I am very pleased and super excited to be welcoming the fabulous Sue Moorcroft and the blog tour for her new novel, Just For The Holidays, released today by Avon Books.
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…
Mick has reviewed the book but first, Sue shares her top tips for surviving summer holidays. Over to you, Sue.
I love summer. I was brought up for several years in Malta and it’s there I think I must have developed my love of the sun. Here are my top tips for surviving summer holidays:
• Take plenty to read. Whether it’s your eReader, print books or magazines, just make sure everybody in your party has something. I know you’ve got your phones on which to browse the Internet or tablets to let you watch DVDs but airport delays or beaches lead to flat batteries, low signal or extortionate phone bills. I find a book a day a nice starting point. Loading my eReader for a trip is such a pleasure! And I generally take a magazine just in case something makes it impossible to read on my eReader and the app on my phone.
• Choose a holiday you actually want. This might sound like stating the flippin’ obvious but if you’ve browbeaten your holiday companions into going where you want, you may find that nobody has a good time – and that includes you if they remind you every five minutes and sulk. (Of course, if you’re the browbeaten one and you didn’t actually want to spend your holiday in a theme park, put your friends/family in a queue for a ride, find a sunny bench and take out your book …) Leah in Just for the Holidays allows her sister, Michele, to coax her into a holiday she doesn’t want and things go seriously wrong from the first. (It doesn’t help that Michele has a couple of secrets, including quite an important one that she hasn’t shared with Leah.)
• If you can afford it, treat yourself to a pre-holiday pamper. Leg-waxing and gel nails can keep you feeling good all through your long-awaited holiday.
• Stay safe. It’s a shame we have to think this way but many a fabulous break has been ruined by theft of money and/or passports and returning to find the home ransacked. Be aware, use the hotel safe, visit one of the ‘information for travellers’ websites for advice pertinent to the place you’re visiting.
• Take at least one sweatshirt and a raincoat. Even hot countries have summer storms or freak weather.by
Hello fellow writers. Happy Friday.
It’s been a funny old week hasn’t it with various things going on. One thing is certain for me though; there has been plenty to inspire stories.
One of the other things that I find inspires and motivates me are quotes.
I know that inspirational and motivational sayings are not everyone’s cup of tea. (My friend hates them,) but you should find whatever helps you (especially if you’re new to writing.)
I wanted to share some of my favourite quotes about writing. I hope they help someone out there to pick up that pen or open that laptop (note to self, take own advice.)
This is a list of my favourites. If you have one that is not listed here, let me know in the comments.
‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ – Nelson Mandela.
(This is one that comes to mind when I am trying to begin. It is always overwhelming when I read all these published novels and think that my yet unwritten first draft is never going to be as good. The thing to remember….. all these published novels started off like mine and yours.)
‘It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.’ – Walt Disney
(This is along the same lines as the first one and I remember it to remind me to have fun whilst writing and to not allow uncertainty cloud the fun element.)by
We are now on that last stretch before the weekend with all the hope that the weather will decide to give us glorious, warm sunshine (I know but it’s good to be optimistic.)
I don’t know about you but April for me has just flown by. Life away from reading books and writing has kept me a little busy (there were also a couple of personal events that happened this month which meant some quiet days with a want to not do a lot.)
I have not done that much writing over the last month. I think I managed to do 2,000 words give or take. Those words still count and it’s still a decent word count to reach. It is easy to play down small words counts as only this and only that. It’s not easy to convince yourself that slow and steady is OK if it works for you to build your novel.
I go through this horrible habitual process when I begin something new. I will write, then I will stop, I will immediately read what I have written and then I will have this urge to begin again. I fight every time to break this habit.
A first draft is not going to be publication ready to begin with so every word you write does matter.
As a new writer, I tend to play down the whole thing; my brain won’t let me call myself a writer. Sitting in a room full of writers, I will feel like the impostor.by
It’s March! How did we get into March so quickly? We are already getting the lighter mornings and longer evenings and this is totally ok by me. The clocks go forward at the end of this month too.
Before we get too far into March, I wanted to look back over some of the things and products I have been loving in February.
An honourable mention needs to go to Gilmore Girls. This has been in a previous favourites and I am still making my way through it and loving it. I have managed to stay away from spoilers about it (especially around the latest episodes,) and I am hoping it stays that way.
OK, so lets begin with my favourites in stationery.
The first product I have loved in February is my Vanskap (which I believe means friendship in Swedish,) Personal Planner from Kikki K. It has cats on it people. Cats. I couldn’t resist it. Having been late to the Kikki K party, I missed this particular collection so I had to track this down on eBay but so worth it.
