Tag Archives: Sue Moorcroft

HOLT Medallion – finalist

I recently received a lovely email from the Virginia Romance Writers to say that Under the Italian Sun has been selected as a finalist in the Holt Medallion Contest!

The list of all finalists can be found here, and my category is Novel with Strong Romantic Elements.

The HOLT Medallion Award was named for Virginia Romance Writers’ first president, Cynthia Holt, and is also the acronym for Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent. It has been awarded annually since 1995.

A panel of romance readers select the winning books in the twelve categories. They look for a good read, a book they’d buy and an author they’d follow. The aim is to reflect the actual marketplace. I’m delighted to have my book shortlisted on this criteria!

The winning authors are awarded a pewter medallion featuring a Dogwood blossom, the Virginia state flower, in a laurel wreath on the pages of an open book, a heart, and a scroll with the inscription “HOLT.”

HOLT Medallion Winners and Award of Merit Finalists will be announced on June 4 2022, so cross your fingers for me!

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Writing Romantic Fiction at Swanwick, Writers’ Summer School @swanwickwriters

This August, I’ll be enjoying a week at Swanwick, Writers’ Summer School – and leading the Writing Romantic Fiction course.

I love Swanwick. There’s always a wealth of courses and sessions and a host of writers to chat to over meals or in the bar. I use it as a writing retreat but love the evening speakers and winding down at the end of the day with a mindfulness session. You can find out more here, and take a look at this year’s programme here.

I should have been delivering the Writing Romantic Fiction course last year, but Covid got me, so I was delighted to be invited this year instead.

Here’s the course blurb:

Swanwick, Writers’ Summer School website

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Event news: ‘Ladies of Letters’, Rothwell Library, Northamptonshire, 16 Feb 2022

I’m looking forward to this in-person event at Rothwell Library in Northamptonshire with fellow authors Jane Isaac and N V Peacock. The evening will be hosted by Mark West, author of thrillers and chillers. I love events that include refreshments because there are ALWAYS chocolate biscuits. Somehow, I’ve persuaded myself that whatever I eat at an event doesn’t contain calories.

As you see from this lovely poster, you can email or call in to purchase tickets. I know they’re selling well, so don’t miss out.

The authors will be happy to chat, answer questions, sell and sign their books, etc. Come along! We’d love to see you.

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Who reads Christmas books? #AmReading #AmWriting #RespectRomFic

Image showing book covers for Under the Mistletoe, The Christmas Promise, Christmas Wishes, The Little Village Christmas, A Christmas Gift and Let it Snow.

When I decided to write a post about Christmas books, I first solicited feedback from two large, active readers’ groups on Facebook. I asked: ‘If you read Christmas-themed books, whether they’re romance-at-Christmas or crime-at-Christmas, can you tell me why?’

Overwhelmingly, the most popular answer was:

  • ‘I love Christmas books!’

Almost as popular was:

  • to get in the Christmas mood and/or feel immersed in the season of goodwill.

Others included:

  • reading Christmas books is a part of the run-up to Christmas, a tradition
  • many Christmas books have happy endings, increasing the positive feelings (this possibly isn’t true of crime-at-Christmas)
  • to reflect on the spirit of Christmas
  • to ‘live’ the sort of Christmas the reader would like to have, but doesn’t, including having a vicarious Christmas if spending the season alone
  • escapism – Christmas books tend to focus on what’s important: family, charity, hope and community, rather than commercialism
  • Christmas books are frequently uplifting
  • they heighten the romance of the season.

Stanley Unwin said: “The first duty of any publisher to their authors is to remain solvent,” so it’s not hard to see why publishers publish Christmas books. Christmas stories sell in large numbers. Most of mine have charted in the Official UK Top 50, UK Kindle Top 100 (one went to #1) and some the Top 20 Mass-Market Fiction. Magazines, newspapers and websites include them in Christmas gift guides. The season is short but intense.

I write Christmas books, and not just because they sell. (Here comes the writing bit.) I think my ‘plotty head’ recognises the possibilities arising from the heightened stakes of a book set at Christmas time.

I view it like this: during the festive season, good things seem better and bad things seem worse.

Let’s take an example of ‘good’ – a couple getting engaged at Christmas. Their wonderful news only doubles the celebrations; they meet more friends and family at Christmas and each time make their announcement, show off the rings, talk about future plans. A Christmas engagement is memorable and romantic, bedecking Cloud Nine with glitter and fairy lights.

On the other hand, how bad does it feel to get a redundancy notice in the week before Christmas? The good time had by others highlights the plight of the character who’s lost their job and money woes leap into hard focus. How will the Christmas credit card bill be paid, the Christmas food bill, the tickets for the latest Christmas movie or fuelling the car for Christmas visits across country? The January pay packet may be the last for a while. Family members are about to be let down just when they were expecting to be flying high.

This heightening of stakes makes my plotting life easier. Contrasts between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ are greater (hence Charles Dickens writing A Christmas Carol to bring attention to the plight of the poor), conflicts are tougher, celebrations more joyous, goals more important. A bad Christmas experience can taint Christmas forevermore… unless a novelist comes along to weave into the story a reason to enjoy Christmas again and for scars to be healed.

