SPARKLEMAS 3: Meet Cerrie Austin

Meet CERRIE AUSTIN – a teacher with a recently broken heart who adores her job at St Piran’s Primary School, working with a class of seven-year-olds.

She’s Seren’s close friend and the voice of reason on the Save the Parsonage campaign committee. In Somewhere Beyond the Sea next year you’ll see her continuing story. But Cerrie’s story forms the heart of Christmas in St Ives, so no spoilers here, but hopefully you’ll love her as much I do…

Here’s an excerpt of Cerrie’s story from Christmas in St Ives:

CSI St Ives EXCERPT - CERRIEMy dream actor to play Cerrie in the films of Christmas in St Ives and Somewhere Beyond the Sea (which, you know, is completely possible..!) is TUPPENCE MIDDLETON – as seen in Dickensian and War & Peace.

Tuppence Middleton

TUPPENCE MIDDLETON as CERRIE AUSTIN (Photo: itv.com)

Come back tomorrow for another 24 DAYS OF SPARKLEMAS exclusive… Every day between now and Christmas Eve I’ll be sharing all kinds of sparkly goodies. Don’t miss a present from me this December! xx

Footpath to the beach

AVAILABLE NOW

SBTS final front cover

COMING 14th JUNE 2018  – Preorder NOW –

 

SPARKLEMAS 2: Meet Seren MacArthur

Meet SEREN MACARTHUR – a talented jewellery-maker torn between her family and future.

Seren’s story is told in full in Somewhere Beyond the Sea, but she’s introduced in Christmas in St Ives. I’ve adored writing Seren – she’s bold and practical but also capable of dreaming and fighting through the worst circumstances. She’s determined, strong and capable of so much more than right now she thinks she is.

Here’s an excerpt from Christmas in St Ives:

CSI St Ives EXCERPT - SERENMy dream actor to play Seren in the films of Christmas in St Ives and Somewhere Beyond the Sea (which, of course, will happen…) is CHARLIE B. MURPHY – as seen in Happy Valley, Philomena and the incredible To Walk Invisible.

Charlie Murphy as Seren

Charlie B. Murphy as SEREN MACARTHUR (Photo: IMDB)

Come back tomorrow for another 24 DAYS OF SPARKLEMAS exclusive… Every day between now and Christmas Eve I’ll be sharing all kinds of sparkly goodies. Don’t miss a present from me this December! xx

Footpath to the beach

AVAILABLE NOW

SBTS final front cover

COMING 14th JUNE 2018  – Preorder NOW –

 

HERE IT IS! My BIG, SPARKLY Reveal!

I promised you an exclusive and it’s a big one…

Here, in all its sunny gorgeous glory is the cover for my ninth novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, out on 14th June 2018!

SBTS final front cover

I’ve been so excited to share this cover with you because it completely captures the feel of the story. Seren MacArthur and her chocolate Labrador Molly on the front, heading down to the beach to hunt for seaglass. And the beach is actually Gwithian Beach, which plays a vital part in the novel, with Godrevy Lighthouse in the distance. The back cover is going to have a gorgeous surprise on it, too, so I’ll tell you about that very soon…

Somewhere Beyond the Sea features characters from the prequel, Christmas in St Ives and is by far and away the best book I’ve written so far. I loved every stage of writing this book, set in my favourite place in the world. It’s an unashamedly romantic love story, warm and uplifting, with a cast of characters I hope you’ll love as much as I have.

You can preorder Somewhere Beyond the Sea right now – and, for a sneak-peek of the characters and the first chapter of the novel, the prequel novella Christmas in St Ives is available now. Footpath to the beach

I’m absolutely thrilled with the cover – what do you think?

Come back tomorrow for another 24 DAYS OF SPARKLEMAS exclusive… Every day between now and Christmas Eve I’ll be sharing all kinds of sparkly goodies. Don’t miss a present this December!

If Christmas in St Ives were a film…

…it would need a stonkingly good trailer! I’ll reveal my perfect cast for my Christmas e-novella Christmas in St Ives in a few weeks, along with lots of other goodies – news coming soon! – but for now, here’s my very own book trailer that I made myself…

What’s the story of Christmas in St Ives? In this short trailer I hope to give you a little taster of what’s in store in the book. It’s my most festive story yet and I’ve packed it with all the things I adore about Christmas and the wonderful town of St Ives. It’s also a prequel to my ninth novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, (which is published on 14th June next year but is available for preorder now), so you’ll meet the characters from that book, plus get a sneaky-peek at the first chapter, a whole seven months early.

So sit back, relax, grab some popcorn or a cuppa and enjoy my Christmas in St Ives BOOK TRAILER! (Turn the sound up, too!) Enjoy! xx

 

MirandaWrites 57 – Almost here!