I have never really used Filofaxes. I tend to gravitate toward bound diaries. However, I have completely fallen in love with this planner. It’s fabric (not leather,) and it is such a pretty colour. The inserts all have cats on them and there are blank stickers so you can customise it. I think Kikki K are definitely bringing me around to the planners.
I am enjoying using this planner. I am enjoying it very much.
Next up is a sticker subscription. I have an unhealthy love of stickers for someone who is in their thirties. I like decorating my diary, planner and notebook with stickers. It cheers up the page and makes me smile. I have recently subscribed to a sticker subscription service. It’s called Pipsticks, it’s based in the United States and it is amazing.
There are various types of stickers in the pack. It’s affordable considering it is coming from the states. If you’re into decorating diaries or planners, this could be a good way to get a monthly supply of stickers. If you’d like me to do a review of this subscription, let me know.
My book favourite this month was definitely When The Sky Fell Apart by Caroline Lea. It’s based in Jersey when the German army invades in World War II. It focuses on a small group of villagers and their will to not let bad circumstances dampen their determination.by
Greetings fellow writers.
It’s a quick catch up from me this week. As I get ready to begin to write my novel, I have been thinking a lot about what starting my book will actually mean to me.
Many people announce that they would like to write a book. It is said that everyone theoretically has a book in them.
However, despite what the overwhelming feeling of standing in front of books in a book shop will tell you, it is only a small percentage of the people who say they want to write a book, who then go on to get the courage and the motivation to get their bum in a seat and apply pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard (whatever your preference is.)
So, even beginning a book is a huge achievement.
Read advice then forge your own routine. Each person’s process will be unique to them.
Read, jot down ideas and practise your craft. Confidence is bred from experience and that can only mean one thing. You need to write.
Greetings one and all. How has everyone’s week gone? It’s hard to keep the smiles going when there is so much negativity going on in the news and bad weather going around isn’t it?
I just wanted a catch up this week. It’s been a little bit of a quiet one. I’ve managed a little work toward the novel and hope to start writing on 1st March.
As we race toward the end of February, I am looking back on this month and finding that it went by in a bit of a blur.
My weeks tend to be like that if I am with the day job especially when I am working more night than day shifts. Night shifts are a curious thing. It makes you feel as though you have permanent jetlag (I call night shift me, ‘zombie Laura,) but there is something lovely about being awake in the early hours. It’s always so quiet.
When work does get in the way (or other commitments,) it’s easy for me to fall out of any routine I have begun to build up.
I will have my days off, start to develop routines and habits and then the work days will come and the motivation will waver. I am not sure why this happens. It’s not all the time but it’s frustrating all the same. Tiredness is such a productivity killer.by
I love music. It’s one of my great loves along with books. It doesn’t take long after a song I like comes on before I am tapping my foot, singing under my breath or if I’m alone in the house or in my car full on singing and belting it out.
Music is also a big part of my writing routine. I’m not one of these people who can write in silence. Being in silence reminds me of exams and I hated exams. I’d always be worried that I’d say something to myself out loud, embarrass myself et cetera so I don’t have great associated memories.
Writing with music playing calms me down, makes me smile and helps me to focus on the job at hand. Now onto my playlists. I debated whether to share my taste in music (as some of it is very questionable,) but here goes.
Listening to music has been made so much easier with Apple Music and Spotify. As I said, my music taste is a little bit strange. Its full of all sorts of songs (plenty of them cheesy, you know the embarrassing kind.) My iPod and playlists are full of those songs you can’t help but love but are quick to skip over if there are people with you. You know what ones I mean.
When I’m writing, I like songs and albums that will either make me happy or chill me out. I find music a little bit less distracting than TV box sets (although that doesn’t stop me playing back to back episodes of Gilmore Girls.)by
Hello all. How is everyone?
This week has been a little bit of a quiet one for me. It’s mostly been consisting of night shifts which has meant that I have been mostly trying to sleep during the day. That sounds amazing when you’ve not got people ringing the doorbell and buses thumping by. Oh, and a cat craving attention. Even when I close the door, we will meow until I have opened it.
It’s that law of when you need to sleep, you can’t and when you get to work, all you want to do is fall sleep. Then when you get to sleep, you wake up and clock watch. My head will remind me of things before I sleep – embarrassing moments in my life (it likes reminding me of those.) My to-do list, that I need a drink of water. It will helpfully wait until I have almost dropped off. Does this happen to anyone else?
