Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Welcome to Commercial Author - Sue Moorcroft

I'm delighted to welcome commercial author, Sue Moorcroft, to my blog.


Hello Sue, It was good to connect with you through the Romantic Novelists' Association. The RNA is such a great place to meet wonderful authors such as you and, having read your author biography, (see below), an excellent place for support. 
But ... before we get to know about your latest release, 'A Summer to Remember', here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.    


Arabella: How did you manage to get your first novel published and what did you learn from the experience?
Sue: I’d long before made the decision to try and build up a CV of short stories to prove to a publisher I could pass quality control and get an audience. The figure suggested to me had been twenty but I’d sold eighty-seven short stories and a serial when I got ‘the call’. My then-agent phoned with the words I’d been waiting to hear for about eight years: ‘I have an offer for you.’ It was a small publisher called Transita, now defunct, the fiction arm of How-to Books. I was guided through the process of edits and copy edits, cover approval, promo and everything for the first time. I enjoyed every moment! I also learnt how it felt to realise a dream as I arrived at the Transita stand at the London Book Fair and a physical copy of my book was put into my hands for the first time. My eyes filled with tears as everyone on the stand signed it for me. Later, I learnt that having a book published is one thing but getting it into shops is another.

Arabella: If you could choose, which would it be: A walk in the woods, a walk along a beach front to dip your toes in the sea, or a day shopping for clothes?
Sue: The beach. I adore the sea. For several years of my childhood I lived in Malta and the sea was somewhere I spent a lot of my time.

Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest release, A Summer to Remember?
Sue: It was seeing a Tweet about a guy getting caught with his pants down on his video conferencing software. I thought not so much about his embarrassment but about whether he had a girlfriend or wife and how she’d be affected. This is the conflict I gave to my heroine, Clancy.

I also once read about an entire village (about forty-seven houses, I think) being for sale. I quite wanted to write about that but it didn’t work when I tried it. It did lead me to writing about Nelson’s Bar, though, a tiny village in north Norfolk with rubbish mobile signal and broadband. It proved a good place for Clancy to run away to.
  

Arabella: Where do you read? Sofa or bed or ____?
Sue: Everywhere. Armchair, bed, train, waiting room, coffee shop, plane. I listen to audio books while I’m cooking or showering or walking too.


Arabella: Some authors write at first light, others need a mug of coffee or a glass of wine before putting pen to paper. When writing, are there any “essentials” you need to help the words flow?
Sue: Not really. I’m happiest writing in my study where everything is to hand but I’ve written on trains, planes, in hotel rooms, on writing retreats. The most essential thing I need is something I carry with me at all times - my head.


Arabella: You’re halfway through the work-in-progress, you’re about to kill off the hero and there is going to be no happy-ever-after. In other words, you’re stuck! If you had to contact an “author/publisher/editor/friend” for guidance, who would it be?
Sue: I suppose I’d head for my editor first, to be honest, and/or my agent. But I have a couple of great writing buddies, Mark West and Christina Courtenay, and I often talk things over with them too.


Arabella: The T.V. is on and you’re in control of the remote. Which is it to be: A quiz programme…An afternoon of sport…A family soap…A romantic film you always wanted to see but missed when it was shown at the cinema?
Sue: Formula 1. I will watch every test day, practice session, qualifying, pre-show, after-show and race. I don’t watch much TV apart from that.


Arabella: Do you have any great writing, publishing, or marketing tips you’d like to share to “want-to-be” authors starting out on their writing journey?
Sue:     i. Educate yourself. There are writing classes, courses, guides, conferences, forums and talks.
ii. Learn about publishing as well as writing.
iii. Persist. It took me twenty years to be an overnight success …

Thanks for inviting me to chat on your wonderful blog, Arabella!

And a huge thank you for joining me on Arabella's Blog and Chit-Chat, Sue.
Having you as a guest was a pleasure and an educational experience. You've whetted my appetite. I'm now keen to delve deeper into the world of publishing to learn more "tricks-of-the-trade" for delivering a book professionally.
Enrollment on a publishing course is certainly on the horizon ...
All the best and happy-ever-after writing. 

