Mega Monday Announcement – Jessica has a Super September

10582889_751759908196645_2794101897649874998_o-12014 is shaping up to be an incredible year for The Write Romantics. Helen P released book 2 and both her fantastic Annie Graham novels continue to storm the charts, Rachael has just released her debut novel following her success in the SYTYCW competition earlier this year, Alys secured an agent in the summer, and Harriet announced her call from Crooked Cat last Monday.

September is turning out to be an incredible month for us because Super September is the month that just keeps on delivering. On 1st September, I woke up to “the call”. It wasn’t actually a call as such but an email from a US publisher wanting to publish my debut novel, ‘Searching for Steven’. Eek! A few email conversations later and this became a three-book deal because ‘Steven’ is actually the first in a trilogy. Harriet got her call at the end of that same week but was able to make the announcement sooner because her contract came with her offer whereas my publisher took a different approach of sending me a template to consider, receiving questions, then pulling together the official contract.

P1050673During this waiting time, I faced a dilemma. I had two more submissions outstanding and, although the professional and honest part of me wanted to go back and say “thanks but no thanks”, I felt a little superstitious about doing this until I’d signed on the dotted line. Just as well I felt that way because it would appear that publishing deals are like buses; I’d waited around for about a year and then two came along at once! They were very different offerings and I had to take a few days to make sure I was making absolutely the right decision although I knew that, after my initial conversation with the Publishing Director of the second publisher that my heart lay there. If you’re interested in how I made my decision, I’ve written a two-parter called ‘A Tale of Two Contracts’ on my blog.

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I’ve signed to So Vain Books, a new publishing company with a very exciting vision for the future. ‘Searching for Steven’ will be released in the spring or summer of 2015 in eBook and published format. I can’t believe that, this time next year, I’ll have a book that I’ve written in my hands. Talk about a dream come true!

P1050693I collect teddy bears and I made a lovely addition to my collection this weekend to celebrate. I wanted something relevant and a bear with “love” on his dungarees felt very relevant for a romance writer! My good writing friend and fellow-founder of The Write Romantics, Jay, sent me a lovely bear too with “You got ‘the call’ Julie” on it (Julie being my real name and Jessica being my pen name). He sits pride of place on my desk.

So what do I write? My trilogy is set in the fictional North Yorkshire town of Whitsborough Bay and follows the lives and loves of three women: Sarah, Elise and Clare. The debut novel, ‘Searching for Steven’ tells Sarah’s story. When Sarah Peterson finds a clairvoyant reading that’s been missing for 12 years, she’s shocked to discover all the predictions have come true … except one; she’s about to meet the man of her dreams and his name is Steven. The search for Steven starts and there’s certainly no shortage of them. So why can’t she stop thinking about new friend Nick? And former flame Andy? Could one of them really be her Steven?

It’s taken me twelve years from the idea for ‘Steven’ to receiving my publishing offer but I’ve learned my craft during that time (and am still learning every day). I also had huge gaps where I didn’t write at all e.g. a few years during pregnancy and the baby/toddler years although I never stopped thinking about writing. Book 2, ‘Getting Over Gary’, tells Elise’s story and has taken about eighteen months to write so I’m picking up pace! The third book, ‘Discovering David’ tells Clare’s story.

And September keeps on delivering … but that’s not my news to tell 😉 Do watch this space for more exciting announcements from The Write Romantics.

My final words would be to say that, if you’re a writer and have a dream of being published, never give up as you never know when your bus will arrive. And it may be quickly followed by another!

Jessica xx

The Saturday Spotlight on Sophie Rose Williamson

Our guest blogger today is Sophie Rose Williamson, who has stopped by to tell us all about the experiences that have influenced her writing and the journey that the characters in her best-selling novel ‘Here Come The Girls’ have taken her on.

S2I am a writer, a wife and a mother. My magical woven carpeted journey towards making the shelves of America’s biggest bookstore Barnes and Noble has been a rollercoaster of twists and turns. I suppose it is a bit like the funfair. There were many rides along the way. Some of them were fairly scary. Some were terribly frightening.

I thought about giving up so many times. The price of making it, of becoming published, famous, a success, is quite steep. The secret of my work and writing has been hard work. I never give up. Sometimes it is quite demoralising. There are no big cheques, a few small ones. Sometimes you don’t make it into the top ten. Yet on the other side of the pond you make it into the American Charts at number 16. That is a staggering feat for a little known Irish paperback writer.

