Tan tan tarrah! Cover reveal!


Here’s the cover of The Christmas Promise! I’ve been adoring it in private for some weeks, now, but, finally, I can reveal it in all its beauty.

Christmas Promise final cover web

Ebook: 6 October 2016. Paperback: 1 December.

I always get excited over a cover, even though it’s the part of the book I hardly influence. Or maybe because it’s the part of the book I hardly influence.

I know that skilled people at Avon Books UK have been painstakingly putting together the ingredients that they, with their experience, consider will best serve my work and sell my novel. They have intimate knowledge of the market and the readership – i.e. what fiction buyers will stock and what readers will pick up from the shelf. The cover even impacts on which shelves in which retailers the book will reside. I’m thrilled to have them working on my behalf.

TCP pb proof

‘Wet proof’ (which isn’t wet)

Here’s the ‘wet proof’ that has been sitting on my desk for me to sigh happily over. Lots of bling! And the title font now being gold, the paperback’s going to truly sparkle.

TCP proof backcover

Back cover

For the sake of completeness, here’s the back cover, too. (If it looks a slightly different colour on your screen that’s because it’s a scan rather than a JPEG, I think.)

The back cover blurb’s also written by an expert in the job. In case you’re having to squint a bit to read it, here it is:

For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember…

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava Blissham. Sparks fly, and not necessarily good ones.

Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas.

 So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life.

 She just doesn’t know it yet…

Thanks to Avon Books UK on doing such a fab job on the cover of The Christmas Promise. (And, if you wish, you can preorder the book here.)


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‘The Christmas Promise’ goes to Germany

How pretty is this? It’s the German cover of The Christmas Promise.

German TCP cover

The title translates to ‘Magical Winter Kisses‘ and I think it’s interesting to see the London landscape featured so unmistakably. From observation I’d say that UK publishers are more likely to choose vaguer images, as if they know their readers like to employ their imaginations from the start.

Every market knows its own audience best and so I was waiting with bated breath to see what the hugely successful German publisher, S Fischer Verlag, would choose. I’m so thrilled with it that I feel like booking a flight to Germany in October to see it on the shelves.

I had to smile when I saw the woman in a red coat walking away. My good writing buddy Mark West had recently pointed out to me how many UK covers of books in my genre share exactly that feature! I wonder what the design science behind it is? The best I can come up with is red because it’s eye-catching and walking into the picture to encourage readers to follow along. Feel free to make your own suggestions …

COVER REVEAL ALERT: while on the subject of covers, the UK cover of The Christmas Promise is scheduled to be revealed on social media at 7pm on Sunday 24th July. I’m really thrilled with it and it’s nearly killing me not to plaster it all over Twitter and Facebook until the day! But I think it’ll be worth the wait.



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How I organise my day with ‘mental hotdesking’

Twitter_logo_blue_48Sometimes people ask me how I get everything done: writing, planning, teaching, events, travelling, social media, research, meetings and anything else that comes into my working life, so I thought I’d blog about it. I don’t think I have a magic key – unless it’s called organisation.

I’m blessed with natural organisational abilities but I do organise consciously, i.e. it doesn’t just happen. My technique is pretty much what’s frequently referred to as ‘compartmentalising’ (and my mother called it ‘common sense’) but I think of it as ‘mental hotdesking’.


Physical desk. (Actually, I have two desks and a mini-desk. Greedy, me.)

Mental hotdesking is my way of moving from task to task. In my mind I move from desk to desk. Each day I know what I need to do and what to prioritise so I allocate my time at my physical desk between the hotdesks in my mind. Here’s the framework I use:

Monday to Friday, I’m usually at my desk at around 7.15am and I leave it around 6pm. However, I give myself a break of about two hours : Monday piano lesson, Tuesday Zumba, Wednesday Yoga, Thursday FitStep and Friday Zumba again. Attached to a couple of those classes is about 40 minutes over a cuppa with my gym mates. I organise these daily outings because they’re good for my physical and mental health. If I work on Saturday or Sunday I organise my time around whatever else I want to do (often, watching whatever Formula 1 is on the TV) so there’s no set routine.

TimeI think my mental hotdesking began when I was working with students for the London School of Journalism online. I had to find a way of keeping my pile of student assignments moving but, at the same time, not let them prevent me from writing. My solution was to divide my day, so mentally I’d be at my teaching hotdesk in the morning and my writing hotdesk in the afternoon.