Arabella Sheen


About the Sue Moorcroft:
Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times and international bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle. She’s won the Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award, the Katie Fforde Bursary and twice been nominated for Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.

Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.

Social media links:
Website [www.suemoorcroft.com]
Blog [http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com]
Facebook profile [Sue.Moorcroft.3]
Twitter  [@suemoorcroft]
Instagram [https://www.instagram.com/suemoorcroftauthor/] @SueMoorcroftAuthor
Google+ [google.com/+SueMoorcroftAuthor] +SueMoorcroftAuthor
LinkedIn [https://www.linkedin.com/in/suemoorcroft]

A Summer to Remember will be released on 2 May 2019

Blurb:

A Summer to Remember buy links:
Amazon UK [https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-Remember-Sue-Moorcroft-ebook/dp/B07JMXS427/]
iBooks [https://itunes.apple.com/mt/book/a-summer-to-remember/id1444226226?mt=11]
Kobo [https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/a-summer-to-remember-19]
Waterstones [https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-summer-to-remember/sue-moorcroft/9780008321765]
W H Smith [https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/a-summer-to-remember/9780008321765]




Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Welcome to Family Saga Author - Mary Wood

I’m delighted to welcome Mary Wood to my blog.


Hello Mary,
It was wonderful to connect with you through the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I’ve met some great authors via the RNA – you being one of them. But before we get to hear about your latest release, The Abandoned Daughter, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.

Arabella: Are there any organisations, writing, or reader groups, you belong to? And, how do they support or help you in creating such wonderful, inspirational novels?
Mary: I belong to the Romantic Novelists Association, and within that with have our own chapters. Mine is The Sandpipers. We meet every other month for lunch and the help we receive and give to each other is invaluable and very supportive. Our meetings tend to be of the format of having a guest speaker in our field and Q&A session with him/her. An exchange of ‘what is happening in our book world’ and general chit chat, when we can sound ideas, or talk about the weather. Always feel amazingly uplifted afterwards and ready to tackle anything.

Arabella: In your latest release, The Abandoned Daughter, who is your favourite character and why?
Mary: The main character, Ella Wronski. In the first book of this four-book series (all stand alone reads, as well as being part of the series) Ella, short for Marjella, is the timid one of the three First World War nurses, who meet as they set out to take up their posts in Belgium in 1914. But we see her grow, and cope with some horrendous, heart-breaking moments in her life, and be tested to the limit, never to break, and to win through in the end with dignity and love. I would want to be like Ella. 


Arabella: Which do you prefer to wear: Slippers, stilettos, pumps, or boots?
Mary: Slippers – love slopping around in comfies – jim jams, dressing gown, any day. Would break my ankle in stilettos, but do like to admire them, and boots, well, I’m losing weight now, but as a big lady, finding some that would zip up has been a nightmare.

Arabella: When writing a novel, how do you work? Are you a plotter or pantser?
Mary: A mixture of the two. Always a pantser in the beginning, letting the story take me where it will. But now, I have to pitch to the publisher for a contract and that entails plotting out the book so that they can see that I have a viable, commercial idea and that it works – doesn’t stop me going off in all directions once I have the contract and sit down to write the book though.

Arabella: Which do you prefer to wear: beach shorts and top, a long evening skirt and blouse, pyjamas and slippers?
Mary: I think readers know this now, as my answer to different footwear indicates, but having said this, I do love to dress up for an occasion and will really go for it, for a wedding, or dinner and dance, so evening wear would come in as a very close second.