The greatest influence on my writing is my childhood. It was so breathtaking. We spent each and every summer in Garryvoe and Shannon Garry which is situated near Midleton in East Cork, Ireland. Our large extended family drenched the surrounding houses and caravan parks. We took long summer walks along the green cliffs to mesmerizing places like Paradise Cove. The different coloured rocks, the snow capped waves crashing against the stony beaches.   Mam would always be waiting when I arrived home. She never scolded me. Though my father would be irate all the while thinking it was far too dangerous for a little girl to go.

My cousins Anthony and Kenneth would join us. They were my best friends really. All through my childhood they were my constant. I loved them dearly. I wished they would never leave my side. Discos, tennis, running, crazy golf, pottery making classes, summers spent racing through the hot waves and chasing each other on the sand. My imagination went wild. As such, as a teenager living in the equally dreamy sand soaked island of Cyprus my writing career began.

These are the locations which my books are based on. The series Here Come the Girls, followed by Gypsy, are based on my experiences, loosely and in the fictional sense. They are trapped full of Christmas trimmings, childhood and teenage romances. The delectable principal character in my series gets married and moves in with her handsome, sophisticated, business man husband. He leaves her for his mistress. A horrible nervous breakdown ensues. She chases fame, gives birth to an adorable gaggle of children. We are drawn towards a broken women, engulfed in despair, in pain and overcome with grief.

I cannot begin to explain how my books crossed over into the mythical and magical world of another realm. Yet they did. As a broken women, who seems to cry uncontrollably, Amber enters a fantasy world. It takes her away from the despair of her tragic domestic reality. The dark reality that her husband left her one day for the other women, younger, sexier, far superior in each and every way.

I would say that my children, my childhood, my romances and my studies have hugely influenced my writing. I studied history of art at the S1fantastic Trinity College Dublin. It was such a privileged and amazing experience.

So magical mythological creatures, gothic churches with illuminated arched windows, furry snowy owls, and candy floss god mothers, dark lords and dragons creep along the pages of the adult series Here Come the Girls. I am guessing, Amber, the principal character, needed to take a train, to somewhere just to escape the sheer misery life without her children had become. Here Come the Girls is for everyone. It is so innocent, incredibly sexy, a tide of emotions and tears.

The third instalment, Wish List is in the making. I am planning to lock myself away in a quiet place to finish my books. For now its glitz, glamour, photo shoots, hair straigherners, and lip gloss as the books hit the press.  I am focusing on my writing, businesses in the beauty world and building a modest life for my ever growing family.

To find out more please visit my website. The Here Come The Girls Series is available at Barnes and Noble across the USA, Publish America and Amazon worldwide.

Sophie

Thank you so much for joining us on the blog today, Sophie, and for that poetic and fascinating insight into your past experiences and the way you have woven these into your stories.

Find out more about Sophie and her books here:

http://sophie-rose.weebly.com/

sophierosewilliamson.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sophie-Rose-Williamson/150651671739185?fref=ts

On Twitter @sophierose77

Fab Friday announcement – Meet the tenth Write Romantic

When the Write Romantics formed in early 2013, there were just two of us. As unpublished writers, we realised quite quickly that we may struggle to post regularly so we placed a thread on the RNA’s online support group to see if anyone would like to join us. Within a couple of weeks, two had become ten! A few months later, we dropped down to nine when one of the group found she really didn’t have the time to contribute due to personal circumstances.

The nine of us have had an amazing eighteen months. We’ve gone from one publishing deal to five deals and an agent (see Monday’s post for more details), we’ve developed an incredible support network, and we’ve nearly all met either before or during this year’s conference. This is quite an achievement for nine women who had never met before but share the same passion and dreams.

As time has passed, we’ve realised that the nine Write Romantics aren’t really nine. There’s been a tenth writer who has shared the highs and lows of our journeys and shared her own experiences with us. Two of us have had the pleasure of meeting her on several occasions, she’s been amazing in promoting our work and our news, and she comments on all our blog posts, frequently giving her own Wednesday Wondering response. To all intents and purposes, she’s been a Write Romantic in everything but name. Which was just ridiculous. So we decided to rectify that.
The Write Romantics are therefore delighted to announce that we’re back to The Power of Ten. We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome fellow-RNA member, talented writer, and all-round lovely person, Sharon Booth, to our group. Time for me to stop wittering and to hand over to Sharon who’ll tell you a bit more about herself and her writing journey so far.

