Friday, 29 August 2014

Happy 1st Birthday, Plus One is a Lucky Number

On this day, one year ago, I fulfilled my dream of becoming a published author.

Plus One is a Lucky Number (aka its working title The Wedding Favour) was released as an eBook with Harper Collins' imprint, Harper Impulse on Thursday 29th August 2013. They placed it in their Rom Com/Chick Lit category, and I remember worriedly asking my new editor, Charlotte Ledger, "Is it funny enough?"

Apparently it does have gentle humour throughout. And with 28 reviews on Amazon, the majority of them being four or five stars, I've hopefully done something right. I've had mums in the playground stop and tell me they couldn't put my book down.

Me, Jane, Lorraine & Charlotte - Oct '13 Harper Impulse Party

The lovely thing is that I've joined Harper Impulse with three other members from my Bath & Wiltshire RNA chapter meeting - Lorraine Wilson, Jane Lark and Charlotte Phillips. So I haven't gone in it alone, and they're good sounding boards when I'm not sure about something.

First book signing - 9th Aug 2014

Only recently I actually held my first book signing at Waterstones in Weston-super-Mare. It was a fabulous afternoon with a lot of support from fellow writers and good friends. I blogged about it on the Harper Impulse blog here.

In this year, I have obsessed over reviews and Amazon rankings, even though we're told not to. I've seen it released in paperback (8th May 2014), I've attended the RNA Summer party as a contender for the Joan Hessayon Award.  I've even had cocktails at the Ritz!

Joan Hessayon Contenders - RNA Summer Party May 2014

I have also learnt I will never tire of these two words said together: My editor.

Plus One is a Lucky Number is dedicated to Elizabeth Charles and Star Ostgard. These two women, way back in 2006, encouraged me to start writing. If they hadn't, I wouldn't be here. I'd be somewhere, frustrated and bored... Now I know the voices in my head are normal.

Thank you x

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Summer Holiday Antics and Book Signings

In between Jill Mansell & Lindsey Kelk :)
Dear Lord! I'm neglecting my blog again.

In my defence, it is the school holidays!

And there is only a week left then they are back to school.

I'm not sure if I've got the uniform ready or what. I'm not even sure if they need new school uniform. Tough if they do. I've spent all my money entertaining them.

The boys were with their dad for the first couple of weeks, and in that time I did manage to do my book signing. I wrote the experience up and posted it on the Harper Impulse blog. So check that out too!

It was great! I sold out. I had lots of support from friends. The hardest part was knowing what to write inside the book when signing it.

Below are some of the photos - proof I have been entertaining the kids!

Fact's The Way To Do It, Lad!
I have lots more but I haven't had a chance to download them from my camera yet. But you can see we've been fairly busy. We've seen steam trains, a Victorian home, fairground rides, a Gromit and fed swans. We've played rounders on the beach and even paddled, albeit a bit cold (it's felt like February not August).

I know I'll be glad when the kids are back at school. I'm in need of a rest. Plus, I might actually get back into the habit of writing. All these day trips out are very tiring, and not so good when it comes to trying to write words to a story. The kids have been having late nights, and I've been following very shortly after. September I will write, honest.

GWR Steam Train Museum

Brean Leisure Park

An afternoon on the beach... albeit a bit cold

And of course, Slimbridge. 

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Written Fireside Christmas Blog Hop

It's here, it's August... and it's Christmas... 

This is Written Fireside: Christmas By The Fire.

An InLinkz Link-up

And here is my short story with Georgia Beyers' winning first paragraph...