Arabella: Where do you read? Sofa or bed or ____?
Mary: I have so little time to read, and much that I do is for research or for a review, so with this limitation, once I start to read, the book goes everywhere with me – even into the toilet!!! My favourite place of all though has to be sitting on a beach bar lounger with an attentive waiter bringing me cocktails at my whim…sigh


Arabella: We all have a long list of books we keep meaning to read but never have the time for --- which book is a must read for you this summer?
Mary: Jeffrey Archers PRISON DIARIES there are three in the series. This stems from going to meet him at one of his book signings. I have always loved his books, and to meet the man was a culmination of my dreams. He is lovely, down to earth and very funny and approachable. One man asked the question of why Jeffrey doesn’t mention his time in prison. The audience hushed with embarrassment for Jeffrey, but he handled it so well. He went up very close to the gentleman and looked at him intently before saying: ‘I thought I recognised you. You were in the next cell.’ When the laughter died down we all relaxed again, and then, Jeffrey said: Seriously, if any of you want to know about that time, read my Prison Diaries. They will tell you what it was like, but I no longer want to talk about it. I always admired him, but at that moment I loved him and wanted to hug him. I really need to read those books to find out just what such a terrible experience was like for him. And my admiration for him increased, thinking how, yes he did wrong, but he paid his time, and has now picked himself up and gone on to write some even more wonderful books.

Arabella: What about your future plans? Any books or series in the making?
Mary: All four books in the series THE GIRLS WHO WENT TO WAR are now written – THE FORGOTTEN DAUGHTER – AVAILABLE IN WH SMITHS, SUPERMARKETS AND AS AN EBOOK. THE ABANDONED DAUGHTER – AVAILABLE IN SUPERMAKETS, WH SMITHS AND AS AN EBOOK and the third: THE WRONGED DAUGHTER comes out in Nov/Dec 2019 with the final one THE COURAGEOUS DAUGHTERS – about the children of the three nurses and their war, coming out in May 2020.

And, I have just pitched for another contract with Pan Macmillan to write another series called THE MILL GIRLS which will follow the lives of three girls who meet while working in the mill in the early 1900’s
I have radio interviews and talks lined up, as well as a book tour this coming May. So, a very busy time ahead.
Well, readers, if you’re still with me, thank you, and I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into my work and me. I loved taking part, it’s been fun, and lovely to be here.
If you would like to know more about my work – my releases, join in competitions and receive three-monthly newsletters, then I would love to welcome you to my website: www.authormarywood.com and/or my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels

Thank you very much, Arabella, for inviting me to your lovely blog. I loved answering these questions. Much love and hugs, Mary xxx

Mary, Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat. The talks and interviews you have planned with radio stations sound wonderful. I’ll certainly have to stay tuned to your website to find out the dates and times you’ll be on air.
Good luck with The Abandoned Daughter.
Best wishes,
Arabella Sheen
arabellasheen.co.uk


MY REVIEW

The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood
(The second in The Girls Who Went to War series).

A heartbreaking tale of love and suffering.
     
Mary Wood offers us yet another compelling read. A page-turner in every sense. Richly depicting the emotional hardships, cruelties and devastation that war and love can inflict.
     As a voluntary nurse, working in war-torn Belgium, Ella puts her own emotional trauma to one side as she tends to the urgent needs of wounded and dying soldiers fresh from the battlefield.
     Hiding her own feelings of anguish and betrayal, Ella strives to rebuild her life. Fragile friendships develop – and although some relationships last all too briefly and some for far too long – Ella still searches for the companionship, love, and fulfilment she longs for.
     As the story unfolds and Ella’s inner strength and resourcefulness are revealed, we journey with her and hope her emotional wounds can heal and that she finds the comfort and answers she seeks.


As a taster . . . here is a fragment of conversation between Ella and her good friend, Flors - taken from The Abandoned Daughter.

    ‘And it is easy, now that emotions of the time have faded, to have recriminations. To think we should have done this or that. But the actions we took were driven by the situation we were in. We were such young women, tasked with trying to save lives in a bloodbath of hell. We all did our best. And but for you, Flors, we – Mags, you and I – would never have got out of Brussels alive. Nor would many of those French soldiers have survived. The way you took charge of that hospital, even though you weren’t a qualified nurse, and the way you led us to safety was amazing.’
    ‘We were so young, as you say, I remember when we arrived in Brussels in 1914, on that first posting, how we were all eager and ready to give our all. Then Germany invaded and reality soon hit us.’

