The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

I had to reblog this brilliant review of The Christmas Promise from Lucy Catten of Lucy Lierati. 😊🎄🍾 Thank you Lucy.

Lucy Literati

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I love Sue Moorcroft’s books and I also love Christmas so I was absolutely thrilled to get my hands on an advanced copy of her latest creation. Just check out that beautiful cover. Pretty irresistible right? But things are not as cosy as they may at first appear…

So what’s it about?

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. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the 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…

In this story Sue Moorcroft shows herself yet again to be…

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Invitation to the launch of THE CHRISTMAS PROMISE!

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Join me in launching The Christmas Promise! Come and enjoy the party and even grab a copy of the book ahead of paperback release (a signed book makes a great Christmas pressie!). The Sillitoe Room is up at the top of Nottingham’s flagship Waterstones store, looking out over the rooftops and I’d love to see you there.

Tickets:  £3, redeemable against purchase of the book.

Email events.nottingham@waterstones.com, telephone 0115 9470069 or drop in at the store.

TCP proof backcover

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Ten things about me you may or may not know

It seems like forever since I originated a post for my own blog. I’ve reblogged a couple of things but haven’t managed a new post. Here’s my list of excuses:

  • imageSummer is my busy time as I’ve led courses in Italy (Arte Umbria), Derby (Swanwick) and Devon (Fiction on the Taw). A fact about running courses is that there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work, not just preparing the course but being in contact with organisers for admin reasons and perhaps reading work of the participants.
  • 2016-08-09 16.05.48

    Proof copies of The Christmas Promise have arrived!

    The Christmas Promise approached production and I had proofs to check bonus material to write  and promo ideas to talk over. One of the many lovely aspects of being an author.

  • I also took a holiday in my beloved Malta. I had beer to drink and sunshine to enjoy. That took two weeks.
  • I received a lovely invitation to write a two-part story for My Weekly to go in their Christmas issues (3 and 10 December. Look out for that story because you can win a free book!).
  • Throw in the RNA’s conference in the middle of that lot and you begin to get the picture.

Now I’ve realised how much I’ve neglected my blog I can’t really think what to write about! Whenever I’m asked to guest on someone else’s blog I can think of a subject but for my own blog? I’ve come up blank. So, in place of a proper post, here are ten things about me you may or may not know.

  1. My parents were both in the army. My mum originally outranked my dad and he got in trouble for talking to her with his hands in his pockets. He only rose higher than her when she left the army.
  2. I can’t ride a bike no-handed.
  3. I have no tattoos but five piercings.
  4. Chocolate is my favourite food group.
  5. My Saturday job when a teenager was in a butcher’s shop.
  6. I can do the ‘waterfall’ with a pack of cards.
  7. I find it hard to join in conversations about TV because I watch so little.
  8. But I know a lot about Formula 1.
  9. I’m incredibly thankful for good friends.
  10. I try only to read books I love. Life’s too short for those I’m told I ‘should’ read.

Blogpost done!🙂

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Research: Sue shares her methods

From the Take Five Authors site – my thoughts on research and my methods.

Take Five Authors

I love the research connected to my books. Research trips for The Christmas Promise took me repeatedly to London – Camden (including cafes that sold great cake and shops that sold incredible shoes), Balham, and an exhibition of graphic art at the British Library. My next book, due out next summer and currently bearing the working title of Just for the Holidays, necessitated (yes, truly necessitated) a four-day trip to Strasbourg and a helicopter pilot taking me up and pretending to crash (read about it here). The helicopter event is  my happiest research moment to date.

The book I’m just beginning to plan, which currently has the snappy title of My Next Book, is causing me to watch a lot of property programmes and learn about being an interior decorator. (Fun, but nothing on the helicopter.)Helicopterweb

As people frequently ask me about my research (‘You went…

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#Bookreview – The Wedding Proposal Sue Moorcroft #Romance

Thanks to Suzanne of Visions of Zarua for this fantastic review of The Wedding Proposal.🙂 I love to share my love of Malta, too.

suzanne rogerson fantasy author

The Wedding Proposal by Sue Moorcroft.

Genre: Romance

21473821Blurb

Elle Jamieson is a private person, in relationships as well as at work – and for good reason. But then she’s made redundant and with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to sunny Malta.

Lucas Rose hates secrets – he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less in return. He’s furious when his summer working as a divemaster is interrupted by the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks to his Uncle Simon’s misguided attempts at matchmaking.

Forced to live in close proximity, it’s hard to ignore what they had shared before Lucas’s wedding proposal scared Elle away. But then a phone call from England allows Lucas a rare glimpse of the true Elle. Can he deal with Elle’s closely guarded past when it finally comes to light?

My…

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Write away week in Italy

And to round things out before I leave Arte Umbria behind for another year and move on to Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and then Fiction on the Taw, here’s a great post from lovely Kay Pickard.

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imageIt’s almost impossible to imagine a more beautiful setting in which to let the creative juices flow. Picture the rolling hills of Umbria, with its medieval villages perched high and scattered about strategically for extra impact and you have the ideal landscape to capture the imagination.image

Arte Umbria is a retreat for artists for most of the season and it’s easy to see why people would come here to capture the stunning scenery. Once a year it’s booked for Sue Moorcrofts writing course and I have to admit; the scenery is a bit of a distraction! I had to keep reminding myself that I was here to learn and not admire my surroundings.image

But seriously, it was an extremely well run course, expertly led by Sue, who was on her fourth consecutive year there, and I learned so much. Both from Sue and my peers (some of which were already…

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Roving Romaniacs in Umbria (The Italian Job, Part 2)

A lovely blog about this year’s course for Arte Umbria – sadly just ended – from Celia Anderson. The course was brimful this year and the atmosphere absolutely buzzing. Bookings have already begun for next year as a result. Thanks to Celia and the Romaniacs for this blog post.

The Romaniacs

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Sue Moorcroft’s fabulous course at Arte Umbria a few years back was something that fellow Romaniac Laura James and I will never forget. When I got the chance to go again to kick start my retirement from teaching, this time with my Romaniac buddy Debbie Fuller-White and a whole gang of other wonderful people, it wasn’t too hard to jump at the chance.

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Group

This time, Debbie was taking part in the full course, I was doing the writing retreat thing and the terrace above was the place where inspiration struck most often (possibly because that’s where wine kept appearing.)

Sue did lots of one-to-ones, ran sessions on building characters, short stories, plotting and all sorts of other useful angles on getting a book to take shape and then beating it into submission. We didn’t write hot sex by the pool this time. It was just too…hot.

We even found a…

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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’.

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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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