Monthly Archives: February 2016

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. 🙂


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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