Naughty But Nice by Teresa F Morgan

Charlotte sat at the bus stop wondering whether she would make the naughty or nice list this year. Last year she had rescued a stray kitten and therefore considered herself most definitely ‘nice’. This year she had broken Daniel’s heart into a million tiny pieces, so ‘naughty’ seemed to be the only answer. There’d be no Santa Claus coming down her chimney anytime soon.
Well, she had a few more days to fix things before Christmas Eve.
Not with Daniel, of course. He so wasn’t right for her.
He can’t have been that devastated either. Molly reported seeing him hanging out with Daisy a week later.
Pfft. Daisy and Daniel.
That’ll never last. Their names together sound so mushy.
Now who’s getting nasty? Santa doesn’t condone nastiness. He’ll tolerate naughty... And jealousy was never your style, Charlotte Templeton. Good luck to Daisy and Daniel.
See, she could do nice.
Maybe sensitive, meek, Daisy will endure Daniel’s sulks.
There you go again, getting nasty.
Maybe he was just that way with her. Charlotte had grown tired of the selfish tantrums if he didn’t get his way, to the point they had started to make her miserable. A relationship was supposed to come easily, happiness was not meant to be a challenge. They were two different species. Compared to the happy, spritely Charlotte, Daniel carried the traits of a demon.
Charlotte tugged up her scarf to cover her nose, then stuffing her gloved hands into the pockets of her wool coat, convinced herself, not for the first time, that she’d made the right decision. Daniel may well have said he loved her, he may have acted really hurt, but he’d never truly shown her his feelings. It had only been words. Charlotte wanted the little gestures; creeping up and giving cuddles from behind, soft kisses on her neck, all those little surprises. He’d not once bought her a bouquet of flowers. You’d have thought she’d been asking for all the toys at Christmas. It had been three months of Charlotte making the effort before she realised she’d been the one working the hardest toward the relationship. As fast as it started, it was over.
“You’re better off on your own,” she mumbled aloud to herself. “Now where is this damn bus?” Probably Santa’s way of punishing her.
She didn’t really want to go to the party. There was a good chance Daniel and Daisy would be there. Molly promised it would be fun, and she should come. She’d thought about driving, but the weather had been atrocious lately, and due to get icy later, plus she could do with some mulled wine to warm her heart. Because apparently, according to Daniel, it was cold.
She fumbled for her phone in her small handbag which was just about big enough to carry the evening’s essentials, pulling the glove off her right hand with her teeth, and dialled the taxi rank’s number – again. It still had an engaged tone. This time of year they were ultra busy. She hoped she’d manage on the bus okay as she was wearing her favourite shoes. Not designed for practicality but for stun factor. They shimmered like stars and added four inches to her average height.
The distinct rumble of a bus coming along the road made Charlotte end the call with the taxi rank and put her phone away, while other hand waved to get the bus to stop.
As the bus halted, lowering to the curb, Charlotte got her purse ready.
“To town, please,” she said, the heat inside the bus hitting her cold face.
“No, a single, please.” Single like me, she nearly added. “The time I’m planning to come home the buses won’t be running.” She chuckled nervously. How bad did that sound? Definitely staying on the naughty list at this rate. “I don’t mean it like that.” Charlotte blushed.
“I know what you mean, twinkle.” The bus driver – old enough to be her dad – winked as he took her money. “Eleven is way too early to come home on a Saturday night, especially this time of year.”
Charlotte settled into her seat as the bus pulled away. And so she didn’t have to make eye contact with any of the passengers, conscious she was over dressed for a bus ride, she text Molly to confirm she was on her way. She was having a hard time breaking her habit of tucking the curled tendrils behind her ear, not used to her auburn hair up in a chignon. Later she wouldn’t care what her hair looked like but, for now, it needed to look its best – at least upon entrance to the party.
“Wow, did you just get off a bus outside the club?” Molly said, thrusting a glass in Charlotte’s hand as soon as she came through the door. Steam rose from the light brown liquid and smelled of spice.
“As if by magic, the driver took one look at my shoes and took pity on me. He insisted the club was en-route, so he’d let me get off outside.” Charlotte sipped the drink and frowned. “What’s this?” It wasn’t mulled wine that Charlotte craved, but it was warm.  