For me, writing Christmas books has an unexpected benefit – I’m part of so many Christmases! People read my books to get in the festive spirit and gift them to each other (there are few things easier to wrap than a book). If someone messages me with a request to buy a signed copy they often ask, ‘Do you mind?’

No, I don’t mind – I’m delighted! It’s a privilege to be, in a small way, part of Christmas. 

Image of more Christmas books

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#Bookbargains for August – UK, US and Canada

I’m not sure why I haven’t thought of putting special offers on my books on my blog before. It’s always nice to know about bargain books, isn’t it? Some of these offers end on 31st August so you’ll need to be quick!

Under the Italian Sun on is down to 99p on UK Kindle. Grab your chance to travel to Italy with Zia and discover all her family secrets.

Download Under the Italian Sun for 99p here

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A Summer to Remember is also on Kindle promo.

Download your copy of A Summer to Remember for 99p in the UK

Or for 99c in the US

Or for 99c in Canada

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Good old Starting Over, the first Middledip book, has joined the 99p offering.

Download your copy of Starting over for 99p

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Summer on a Sunny Island is also on promo in the UK.

Download your copy of Summer on a Sunny Island for 99p

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Just for the Holidays is available for free download for Kindle Unlimited customers.
Download your copy of Just for the Holidays free on Kindle Unlimited

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And, lastly, One Summer in Italy is free on Prime Reading!

Download One Summer in Italy free on Prime Reading or get the ebook for £2.99

HAPPY READING!

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#UnderTheItalianSun is 99p in the Kindle Monthly Deal! @AvonBooksUK @BlakeFriedmann

Just to let you know that Under the Italian Sun is a Kindle book bargain, this month, and can be downloaded for 99p.

It’s already been to #28 in the paperback Official Top Fifty in the UK, which made me very happy. HUGE thanks to everybody who bought it and therefore put it there.

If you’d prefer to read Under the Italian Sun on your Kindle and grab a summery ‘escape through the pages’ to a sunny plateau above an Italian vineyard, then now’s the time to buy.

Download Under the Italian Sun for 99p here

Enjoy your journey to a place full of secrets and passions – happy reading!

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Publication day for #UnderTheItalianSun @AvonBooksUK @BFLAgency

It’s publication day!

Under the Italian Sun hits shelves and devices today and I hope readers enjoy the escape to a sunny plateau high above a vineyard in Italy.

It was an absolute pleasure to write this book. Everyone else had to stay close to home but every day I could leave … at least in my imagination. Bodily I might have been in my study in England but in my head I was with Zia as she drove to Italy to search out Lucia Costa, the woman who she thought was partly responsible for Zia’s mouthful of a name – Zia-Lucia Costa Chalmers.

Lucia’s also the woman Zia thinks holds the key to who Zia’s till-then-unknown father is and even which Victoria Chalmers is actually Zia’s mother. Lucia loved Zia as a baby … but how will they get on now Zia’s a woman? Lucia, like her neighbour Piero, is fighting to keep her home, a fight Zia sometimes helps and occasionally unwittingly hinders. And Piero’s fighting so hard he almost lets Zia slip through his fingers.

I thoroughly enjoyed weaving the mystery of Zia’s past and whether she can find a family and a future in Italy. I hope it carries you away, as it did me.

Under the Italian Sun is available in ebook, audio and paperback.
Get it at bookshops, supermarkets and online retailers or using the links below:

Buy Under the Italian Sun in the UK in paperback

Download Under the Italian Sun in the UK as an ebook

Buy Under the Italian Sun in the UK as an audiobook

Buy Under the Italian Sun in the US in paperback

Download Under the Italian Sun in the US as an ebook

Buy Under the Italian Sun in the US as an audiobook

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Step into Spring #giveaway

Step into Spring #Giveaway

If you’d like to be in with a chance of of winning a signed book, sign-up to this great giveaway now! (Ends 23 May 2021)

It costs you nothing and and might gain you something good. Go for it!

Click here to enter the giveaway page

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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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#ChristmasWishes ebook publication day!

Cover image Christmas Wishes
Christmas Wishes

Such an exciting day when a book first goes on sale! Thanks to all the lovely NetGalley users who have already given Christmas Wishes so many great reviews.

Christmas Wishes is available for download in the UK now.

Join Hannah in her journeys between beautiful snowy Sweden and cosy Middledip as her life in Stockholm fragments and the village calls her back. Nico’s downshifted to Middledip too as he has two children to care for and an eating disorder to cope with. Will any of their wishes come true?

Image: When it came to Hannah's turn she found herself making one of those wishes that are half-formed in the back of your mind, a yearning you've hardly admitted to yourself.

If you’d prefer to await the paperback or audio versions then they’ll be coming along on November 12th 2020.

Download Christmas Wishes on Amazon UK

Download Christmas Wishes on Apple UK

Download Christmas Wishes on Kobo UK

To double the excitement, today’s also publication day in Italy for La vacanza che cambiò la mia vita – which was A Christmas Gift in the UK. Buongiorno to my Italian readers and I hope they enjoy meeting Georgine and Joe.

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