I had such an awesome afternoon at Choc Lit on Tour on 20th May at the Sea City Museum in Southampton. Not only did I finally get to meet my blogging buddy Kate from V Family Fun but also catch up with authors I’ve met before and meet new authors and bloggers/readers too.
It was such a fun and relaxed event! Starting at 1.30pm the Choc Lit on Tour author panel of Evonne Wareham, Jan Bridgen, Liv Thomas (one half of the writing duo Isabella Connor) and Laura James shared their writing journeys with us.
This was followed by a Q&A session, a break and a fun couple of quizzes.
The afternoon was full of fun and laughter. I loved making social media ‘friendships’ into real time friendships. You never know how people perceive you on social media do you? And I often wonder if those perceptions of me are more or less of what people feel when they meet me in real time! Kate and I slipped into an easy friendship and it was reassuring to hear from one particular author (you know who you are 🙂 ) afterwards “Shaz, I can’t tell you how great it was to finally meet you. You are just like I imagined. Lovely, friendly and fun!” Phew 🙂
I’ve supported Choc Lit since I first started blogging in 2011 and you’ll find a mixture of reviews, Q&A’s and guest posts on the blog. They were one of the first publishers to send me paperbacks to review. Being able to attend Choc Lit on Tour felt quite an emotional experience!
I’ve read both of Evonne Wareham’s romantic suspense novels so it was great to hear that after a break she has a romcom series, Rivieria Rogues, publishing soon. Evonne signed with Choc Lit after pitching at a Romantic Novelists’ Association conference.
I’ve known Jan Bridgen on social media since before her publishing contract with Choc Lit so it was fabulous to finally meet! Her debut As Weekends Go evolved from a creating writing course and won Choc Lit’s Search for a Star writing competition. Kate brought me As Weekends Go at the event so of course I had to get Jan to sign it for me!
Isabella Connor as I mentioned is a duo of Liv and Valerie. I’ve read Beneath an Irish Sky which I found out took them six years to write! Living in different parts of the world they met through a message board. Liv saw Choc Lit in a magazine and submitted. Liv and Valerie are working on a prequel/sequel to Beneath an Irish Sky. I’ll be looking out for that!
Last but not least, Laura James. I’ve met Laura a couple of times so it was good to see her again. Laura talked about social media/virtual communities and networks. In her novel, Follow Me Follow You, lead character Victoria Noble is the director of Ewe Speak, the number one social networking site. Laura emphasised how important it is to have a network (for readers and writers). Laura shared tips and hints which were very helpful. Laura met Choc Lit through the Festival of Romance.
One thing the panel had in common? Being members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA). If you’re an aspiring romance writer, the RNA should be on your radar.
The Q&A session was entertaining. I managed to capture a few minutes of video which you can see below:
The Q&A was followed by a break. I can’t help but associate chocolate with Choc Lit and yes, chocolates were in a plentiful supply 🙂 It was great to mingle.
And time to buy books and get them signed of course!
Then it was time for the quizzes. First up the Mystery Author quiz (which was followed by a match the Choc Lit author/photo.)
Sue Fortin, Kate and myself joined up to make a team.
We came first 🙂 and the prize? yep, chocolate.
Just look at the concentration 🙂
It was a fun afternoon and if you can get to Stockton Central Library on 17th June I have no hesitation in recommending you go to the next Choc Lit on Tour! I thought £5 for a ticket was a bargain – great entertainment and goody bags too.
Thank you to Choc Lit for a well organised and entertaining Choc Lit on Tour event!
I do have a goody bag to giveaway to one of my UK blog readers. The tote bags are thick canvas and you’ll love the goodies inside!
Established in 2009. Choc Lit is an independent publisher creating a delicious selection of quality women’s fiction specialising in romance and thrillers.
Not surprisingly, they believe that the enjoyment of a good read is enhanced by the taste of chocolate!
They have won 17 awards in their genre, including Publisher of the Year and the Romantic Novel of the Year. They have had numerous shortlisting for awards.
Choc Lit novels are distributed world-wide and available in both eBook and paperback formats from most stores. In 2016 they teamed up with Cappelen Damm, Norway’s biggest publisher, to launch Choc Lit in Norway.
All Choc Lit novels are selected by genuine readers. They only publish novels their Choc Lit Tasting Panel want to see in print. Their reviews and awards speak for themselves.