“Mulled cider. I decided to have a change this year. Plus if you spill this down your dress it won’t stain so bad.” Molly patted her gently, and all too knowingly.
“That wasn’t me last year. Some witch barged past me and made me drop my glass.”
“Now, now. We’re all his little helpers.”
Charlotte took a sip and nodded her appreciation. “Okay, this is as good, actually. I’m impressed.”
“Good. Now ditch your coat in the cloakroom and get mingling.”
“Molly, I’m early, there’s hardly anyone here.”
“I want you to help meet and greet – I can’t do it all. But remember, you and I have a date with the dance floor later.”
Molly’s birthday was unfortunately Christmas Day, and so, ever since Charlotte had known her, Molly had always liked to celebrate her birthday earlier. And because she was chief party organiser for the factory, she tended to tie the two in together. It usually worked out to be a great party, although this year Charlotte wasn’t so sure, as she spied Daniel and Daisy entering together, all laughing and loved up. Shame Daisy’s hair made her look like she’d been dragged through a Christmas tree backwards.
Nice, Charlotte. Be nice. It is rather windy outside.
All the same, she’d let Molly say hello to them. Leaning against the bar, Charlotte knocked back the last of her drink. She turned to get the attention of the barman, and elbowed a man already standing at the bar.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said.  
“It’s okay, I was hoping to bump into you tonight.”
“Well, technically, I bumped you.”
“True. Can I buy you a drink?” He had a smooth, deep voice that sent warmth to her bones. Or was that the mulled cider? Charlotte stared, examining his dark brown eyes, the shape of his handsome face. He cheekily smiled, breaking the spell. “I saw you standing all on your lonesome and thought I couldn’t have that. Your shoes are quite a distraction.”
“Just my shoes?”
He chuckled, shaking his head. “Okay, not just the shoes. They caught my attention, and I liked who was wearing them. My name’s Lewis by the way.”
She grinned, and blushed. “I’m Charlotte. And yes, you can buy me a drink. I would like that very much.” Even in her sparkly heels, she still had to look up to study his gorgeous face. “I don’t recognise you, where do you work?”
“I work in the electronics department.”
Charlotte shot a glance at his clasped hands where he leaned against the bar. He had large, strong looking hands, and she wondered how he managed to work on the intricate details of electronics... all that fiddly stuff... then imagined what they could do to her. She swallowed. “Lots of people work in your department though, it’s no wonder I haven’t spotted you. It’s such a growing department.”
“I notice you every day.”
“You do?” Charlotte’s belly filled with butterflies. “But I’m not always wearing these shoes.” She giggled nervously. Usually she wore her favourite black, flat, and very comfortable shoes – nothing noticeable about them. “And I’m way down the office, in the dolls department. Sadly, our department is shrinking.”
“Yeah, kids today, hey?” Lewis gave another cheeky grin.
“They’re growing up too fast, these days wanting electrical gadgets. Gone are the days of wooden trains and plastic dolls with real tears.”
“There’s still a need for them,” Lewis said.
“Yes, but not for long. Children seem to grow out of these toys quicker.” She sighed. At least children under six still wanted toys.  
Totally forgetting her duties to help Molly with the socialising, Charlotte got lost in conversation with Lewis, and they slowly got to know one another. Every now and then she’d have to ask him to repeat what he said, because she’d been too busy looking at his delectable mouth, and not really concentrating on what he was saying. As the venue got busier, they were pushed closer together. She could smell the scent of his cologne; feel his breath on her neck as he talked close to her ear, sending goose bumps over her shoulders and down her arms. Every time he touched her, it wasn’t only her shoes that sparkled.  How had she not noticed this stunning man before?
“Shall we move to somewhere quieter?” Lewis asked, picking up both their glasses off the bar. “There’s a table free over there.”
A tall table stood close to the dance floor. He put the glasses down, and pulled round a solitary high stool for Charlotte to sit at.  She gratefully took the seat, resting her feet on the foot bar. Her shoes maybe good to look at but there was only so long she could stand in them.
“Oh, look, we’re under the mistletoe,” Lewis said with a devious smile. He leaned in and kissed her, gently at first, then, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, their mouths opened, deepening the kiss.
Charlotte wasn’t getting off Santa’s naughty list at this rate, but by Lapland, it was nice.

