Monthly Archives: November 2020

The Last Charm Paperback Publication Day!

It’s my pleasure to reblog Ella Allbright’s publication day blog. As well as sharing a paperback publication day for The Last Charm for her and Christmas Wishes for me, we are niece and aunt. (For avoidance of doubt, I’m the aunt.)

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UK Publication day for paperback and audio #ChristmasWishes

Christmas wishes paperback
Christmas Wishes paperback

Hooray! Today Christmas Wishes is available in paperback and audio!

Hannah’s lost her shop in Stockholm and her fink of an ex-boyfriend is trying to swindle her. She returns to Middledip village to look after Nan Heather while she decides what happens next in her life and becomes embroiled with the family of her teen-years buddy Nico. He’s trying to work out what happens next in his life, too. Wishes are easy to make but it’s harder to make them come true…

The paperback should be available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrison’s, W H Smith, Waterstones and many independent bookshops. It’s a special treat for me to see one of my books on the shelves.

You might know that there’s now an online presence for independent bookshops called Bookshop.org and you can buy Christmas Wishes there, too, thereby supporting bricks and mortar stores.

Julia Winwood
Julia Winwood

The audiobook has been narrated by Julia Winwood and I love this pic of her beginning the recording. She was one of the narrator’s for the recent adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman so I feel cool by association.

Christmas Wishes audiobook

You might know that the ebook of Christmas Wishes has been out for a couple of weeks and is currently selling for 99p.

Have a wonderful day, everyone. Publication day is always a red letter day for me.

Buy the Christmas Wishes paperback from Amazon or Bookshop.org or WH Smith

Buy the Christmas Wishes ebook from Amazon or Apple or Kobo

Buy Christmas Wishes in audiobook from Audible or Kobo

To add to the excitement today, for the first time I’m sharing a publication day with my talented niece, Ella Allbright, who you might already know as Nikki Moore. The Last Charm has awesome reviews and if you love deeply emotional fiction it might be for you! It’s been out in ebook for a while but today is the paperback release. Congratulations, Ella!

Front cover image of The Last Charm by Ella Allbright
The Last Charm by Ella Allbright

Buy The Last Charm by Ella Allbright in paperback on Amazon

Buy The Last Charm by Ella Allbright in paperback on Bookshop.org

Buy The Last Charm by Ella Allbright in paperback at WH Smith

Buy The Last Charm by Ella Allbright in paperback at Waterstones

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#WritingTip: Sue Moorcroft’s recipe for a short story

Writing tip

I’ve written a lot of short stories. I’d sold 87 and a serial before I ever sold a novel and I stopped counting sales when I passed 150. I edited two short story anthologies for the Romantic Novelists’ Association and I’ve led many short story workshops. During that process I’ve distilled my short story ‘recipe’.

  • In the Encyclopaedia Britannica, a short story is defined as concerning a single episode. The simplest way of observing the single-episode structure is to write about one conflict or puzzle.
  • I decide on the conflict or puzzle I’m going to write about
  • and decide whose conflict/puzzle it is. 
  • That person will be my central character, ie I’m writing their story.
  • I give the central character the viewpoint
  • begin at a point of change or significance and plunge into the story.
  • I make the central character work out how to solve the conflict/puzzle herself or himself
  • via a pivotal moment (which you might prefer to think of as a turning point or the key) 
  • to trigger the resolution.
  • Rather than ‘ending’, I think ‘conclusion’. NB For some reason I don’t think too much about themes or messages in short stories, although I do when writing a novel. I have no idea why not … maybe they just arise out of somebody solving a conflict.

Getting structure into my short story

Before I begin I express my idea in three points. Either

  1. conflict 
  2. pivotal moment 
  3. resolution. 

Or:

  1. puzzle 
  2. key 
  3. revelation.

I think carefully in commercial terms. Is the conflict correct for the genre and the magazine or anthology I’m writing for? Are the characters? The ending? If I’m writing a short story as a promotional tool for my novels, is it in the same vein and voice?

Now I write only a few short stories each year but that’s more about lack of time than lack of inclination. Short stories have a lovely pure-story feel to writing them.

Writing short stories for writing competitions

This isn’t something I did much, to be honest, but I know a lot of people met success and reward via competitions. However, I was the head fiction judge at Writers’ Forum for five years and when asked for my tips for entrants would say:

  • Follow the rules. This sounds obvious but it’s amazing how often I’d receive 5000 words when there was a 3000-word maximum.
  • Write the type of story the judges are looking for. At Writers’ Forum it was all about story (probably because I was the judge) but I also judged competitions for Writing Magazine and for various other organisations. In that time I received what amounted to essays on a subject or theme or the first chapter of a novel and stories that were nothing to do with the stated subject or title.
  • Make your story stand out. I once had to read about 200 stories concerning Emily visiting the Falkland Islands. You’ve no idea how I appreciated those with an original approach. In about 160 of them poor Emily was visiting in memory of her lost love or family member. Whilst I had every sympathy for her it became hard to feel enthused.
  • Submit in time for the deadline, if there is one.
  • Send the correct fee, if there is one.
  • Don’t attach a discourteous note to the judge. (Yes, seriously, this happens.)
  • Don’t attach a discourteous note to the magazine. (Ditto.)
  • Write a fantastic first page, the best you possibly can. When you’re up against maybe a hundred other stories you don’t want to make it easy for the judge to put your story down.

