Thursday, 27 April 2017

Joan Hessayon Contenders 2017; Arabella Sheen
Today we welcome the second of the contenders for the Joan Hessayon award.

Welcome to the RNA blog, Arabella, and many congratulations on being one of the contenders for this year’s award.

How long have you been writing - Is this your first published work?
First came the reading and then, in my head and in my heart, I’ve been plotting and writing contemporary romance since secondary school. The moment I realised I was compelled to read entire sections of romantic fiction in the school’s library, I knew I was hooked on the genre. From reading about heroine's and hero’s I wanted to write about them. It’s taken a long time to achieve that goal; travel, work and everyday life got in the way, but finally the words are being written.
Castell’s Passion is the first novel I’ve published with a traditional publisher, and it’s been an amazing experience. The feedback and professional comments my lovely editor, Pamela Tyner of Beachwalk Press hurled back at me, has, in my humble opinion, not only made Castell’s Passion shine, it has also had a constructive effect on the way I now plot and write.
With two other contemporary novels―Temporary Bride and Blinded by Desire―under my belt, I hope to keep on going and publish lots more in the not too distant future.      

How many years were you a member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?
I was a member of the RNA-New Writers’ Scheme for two years and submitted a novel in each of those years.
Castell’s Passion was my first submission to the NWS. And when the call came from the organiser for a completed manuscript, I eagerly printed off a hard copy, placed it into a bubble-squeak envelope and posted my inexperienced scribbles to the RNA for assessment. The wait was nail biting but it was worth it. The critique I received from the reader was encouraging and for me that was all I needed. Someone had confidence in my “newbie” writing and it gave me the boost I needed to continue.
After a couple of chapter tweaks and a subplot or two added here and there, Castell’s Passion was proofread and the long and challenging process of submitting to publishers began.
There were long delays before any replies to my manuscript queries arrived, but in the meantime I kept writing and preparing my second novel for the NWS annual submission.

What came first, agent or publisher?
Having written Marc and Kate’s story, I realised a publisher was needed but the idea of seeking agent representation for Castell’s Passion hadn’t yet enter my head. I was still under the impression that only “proper” authors and artists had agents.
Educated in the error of my ways, my latest manuscript is searching for a home and is being emailed to literary agents in the hope of finding representation. However, I’ve been forewarned―a contract with an agent is a rare and valued commodity…and it is seldom given.
One can always hope.

If you do have an agent who is it that represents you?
The answer to this question is―no agent, as yet.
That’s two things to include on my shopping list…the ever illusive publicity manager and the perfect literary agent. Or perhaps they are one and the same.

How did you find your publisher?
I have some supportive author friends on my Twitter and Facebook pages. We message one another quite regularly and when they discovered my manuscript had been completed and I was searching for a great publisher, a few publishing houses were suggested and Beachwalk Press was among them.
I’ve found Beachwalk Press to be a perfect fit for the sensual style of contemporary romance I write and with an ever growing list of readers, I’m happy.

Do you have a contract for one book or more?
Castell’s Passion is a standalone single title. However, my publisher handles sequels…so watch this space.

When was your book published?
After an amazing teamwork effort of editing, proofreading and cover image selection, the book went live in August, 2016.

Tell us something about your book 

When writing Castell’s Passion it was as if the book had a life of its own. It evolved, spilling onto the page as I wrote. Marc and Kate relationship deepened as they travelled together from London to Paris, and then on to Cannes. And after an explosive parting, they met again on the exotic Îles d'Hyères in the south of France and they realised their love and passion for one another was long lasting. It couldn’t be denied.
I love the way Marc respects Kate’s emotional needs above his own desires. And the HEA ending…well, even I got a bit teary-eyed.

What are you currently working on?
At the moment I’m working on a sensual contemporary romance and I’ve more or less reached the halfway mark. It’s a billionaire romance set in the UK. A power struggle is going on between the hero and heroine; and not wishing to reveal too much about their sophisticated lifestyle or their aspirations and inner conflicts, they both have goals and ambitions to achieve―but this could all change at the drop of a hat.
I’ve been known to cancel a wedding, kill off the mother-in-law and delete two chapters, just because the story unexpectedly headed off at a tangent.
So the WIP is just what it is…a work-in-progress.

What piece of advice would you give current members of the NWS?
Join a local RNA Chapter group. The support and writing tips that are aired and shared during these meetings are invaluable.
I love my BathWiltsRNA Chapter ladies (guy’s welcome), and it was through this group that I discovered the existence of the RNA-New Writers’ Scheme

Facebook:  @ArabellaSheenAuthor
Twitter:   @ArabellaSheen

Thank you, Arabella. Congratulations again on graduating the New Writers’ Scheme and I hope you enjoy the Summer Party.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

RNA-NWS Joan Hessayon Award 2017

This week the Romantic Novelists’ Association has announced a list of contenders shortlisted for the prestigious Joan Hessayon Award 2017.

