Merry Christmas from the Choc Lit Santa Clauses!

Merry Christmas from Team Choc Lit!

Wishing all the readers, reviewers, Tasting panel members and bloggers who have supported us this year a very Merry Christmas! We look forward to sharing our 2015 releases with you all soon :) In the meantime, here are some festive messages from some of the Choc Lit Santa clauses alongside a reminder of some of those beautiful 2014 covers …

Doctor January by Rhoda BaxterSanta - Rhoda BaxterRhoda Baxter:
“Have a wonderful Christmas with lots of chocolate. May 2015 be full of laughter and more chocolate.”

 

Zana Bell - Santa!

Fool's Gold

Zana Bell:
“Sending a virtual splash of Kiwi sunshine and ice cream Christmas pudding to all our readers.”

 

S&S_thumbnail 150 x 240

Angela Britnell - Santa!Angela Britnell:
“Merry Christmas from Nashville! I hope everyone’s Christmas stockings are full of great Choc-Lit books and plenty of good chocolate.”

Sheryl Browne Santa!Sheryl Browne:
“Christmas, the perfect time to curl up with mulled wine and Choc Lit. Have a lovely Christmas everyone. I hope all your dreams and wishes come true.”


You Think You Know MeClare Chase - Santa!Clare Chase:
“Wishing you a warm, bright and merry Christmas, and a very happy new year.”

 

An Irish Promise

Liv Thomas - Isabella Connor - Santa!Valerie Olteanu  - Isabeall Connor - SantaIsabella Connor (Liv & Val): Nollaig shona dhaoibh. “Wishing all Choc Lit readers and their families, a wonderful Christmas, and a happy 2015.

 

Monsoon Mists

Christina Courtenay - Santa!Christina Courtenay:
God Jul – I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a fabulous New Year!  Hope you have lots of time over the holidays to relax and read!”


Some Veil Did FallKirsty Ferry - Santa!Kirsty Ferry:
“Have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful New Year. And eat lots of chocolate, obviously! Love from Kirsty xxx”

 

Do Opposites Attract by Kathryn Freeman Kathryn Freeman - Santa!Kathryn Freeman:
“I hope Father Christmas brings all our lovely readers a sack full of books – and a stocking full of chocolate. Happy Christmas and very best wishes for 2015.”

Flight to Coorah Creek

Janet Gover - Santa!Janet Gover: “I hope your Christmas is filled with the people you care most about. And that all the presents under your tree are book shaped (except for the ones that are the shape of chocolate or possibly Champagne.)”

The Highwayman's Daughter

Henriette Gyland - Santa!Henriette Gyland:
God Jul og Godt Nytår, which is the traditional Christmas greeting in Denmark where I come from!

 


Liz Harris - Santa!A Western HeartLiz Harris:
Wishing you everything for 2015 that you wish for yourself.  May it be a year filled with health, happiness, chocolate and, of course, books!!”


The Wedding Cake TreeMelanie Hudson - Santa!Melanie Hudson:

“Merry Christmas!”

 

 

Cross Stitch

Amanda James:Amanda James - Santa!
“Have a fabulous Christmas and New Year!  Here’s to a 2015 full of great stories.”

 

Follow Me Follow YouLaura E James - Santa!Laura E.James:
“Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015, filled with love, laughter and literature.”

 

Magic Sometimes Happens

Margaret James - Santa!Margaret James:
“A very happy Christmas to everyone. May magic often happen and 2015 be good to you all in every way.”


Impossible ThingsKate Johnson Santa!Kate Johnson:
“The weather outside is frightful, but our books are so delightful! Here’s wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.”


Dangerous DecisionsMargaret Kaine - Santa!Margaret Kaine:
“Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones, with lots of books under the tree and even some time to read one! Enjoy!”

 

How I Wonder What You Are

Jane Lovering - Santa!Jane Lovering:
So many books, so little time! Wishing you a happy and peaceful Christmas.”

 

Cora's Christmas KissAlison May - Santa!Alison May:
“Happy Christmas. I hope your festive season is filled with love, chocolate, books and merriment.”

 

Emma - There's No Turning BackLinda Mitchelmore - Santa!Linda Mitchelmore:
“Wishing all my readers – past, present, and future – a wonderful Christmas. May there be love and warmth in your home, food on your table, a glass of something to lift the spirits, joy in your heart, and a quiet corner to sit and read a good novel.”

The Wedding Proposal

Sue Moorcroft - Santa!Sue Moorcroft:
“I hope that you have a joyful and peaceful Christmas … with time to read!”

 

DANCE UNTIL DAWNBerni Stevens - Santa!Berni Stevens:
“Wishing you all a magical Christmas and a wonderful 2015. Happy reading!”

