Sunday morning, going up

IMG_3794I thought I was excited enough when the lovely folk at Avon told me to expect The Little Village Christmas to reach #7 in the Sunday Times Fiction Paperbacks chart today. Then I bought the paper this morning – and found it at #6!

I officially became a Sunday Times bestselling author last week when The Little Village Christmas popped up at #17 but to reach the top ten makes me feel more relaxed about claiming the title ‘Sunday Times bestselling author’. It’s something I’ve coveted for so long without ever really expecting it to apply to me.

After all, it’s been a while coming. Over more than 21 years 150+ of my short stories have been published, along with 250+ columns or articles, three courses, six serials, a writing guide, and a novella. I’ve judged 120+ writing competitions, appraised dozens of manuscripts and led a host of writing courses and workshops. And The Little Village Christmas is my twelfth novel.

IMG_3790So, when I treated myself to these frivolous but beautiful boots yesterday I was celebrating every one of those steps along the road to seeing my name and the title of my book in the Sunday Times today.

My thanks go to every editor who has chosen my work over the years, the whole wonderful Avon team, my amazing agent Juliet Pickering, the writer of every good review and each member of my fantastic street team.

Most of all, thanks to my lovely readers, who made this joyous celebration possible by buying my books. Thank you.

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The Little Village Christmas paperback hits the shelves!

OK, you got me. Sometimes, as for Christmas books, I get two publication days! Today is when the rather fetching sparkly paperback of The Little Village Christmas hits the shelves even though I was all excited about the ebook four weeks ago.

It’s still exciting that from today readers can buy the printed version for their bookshelves or as Christmas presents – or put it on their own Christmas wishlist, of course!

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I’ll be celebrating by joining Bernie Keith on BBC Radio Northampton about 10.30 a.m. and maybeeeeee with a couple of glasses of wine tonight. Or three. It’s a joy to celebrate the culmination of all those months of work to bring you a new book. As part of the general jollity, watch out for my newsletter and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for competitions to win one of these pretty prizes that I had made for me by crafter Pebbles by Jenn. They all have to go! Although I’m so in love with them … No! They DO have to go! Try and win one.

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Ribbon bookmarks, key rings and wine bottle charms.

Sue’s latest book hits e-readers today! #TheLittleVillageChristmas #AvonBooksUK

TLVC web size copy

 

Every publication day is a happy, happy day, but I’m particularly happy to bring you The Little Village Christmas, just because I enjoyed writing it so much. It’s the story of how Alexia means to leave the village but gets a bit stuck when what’s supposed to be a splendid bit of community spirit turns into a nightmare.

The village has fund-raised to transform the old falling down The Angel pub into The Angel Community Café. Until all the money vanishes overnight.

Ben doesn’t intend to mix much with the villagers at all but the more Alexia struggles, the more he gets drawn into the whole shemozzle. His Uncle Gabe has lost a pot of dosh too and he’s had a bit of an encounter with Alexia … awkward.

The Little Village Christmas also features a rescue owl called Barney, a pony called Snobby and a non-swimming litter of kittens. AND, for those who have asked me for more Middledip novels, The Little Village Christmas is for you! Look out for Gabe Piercy, Carola and Janice and Tubb from the pub.

Writing Commercial Fiction, one-day course

Sue Moorcroft blog

Writing Commercial Fiction

When I took on a publishing contract for two books a year, I had to make a few adjustments to my working life. I had to cut out all those publishing parties … No! Of course I didn’t! I love publishing parties. But I did have to sacrifice most of my teaching of creating writing.

So … the above workshop is the last I’ll be leading in the foreseeable future. (Unless someone invites me to teach in a country I want to go to. Then I might find the time.)

If you’d like to join me on October 19th then go to the diary page of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists and click on the booking form. Men are, of course, as welcome as women.

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Have laptop, will travel

Mary Smith’s great post last week made me think a little more about where I write and when.

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Study

 

 

Over the past few months, I’ve spent quite a bit of time writing in places other than my favourite place – my study at home. I headed up a great writing retreat in Italy for Arte Umbria where I had the huge pleasure of writing a book set in Italy while I was actually there. (And if you’re thinking of joining one of my writing retreats there in 2018, here’s what you might like to know, along with the booking link.)

AU retreat 2017 webcopy

Arte Umbria – 2017 retreat

 

In August I was a little more local, heading off to Derbyshire and the fabulous Swanwick, The Writer’s Summer School to teach the Popular Fiction course, which ran over four morning sessions and was so well attended I was allocated the Main Conference Hall as my venue. It’s a lovely hall, light and airy, and I was happy to have such a great facility for one of my last teaching gigs in the foreseeable future, my publishing schedule being  tight at least until the end of 2108.

 

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Workin in my room at Swanwick

Each day, after my session, I returned to my room and I wrote. This is despite the fact that Swanwick runs a varied and imaginative programme, of which I could have taken advantage, and there were a lot of friends in attendance, old and new. I really needed to finish the first draft of next summer’s book, currently entitled The Summer of Finding Out, so I simply treated my non-teaching time as a writing retreat. Although a room in a conference centre doesn’t have the charm (or sunshine) of an Italian terrace, I was very comfortable and with no domestic duties or visits to the gym to factor into my working week, I just sat down every day with a plentiful supply of tea … and wrote. I’d go over to the main buildings for lunch and a glass of wine then return to my room and write again until dinner.

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The main building at Swanwick

 

And I finished my first draft! Awesome.

There’s a small sting in this tale. When I returned home I worked first on my German edits for The Little Village Christmas and then wrote a two-part story for My Weekly. When I returned to my first draft of The Summer of Finding Out the final chunk was missing! I nearly had a heart attack. I had saved a version to Dropbox but could hardly bear to look at it in case it, too, was incomplete ….

PHEW! The whole manuscript was there. It took me a further day to realise that I’d written the last chunk of the book on my laptop, which was why the full version wasn’t on my desktop! A real brain fade moment for me but it gave my heart a thorough workout.

Just before I go I’d like to share with you the lovely cover for The Little Village Christmas, which was revealed a week ago. Isn’t it gorgeous? Can’t wait to see the paperback with all its festive bling.

The Little Village Christmas

For those who have been asking me for another book set in Middledip Village – this is it! It features a few old friends such as Gabe Piercy and his contrary pony, Snobby, and head of the village hall committee, Carola, plays a pivotal role. But things have been happening. The village hall is closed! How can this be? It was the heart of the village. Good job that Alexia Kennedy heads up a rescue package for an old pub, The Angel, abandoned decades ago, to make it into The Angel Community Café. (I always thought the village lacked a coffee shop.) But when someone runs away with all the money, everything changes not just for The Angel but for Alexia herself. The Little Village Christmas also brings to the village Gabe’s nephew, Benedict Hardaker, who has suffered a couple of hard knocks and is hiding out in the woods to recover. Until he gets roped into rescuing The Angel …