Monthly Archives: July 2016

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.


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


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.



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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