Jessica on behalf of The Write Romantics

xx

The new Write Romantic - Sharon Booth

The new Write Romantic – Sharon Booth

Thanks, Jessica.

Well, what can I say to that? If you’re surprised by this announcement you’re not the only one. It never occurred to me that I could become a Write Romantic. I mean, they were already formed when I heard about them – and perfectly formed at that, in my opinion. I had no idea what was in store when I picked up my phone one day to find a message that they were waiting to talk to me – urgently. Thinking it may be about the forthcoming anthology (plug, plug) I went online to see what was so urgent, and there they were, issuing me with this amazing invitation. Do you want to be a Write Romantic? Er, let me think about that…

Of course I flipping well do!

It’s been lovely for me getting to know these ladies over the last fifteen months. I met Alys through Romna, the online chapter of the RNA, when she introduced herself and mentioned she was writing a novel set in Glastonbury. That caught my attention! I replied, and within weeks we’d arranged to meet up, along with Alys’s friend Jessica. That’s when I learned about the Write Romantics and it occurred to me what a good idea it was to form such a group. Writing can be a very lonely business and there’s much to be said for being part of a community of like-minded people, sharing the ups and downs of this strange creative life, having someone to talk to, ask advice of, share information with, rejoice at good news and commiserate when the news isn’t that great.

I really got to like the whole group. Because of Jessica and Alys I met the other members online and followed this blog and delighted in their virtual company. So yes, when they asked me to join them I was stunned but absolutely delighted.

They’ve all made me very welcome and I’m looking forward to sharing the next part of my writing journey with them, as well as with you. It promises to be a very exciting few months and, seeing the fantastic news that’s winged its way to several of the Write Romantics lately, I’m really hoping some of their good fortune rubs off on me! 🙂

Maybe I’ll never be a perfect ten – no “maybe” about it to be honest – but I feel I’m part of the perfect ten now. I’m a very happy lady!

Sharon xx

The Write Romantics Book Group: The Kiss of the Concubine

After reading The Kiss of the Concubine by Judith Arnopp, I felt I had a different view of what Anne Boleyn’s life must have been like. The story of Anne Boleyn has fascinated me since school history lessons and Judith tells this beautifully evocative story in the first person, weaving Anne’s thoughts skilfully with known facts from the time.

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It is a wonderful chance to imagine what it must have been like at the Tudor court and how she might have felt about her family and the then very dashing King Henry. Her daughter, Elizabeth, who went on to be one of England’s greatest queens, is much loved in this story, but the marriage was always about a son, an heir and a future king.

 

From Anne’s viewpoint in this story I feel she must have loved Henry and was terribly saddened about not being able to give him what he wanted most. A son.

Of course the story doesn’t have a happy ending, but Judith leads us up to those last days and shows a very calm woman, accepting of her fate. I could imagine how she must have felt as she returned to The Tower, to the rooms she’d occupied prior to her coronation, but this time through Traitors Gate.

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I felt her unease as she lived in comfort, but watched the scaffold being erected for her own execution? Only last week I stood looking down on the green where the execution was believed to have taken place and The Kiss of the Concubine was very much in my mind.

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Despite the known unhappy ending of this story, Judith created one which leaves the reader with hope that Anne was at last at peace and is well worth reading.

 

Next month Jay Bartlett has chosen The School Gate Survival Guide by Kerry Fisher and I’m really looking forward to reading this. Reviews can be found here and if you’d like to join us and talk about the book that would be wonderful.

Happy Reading!

Rachael

Mega Monday: Remarkable Things are happening for Harriet!