Now I only teach occasional workshops or courses I have much larger chunks of time for writing (hooray!) but I’ve found it useful to continue to divide my day between mental hotdesks – I begin with emails and social media. If my Zumba class that day begins at ten then that leaves me with quite a small amount of time between my opening routine and leaving for the class. It doesn’t seem productive to go to my mental writing hotdesk as I know that I’m most effective when writing or editing if I have sizeable chunks of time in which to get immersed, so I look around for smaller tasks. This might mean writing a blogpost, following up on an interesting opportunity I’ve spied on Twitter or Facebook, reading newsletters that keep me up to date in what’s happening in publishing or maybe doing a small amount of research. NB Even if I don’t need to post a blog yet, I often use a small amount of time to write one and simply schedule it for a later date.

By allotting small tasks to short periods I’m free to go straight to my writing hotdesk  when I have a larger chunk of time.

I try and make appointments at the beginning or end of working day so as to keep most of the day available and had to break off from writing this post to attend one.

Unfortunately … the appointment turns out to be tomorrow! Time management’s a useful skill to develop but it doesn’t prevent silly mistakes. Untitled design


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Why did we celebrate Christmas … in May?

Gits bagsYesterday, I had the absolute pleasure and privilege of meeting up with several members of Team Sue Moorcroft for the first celebration of The Christmas Promise. Obviously, as it was Christmas (in May), gifts were called for! So I stowed them carefully (ie squashed them in a bag) and set off by train for Leicester.IMG_0240

I’d had surgery on my shoulder eleven days earlier so I travelled in my shoulder brace, in a pre-booked seat and wearing an alarmed expression. A guy opposite asked what I’d done and as I’m tired of the boringly real explanation of bone spurs cutting into a tendon, I told him I’d done it cage fighting. He assumed an alarmed expression, too.

It’s a constant source of wonder and pride that I have readers who like my work so much that they want to be in my street team, that anyone (Louise Styles! It was you!) ever suggested I should have one, and that the members happily spread the word about my books whenever they can. (If you’d like to know more about the street team and how to get involved you can read this page on my website.)

IMG_0242We met at the Belmont Hotel in Leicester for a lovely lunch (the kind that lasts all afternoon). It’s been pointed out to me that maybe we ought to have talked a leetle bit more about The Christmas Promise (which is available for preorder already). What we did talk about was books in general, mine in particular, writing, the mating habits of dogs, whether cats would rule the world if they had opposable thumbs, Team Sue Moorcroft, how far each person had travelled, whether Kay would catch her bus home (JUST, thanks to Louise who drove her to the bus station), gout, alcohol (hardly any of us were drinking owing to various issues – in my case painkillers), children, events on the literary calendar, the Beautiful South and the lyrics of their songs, the amazingness of food (particularly chocolate fondant), angels, religion, the pre-publication launch of The Christmas Promise at Waterstones Nottingham (20th October, hopefully), blogging, books as gifts and probably a lot I don’t now remember.

I would like to thank Manda, Ann, Louise P, Kay, Judy and Anne for their company and their support, for making me laugh and their input on future events. Sorry to other members of the team who wanted to come but couldn’t make the date because of birthdays, anniversaries, illness or interviews, and I hope you can come to the next one.Dual

Anne has written a super post about the lunch and Team Sue Moorcroft on her fab book blog, Being Anne.


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Author Guest Post by Sue Moorcroft

The origins of a book, in this case The Christmas Promise, due out later this year (and available for preorder now, in case I haven’t mentioned that). My thanks to Eva Jordan for hosting me on her blog.


Sue Moorcroft Hats

I’m very pleased to introduce the lovely Sue Moorcroft as my guest author today. A prolific writer of women’s contemporary fiction, Sue was born in Germany, the daughter of two soldiers, then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a typesetter, but is pleased to have wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

Here, Sue talks about the inspiration for her latest book The Christmas Promise.

What inspired The Christmas Promise?

When people ask about inspiration I feel they must anticipate tales of poignant life experiences or points I’m bursting to make to the wide world. Some of my books do have their origins in life experiences and, like most writers, I always have several points I want to make, but, fundamentally, I like to write about things I want to…

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Welcome to our blog – SUE MOORCROFT

Reblogging this interview because Lizzie Lamb of the New Romantics Press has done SUCH a great job of it!

New Romantics Press

New Romantics Press is thrilled to welcome  successful author and fellow RNA member Sue Moorcroft to our blog. Lizzie has known Sue for quite a few years now (!) but thought some of our followers would like to learn more about Sue and her books.

Sue MSue, tell us all about yourself – 

I write women’s commercial fiction and my current contract is with Avon Books UK, part of HarperCollins. I also write short stories, columns, courses, serials and novellas, and I’m a creative writing tutor. I love being a full-time writer but in the past I worked for a bank, a digital prepress and Motor Cycle News.

