Monthly Archives: March 2017

Cover reveal!

Here it is! I’ve been dying to show you this for ages – the cover of Just for the Holidays.

 

 

JFTH Ebook cover

ebook cover of Just for the Holidays to be released on 18 May 2017 (Avon, HarperCollins)

I’m thrilled with such a stunning cover.

The paperback, which will be released on the same day as the ebook, will have lots of lovely purple foil and I can’t wait to have a copy in my hands! (For those of you who like audiobooks, it, too, will be released on 18 May 2017.)

 

Here’s the blurb:

The #1 bestselling author returns for summer! Grab your sun hat, a cool glass of wine, and the only book you need on holiday…

In theory, nothing could be better than a summer spent basking in the French sun. That is, until you add in three teenagers, two love interests, one divorcing couple, and a very unexpected pregnancy.

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the relaxing holiday Leah Beaumont was hoping for – but it’s the one she’s got. With her sister Michele’s family falling apart at the seams, it’s up to Leah to pick up the pieces and try to hold them all together.

But with a handsome helicopter pilot staying next door, Leah can’t help but think she might have a few distractions of her own to deal with…

A glorious summer read, for you to devour in one sitting – perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

Whether your holidays plans this year will involve somewhere exotic or a ‘staycation’ at home, I think that Leah’s holiday will make your summer look better. You can already pre-order Just for the HolidaysGrab your sunscreen!

And for those of you who followed my adventures in a helicopter, it’s this book I was researching!

 

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Filed under Cover, Cover reveal, ebook, Just for the Holidays, Paperback, Preorder

Bad Train Behaviour is not OK

My home’s only an hour out of London by train, which I visit regularly both for business and pleasure.

I suppose we all have our ‘train behaviour’ pet peeves. I’m irritated by the seat partner who not only takes over the central arm rest but overshoots it to intrude into my space. Or the passenger who watches a movie on a device and doesn’t bother with ear buds, so I’m subjected to the soundtrack whether I like it or not. But these pale into insignificance in comparison to noisy, aggressive drunks.

In my view, being a noisy, aggressive drunk is not OK. And it doesn’t make it OK if the noisy drunks are mature men wearing expensive-looking suits with First Class tickets.

Here’s a message to the mature men wearing expensive-looking suits in First Class on the 8pm out of St. Pancras on Thursday 16th March from the woman travelling alone who got up and changed carriages to avoid you.

It wasn’t OK that you crashed around the carriage bellowing and laughing, that when a fellow passenger asked you to consider others you rounded on him collectively and aggressively and showed him with cold clarity that it was a fight he could only lose. It wasn’t OK that you bought more alcohol from the buffet – your journey to Bedford was only 40 minutes’ long! It wasn’t OK when you whipped yourselves up to fresh anger over being asked to quieten down, making audible intimidating remarks. It wasn’t OK that you used obscene language so loudly that even when I put my earbuds on and listened to Green Day I could still hear you.

After I’d gathered up my coat and suitcase and moved to the next carriage I did complain to the train manager about you. He was great. Other passengers had complained and he’d spoken to you about your boorish behaviour. He spoke to you again and returned to my new location several times to reassure me.

But, mature men wearing expensive-looking suits in First Class on the 8pm out of St. Pancras on Thursday 16th March, it’s not that I was scared of you. You were just unpleasant to be near and I objected to being subjected to your obnoxiousness. I’d had a busy four days in London and I wanted to read for an hour, not have to listen to your inane braying and self-important posturing or feel unsettled by your anger.

I don’t suppose you’ll read this. You might not recognise yourselves if you do. You probably think your behaviour was OK.

But it wasn’t. You need to have a word with yourself. (A quiet one.)

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I Love Dubai! #DubaiLitFest

I accepted an invitation to work at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai without any preconceptions about the country. My itinerary was clear enough – a panel on contemporary women’s fiction, a couple of receptions and outings and three days teaching. With flight times of around seven hours, it was a busy schedule.

But I still had time to fall in love with Dubai.

Dubai marina Sue 2 smallThe landmark style of architecture entranced me. The sunshine was welcome and 25-27c was perfect for me. During my 7-day trip, I don’t think a single person was rude to me, everyone was warm and friendly, I didn’t see a single piece of litter or graffiti. I felt very comfortable and safe.

Dubai’s considered a global crossroads and I can see how it earned that title. It seems that every culture and religion is represented in its populace and, from what I saw, coexisting peacefully. I so wish the rest of the world exhibited the same tolerance as I witnessed in Dubai.

My first evening saw a welcome reception, which included such luminaries as Alan Titchmarsh. Everybody who worked for the Festival was warm and welcoming. They gave me food and wine, so I was happy.

Festival City smallI spent the next morning walking in the sunshine and enjoying the shore of Festival City. There’s a lot of construction in this new area but still plenty to see and enjoy. I didn’t go into the massive mall next door. Honestly. Not then …

Contemp Fic panel, April, Nadya smallIn the afternoon I was part of the Contemporary Fiction panel with April Hardy, who was launching her new book, Kind Hearts and Coriander (very good – I can recommend it) and Nadiya Hussain. Most people know for Nadiya for her triumphant win of the Great British Bake Off but she also writes for children and adults. Her views on writing collaboratively were fascinating.

The hour shot by as our panel, beautifully chaired by journalist Brandy Scott, discussed our work and whether we felt we needed the word ‘women’ in Women’s Contemporary Fiction. The audience were engaged and supplied plenty of questions for the Q&A, laughing in all the right places. A well-organised book signing followed, which was huge fun. Everyone was so willing to chat and, you know, I’m not backward in that department myself.

Saturday was my day off and Diala, a friend I’d made on Facebook, took me out to Jumeira Beach and Dubai Mall.

Jumeira Beach skyscrapers small

Dubai marina Sue 2 small

Jumeira Beach camel small

Dubai Mall small

 

And then came the Start Up Writing course, three days with a group of ten enthusiastic participants. We covered … well, we covered everything, more even than I’d allowed for as the questions poured in during every session.

My teaching was interspersed with sessions from agents, editors and other industry professionals (during which I think I took as many notes as the students). My thanks to editor Charlie Scott of local publisher Motivate, as Charlie came into my room to talk for twenty minutes to my students about opportunities for writers in the Middle East.

Dinner at the Etihad MuseumWe rounded out my part of the Festival with an open-air dinner at the Etihad Museum, listening to honoured guests speaking about what Dubai meant to them. Moving and inspirational.

I’d like to end this post with extending thanks to Yvette Judge and her fantastic team at the Festival, along with the sponsors who make the event possible.

Thank you to my fantastic students.

And some to those who extended the hand of friendship to me during my stay, especially April and Andrew Hardy, Sharmila, Al, Ronita and Monita Mohan, Dial Atat and Ruba Naseraldeen.

Also to Magrudy’s bookshop, which did such a fantastic job all festival long.Sue Magrudy's books small

 

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Filed under Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Teaching, The Christmas Promise