Good luck!

If you liked this post you may also like:

Should I write a prologue?

What happens in Chapter One?

Chapter Two and beyond

Final Chapter(s) and (possible) Epilogue 

Act, react and interact – breathing life into my characters

My plotty head, Fiction Land and my dad

Descriptive writing

Learn about publishing

Agent or no agent?

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Publication day interview with author M W Arnold @mick859 @WildRosePress

Hi Mick,

Welcome to my blog. We’ve known each other a long time and it’s my pleasure to welcome you to talk about your writing and your brand new book, A Wing and a Prayer. Congratulations on its publication today!

Hi Sue. Firstly, may I say a big thank you for hosting me on your blog, this is quite an honour and a pleasure.

Tell us a little about your background.

Well, I went straight into the Royal Air Force from school and stayed, quite happily traversing the world, for the next 16 years. I really have to thank the Queen for paying for my excursions, if we ever meet. I had a wonderful time! I then left as I’d been married for the last 5 years and the Lady Wife and I had lived in 4 different married quarters so it was time to settle down. I’m still not certain I’m used to being a civvie yet!

What made you write about the Air Transport Auxiliary rather than the Royal Air Force? You served with the RAF for many years, didn’t you?

It was pure chance. I know you’ve probably heard that from a few authors, that they stumbled into a project – well, I really did. I’d been pretty ill and hadn’t been able to pick up any of my unfinished projects. Then it was suggested that I try something new, something which didn’t bring back bad memories. I happened to be watching a television program about the ATA, ‘Spitfire Women’, and the next thing I know, I’m fishing around on the internet. By the end of the day, I had a rough outline of a story and a number of characters fleshed out. My interest in that time period came in handy and before I knew what was really happening, I was tapping away. 

How did you feel when you were offered a contract by Wild Rose Press? Had you published other books already?

My flabber was well and truly gasted! You could have knocked me down with a feather. I had a romantic drama published back in December 2017 and shortly after, that’s when my ill health kicked in. When the contract offer came through, I suppose that was when I first started to think that, perhaps, just maybe, I am an author.

I know the next book’s already underway. Tell us a little about that. Does it follow on?

Book 2 is finished and now with my editor, actually, and is set about 6 months later, around May 1943. This one is more personal, in that the characters find themselves in more peril than the first. There’s a meeting with a big US movie star where things don’t go as planned and which the mystery – a little more minor than in ‘A Wing and a Prayer’ – is centred around. One of the girls gets married and then has to deal with the broken relationship that’s her little sister. I guess that’s what this one is all about, the various relationships between the girls and their various friends and siblings. We see the best of people in the worst of situations I like to think, here.

Do you have a plan to write more books after that to make a series?

When the contract offer came in, I swiftly got to know my editor and pitched some ideas to her. This one is now officially subtitled, ‘Broken Wings – book 1’, so I guess it looks like it. With book 2 with my editor, I’m about a quarter to a third of the way through the first draft of book 3; and this is the Christmas one! I’m having a lot of fun researching and writing this one, especially in making sure my American character gets the full-on mid-war yuletide. I don’t think she knows what she’s let herself in for!

Thanks for coming over to chat and celebrating your achievement.

Many, thanks again for having me, Sue. I’ve had a wonderful time.

The Air Transport Auxiliary Mystery Club!

Four ladies of the Air Transport Auxiliary bond over solving the mystery of who was responsible for the death of one’s sister. Battling both internal forces and those of the country’s mutual enemies, the women find that both love and dangers are cousins cut from the same ilk.

This is a sweeping story of love, death and betrayal set against the backdrop of war when ties of friendship are exceptionally strong.

Image of M W Arnold
M W Arnold

A Wing and a Prayer – Extract

“Mind the duck!”

Mary’s warning was a smidgeon too late. Betty turned her head toward the shout just when she needed to do the exact opposite and keep her eyes on the path. 

“Aargh!” cried Betty as she was sent sprawling to the ground. 

A loud, angry, “Quack! Quack!” was followed by a flurry of wings and feathers as the slightly stunned duck half flew and half staggered to the sanctuary provided by the river. 

“I did tell her to watch out for the duck,” Mary muttered in her own defense as they rushed to help Betty to her feet. 

Penny and Doris took an arm each as Mary reached to retrieve Betty’s handbag. It had landed precariously close to the edge of the river, and the dastardly duck was snuffling at it before Mary seized it and handed it back to Betty. 

“Mary!” cried Betty. “Grab that envelope!” 

Swiveling, Mary saw a large brown envelope and stooped for it before it could fall into the water. “Got it!” she yelled, waving it in the air. Unfortunately, the envelope being upside down, the contents spilled onto the ground around her, luckily missing going into the river. She bent down to pick them up and was surprised to discover they were all newspaper cuttings.  

Buy A Wing and a Prayer on Amazon UK

Buy A Wing and a Prayer on Amazon US

Buy A Wing and a Prayer on Amazon Aus

Buy A Wing and a Prayer on iBooks

Author Bio 

Mick Arnold is a hopeless romantic who spent fifteen years roaming around the world in the pay of HM Queen Elisabeth II in the RAF before putting down roots. This he’s replaced somewhat with his writing, including reviewing books and supporting fellow saga and romance authors in promoting their novels. 

https://www.facebook.com/MWArnoldAuthor

Twitter – mick859

Instagram – mick859

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