Monthly Archives: October 2016

Carole Blake

This week publishing has lost a bright light and an incredible woman. Carole Blake eased my way into becoming a client of the fantastic Blake Friedmann agency by introducing me to my agent, Juliet Pickering, which led to my contracts with Avon HarperCollins, Fischer, Bazar and with another possibility waiting in the wings. The loss is personal to me but so much more so to her family, colleagues at the agency, and her clients. My friend Liz Fenwick speaks movingly of Carol on the Vulpes Libres blog:

Vulpes Libris

Yesterday, the publishing world was stunned by the news of the sudden death of Carole Blake, co-founder of the Literary Agency Blake Friedmann and author of the perennial best seller, ‘From Pitch to Publication’.

We asked one of the many writers she represented – Liz Fenwick – for her memories of one of the publishing industry’s titans:


Carole and LizAs I write this I’m struggling to believe that a woman of such vitality as Carole isn’t here any more. The world is a lesser place for her loss. She is also someone who is hard to write about without using superlatives – and I can hear her voice in my head, editing me.

But I have to say that she was so vibrant, so loving, so fierce and so passionate, I can’t believe all that energy is gone – and gone far too soon. She had only just celebrated her seventieth…

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Champagne? Or black gunge on the washing machine?

sues-invite-3-bannerSomebody once told me that being an author meant drinking champagne with your publishers one day and cleaning black gunge out of your washing machine next.

I had my own taste of that this week with my launch party on Thursday and housework today!

Let’s focus on the fun stuff. Thursday’s launch party for The Christmas Promise was amazing. I’m going to use this post mainly to share photos with you.

I was amazed and thrilled how many people turned up to support me, buying ALL the books in stock and leaving orders with the store for more. Members of Team Sue Moorcroft,  bloggers, readers, family, and friends from as far back as my primary school. Authors, mainly from the RNA, came out in force.

Ava from The Christmas Promise is a milliner and Abigail Crampton, who had made the millinery research very easy for me, made my beautiful cocktail hat especially for the evening. Here we go with the pics!


book-launch-the-christmas-promise-11And for those who are interested in how I cleaned the black gunge from the washing machine, I chose a steam cleaner and and an old toothbrush.



Filed under Book bloggers, hats, Launch, millinery, Paperback, Romantic Novelists' Association, Team Sue Moorcroft, The Christmas Promise

How I trended on Twitter with #TheChristmasPromise

Take Five Authors

The 6th of October saw the ebook release of The Christmas Promise and #MyPromise is that the morning passed  in a blur of social media activity. Although I’m a touch typist and once worked as a copy taker on a sports paper (i.e. I type quickly) I could hardly keep up with Twitter.

Screen Shot 2016-10-13 at 16.37.00.png

The blog tour had begun, the first reviews were in ‘wildest dreams’ territory and it seemed that everyone I know Tweeted to wish me well. And the result was:


#TheChristmasPromise trended on Twitter for over two hours. The Digital Media Manager Tweeted this:


My editor emailed me, my agent Tweeted me, I kept checking Twitter’s sidebar and it kept being up there. Talk about exciting!

And now you might want me to tell you how it was achieved. The problem is, I’m not sure. There must be so many factors influencing it, not least of which is what else was…

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Porn Bombing: The Worrying New Face of Revenge Porn

What is ‘porn bombing’? It’s the sharing of explicit images directly onto your social media feed without your knowledge or permission.

My Facebook timeline was porn-bombed. One Friday morning no-holds-barred videos of a woman having sex with several men appeared amongst my usual posts.

An aghast friend texted me frantic warnings. Unfortunately, her phone had been on the table at a coffee shop so an elderly lady nearby was visibly shocked. Although I couldn’t control what had happened I apologised profusely for the embarrassment.

I rushed to delete the posts, bumbling and fumbling through this new experience, with Facebook friends advising me whether and when the posts were disappearing. Several frantic minutes later the last of the posts disappeared.

I took a breath and turned my attention to where the material had come from. The person who had ‘shared on the timeline of …’ hadn’t troubled to hide his identity, probably because it was never genuine. He’d ‘friended’ me three weeks earlier and quickly followed up with private messages asking to know me better. Not welcoming his approaches I’d disabled chat for him and thought it enough.