‘The call’ from Laurence at Crooked Cat – well, an email actually – came on a Friday afternoon. I’d finished with the computer for the day, then later I happened to wander past it – no hand-held technology for me – and thought I’d have another quick check for emails and Facebook chat, like you do. And there it was.
To say that the call had been a long time coming would be an understatement. Not that Crooked Cat were anything but speedy. Once they’d requested the full manuscript of ‘Remarkable Things’, it was only a matter of a week or so before the offer of publication arrived. But behind that trailed a paperchase of submissions, each slightly different from the one before (the query letter never seems quite right, does it?) and each sent out with a big dose of faith and renewed hope. But that’s all in the past now, at least it is for this book, and how strange it feels to be saying that!
So what do you do after the call? Well, you jump up and down a bit, a lot, actually, and then you just want to be quiet, disappear into yourself and take it all in, or try to. At least that’s how it was for me. This is after you’ve saved the precious email and its attachments in at least two places and printed it out in case it disappears in a puff of smoke, leaving only a smirking ‘ha ha, got you!’ in its place.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the Saturday morning, feeling restless and still in a bit of a dream, I went into town and bought a new notebook and a shiny orange box file in which to keep said print-outs. I always buy a new notebook when I start writing a new book; new chapters call for new stationery, and I was certainly beginning a new chapter.
I’m not superstitious, at least the real me isn’t. But this Harriet person, she’s not averse to a bit of witchery, apparently, because it wasn’t long after I took her on as my writing persona that I got the offer from Crooked Cat. I wrote about the ‘real’ Harriet in an earlier blog post called ‘Harriet, writing and me’ and I reckon she was smiling down on me and sending me the luck of the black cat. Yes, all right, I know, but it’s a nice thought.
I’ve had such wonderful messages of congratulations from all over, particularly from the friendly authors at Crooked Cat. Already I feel like part of a family, and I think we’re a good fit.
The hard work really begins now. There will be edits, and all manner of stuff I’m not familiar with, and amid all the excitement, somehow I have to find time to write…
We cracked open the champagne last Sunday when the family came, and lovely it was, too. Cheers, everyone!

Harriet x

Rachael’s release day.

My first book, A Deal Before the Altar is now available, online and in store. It is the realisation of a dream I’ve been seriously chasing for the last seven years and I still have to pinch myself!

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Since ‘the call’ in January offering me a two book contract, I’ve encountered all sorts of new experiences, from doing revisions to seeing my first cover. I’ve held a Goodreads giveaway and Romantic Times gave my book a 4star review, saying Thomas’ high-society romance is a terrific debut. I’ve also appeared in my local paper. Even more excitingly, today I am returning from London and my first Mills and Boon author lunch – but that’s a post for another day!

This is the first cover I saw, the North American cover and I was totally blown away by it, but somehow it still didn’t feel real. I was after all, used to seeing the UK covers. I finally realised it was real when I opened the parcel with my UK books inside.

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It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was just about to enter Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write. It was the start of something special and I’d like to thank everyone who supported me in the competition.

From my experience, I would definitely advise aspiring writers to enter competitions. Success isn’t guaranteed, but perseverance and love of writing will certainly help.

 

After Happily Ever After

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My parents celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary last month with a party.  It was a lot like a wedding reception as there was a sit down meal, live music and ballroom dancing.  As the eldest of their children I was asked to give the speech and propose the toast.  Talking to my parents before I wrote the speech and hearing their stories about their wedding day made me realise how that day was only the start of their story.

IMG_0875In books the wedding is so often the end of the story.  The full stop in a ‘Reader, I married him’ kind of way.  But in real life it’s never that simple.  This is an issue that I’m battling with in my writing at the moment.  Having given two of my characters a HFN ending in my first novel (Beltane), in the second book in the trilogy (Lughnasa) we get to see what that actually means.  They went through a pretty traumatic time in Beltane and it would be wrong to think that it’s all heart and flowers for them now.  They’ve got challenges but (so far!) they’re facing them together.

How much information to give readers at the end of a book is a difficult question for writers and I guess that’s why epilogues are popular.  It gives writers the chance to show us what happens next so that we get the satisfaction of seeing the characters tying the knot or having a baby.

But some couples need more than a quick epilogue.  Some need another mention in a later book to reassure dedicated readers that they’re thriving in happy ever after land.  Other couples go on to demand new books all to themselves, sometimes from completely different writers.

Elizabeth and Darcy are a great example of this, hence the proliferation of Pride and Prejudice sequels.  Apparently there are over sixty of these with Death at Pemberley being probably the best known.  Other classics (and I use that word loosely) are ‘Mr Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman’,  ‘Mr Darcy’s Undoing’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ (and no, I’m not making that one up!)

My well loved copy of Pride and Prejudice

My well loved copy of Pride and Prejudice

Being a bit of a Jane Austen purist I’m not keen on any of these.  In my opinion even P.D. James shouldn’t mess with Austen.  But that’s just me.