If you love EPIC HISTORICAL SAGAS and RAW HEARTBREAKING HONESTY IN A READ this book’s for you. A well-deserved five-star review on its way.

A buy link to all of Mary’s books:

And a big thank you to Ellis Keene at Pan Macmillan for having a review copy of The Abandoned Daughter sent to my door. 

About Mary Wood

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary Wood’s family were poor, but rich in love. Over time, she developed a natural empathy with the less fortunate and is fascinated by social history. Mary raised four children and has numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. An avid reader, she first put pen to paper in 1989, and is now a full-time novelist.

Website:  www.authormarywood.com 
Facebook: HistoricalNovels
Twitter:  @authormary



The Abandoned Daughter
Mary Wood
16th May | Paperback | £6.99

The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood is the gripping second book in The Girls Who Went to War trilogy.

Blurb - Abandoned Daughter
Will Ella ever find what she's looking for?
Voluntary nurse Ella is haunted by the soldiers' cries she hears on the battlefields of Dieppe. But that’s not the only thing that haunts her. When her dear friend Jim breaks her trust, Ella is left bruised and heartbroken. Over the years, her friendships have been pulled apart at the seams by the effects of war. Now, more than ever, she feels so alone.

At a military hospital in France, Ella befriends Connie and Paddy. Slowly she begins to heal, and finds comfort in the arms of a French officer called Paulo – could he be her salvation?

With the end of the war on the horizon, surely things have to get better? Ella grew up not knowing her real family but a clue leads her in their direction. What did happen to Ella’s parents, and why is she so desperate to find out?

Buy Links


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Welcome to Contemporary Author - Morton S. Gray


I’m delighted to welcome Morton S. Gray to my blog.


Hello Morton, I’m thrilled to have a fellow Romantic Novelists’ Association member on my blog today. I remember so vividly the occasion we first met. We had gathered at The Royal Over-Seas League building in London, with many other shortlisted candidates, for the RNA – New Writers Scheme – Joan Hessayon Award. We were fresh to the publishing world and had little experience with mingling with other authors. It was a fun evening and one which I shall never forget. Haven’t we come a long way since then?
But before I go off at a tangent and share our writing journeys, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.


Arabella: How did you manage to get your first novel published and what did you learn from the experience?
Morton: I entered and unbelievably won Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star competition. The win secured me a publishing deal for The Girl on the Beach and I have gone on to publish a further two novels with them so far – The Truth Lies Buried and Christmas at Borteen Bay. What did I learn? I’d always thought my work wasn’t quite good enough, so winning the competition was a huge confidence boost. I guess I learned that my work just needed to find the right home. Message to as yet unpublished writers – keep submitting your work!

Arabella: The T.V. is on and you’re in control of the remote. Which is it to be: A quiz programme…An afternoon of sport…A family soap…A romantic film you always wanted to see but missed when it was shown at the cinema?
Morton: I love property programmes – Location, Location, Escape to the Country, Grand Designs, or else, as an avid family historian, Who Do You Think You Are. I’ve really been enjoying the drama, Line of Duty too. These days, I rarely watch live television; I’m more likely to record programmes so that I can pick and choose.

Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest paperback release, The Truth Lies Buried?
Morton: The novel was inspired by a postcard of a wooden castle, which was the prompt for a piece of descriptive writing on a writing workshop run by author Linda Gillard. I completed the descriptive task, but couldn’t help wondering who would live in a house like that. I came up with my carpenter and woodcarver, Carver Rodgers and the rest of the novel flowed from there.



Arabella: Where do you read? Sofa or bed or ____?
Morton: I read in bed. Unfortunately, I’m a very slow reader these days, as I’m always so tired when I finally get to bed. My latest reads include The Daughter of the House, a historical novel by Victoria Cornwall, A Summer to Remember, a contemporary novel by Sue Moorcroft and I’m halfway through The Man I Fell in Love With, a contemporary novel by Kate Field.