I have been managing t0 get a lot of reading done this week which is great. I have read some great books this month too; Who’s That Girl by Mhairi Macfarlane, If I Ever Fall by SD Robertson and The Sixth Window by Rachel Abbott (reviews and blog tours coming soon.)by
Once again, I have embarked on the Goodreads reading challenge for 2017. Last year, I managed to get to the target of forty books but it was seriously by the skin of my teeth. I finished the last page of my book about three minutes before Big Ben donged in the new year. I know how to rock my new year you know.
This year, I have increased my book target by.. wait for it., one. I didn’t want to go crazy with the target as you can see.
As I was setting my target, I ended up having a look through all the books I have read and logged since I joined in 2013. I’ve read over a hundred and seventy books. I know there are some I’ve not logged. One hundred and seventy. That, for me is an incredible number.
I then got to thinking about how many of them had been adapted into movies. The Girl on The Train for example. In a year where Hidden Figures will be coming to the big screen and adaptations of A Handmaid’s Tale (can’t wait,) and Anne of Green Gables are coming to streaming services, I thought I’d look through my list of ‘read’ books in my Goodreads list and share the ones I’d like to see adapted.
The first one on my list is one that I have mentioned recently and that is Before You Go by Clare Swatman. I love this novel so much. I absolutely adored this book. It was in my January favourites and even though it’s been days since I finished it I am still thinking about it. It has a Me Before You feel to it.
As I was reading, I could imagine the scenes in the book as a movie. I could see the settings so clearly. It would make a great adaptation. It would be one that made you cry though. For sure.
Zoe and Ed are two characters I loved very much and grew to care about. I am not sure who I would cast in the roles. No one seems right for me. I can cast my own stories but not always been good at casting other stores.
Zoe and Ed have been together for years. When Ed dies, Zoe is devastated but soon finds herself getting the chance to change her past and then hopefully, her future.
Kill Me Again by Rachel Abbott is a book I’d like to see adapted into a film. Actually, all of her novels would translate well. Although a film would be good, I can also see this as a TV show. I think it could be as good as Thorne: Sleepyhead.
Rachel’s novels are so moreish that I always manage to storm through them quite quickly. She is very good at the tension which is what you need for a good crime adaptation. I can hear the soundtrack music already.
Kill Me Again had me on the edge of my seat all the way through. Tom Douglas and Becky Robinson are worthy enough to fill the gap we have for a good detective duo (which is what I am going to need after Bones finishes.)
Maggie thinks she knows her husband. She comes home one evening and Duncan has disappeared. She also is not the only one looking for him. When a woman who looks like Maggie is murdered, DCI Tom Douglas is brought into investigate. If you’ve read it, who would you have in the main roles?by
Hello all. How is everyone’s week going? Can you believe we are already hurtling toward the middle of February? It’s incredible really.
I have been a little obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy, Gilmore Girls, Lucifer and reading loads this week. I always like to snuggle in and make my way through box sets when I am not working. It is so cold at the moment and I am not good with the cold at all to the point where the boy will make fun of me. I give as good as I get though.
Loads of TV time means lots of looking at Pinterest too. I can lose hours on that and You Tube.
I’ve been looking a lot at office spaces (I have been doing a little bit of planning as I have been looking at homes for my characters. Promise.) I am so nosey and love looking at other writer’s writing spaces.
I always think that having a lovely writing space is important. It’s also very personal. Some people like it to look minimal preferring not to have clutter. I always wonder how people manage this.by
Hello everyone. I hope you’re all having a wonderful start to February. January was a long old month (it always seems to be for me.)
I’ve attempted to jump into planning my novel over the last few weeks (at times I have been able.) I am discovering the power of yes and no.
I’ve previously not had a good track record when it comes to my writing time. I don’t always protect it. It has been easy for me to say ‘I’ll write some tomorrow.’
I am the queen of procrastination.
I think a lot of this is down to my attitude. I don’t see myself as a writer and so I reason with myself and say it doesn’t matter. Well, guess what… it does matter. It matters a lot.
One big lesson I am trying to take on board this week is the power of yes and no.
YES, I will make time to get to a specified word count so I gradually build my first draft. YES I will keep myself to that promise.by
Hello everyone. We’re over hump day and speeding toward the weekend. Yay!
I come to you today through a cloud of copious amounts of tea, coke zero and probably some of the worst night’s sleep I’ve had. Well, technically day’s sleep as I’ve been on night shifts for the last few nights.