 

Follow a StarChristine Stovell - Santa!Christine Stovell:
Nadolig Llawen!  Merry Christmas from west Wales!”

 

Romancing the SoulSarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Tranter:
“Have the most wonderful Xmas and may your 2015 be chock-a-full of happiness.”

 

Never Marry a Politician!Sarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Waights: “2014 will always have happy memories as ‘the year I published my first novel’ thanks to the lovely Choc Lit readers’ panel who were kind enough to like it.  I hope that all you Choc Lit readers have had an equally brilliant year, that Santa brings you everything on your list and that you have a happy 2015 with LOTS of reading and LOTS of chocolate. X”

Out of Sight Out of Mind

Evonne Wareham - Santa!Evonne Wareham:
“I hope everyone manages to find some time over the holiday to curl up with a good book. Happy Christmas!”

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ONE AND ALL! 

First Fictional Crushes

Sue Moorcroft 

Who was your first fictional crush?

Who was your first fictional crush?

 

My first fictional crush was Superman.

My brother and I used to buy a lot of the shiny, brightly coloured Adventure Comics coming out of America when we were kids living in Malta, and Superman stole my heart, even when he was in the guise of Clark Kent. I used to think that Lois Lane was remarkably stupid not to notice it was just the same guy in a suit and glasses but, hey, if she didn’t want him …? I was ready and waiting. In tights or in a suit, Superman or Clark, he was hot, he was clever, he was kind. Bring him on.

I can remember crying over an episode where Superman lost all his powers and was wandering dejectedly around Gotham City with the citizens jeering at him. (I’m not sure why he didn’t just go back into Clark Kent mode so nobody knew he was Superman sans superpowers. Probably it didn’t suit the plot.) Happily, the source of the kryptonite that was disabling him was found and he was soon soaring across the page once more, fist raised in flight, just in time to smash the baddies’ plans to conquer the world and snatch Lois from the jaws of death (not that she deserved it).

I have retained a liking for a tall man with a strong, clean-shaven jaw and I even put Dominic Christy in tights in Dream a Little Dream, when he dressed up for halloween. First love is stronger than kryptonite.

Is This Love? is now available on all e-book platforms and is out in paperback 7th November.

Jane Lovering

As a young teenager, I was as impressionable as an undercooked sponge cake, and regularly fell in love with literary luminaries, but the first who really made a huge impression, growing up as I did in a town with Roman history so deep that we even had Roman sewers, was Marcus Aquila, hero of Rosemary Sutcliffe’s ‘Eagle of the Ninth’.

I had a full mental image of Marcus, although I cannot remember whether or not he is described in the book, although I have to admit that I probably overlaid him with all my real-life ‘crushes du jour’; he was tall, dark and handsome, and he could ride a horse really well too, which was important to me back then, in the days when I was still going to marry Tony Newbery.  He was courageous (Marcus, I mean, not Tony Newbery, although he was pretty brave, being a showjumper of some ability and very lovely horses. I think I was probably leaning more towards the ‘horses’ than the man, even at fifteen). Marcus was travelling in distant lands (well, Scotland), to find the secret that lay behind his father’s disappearance so he was not just brave, he was noble as well, and probably troubled too (I do like a troubled man). The BBC made a TV mini-series of the book and the actor they cast as Marcus definitely didn’t disappoint…Sigh. I wonder if it’s available on DVD…

Hubble Bubble is available on all e-book platforms and is also available in paperback.

Kathryn Freeman

Julian, of Famous Five fame, was everything a boy should be.  At least to a twelve year old girl.  He was brave, tall and strong.  Fearless, as he herded the younger members of the group through dark, secret tunnels.  Gutsy, as he stood up to the bad guys – men older and heavier than he.  Daring, as he led from the front in adventure after adventure.

But it wasn’t just his courage that had me reaching for the books time and time again, desperate to read more about him.  Julian was the responsible one.  The gallant hero who looked after all the others, especially his young sister Anne.  Who couldn’t fall in love with a boy who took such care of his sister?

And don’t forget Julian also had this clever and sensible side.  I suppose it could have made him stray into the nerdy category, but the swots I knew would never have dashed so boldly into danger to protect their friends.  Maybe there was a smidgen of bossiness about him, but Dick, George and Anne needed someone to tell them what to do or they’d never have escaped through those secret passageways.  Perhaps he also took himself a teeny bit seriously, but funny = sexy was a conclusion I came to a little later in life…

So there you have it.  My first fictional hero was Enid Blyton’s Julian.  I spent many years of my childhood wishing he’d ask me out for a ginger beer.  Until I dropped him for David Soul (from Starsky and Hutch).

Too Charming is available on Kindle UK and Kindle US.