Arabella: Some authors write at first light, others need a mug of coffee or a glass of wine before putting pen to paper. When writing, are there any “essentials” you need to help the words flow?
Morton: When I am working on a first draft, I work best in a coffee shop. I usually write the initial story longhand in a notebook. The addition of good coffee and the buzz of the coffee shop seem to get the words flowing. When I get to the second draft, I’m in my study working on my computer. With a mom who needs support these days, a teenager doing GCSEs and a husband who is sometimes at home, sometimes working away, I’ve never managed to establish a routine, I just grab time when I can.

Arabella: If you could choose, which would it be: A walk in the woods, a walk along a beachfront to dip your toes in the sea, or a day shopping for clothes?
Morton: This one is easy to answer – most definitely a walk on a beach. I’ve actually just come back from a week in Bamburgh, Northumberland. The beach there is amazing. We walked on it at least twice a day and I’m missing it terribly. There is nothing better for the soul than a walk on the beach.

(Morton, I love the footprints in the sand. A great image.)  

Arabella: You’re halfway through the work-in-progress, you’re about to kill off the hero and there is going to be no happy-ever-after. In other words, you’re stuck! If you had to contact an “author/publisher/editor friend” for guidance, who would it be?
Morton: I have several friends to contact in this situation, I guess my first author contacts would be Victoria Cornwall, or Janice Preston, but I am most likely to share my dilemma with my friend, Susan Wood over our weekly coffee.

Arabella: Do you have any great writing, publishing, or marketing tips you’d like to share to “want-to-be” authors starting out on their writing journey?
Morton: Believe in yourself and your own style of writing. Keep writing and keep sending your work out to publishers and competitions, because you never know, you might be like me and win!


Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Morton. I’m sure that like me, your readers were delighted to discover a little bit more about you. Thank you for sharing. And if I’m every in Worcestershire, I might even be tempted to call in for one of your excellent Tuina acupressure massages.

All the best, and happy-ever-after writing…
Arabella Sheen


About Morton S. Gray
Morton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.
Her debut novel The Girl on the Beach was published after she won the Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. This story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s new headteacher, Harry Dixon. The book is available as a paperback and e-book.
Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried is another romantic suspense novel, The book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past. This book is available as an e-book, paperback and audiobook.
Christmas at Borteen Bay is Morton’s first Christmas novella. It is set in her fictional seaside town of Borteen and follows the story of Pippa Freeman, who runs the Rose Court Guesthouse with her mother, and local policeman Ethan Gibson, as they unravel a family secret as Christmas approaches.
Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master. She also has diplomas in Tuina acupressure massage and energy field therapy. She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.

You can catch up with Morton on her website www.mortonsgray.com, on
Twitter - @MortonSGray, her Facebook page – Morton S. Gray Author - https://www.facebook.com/mortonsgray/and
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/morton_s_gray/


Book Blurb  The Truth Lies Buried
When Jenny Simpson returns to the seaside town of Borteen, her childhood home, it’s for a less than happy reason. But it’s also a chance for her to start again.
A new job leads to her working for Carver Rodgers, a man who lives alone in a house that looks like it comes from the pages of a fairy tale – until you see the disaster zone inside …
As Jenny gets to know Carver she begins to unravel the sadness that has led to his chaotic existence. Gradually they realise they have something in common that is impossible to ignore – and it all links back to a meeting at a police station many years before.
Could the truth lie just beneath their feet?

Buy Link:
Purchasing links for The Truth Lies Buried at http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-truth-lies-buried/

Other books by Morton S. Gray:
Purchasing links for The Girl on the Beach at http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-girl-on-the-beach/
Purchasing links for Christmas in Borteen Bay at https://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/christmas-at-borteen-bay/



FLEETING ENCOUNTERS: Lady Francesca - Arabella Sheen - Excerpt One

   Fleeting Encounters: Lady Francesca     Arabella Sheen Fleeting Encounters Series … offers erotic bedtime reading Dare Lady...