The End.

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Monday, 4 August 2014

Want to Know Sue Moorcroft's Secrets?

(Did you see what I did there, Sue?) 

So excited! I have Sue Moorcroft on my blog today to talk about her new book, The Wedding Proposal. 

*Takes deep breath and suppresses the inner fangirl* 

Sue, as you know, I’m a huge fan of your books. I love them all, however I would say, Ratty (Miles Rattenbury, Starting Over) is still my favourite hero of yours (closely followed by Martyn Mayfair, Love and Freedom). I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; Every girl needs a guy like Ratty.

How does your new hero, Lucas Rose in The Wedding Proposal compare? Why will we love Lucas?

Thanks for all your kind words, Teresa. I don’t think I’ve ever quite fallen out of love with Ratty.

I think that those readers who liked Ratty, and also Jed from Is This Love?, will like Lucas Rose. He’s the kind of guy who has the courage of his convictions. He thinks right’s right and wrong’s wrong and he hates secrets. He’s the first to admit he has a huge jealous streak. When Elle used to know him he worked in marketing but after a spell in a California vineyard and now working as a divemaster in Malta, he’s let his hair grow. You can usually find him in board shorts and bare feet. It’s quite a look.

I’m loving the premise for The Wedding Proposal. Where do you get your story ideas from? Do events happen in life? Do you meet someone and think they’d be interesting to put in a book?

My ideas come from all over. Something will enter my mind and I’ll explore it and want to write about it. In the case of The Wedding Proposal I decided it was time I set a book in my beloved Malta again and I wanted to write a reunion book. I love reading them. Had I known how much extra plotting was necessary, I may not have been quite so keen … You have to know SO MUCH about the backstory, it’s untrue.

The book is dedicated To anyone who was ever young. And made a mistake. Not being allowed to forget a mistake is the theme of the book. Part of Elle’s story has things in common with my own life – but I won’t tell you which parts.

The story is set in Malta, not Middledip, like most of your books... any particular reason for this?

I just like to ‘be’ in Malta in my mind from time-to-time. When I was a little girl we could see a yacht marina from our balcony and that’s where I have moored the two boats in the book, the Shady Lady and Seadancer. I thought it would be fun to get together two people who parted four years ago and put them on a 42’ boat for the summer, then see what happened.

Having attended your talk on ‘Matchmaking Heroes and Heroines,’ at the RNA conference recently (brilliant workshop by the way), which came first for this book, the hero or the heroine? Then did you build the other to match-make them?

Thank you! I think Elle came first, but, to be honest, my hero and heroine tend to grow in my mind together as I’m interested in their relationship dynamic from the start. Elle and Lucas are not the ‘match made in heaven’ couple, they’re more the ones who butt heads a lot – opposites attract, you could say. That’s my favourite combination and I think it suits alpha male heroes. My heroes are driving forces in my books every bit as much as my heroines.

The big conflict between Elle and Lucas is their differing attitudes to … well, Lucas would call it ‘secrecy’ whereas Elle would call it ‘privacy’. She doesn’t feel the need to expose everything about herself whereas he might sometimes see this, and her self-sufficiency, as rejections of him. I suppose he’s a possessive guy but trying not to be because he knows it’s uncool.

Last silly one; if you were stranded on a desert island with one of your heroes, which one would it be and why?

Wow. Good question. You know, I think it might be Ratty – because he was the first of my heroes who I really truly fell in love with.

PS You didn’t give him his full name in your opening. It’s Miles Arnott-Rattenbury. Under the tattoos and the car oil, he’s pretty middle class, you know!

I am so sorry, Sue. I will admit, I went to the blurb on the back of the book, and took his name from there. Lol! It’s been a while since I’ve read Starting Over, but I think it’s due for a re-read. Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Good luck with The Wedding Proposal. I already have it pre-ordered. :) 

The Wedding Proposal

Can a runaway bride stop running?

Elle Jamieson is an unusually private person, in relationships as well as at work – and for good reason. But when she’s made redundant, with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to a new life in sunny Malta.

Lucas Rose hates secrets – he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less from others. He’s furious when his summer working as a divemaster is interrupted by the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks to his Uncle Simon’s misguided attempts at matchmaking.

Forced to live in close proximity, it’s hard to ignore what they had shared before Lucas’s wedding proposal ended everything they had. But then an unexpected phone call from England allows Lucas a rare glimpse of the true Elle. Can he deal with Elle’s hidden past when it finally comes to light?

Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes. Is this Love? was nominated for the Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue received three nominations at the Festival of Romance 2012, and is a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner. She’s a past vice chair of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.

Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a competition judge and creative writing tutor.

Sue’s latest book The Wedding Proposal is available as an ebook from 4 August 2014 and as a paperback from 8 September.

Twitter @suemoorcroft