I presume the porn bombing was his retaliation. A note to me that I couldn’t ignore him and get away with it.

Belatedly, I blocked his account and reported him to Facebook.

I ran into my zumba class late, explaining breathlessly. I was dismayed to learn my instructor had not only seen the images on my timeline … but her little boy had been in the room. I made with the profuse apologies again.

As soon as I could return to Facebook I posted an apology to anybody who might have seen the explicit images. I have to confess the subsequent comments contained a little drollery, largely based on an assumption that the female participant was a willing sex industry worker.

christmass-promiseI was concerned with my embarrassment, my obligation to apologise and the disruption to my working day but finally I turned to my work, the editing of The Christmas Promise. A prominent theme of the book is ‘revenge porn’, the sharing of intimate images of a person without their knowledge and with the intention to cause distress. It’s a reprehensible crime that humiliates the victims and the case histories I’d read had made me want to illuminate it in my writing.

My mind flew back to the videos. I realised the woman’s had been the only body apparently owning a face. Had she known she was being filmed? Or how the material would be used? Or had some tiny camera been trained on her without her knowledge and the men’s faces later edited out? If so, a private life to which the woman is entitled had been converted into a public humiliation that left my moment of dismay seem miniscule.

I’ll never know the woman’s role in her intimate image reaching the eyes of a countless number but, annoyed at how easy it had been for my timeline to become a vehicle, I could at least investigate what I could do to protect it in future.

I looked into changing my Facebook settings to ‘Friends’ or ‘Friends of friends’ but have always chosen ‘public’ for a reason: I want my posts to be read. I’m an author and creative writing tutor and welcome friend requests from readers, other writers, book bloggers, industry professionals, students and all kinds of interesting people, whether I know them in real life or not, with a smattering of local friends, old school friends and workmates sprinkled in. The strategy creates a pleasingly vibrant combination of networking, promo, research, chat and minutia.

My research led me to take three steps:

I went to Settings then Timeline and tagging and decreed that only friends could post on my timeline and no such post would appear until I’d approved it via my activity log.

I began to vet Facebook friend requests. My red flags became:

  • we share no or few mutual friends
  • his/her posts are not visible unless after I accept a friend request
  • claims of being in the American military
  • garbled profiles that probably came through translation software.

I’ve adopted a policy of instantly unfriending and blocking people who try an engage me in back-channel conversation of the ‘Hey beautiful! I’d like to get to know you!’ variety.

These small measures have changed my Facebook experience for the better. I’ve been able to block people trying to sully my timeline with attempts to sell knock-off designer sunglasses and another attempt at porn bombing.

If the female in those porn videos was a victim of unscrupulous sexual partners then here’s at least one pair of eyes she’s unlikely to reach in future.


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#Blogtour launch: #TheChristmasPromise by @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #review #guestpost — Being Anne…

Reblogging today from the fantastic Being Anne blog. Anne kicked off the blog tour for The Christmas Promise with this wonderful review. What a way to begin! Thank you, Anne.

There’s always something rather special about being asked to launch a blog tour on publication day – and today gives me even more pleasure than usual. I’ve been a fan of Sue Moorcroft’s wonderful books since crying over Judith and Giorgio in Uphill All The Way (such a long time ago…!), I could run tours…

via #Blogtour launch: #TheChristmasPromise by @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #review #guestpost — Being Anne…

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The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

A fantastic review of The Christmas Promise from lovely Linda Hill at Linda’s Book Bag.

Linda's Book Bag


I am thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations for The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft. The Christmas Promise was published yesterday, 6th October 2016, by Avon Books, an imprint of Harper Collins, and is available in e-book and paperback from your local Amazon site and by following the publisher links here.

Sue Moorcroft has previously been kind enough to give an interview to Linda’s book Bag which you can read here. Today, Sue has provided a highly thought provoking guest blog on the dangers of over-sharing.

As part of the celebrations for The Christmas Promise, I’m not only reviewing but I’m making my own promise too:


The Christmas Promise


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.

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#bookhangover with Sue Moorcroft @suemoorcroft

Chatting about hangovers with Emma The Little Bookworm! Thanks for hosting me, Emma.