It’s less than a week until my very first Christmas novella, Christmas in St Ives, is published – eek! So in this week’s vlog, I’m going to tell you what you can expect from the story…

I’m so proud of this novella and I had an absolute blast writing it. I like to think you can tell as a reader when the author has enjoyed writing a story, so I hope you get that sense with Christmas in St Ives. It was also lovely to write a prequel to my next full-length novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, to be able to extend that world and really bring the characters alive. Both my novella and the novel are available for preorder now – Christmas in St Ives is published on 19th October, Somewhere Beyond the Sea will be published on 14th June 2018 (and we’ve included the first chapter of it in the back of the novella, so you’ll get a sneak-peek eight months early!)

Enjoy this week’s vlog – and ask me a question for next week by leaving a comment below!

M xx

My BIG, SPARKLY Secret is out!

I have been waiting to tell you this for ages – and it’s finally time! Here it is: my big, exciting sparkly secret…

Christmas in St Ives COVER.jpg

IT’S A CHRISTMAS NOVELLA! CHRISTMAS IN ST IVES is published as an ebook on 19th October but you can preorder right now. It’s my first ever published Christmas story and I had an absolute tinselly blast writing it!

But there’s more – CHRISTMAS IN ST IVES isn’t just a lovely Christmas story set in the most gorgeous place in Cornwall, it’s also a prequel to my next novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea which publishes in June next year. This means you’ll get to meet the main characters from the novel in this festive treat – and as the first chapter of Somewhere Beyond the Sea is included at the end of the novella, you’ll be able to read it eight months early!

Everyone thinks I write Christmas books because my novels have often been published around that time, but this is the very first time I’ve published a Christmas story and I’m over the moon with it. I’ve packed my love of St Ives, Cornwall and Christmas into this story, with a huge dose of love, laughter and more than a touch of sparkle. I really hope you’ll fall in love with CHRISTMAS IN ST IVES as I have – and that you’ll want to find out what happens to SerenCerrieKieran and Aggie next… xx

WriteFoxy: A New Spin on Book Terms

I’ve had enough of beating myself up as a writer.

I don’t know about you, but the constant lurching between confidence and doubt is exhausting. I think I’ve conquered it and then, right in the middle of writing a new book – when I’m mired in first draft sludge around about 59k words, or going through a line edit where I’m losing sight of the story, it hits me:

Kaablaamo! Dastardly Doubt muscles in and ruins everything.

It’s worse when you hear people dismissing books with well-worn terms: ‘an easy read‘, ‘a holiday book‘, someone read it ‘in one sitting‘, a ‘guilty pleasure‘.

Shudders. Screaming at reviews. Dreading book discussions on social media. Feeling dismissed, undervalued and possibly in the wrong profession. It’s not pretty. Or even remotely fun.

But I’ve been thinking. What if there were a way to flip these terms to see a more positive version?

Let’s take them one at a time. (Brace yourself…)

ABC blocksAN EASY READ

Ugh. The ultimate dismissive term for the book you have invested a year of your life (or longer) lovingly crafting.

Or is it?

I used to work as a copywriter and there was a phrase we used in the design department: when you’ve done your job properly, nobody notices. I think that’s true of writing books, too. An ‘easy read’ seems like a criticism, but look at it this way: an easy read means the story flowed, the pace was good, dialogue felt natural and the reader easily entered into the world the book created.

When something is written well, you don’t notice the workings of it. You just enter in. And trust me, if the book was badly written, it wouldn’t be easy to read. It would be clunky, annoying, a book to be flung across the room rather than raced through.

To write something that flows and compels readers to keep turning the page is a hugely difficult thing to get right. The best comedy is effortless to watch but hides hours of work to perfect the timing, the rhythm, the punch line. It’s hard to write well. It takes skill and perseverance. But when you’ve done it right, nobody notices the effort. They just see the story.

If readers call your book an easy read, it means your pace, flow, characters, world-building and structure worked. That’s a world away from a dismissive term, don’t you think?

Holiday beach imageA HOLIDAY BOOK

A ‘beach read’. A ‘poolside book’.

Argh!

It conjures up images of cheap, trashy pulp fiction bought at the airport and hastily stashed in hand luggage. Something you wouldn’t dream of reading in your everyday life but, like Sambuca shots and stuffed donkeys, is somehow permissible on your week away in the sun.

Hang on, though.

Holidays are precious. We save hard for them and count down the days to them each year. Our one week away from work, from the concerns of our normal life, is hard-won and much longed for. So the books we choose to take with us have to be good. People agonise over which books to take: the right book can be a memorable part of your time away; the wrong book feels so much more of a let-down.

So, if someone has chosen to take your book on holiday – and invested time in their already precious time away to spend with your characters and your story – isn’t that the greatest compliment? They chose your book. And it was perfect for that moment. Whenever they see your book on their shelf at home, they’ll remember the beach they read it on, the pool your words kept them company by, and exactly where they were when they read your story.