What, for you would be a typical writing day?2016-04-16 20.42.27   I start about 7.30am and finish around 6.00pm, generally Monday to Friday but sometimes weekends. I usually take a couple of hours off for Zumba, FitStep, Yoga or piano. If I can…

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Why should I go to the London Book Fair?

2015-04-14 12.13.44At about this time each year, writers begin to discuss whether they’re going to, or should be going to, the London Book Fair. I’ve been an attendee for years and always enjoy it but if a writer asks if they ‘should’ be going to the Fair I usually say ‘Not unless you want to’.

Here are some of the things that LBF isn’t:

  • a place to pitch to agents and editors (unless you’re an invited finalist a ‘Dragon’s Den’-type competition or an agent or editor has invited you to meet her or him there specifically to pitch. I have never heard of this latter thing happening)
  • a book shop
  • a venue in which to sell copies of your book, unless you’ve paid for a stand in order to do so
  • free to attend (unless you count your publisher/fairy godmother paying for your ticket as ‘free’)
  • a madly comfortable place

So what is it?

  • a trade fair held in massive, noisy, busy halls
  • rows and rows of stands occupied by publishers and representatives of every conceivable angle of the book trade, both print and e
  • a place where business is done
  • areas where attendees can hear interesting talks from those in the book trade including authors but much less so agents and editors. They are usually closeted in the rights centre, conducting business.

It’s a good place to:

  • expand and develop your knowledge of publishing and the book trade
  • learn that the book trade is more than you thought it was
  • and that there are some writers who are MASSIVE
  • meet your writerly mates and hang out
  • make new writerly mates
  • if you’re a published author with overseas contracts, be introduced to the relevant editor, if diaries allow
  • meet interesting delegates, many from other countries
  • get sore feet and a headache
  • stand in queues
  • see imaginative marketing ideas
  • feel sorry for all the agents and editors with back-to-back dawn-till-dusk meetings. I find this particularly rewarding when I’m hanging out with my mates with a glass of wine/cup of tea in my hand
  • 2014-04-10 13.30.58

My recommendations:

  • wear comfy shoes
  • make arrangements ahead of time if you want to hang with mates
  • read up on all the things you might want to attend and note them
  • turn up at such events early if you want a seat
  • take some means of taking notes
  • and paracetamol
  • be prepared to pay London prices for your drinks and food. The Fair is, after all, in London
  • leave the hall and get some fresh air at least twice a day
  • enjoy the buzz!


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Head to Head with Sue Moorcroft

Take Five Authors

Jenny Harper - TFA Jenny: the interviewer

Today on Take Five Authors I’m seizing the chance to interview one of our own members, Sue Moorcroft. Such a treat!

Sue Moorcroft - TFA Sue: the interviewee

Tell us about The Wedding Proposal, Sue.

It’s set on Malta. I’d always wanted to write a reunion book, as I love reading them. Had I realised how much plotting of the backstory I’d have to carry out in order to make the front story work, I might have thought twice! I was brought up for several years in Malta and a part of my heart will always be there so, periodically, I send characters out to the island. I put Elle and Lucas on a small boat together in a yacht marina we used to be able to see from our balcony, when I was a child. Then I sat back and waited for fireworks … because Lucas hates secrets, and Elle has a…

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My new title! Whoop!

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 18.04.52Things I get very excited about are covers and titles for my books. Maybe it’s the surprise element – something about the book that I don’t create from the ground up.

So I’m really thrilled to announce that I now have the title for my next book, to be published September/October 2016!

It’s to be:


I’ve been excited about this book from the first. It’s about Ava, who hates Christmas, has to admit that her couture millinery business has run into trouble, and is being threatened with revenge porn; and what happens to Sam who’s giving his mum Christmas because she’s between surgery and chemotherapy.

I don’t have the cover, yet … but it’s not far away. Can’t wait to share it! (I promise that it will be an improvement on the above!)



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Delivering My First Writing Workshop!

Great blog from Nikki Moore, speaking about our workshop at Purbeck Literary Festival last week. We were lucky to get such a lovely and responsive group, as well as the wonderful venue.:-)

Writing, Work and Wine


Hello my lovelies,

I was very excited (and yes, I’ll admit a little nervous too) to deliver my first writing workshop recently. I was lucky enough to be joined by award winning multi-published author Sue Moorcroft, who (again, luckily for me) also happens to be my aunt, and has been a writing tutor for many years.

I’ve delivered training in the HR day job since almost the beginning of my career, but this was the first time that my audience was a group of lovely (mostly aspiring) authors rather than a roomful of managers. It was also very different because I was talking  about writing and selling a novel rather than explaining absence management, or how to handle disciplinary issues or  conduct safer recruitment.

The course was held as part of Purbeck Literary Festival at The Limes Hotel in Swanage, which was fab and had a gorgeous view of the…

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