Sarah Tranter

I’m going to have to own up and say that my first fictional crush was Lassie. Yep, the dog.

I’m afraid I can’t even say it was as a result of the books, because it was all down to the TV show. I don’t think I ever read about Lassie. At that time it was all Enid Blyton for me and there was zero crushing involved.

Lassie on the other hand was a different matter. It was a case of what you can’t have. I so wanted a dog as a kid but we were never allowed one. At different times we had fish, a hamster (that kept escaping into the loft and eating things) and a biting rabbit ― that had pink eyes and scared me stupid. But never a dog. And it was a dog I so desperately wanted. So I used to watch Lassie and dream of one day having a dog of my own. It didn’t even need to be a Collie. Just something with four legs (actually it didn’t even need to have those) and a wagging tail. You get the gist. Of course now with my own family I understand first hand the reasoning behind my parents’ decision. Hair, mud, walks, more hair. But it’s no good. I still couldn’t be without one. Or two ― should me and the boys get our way!

No Such Thing as Immortality is available on all e-book platforms and is also available in paperback.

Sue Moorcroft interviews her latest hero, Jed Cassius.

As Is This Love? has just been released as an ebook (on Kindle and all other ebook platforms) and in paperback, I’ve decided to interview its unusual hero, Jed. Tamara had a crush on him when she was ten and he was fourteen (and hardly knew she existed) and although the adult Jed is not at all how Tamara Rix would have expected him to turn out, that attraction lingers …

 

I thought it would be fun to find out what she sees in him.IT_packshot copy.jpg

 

Q So, Jed, what brought you back to Middledip? You left when you were fourteen.

 

A I wanted to come back straight away, but I didn’t know how. Dad moved the family away and then he and Mum split up. I stayed with Mum and she wanted to stay with her new job, so I felt stuck.

 

Two things brought me back as an adult. One was my boss, Mr H. He was looking for somewhere secluded in the country, where he could feel safe, after a couple of nasty experiences, either directly or indirectly connected to his personal wealth. When I was looking for suitable properties I saw that Lie Low was on the market. It was just outside Middledip and I knew it slightly from when I was a kid. It was just right. The other thing that brought be back was the Rix family. I had a teenage thing going with the eldest daughter, Lyddie, before I left. Then she was hurt in a hit-and-run accident. Someone told me who was driving the car, so I had to go back and tell the family. Not a task I enjoyed.

 

Q What had changed in your absence?

 

A Tamara and Lyddie! Lyddie acquired head injury in the accident. It’s heartbreaking to see that she needs more care than most adults and that she’s irrevocably lost the future that she was entitled to.

 

And Tamara … wow. When I left the village she was a stick drawing. Now she’s all grown up. The first time I saw her again, I lost the power of speech. She was so bright and clean and healthy. She sort of vibrated into the room.

 

Q What about your life? What happened while you were away?

 

A [Several seconds of silence.] It was all quite unexpected. I didn’t react well when Mum and Dad split up. I was just sixteen and my stepbrother, Manny, was living in an unconventional way. I went and joined him. I suppose you could say I dropped out of society for a while. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It’s a hard and uncomfortable existence and it’s not easy to find a way back to what most people would term normal life.

 

Q Intriguing! So how did you get back to normality?

 

A In a surprise move, Manny joined the army. It made me reassess things. I fell into a full-time job and there was someone in that organisation who let me work my way up to my present position.

 

Q Who was that?

 

A My employer.

 

Q Who is he?

 

A A businessman.

 

Q What was the job?

 

A Making his life run smoothly.

 

Q OK. I’ll come at things a different way. What did you learn from your past?

 

A To take care of myself, to deal with situations decisively and never take for granted a comfortable bed or a hot bath.

 

Q You don’t seem keen to talk about it. I’ll ask you about something else. What do you think of Tamara Rix?

 

A Tamara, wow. She’s so incredibly hot. She has a lot of qualities that have caught my attention. She’s intelligent, compassionate, stunning and has integrity. Integrity that gets in the way, sometimes. She’s a yoga instructor, you know? I had always thought yoga was exercise for wussies but she’s as toned as a panther.

 

She’s very giving to those she loves, like her sister.

 

Q And you?

 

A Me …? She can’t make her mind up about me.

And the winner is … Sue Moorcroft!

lf-with-award1I don’t think I believed I’d ever hear those words spoken seriously. It was almost fabby enough to be shortlisted for the Best Romantic Read Award from the inaugural Festival of Romance – it was a strong shortlist made up of our own Juliet Archer, who had just won the Big Red Read, Carole Matthews, utter superstar novelist, Talli Roland, who’s made a big splash this year, and Fiona Harper, rising Riva diva – and a win seemed a long shot.