That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Reading pileI READ IT IN ONE SITTING

You spend countless hours – years, even – perfecting your book. The unseen months of heartache, doubt and sheer hard graft are hidden within the pages of your novel. And then, eight hours after it’s published, someone tweets you to say they read it in an afternoon.

What?!

I understand the shudder of loathing that follows a review where the reader says they read your book in one sitting. It feels dismissive. It cheapens your effort. And it makes you wonder if they noticed all the brilliant, hard-fought paragraphs you sweated buckets over.

Or how about this..?

Imagine they became so caught up in the story you created that nothing else mattered. The piles of crockery remained dirty in the sink. The television was dark and silent. They never made it further than their car in the car park outside the book shop because they couldn’t bear to leave your beautiful book world for even a minute. They held their breath. Pages turned at speed as they rooted for your characters, rode the emotional roller-coaster of your story and raced towards the end because they had to know what happens…

You’ve read books like that. I have, too. And just because you were gripped by the story and dashed through it, I’ll bet you’re still thinking about it now. Imagine if someone said that about your book…

Wow.

Go ahead. Race through my book in one sitting, please!

Guilty imageA GUILTY PLEASURE

Okay, I’ll give you this one. It’s a horrible term. Feel free to kick it to the kerb, strap a jet-pack to its sorry back and blast it away from earth into the endless beyond. Nobody should ever feel guilty about reading. Ever.

…Although, if someone does say that about your book, there are two positives to take away from it. Firstly, it says more about their fear of literary snobs than the merit of your book. Secondly, they secretly loved it.

I would far rather someone termed my book a ‘pleasure’ than a chore. And if they are worried so much about what a snobbish lit-splainer might say, they wouldn’t feel guilty about finding a book hard to read. (Because literary snobs believe ‘difficult’ books are the only ones that matter.) The fact is, they loved your book. And they will probably buy your next one to snuggle up in secret with, too…

Being a writer is tough. We pour our hearts into what we do, but that means we wear our hearts on our sleeve, so it’s easy to get hurt. I hope these flipped book terms help you see them differently next time they are used to describe your books.

Keep doing what you do, lovely author. Keep caring. Because it matters.

HERE IT IS! My Book 9 NEWS!

I know it’s been a long wait, but I’m SO very excited to finally bring you the title and details for my ninth novel! The title will be…

SBTS Holding Cover

Ta-daaaaaa! And you can preorder Somewhere Beyond the Sea HERE…

As many of you know, I adore Cornwall and St Ives in particular. I’ve wanted to set a novel there for many years but I finally found the perfect story to tell. And I’m incredibly proud of the result. It’s a properly romantic story, told from two perspectives, and I think you’re going to fall in love with Seren and Jack.

Here’s the blurb:

Can you fall in love with someone before you’ve even met?

Seren MacArthur is living a life she never intended. Trying to save the Cornish seaside business her late father built – while grieving for his loss – she has put her own dreams on hold and is struggling. Until she discovers a half-finished seaglass star on her favourite beach during an early morning walk. When she completes the star, she sets into motion a chain of events that will steal her heart and challenge everything she believes.

Jack Dixon is trying to secure a better life for daughter Nessie and himself. Left a widower and homeless when his wife died, he’s just about keeping their heads above water. Finding seaglass stars completed on Gwithian beach is a bright spark that slowly rekindles his hope.

Seren and Jack are searching for their missing pieces. But when they meet in real life, it’s on the opposing sides of a battle. Jack is managing the redevelopment of a local landmark, and Seren is leading the community campaign to save it.

Both have reason to fight – Seren for the cause her father believed in, Jack for his livelihood. But only one can win. With so much at stake, will they ever find what they are really looking for?

Somewhere Beyond the Sea is a sparkling tale of love, life and finding magic where you least expect it.

I adored writing this story, and I can’t wait till you can read it. I know May 2018 is a while to wait, but don’t worry, there might be something else I’ll be revealing for you before then…

The cover of Somewhere Beyond the Sea is being designed at the moment – I’ve seen the first design and it’s my most gorgeous cover for years. I’ll be sharing that with you very soon!

Till then, watch my vlogsTwitterInstagram and Facebook page for exclusive snippets, details, behind-the-scenes treats and competitions. It may be eleven months before the book publishes, but I’m going to be packing so many goodies into those months for you. Fancy joining me on the Somewhere Beyond the Sea journey? It’s going to be BRILLIANT fun!

WP_20160909_13_35_46_ProWP_20160907_14_09_38_ProWP_20170118_17_01_58_Pro

Finished! Woo-hoo!

Just a quick post to let you know that I’ve FINISHED writing the first draft of my new book! Woo-hoo!