The shortlist is made up of Romantic Novelists' Association New Writers Scheme members whose debut novels have been accepted for publication by traditional publishers following a critique assessment by a panel of skilled RNA authors.

Each year 250 New Writers Scheme places are offered to unpublished writers eager to learn more about the art of writing romantic fiction. Within that year, NWS members can write and submit a complete manuscript to a team of RNA authors and in return, they receive invaluable feedback and comments about their completed "work-in-progress".
NWS members are also encouraged to attend RNA events and Chapter meetings. Attending these events offers a wide range of opportunities such as networking with other NWS members or published authors, along with other literary professionals - including agents and publishers.

The Joan Hessayon Award will be presented at the RNA Summer Party on Thursday 18 May at The Royal Over-Seas League, Park Place, London SW1A 1LR at 19.15.

The Joan Hessayon Award is sponsored by gardening expert Dr. David Hessayon OBE, in honour of his late wife Joan, who was a longstanding member of the RNA and a supporter of its New Writers’ Scheme.

The full list of authors and their books for 2017 is:

Victoria Cornwall 
The Thief's Daughter - Choc Lit

Kate Field
The Magic of Rambling - Accent Press          

Terri Flemming
 Perception - Orion         


Jen GilroyThe Cottage at Firefly Lake - Forever, Grand                                                              Central, Hachette

Morton S. Gray
The Girl on The Beach - Choc Lit     

Vivien Hampshire 
How to Win Back Your Husband - HQ Digital

April Hardy
Sitting Pretty - Accent Press               

Emily Kerr
Who Does He Think He Is?  - Crooked Cat          

Abbey Macmunn
Touched - Tirgearr Publishing      

Arabella Sheen

Castell's Passion - Beachwalk Press Inc.

Lynda Stacey 
House of Secrets - Choc Lit      

Arabella Sheen says...
So thrilled my novel, Castell's Passion, published with Beachwalk Press has been shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon Award 2017.
Well done to all the RNA-NWS nominees for making it to publication. And a big thank you to our judges, Eileen Ramsey and Nicola Cornick for the many hours of romantic reading they had to 'endure'.
Thank you, everyone.
Good luck to all those entered for the Joan Hessayon Award and may this be the start of a long and prosperous writing career.
Happy romantic reading...

Monday, 24 April 2017

Gardening on the Allotment...

Gardening on the Allotment

Everyone knows it’s healthy to take time off and get away from life’s stresses and strains. And for me, my down time is gardening.
It’s not always possible, but whenever I get the chance, I’m off to the allotment. Even in the cold, chilly wind of a winter’s afternoon or in the blistering heat of high summer, there is always plenty to do on the plot. 
My method is to finish the 9 to 5 day job, then make a mad dash to the allotment where I retrieve the trowl and shovel from the shed, and make a start on the repetitive, yet relaxing tasks, of weeding and digging.
It’s amazing how invigorating this can be. Not only is it a social activity (there’s generally lots of people milling about on their plots), it’s also a time and a place when I can think about my writing.
Some writers go for a long walk with their dogs…me, I like to dig.

This afternoon the rewards of the planting are beginning to show and there has been an early crop of rhubarb ripe for the pulling.
Now to make the jam…

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Welcome to Arabella's Blog and Chit-Chat page...

I’m looking forward to posting some great author interviews and finding interesting blog posts to share with you.
For now (and as a bit of a page filler whilst I get to grips with the art of blogging) here is a link to my latest release – Castell’s Passion.

Castell's Passion


A night in his arms, but it comes at a price. Will her heart survive?

Billionaire Marc Castell, owner of the Castell Hotel Group, isn't looking for love. His jet-set lifestyle means he's a 'love them and leave them' type of guy…that is until Kate McKenna walks into his life.

Kate is on the warpath. Her underage sister is planning to spend a weekend in Paris with Marc's nephew, and she's determined to put a stop to the affair before it begins.

Marc has a plan of his own. He promises to save Kate's sister from his nephew, but there's a condition attached. Kate has to travel to Cannes with him and play the part of his girlfriend―including spending the night in his bed. Marc hopes this will solve the problem of the unwanted advances he's been receiving from his friend's wife. But whenever Marc takes Kate in his arms his world is turned upside down, and he discovers he wants more from her than a casual weekend fling.

Kate has no time for sexy, powerful playboys. She's too busy building her career and expanding her catering business. But when she gets to know the man behind the façade, she wonders if she can resist the sensual attraction growing between them. Will she be seduced by his charm and sacrifice everything she believes in for one night of passion in his arms?

Marc has a battle on his hands as he strives to win Kate's love…and her heart.

Content Warning: contains sensual love scenes

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