book of the Month - March 2012

My book of the month for March is a charming time slip novel by Welsh writer Juliet Greenwood. Eden's Garden is a story about two women who both need to make difficult choices, as is the case with so many women. Do we live up to other people's expectations of us, or do we take control of our own destinies?

If this sounds like a somewhat dour and earnest story, rest assured that it's not. It makes some serious points about the world's expectations of mothers and daughters, but it's also full of summer sunshine, and is about regeneration, rebirth and learning how to live well. There are some lovely lyrical descriptions of a gorgeous Welsh garden, too.

Here's what Amazon has to say about the book:

2010 - Carys agrees, with mixed feelings, to look after her mother after a fall. Once home she is haunted by old memories of a childhood sweetheart. How will she feel when they meet again?

1895 - Ann , destitute, stands on London bridge. She remembers her last visit to London, a spoilt aristocratic bride, sure of the power of her youth and beauty. Now the river seems like her only option.

A powerful tale of two women struggling with love, family duty, long-buried secrets and their own creative ambitions.