What do you think?  Are there literary couples who leave you wanting more?  What sequels have you read?  Did they work for you or did they leave you a bit dissatisfied?   I’d love to know.

Alys

Photographs from Golden Wedding Party by Maynard Case www.maynardcase.co.uk

Serious About Series, a guest post from Zanna Mackenzie

ZannaM scale

Our guest today is the wonderful Zanna Mackenzie who has been a good friend to the blog since we started out over a year ago and is one of the contributors to our charity anthology. Zanna’s current release ‘If You Only Knew’ is available from Crooked Cat here. In her guest post, Zanna has stopped by to tell us all about a new found love of her own…


Series – Don’t you just love them?

I’m not talking TV series here (though I love many of those too!) – no, I’m talking about novels which come in series.

Other than Sophie Kinsella’s widely loved Shopaholic series and Kate Johnson’s wonderful Sophie Green Mysteries I hadn’t had much experience of book series until a few months ago, when I finally purchased a basic Kindle.

I wasn’t sure if I would take to the ereader or the concept of ebooks but so many great new releases seemed to be ebook only?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? versions that I thought I’d reached the point of having to give an ereader a try. At the time I was convinced I’d just use it for those ‘want to read a book but it’s only available as an ebook’ times and still get my usual paperback fix for everything else.

But two unexpected things happened….

First, I took to my Kindle straight away and it became my ‘must have’ accessory, always by my side.

Secondly, I discovered a whole new and exciting world of books and found my reading habits changed completely. Pre ereader I was a huge chicklit fan. After I discovered ebooks I found myself also drawn to reading a few new genres I’d only briefly dipped a toe into before. The genres…? Romantic suspense and cozy mystery romance.

I became a big fan of books where there was a crime or mystery to solve alongside a burgeoning romance between the male and female lead characters. I discovered books with characters who were female amateur sleuths, and books with spies, FBI and CIA agents. I tried lots of new authors; enjoyed books set in exciting adventurous locations such as Alaska and Canada and fell in love with a whole new and very different reading experience.

dreamstimefree_84378What delighted me even more was that many of these books were part of a series! If I like the writing style of an author then I’m keen to explore more books they have written. With a series where I’ve taken to the characters and their adventures continue in the next book, well, it’s a definite I’ll want to read them! Reading the next book in a series is like the chance to catch up with old friends, it’s wonderful. No worries about whether you’ll like the book or take to the characters or having to spend time getting up to speed with who is who, lives where or does what. You can immerse yourself straight away in the book and start enjoying it.

Many people in the publishing industry believe that writing a series of books is the way to go these days, whether each story is a novella or a full length novel. Though, as it’s thought the ‘ideal’ is to create your series by publishing a story every 3-4 months that would mean you’d need to be a very fast writer to put that number of full length novels out each year rather than novellas!

What do you think? Have you written a series? Are you thinking of doing so? What series have you read and loved?

Zanna Mackenzie is a former member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association’s New Writers Scheme (NWS). She has three traditionally published books available in paperback and ebook versions. Find out more about Zanna on her blog: www.zannamackenzie.blogspot.co.uk

Thursday Friends of The Blog – Kerry Fisher and The School Gate Survival Guide

School_Gate final jpegApologies for making Kerry sound like a book from the Harry Potter series in the title of this post, but she is, after all, capable of magic. Her debut novel The School Gate Survival Guide, published by Harper Collins, is available as a paperback from today, Thursday 11th September.

The magic lies in Kerry’s ability to create characters who can make you laugh and cry with them, on their journey through the novel, and you’ll be rooting for the protagonist, Maia, from the first page.

We’ve all had those moments when we realise that being a parent entrenches you straight back into the playground politics you thought you’d left behind with your navy-blue gym knickers and Bunsen burners. The School Gate Survival Guide is a great read that will help banish those back-to-school-run blues and make you realise things could be a heck of a lot worse!

You can order Kerry’s novel here or pick one up in your local bookstore or supermarket. Kerry is also one of the contributors in our charity anthology and you will be able to read a sneak peak of her second novel, The Divorce Domino, there.  The School Gate Survival Guide will also be our Goodreads book club, book of the month in November.