Finding a positive in my sleepy, clumsy state, there is something I like about being awake at a stupid time of the morning (I will always prefer to be sleeping at night but when I can’t, I try to find good.) I like the stillness of the night time. The lack of busy. I find it incredibly calming.
When I don’t sleep, I read. I have been thinking a lot recently about the act of reading and why I like it. I do love the escape. I adore having access to the lives of the characters who inhabit the worlds I read about. I like discovering new book series and authors. There is not a lot that can beat that feeling I have when I discover an author and realise that there is already a vast catalogue for me to pick my next book from (which is pretty much what happened when I discovered Lisa Jewell for example.)
As I have been trying to write my own book, I have been wondering how much being a big reader helps with my writing.by
I don’t think I will ever end my love affair with beautiful book covers. They are the thing that will attract me to a book. If it’s a pretty cover, I will sometimes stop reading and just look at it for a while (anyone else do that? Just me… ok.)
I have been thinking again about my favourite book covers. I did a post about this back in 2015 (want to see them, click here,) and I thought it was about time I thought about five more favourites.
It was hard picking just five. I think I have managed to narrow it down.
My first favourite is the 10th Anniversary edition of Looking For Alaska by John Green (HarperCollins Children’s Books, January 2015.) The original cover (which is black with a white daisy) is lovely but this cover is so beautiful.
Gold, the cover is gold. I brought a copy of this edition just because I loved the cover. I already had a paperback copy.
Miles’s life is one big non event until he meets Alaska Young. Alaska draws Miles into her reckless world and steels his heart in the process. His life will never be the same again.
My next favourite is Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (Penguin, October 2016.) This cover is simple but yet so pretty. Sometimes less is more and this was one of my favourites from last year.
Everyone thinks they know Libby – the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen.’ No one has looked past the weight to see who she really is.
She’s been trying to deal with the grief of loosing her mother.
Now she is ready for school. For new friends. For a new life.
My third favourite is The Little Teashop of Lost and Found by Trisha Ashley (which is due to be released by Bantam Press in March.)
This cover is absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to be able to add it to my book shelf. I absolutely adore it. The illustrations are just lovely and has such wonderful detail.
Alice was discovered on the Yorkshire Moors above Haworth as a baby.
Adopted but then later rejected by a horrible step-mother, Alice struggles to find a place where she belongs. Only baking brings her a sense of comfort.
When Alice does return to Haworth, she returns to baking. She makes friends but there are a couple of last twist and turns in her story.by
Hello everyone. I hope you’re all having a good week. Can you believe we’re already halfway through January!
One of my new year resolutions was to try and be a little bit more productive. This is the year I want to start and complete my first book. Less talking, more doing.
I’ve been using something called the Pomodoro technique over the last few days. Many people have probably already heard of this but for those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s a helpful way to be more focused and disciplined.
There is a series of twenty five-minute sessions and then five minute breaks per twenty five minutes. During the timed session, you do one task and then completely focus on that. The phone goes to silent, the internet gets forgotten (yes, that one is hard to comply to.) You focus on one task for twenty five minutes.
Once that time is up, you walk away for five minutes. You get a cup of tea, have a little dance, grab some water. Then you come back and try again.
You know what, it works. I’ve managed to do some blog stuff, stay on top of my e-mail (for the most part,) and most importantly, some novel planning. Hurrah.by
Hello 2017. I am hoping for a bit of snow. Building a snowman then going inside for hot chocolate, stew for dinner and then snuggling up with a book. I love snow provided I don’t have to drive in it.
Aside from the weather, this time of year always has me thinking about resolutions. I do try and make them every year. They usually last about a week and then I lose the plot with them. Thinking about it, I usually set resolutions that are unattainable. I set too many and then always end up disappointed. So, this year, I have only set three.
The first one is to write something positive and put it in the happy box that is sat on my desk. I did this the year before last and it really did make a difference to my frame of mind. I tended to add a thing a day toward the end of the day and this meant that I ended the day on a positive note. I got out of the habit over the last twelve months so I am pleased to be getting back to it. If this is something you’ve not done before, I recommend it.
The second resolution is to get more exercise. I love to swim. I find this form of exercise works for me so much more than going to a gym every day. I have never felt that comfortable at the gym especially since I did a Bridget Jones off a running machine when trying to pick up my water bottle. Yes, it was an embarrassing but funny sight! Swimming is much more my pace and it’s so great for thrashing out plot ideas and blocks as well as reducing anxiety. Also, if I manage to get healthy and loose weight, then that is a bonus too.by