Emma The Little Bookworm

I am so excited to welcome the brilliant author, Sue Moorcroft onto to my #bookhangover feature today, Sue has had a mega busy week, jetting around the country for free tea and cake where ever it’s on offer and I’m sure you’ll have seen her round atRachel’s placethis morning talking all thing Truth or Lie and now it’s time tosee what gets her all off kilter!

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Sue Moorcroft. As a novelist I write women’s commercial fiction and my current contract is with Avon. I also write short stories, serials, writing ‘how to’, columns and courses and I’m a writing tutor. I’ve won a Readers Best Romantic Read award and the Katie Fforde Bursary.

What gives you an actual hangover?

Any alcohol past my limit! I’m a bit of a lightweight. Gin and tonic is probably the drink that affects…

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What happens on publication day?

It’s really not like me to blog on two consecutive days – but then it has been a while since I’ve had a publication day so I’m making the most of this one.

the-christmas-promiseThe Christmas Promise is released in ebook form today and here’s how this morning has gone.

I thought that having done a lot of work on Ebook Publication Day’s Eve, scheduling in Tweets to play out over the day and asking people to share their promises on social media using the hashtag #MyPromise, I’d get a nice measured start to Ebook Publication Day. This would have worked … if I hadn’t had to begin the day as I ended yesterday – wrestling with my newsletter software!

It doesn’t usually matter which day a newsletter goes out but on this occasion I’d run a campaign to get newsletter sign ups, #MyPromise being a competition to win a signed proof copy of The Christmas Promise. And the competition was supposed to run today, 6 October, Ebook Publication Day. I finally got the newsletter out – maybe the swearing did the trick – and turned my attention to Twitter. Twitter kept me busy till lunch time!

Lots of people were retweeting this fabulous review from Anne Williams on Being Anne, kicking off the blog tour; others were sharing their promises or pictures of themselves in hats. And some were showing their credentials as just lovely people by wishing me a Happy Publication Day.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-10-57-21 The big excitement of the morning was when #TheChristmasPromise trended for a couple of hours on Twitter!

Then people began to Tweet to tell me I was trending. My editor and agent both emailed congratulations and my little fingers flew over the keyboard trying to keep up with everyone’s lovely messages.

Finally, the book arrived on my e-reader – I’d kind of forgotten that I’d ordered it so it gave me a peculiar little thrill to see it download and learn from social media that lot of people were experiencing the same thing.

I’m going back to my social media accounts now but thank you to everybody who has supported me with messages, shares, promises or pics, today.

And, most especially, thank you to the readers who buy the book.




Filed under Avon Books UK, Book bloggers, ebook, Launch, publication day, The Christmas Promise

Hattiness is a state of mind

Since I decided to give Ava Bliss in The Christmas Promise the career of milliner I’ve taken a lot more interest in hats. Before I go further, here’s a quick summary of terms:


But, basically, Ava makes hats for people, to order, by hand. Abigail Crampton of Abigail Crampton Millinery was my research source and now she’s making a couture hat for me! A cocktail hat, very evening-y and gorgeous. I’ve had the first consultation and on Tuesday I’m visiting her studio again for a fitting. (Pause for excited shiver.) I had a wonderful time trying on Abigail’s sample hats and choosing colour, fabric, shape and decoration. I can’t wait to see the next step!

Meanwhile, the fab team at Avon Books UK sent out lots of fun DIY hat-making kits and here’s what I came up with from mine:


I can see your looks of astonished admiration from here! 🙂 (If I squint a lot.)

Tomorrow (6 October) is ebook publication day, which is mahoosively thrilling. (Trying to find synonyms for exciting.) Oh, go on then, I’ll remind you what the ebook cover looks like:


The paperback and audio book will be published on the 1st December but don’t forget that you have one exclusive opportunity to grab the paperback well ahead of publication at a special event in Nottingham:


Stock has been released to this store for this special event so why not come along and help me launch the book? I’ll be happy to sign all books purchased, of course! (A signed book makes a lovely Christmas present.) NB I will be wearing the hat Abigail makes me to the launch rather than the one I made myself …

Huge thanks to all the lovely readers who have already ordered The Christmas Promise.

If you’d like to buy, too, you can choose your favourite platform here.


Filed under Avon Books UK, Cover, ebook, hats, Launch, millinery, Paperback, Preorder, publication day, The Christmas Promise