Wednesday Wondering – The Write Romantics go Right Romantic

73604_10151973538894073_399844746_nIt’s my wedding anniversary this month. I’ll be celebrating nine years with my husband Mark on 24th September. Can’t believe that long has passed already. One of the things that couples do in the approach to their wedding is pick a song for their first dance. For Mark and me, this was quite a challenge because (a) he’s not into music like me and (b) he doesn’t dance so was adamant we weren’t going to even have a first dance. I decided to let it go because it was “our” day and not just my day but I think he got pressure from both sides of the family and caved. So we were back to the dilemma of choosing a song. I had a couple of songs in mind: Amazed by Lonestar and From This Moment On by Shania Twain. He didn’t really like either of them. He does like Shania Twain and there was another song of hers he suggested (can’t remember what it was now) but it didn’t do it for me. So we were back to the start again.

I have no idea where it came from but we eventually settled on Savage Garden. We both really like the song “Truly, Madly, Deeply” but felt that the words for I Knew I Loved You were so much more appropriate. Mark always says it was love at first sight for him. It took me until our second date. We were both in our 30s when we met and felt like we’d been waiting for each other all this time. But we were greedy because we didn’t settle there; we introduced a second one that was a bit more up-beat and would get the guests into the mood for the disco, so we also had the wonderful late Freddie Mercury with I Was Born To Love You. Gosh, I love that song. It’s very much the same sentiment of Savage Garden’s track but in a slightly more up-beat delivery.

My question to the Write Romantics this month was:

What is your favourite love song and why?

I then asked them to think about:

Was it the lyrics, the tune, the singer/group or a combination of any/all of those that drew you in? Perhaps this was the song you chose for the first dance on your wedding or something that helped you get through a break-up. Pretty much any angle you want to come at it, talk to us about love songs. You’re welcome to give more than one.

I’ve loved reading the responses and hope you’ll enjoy them too. In case you aren’t familiar with any of the tunes, we’ve provided You Tube links to them by clicking on the song titles.

Jessica xx

 

Picture 483 Jay says …

My favourite love song is Van Morrison’s Have I Told You Lately? It just has a beautiful sentiment – ‘Fill my heart with gladness, take away my sadness, ease my troubles that’s what you do.’  He’s got such a great voice too, gravelly and real, meaning that it doesn’t come across as the least bit cheesy.   I didn’t have it for my wedding song, as we didn’t actually have one because we travelled to and from the Archbishops Palace by boat with all our guests and then had a slap-up lunch by the river before heading off on honeymoon.  However, we are now at ten years and thinking about having a blessing with just us and the four children and I would definitely have the song included in there somewhere.  It even gets a mention in my first novel – so look out for it there if my editor doesn’t cut it!  If you aren’t familiar with it, watch the video from 1989 on You Tube, I highly recommend it.

 

Harriet says …

When I began to think about the songs that have meant something special to me, one sprang to mind immediately. It has nothing to do with weddings or anything like that but rather it’s to do with growing up and becoming aware for the very first time of the feelings a song can evoke. I was ten when Perry Como hit the charts in 1957 with Catch a Falling Star. It was on the ‘wireless’ all the time and all the girls in my class at primary school thought it was wonderful. We spent every play-time waltzing around the playground, arm in arm, singing the song and going all dreamy over Perry. He was 46 at the time, hardly a teen idol, but we only had a vague idea of what he looked like anyway so we didn’t care. It was his butter-smooth voice we fell for, not the man himself. I only have to hear the first line and I’m back in that playground, and all the sights and sounds of that stage of my life come flooding back. Happy days!

A year later, the Everly Brothers released All I Have to Do is Dream, another song that made a great impression on me.  t accompanied me everywhere I went and gave me that indefinable sensation of being happy and sad at the same time. ‘Cathy’s Clown’ followed, the Everlys again. Hearing it now triggers another vivid memory. My cousin was down from London for the summer holiday and we were at a beach café just along the coast from Brighton. It had a jukebox and we played ‘Cathy’s Clown’ over and over until our money ran out. We wore paper nylon petticoats under our dresses and they crackled as we swayed in time to the music. We felt very grown-up, and very serious about the whole business of love and pop songs. The You Tube clip shows them singing both songs.

 

Alys says …

My favourite love song is quite a sad one but then as I like folk music that’s probably not a great surprise. When I started thinking about it I realised I couldn’t think of many happy love songs in folk.  My favourite is She Moved Through The Fair which is beautifully sung here by Cara Dillon.

