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.

EvaJordanWriter.com

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:

THE CHRISTMAS PROMISE

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

PurbeckLitFest

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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Should I enter a writing competition?

blog post 1I’m asked this question a lot, particularly when I’m running a course.

Yes, I do believe that competitions are a good way to progress. They not only give you writing practice and focus but they form part of the writer’s learning curve. Competitions often have deadlines and themes, too, which echoes the process of writing for a publication, which will almost certainly have deadlines and expect you to write to the brief given.

Not everybody can win or be shortlisted. I’m afraid that rejection is part of a writer’s life and learning not to let it stop you writing is a step forward in itself. If you’re placed in a competition you have something to put on your writing CV, you have validation, you may well have prize money and/or publication.* I have friends who have contracts with traditional publishers for their novels as a result of entering competitions.

Although I write the actual chapters on a computer, each book gets its own new notebook. Coloured pencils and post-it notes are essential too. More about that in a later blog.*NB A word about rights: If you’re offered publication as a result of a competition win, make certain that you retain the copyright, ie the right to sell your story again. If you sell ‘all rights’ then the competition’s organisers can use your story for profit in the future and you will receive no further fee. The word ‘first’ is important in rights, for example ‘First British Serial Rights’, which would mean the publication would have the right to publish once, for the first time, in Britain. No more. Websites are more complex and will usually ask for world electronic rights. If that’s the case, try to limit the licence timewise.

 

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Literary heroes we’d hate to date

Last Friday, I led a workshop on behalf of Writing East Midlands, ‘Writing Romantic Fiction’. The course went well and I had a lovely group. At the end of the lunch break, some of us talked about literary heroes – that we’d hate to date (whatever the rest of the world might think!)

In honour of St Valentine’s Day, I’m posting some of the results here.

HeartBeryl – and this may not be a popular point of view – would hate to date Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice: “Too good to be true; a cardboard cut-out of a man.”

HeartFiona would hate to date James Bond (a few aghast glances met this pronouncement). “He’s promiscuous. Even though his being tortured is responsible for his not finding it easy to get close to people, I wouldn’t want to date a man I’d need to repair.”

HeartClaire’s choice met with nods of recognition. She’d hate to date Christian Grey of Fifty Shades of Grey fame, because “He doesn’t let Ana be herself.”

HeartCat, in similar vein, finds Edward from Twilight “Way too controlling.” As Christian Grey is said to be based on Edward, Claire and Cat obviously think the same way!

HeartStephanie’s ‘hate to date’ was Max de Winter from Rebecca. “A liar, domineering, and made no effort to help the narrator settle into her role as his wife.”

Heart And me? I’d hate to date Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights. I think he’s a troll, meanminded and self-centred. His only redeeming feature is his love for Catherine Earnshaw – and that doesn’t go well! If I dated Heathcliff I can image glancing often at my watch and hoping the evening would soon be over. That’s if Cathy at the window hadn’t put me off by then.

Which literary hero would you hate to date? Does he appear above? If not, feel free to add him in the comments.:-)

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In praise of book bloggers (and parties)

Blog:auth meet Brum 15 1

L to R: Louise Styles (street team), self, Bookaholic Holly (blogger), Mick Arnold (street team)

When my first book, Uphill All the Way, came out, in 2004, I don’t think I knew what a book blogger was.

Now, twelve years and nine books later, I consider a blogger/author meet up in a cellar bar in Birmingham city centre a fantastic place to spend a Saturday afternoon, not just for fun, but for the networking. I knew a lot of the bloggers personally, a lot more I’d only met online till the event (but I’m very happy to ‘make it real’), and some were completely new to me.

Book bloggers have a huge appetite for books, they read widely, they’re enthusiastic about authors, they make contacts with publishers, and they spend a lot of hours reviewing books and maintaining fabulous, interesting, well-read blogs. They also network with other book bloggers and utilise social media to get news of reviews, interviews and giveaways out there. It’s a real labour of love.

WebUphill All The Way2When Uphill was published, the publicist was chasing a few coveted review spots in newspapers and magazines. Now, there are enough book bloggers to go around, ‘blog tours’ can be organised to reach as many readers as possible. NetGalley is a conduit to make review copies available. The electronic world has opened these opportunities up.

What’s not to love?

But what do book bloggers get out of the deal? They get to read a lot of great books, either pre-publication or early in a book’s life, they get invited to launch parties and to events at big publishing houses, they get access to their favourite authors, they join authors’ street teams.

It’s a lovely symbiotic relationship. And, for me, a reason to spend Saturday afternoon in a bar talking about books. (As if I needed one.)

Blog:Auth meet Brum Jan 15

Team Sue Moorcroft members, L to R: Louise Styles, self, Mick Arnold, Kim Nash (who’s also blogger Kim the Bookworm and organiser of the meet up) and Mark West (also an author and blogger).

 

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