First Draft DONE

(In case the word count is confusing, I have a scene after THE END in this document that I’ve now snuggled into the middle of the book where it belongs…)

It’s taken lots of late nights (including five all-nighters, which I don’t recommend!), countless cups of tea and coffee, at least three different notebooks on the go at once and not an awful lot of sleep, but my ninth novel is finally written and I’m chuffed to bits with it.

Of course, there are edits to come – a structural edit, line edit, copyedit and final proof edit – but for now my book is out of my head and onto the page. All the locations are there, the cast and supporting cast (always important in my books) and a central town setting that is as much a character as the protagonists themselves. I hope you’ll be able to not just imagine yourself there but also experience the sights, sounds, scents and tastes of this story.

It’s my most romantic story to date, I think, written from the dual perspectives of Seren MacArthur and Jack Dixon. I’ve adored writing both their worlds and their voices came to me really quickly, which isn’t always the case. I think you’re going to love them, along with their friends and families. And a dog. There might be a dog…

I’m doing a final read-through today and then sending it to my editor at PanMacmillan tomorrow. It feels like the end of a mammoth journey, which has included moving house, being without internet for a month, things breaking and scary bills (who said being a full-time author was glamorous?!). In reality it’s only the first stage in a journey, but I think this is the most important – not to mention the most fun – where I get to tell myself the story first, before anyone else sees it. From the moment I hit send on the email taking it to my editor tomorrow, this story stops being just mine. And that’s okay because it’s one of the beautiful things about writing novels – your first draft is a single splash in a pool that then sends ripples out further than you can ever see.

But I might just hug my manuscript a little tonight, while it’s still just me and the story…

Book 9 – latest news from the coalface…

It’s been quiet on here lately and that has been due to a couple of factors. Firstly, we finally moved house after lots of hard work, decorating, unpacking and late nights. But it’s fabulous to be in at last and my new office is wonderful to write in!

Wurdy New Office

The light in my lovely new office is so inspiring – I love writing here already!

We’ve built bookshelves so I’m now surrounded by lovely book friends, which always makes a house feel like a home to me. I even managed a small book rainbow on one shelf – something I’ve wanted to do for ages…

Book Rainbow

A book rainbow – I need more yellow and green books…

The second reason for my web silence has been that I’ve been frantically writing Book 9, which at last has a title. I’m just waiting for the official okay from PanMacmillan and I’ll let you know as soon as I can. What I will say is that the title is absolutely perfect for the story and will also plant a song in your head that you’ll be humming for weeks!

I don’t know why I thought moving house during writing a novel would be a good idea, but oh my life it’s been a challenge. Packing and house stress aside, we also have no internet until almost the end of April, which is the deadline for the book. Lack of internet is good for writing (because no temptation to check Twitter, or Instagram, or Facebook), but quite scarily bad for backing up files, so I have been enjoying the complimentary WiFi of coffee shops, friends and parents wherever I can. My office has been mostly on the road in my car, in cafes and grabbing bits of writing time whenever and wherever possible…

SBTS Car writing

My mini writing mentors LegoElvis and LegoDollyP have been on hand to help…

When I can tell you the title, I’ll tell you where I’ve set my novel and what the story is about. I’m so excited about this one! What I can tell you for now is that it’s a properly romantic story, told from two people’s perspectives: Seren MacArthur and Jack Dixon. Writing in their voices, in present tense (which I haven’t used since Welcome to My World, so a bit of a departure for me) has been wonderful and it’s safe to say that I’ve fallen in love with them as I’ve been writing. I haven’t felt so invested in a pair of characters for a while and I think you’re going to love their story.

SBTS Seren and Jack PostIts

As I’m writing the book, I have a stack of Post-Its with reminders to keep me on track.

For now, here’s a sneaky-peek at a line from the book, which I shared for #onelinewednesday last week (I think it sums up the feeling of the whole book):

SBTS One Line Weds

EEK! I have tingles!

It’s hard work and there’s a lot to write, but my family have been amazing. It’s true that they are a huge part of my writing career – without their support I simply couldn’t do this for a job. But it does mean writing as much as I can, every day. No Easter holidays for me! I’m writing early in the morning, bits throughout the day and through the night into the early hours of the next morning to get the book written. Yesterday (Easter Sunday), I was able to write for most of the day, thanks to my wonderful in-laws looking after Bob and Flo…

SBTS Easter writing

As always, I’ve created a playlist to give a sense of the atmosphere I want for the book.

As soon as I have internet, my vlogs will be back, too. I’ll post one each week to keep you updated on Book 9. Follow me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook for more sneaky-peeks and exclusives, too. There’ll also be news of an extra project I’ve just had the green-light on, so I’ll tell you all about that as soon as I can. All in all, it’s an exciting – if tiring and slightly nerve-wracking – time and I can’t wait to share all the juicy details with you very soon.

Right, kettle’s on. Anyone fancy a cuppa?

New Home cuppa