My friend, Jane Stockdale, does a stunning version of this song.  I’ve heard her sing it more times than I can remember but it’s always moving and beautiful.  In my new book, Lughnasa, the heroine sings in folk sessions and plays the fiddle which is giving me a lovely chance to use songs to explore how she’s feeling.  In chapter two she sings She Moved Through The Fair because she was feeling very sad and it’s lyrics really fit her emotional state.

 

signingregisterHelen R says …

My favourite love song is a little different…it’s a classic piece, Pachelbel’s Canon. There is a youtube clip of a string quartet playing the tune…obviously not the same string quartet as we had though! I really wanted the tune at our wedding and I’d heard it in a movie that I’d watched. I had to attempt to hum the tune on the phone to my mum who is quite musical and after several attempts she said, “Ah, I know exactly what that is!”

I’d always loved the piece, I think particularly because it sounds so beautiful on string instruments. (I don’t think the cello ever sounded that beautiful when I played it back in Primary School!) A string quartet played Pachelbel’s Canon whilst we signed the wedding register. Unfortunately I didn’t really get to enjoy listening to it as I think I was still a bit dazed by the whole ceremony but whenever I hear the music now – in fact, as I write this post I’ve got the You-Tube clip playing in the background – it makes me smile as I remember our special day 🙂

I have attached a photo too, of myself and my husband signing the register 🙂

Jackie says …

Sweet Little Mystery by Wet Wet Wet. It was a good phase of my life. I had my own flat, my job was fun and friends were popping in and out all of the time. We’d laugh the night away, flirt, go to pubs and clubs drink rather more than was good for us and stay up far into the night- too long for a five thirty shift start. But we didn’t care, we were young enough to cope.

The Joshua tree by U2 And Everything but the Girl was always on my hi fi too, as I ironed my clothes for the night ahead, dancing to the music as I smoked far too many cigarettes and drank too much wine. But I was happy in my little world (although permanently broke) until my heart was broken and it all suddenly seemed very shallow and trite. But that story doesn’t belong in this little bubble of happy memories. I shall eradicate those memories or save them for a short story, where one day, I will make the rotter sees the error of his ways and beg me to take him back, which I will naturally refuse- won’t I- maybe, no- I’m sure I will…) Anyway, Marty Pellow was the singer of my dreams and will ever remain in my bank of happy memories and for that I thank him. ( and he was on one of my flights once too- jolly nice chap, although he took a handful of complimentary sweets instead of just one!)

 

Lynne says …

I’m gonna tell you about my fave romantic song, which is romantic in the sense of old Camelot and knights in shining armour. If it had a visual to go with it I’d choose something by the Pre-Raphaelites, who also loved that kind of thing. It’s is The Battle of Evermore by Led Zeppelin. Its all about the Queen of Light waiting in Avalon for a tyrant whose face is red. She’s waiting for the ‘beads of time…’ to pass, (I love that imagery,) and the apples turn from brown to black. The drums do in time shake the castle wall but eventually we ‘raise our bows and shoot straighter than before’

It works out fine in the end, cos the magic runes bring the balance back and the sun is shining.

It’s not just the music but Robert Plant’s crisp & clear vocals which are fab. They have something that sounds like madrigals and give it a really ancient yet also modern sound, and a story that is haunting and magical. It manages to combine intimacy with technical excellence, give it a whirl now, it’s groovy, as we used to say in the 70s!

I’ve never really understood why Lez Zepplin are classed as heavy metal when a lot of their work is tuneful and melodic. I’ve added a link to a live version. It’s only when I watched that that I realise that the ancient sound is partly created by an amazing guitar which looks like 3 different guitars all piled together! The live version is not quite the same as the studio version though, its faster for a start but do give both a listen.

 

Rachael says …

I really can’t name one favourite song, but I love listening to the lyrics of songs and the ones that stand out, do so because of their words. They evoke memories, sometimes sad, sometimes happy. The one song which takes me back, twenty one years to my wedding day, is Unchained Melody, which was having a revival after the film Ghost at that time.

I also love how songs can fill you with courage, so that you imagine all sorts of things are possible. This of one such song. What do you think?

 

We’d love to hear from you. Do our song choices evoke some wonderful memories for you? What are your favourite romantic songs, for whatever reason. There’s a comments button at the end of the tags below. Thank you xx