Romantic Novelists’ Association Summer Party

I can’t believe that it’s a whole year since the Romantic Novelists’ Association Summer Party 2017, where I graduated from their New Writer’s Scheme by being a contender in the Joan Hessayon Award. Last Year, Kate Field won with The Magic of Ramblings.

The 2018 Summer Party was held in Oxford and it was a real treat to travel on the train with three other writing friends to support the many fellow writers who were contenders for the award. Liz Hanbury produced non-alcoholic cocktails and fruit kebabs from her bag as soon as the train had pulled out of the station – she knows how to travel!

I had been invited to afternoon tea with an audio publisher and met up with fellow Choc Lit authors including Victoria Cornwall and Sue McDonagh at the cafe. Lovely to chat to Katie Fforde, Nicola Pryce and Cathy Bramley as we munched cake and scones and drank tea. Thank you to Becky and Aimee from Isis Publishing and Soundings for hosting the event.

The AGM and Summer Party were held at the wonderful Ashmolean Museum. I must find time to go back and have a look at the exhibits. The short list for this year’s Joan Hessayon award was huge (17 writers) and a great testimony to the wonderful New Writers’ Scheme. In alphabetical order:

Mick Arnold, The Season for Love, Passion in Print

Donna Ashcroft, Summer at the Castle Café, Bookouture

Susanna Bavin, The Deserter’s Daughter, Allison & Busby

Cryssa Bazos, Traitor’s Knot, Endeavour Press

Hannah Begbie, Mother, Harper Collins

Anita Belli, The Traveller and the Rose, Endeavour Press

Lynn Forth, Love in La La Land, Crooked Cat

Erin Green, A Christmas Wish, Aria Fiction

Lisa Hill, Meet Me at Number Five, Choc Lit

John Jackson, Heart of Stone, Crooked Cat

Jane Lacey-Crane, Secrets and Tea at Rosie Lee’s, Aria Fiction

Zoe May, Perfect Match, HQ Digital

Sue McDonagh, Summer at the Art Café, Choc Lit

Kate Ryder, Summer in a Cornish Cove, Aria Fiction

Elaine Roberts, The Foyles Bookshop Girls, Aria Fiction

Tanya Jean Russell, Broken Trust, Evernight Publishing

Awen Thornber, Foxtrot in Freshby, Crooked Cat

Kate Field, last year’s winner gave a very moving handover speech to the new winner, Hannah Begbie with her debut novel, Mother. Hannah also gave a mascara threatening speech, which had many of the audience wiping away a tear.

Morton Gray, Janice Preston, Tora Williams

We had a lovely time. Writers know how to party – they don’t get out much!!


At the time of writing, my second novel THE TRUTH LIES BURIED is only 99p on Amazon and Kobo!!!!!


Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazonKoboiBooks


By Morton S. Gray

Author of romantic suspense novels.


  1. Hi Liz sorry to be the bearer of bad news but on Friday night just before we were due to go out on my birthday meal I slipped on the bottom of the stairs. Have a fractured ankle and am on crutches  which means our holiday in France in four weeks time is off.  Still can’t believe it happened! Only fell down two steps! On our way home tomorrow Jo x

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


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