I was convinced that Carole would take the award, as the reason she’s so successful is that she’s such a great writer and storyteller. So when Laura from sponsors Total E Bound opened the envelope and read out my name, I turned to slush. Static slush. Then I kind of caught on that people were waiting for me to do something so I thought I’d better totter up to accept my award.

And it’s gorgeous! Heavy glass, cut to dance with light, and etched with a star to boost my ego with its obvious associations.

I hadn’t given a moment’s thought to an acceptance speech (which, actually, is so unlike me!) but managed to gather my wits sufficiently to thank the sponsors, the Festival organiser, Kate Allan, Awards organiser Jenny Barden and, of course, Lyn of Choc Lit for having the good taste to publish me in the first place. The other people I SHOULD have thanked, but omitted, are the fabulous, hard-working readers who read all of the ten books on the Best Romantic Read shortlist and Best Historical Read shortlist, and then debated the results over a long Friday evening. (But over a nice dinner table, which should have helped.)

Frankly, I love you all! xxxx

And I love my award.

Sue’s new Wednesday Hottie

jerome-dambrosia-at-spa-8112I have to say that I don’t usually go for men who are so clean cut as Jerome D’Ambrosio.

But he is a Formula 1 driver!

And he’s got amazing eyes.

And a great smile.

All of those things appeal to me. Jerome is a young Belgian driver (seen here with the historic Spa circuit in the background) with a great future.

He’s currently racing for the Virgin team, which needs to get itself up the grid to really give its drivers a chance, he’s 25 … and he’s got great eyes.

Fancy some money? And chocolate?

faf-combo2

Look no further – just enter this fun competition!

Choc Lit has created a great competition to help promote Love & Freedom. You can enter it here. It’s really easy – just post a picture of a guy you think might be the face of Martyn Mayfair, hero of Love & Freedom, and collect the prizes.

What you need to know is here at http://www.findthefaceofmartyn.choc-lit.co.uk/ If you haven’t read the book yet, don’t worry. Here’s all the description you need:

MARTYN IS BOTH SMOOTH AND HOT WITH A FLAVOUR THAT STAYS WITH YOU – LIKE A MONTEZUMA’S CULTURE SHOCK BAR!

The initial judging is by vote – but I get to do the final judging. A writer’s life is so hard, isn’t it? Having to look at men …

So, don’t be shy. A few clicks and you could be eating Montezuma’s hand made chocolates for three months. Yes, that honestly is one of the prizes.

Good luck.

Prioritising by Sue Moorcroft

Number 10!

Number 10!

My brother has forwarded an email that was sent to him:

Started reading your sisters book yesterday could not put it down!!!! ABSOLOUTELY FANTASTIC!!!! Then I realised I had not actually paid you for it! How much do I owe you?   x

I really didn’t pay this lovely lady to say this – and had to smile at the idea that what’s important to her is that she’s enjoying the book. Not paid for yet? A mere detail. Tiny.

I’m glad she remembered in the end, but, mainly, I had to sympathise with her. When I have the right book in my hands, reading it zips to the top of my ‘to do’ list. I can easily ignore the television, even if it’s something I like, can cook dinner with one hand so the books stays in the other, and if too many people are trying to get my attention I simply declare myself in need of a bath and go and read there!

One of my absolute pet hates is being interrupted in the final couple of chapters. They are the best part of the best books. And, when they’re over … I feel bereft.

Happily, there’s always another in my To Be Read pile.

Sue Moorcroft on e-stuff

sue-on-kindleWhen people ask me, ‘Are you on Kindle?’ they generally mean, ‘Are your books on Kindle?’ I have pleasure in confirming that all my Choc Lit books can be purchased on Kindle, Smashwords, iBooks and every other kind of new technology.

But you can see from this pic, kindly supplied by my friend, Mary, that you can actually get a pic of me up on your Kindle, too, (I can’t imagine why you’d want to, but that’s not the point). This pic is on my Amazon Authors Page.

I have to say I’m really tempted by getting an e-reader, especially as so many of my friends around the globe got one for Christmas and keep telling me that they’ve bought my books with a few clicks. And I think of all the books I’d like from America or Australia and think, ‘Soon, I’m going to have to get myself one of those …’

Mary was also kind enough to send me:

sue-on-ipad-4-copyJust to prove that you can get my stuff on the iPad, too. Intellectually, I know that. I know that my books are available in just about all possible formats but, somehow, it’s nice to see proof! I like it when people come up to me at conferences and show me my books on their phones or mp3 players, too. Seeing is believing, as they say.

In a few months everyone will be able to buy Love & Freedom, too, in print or for the screen, because I got it finished and sent it in early this week. Which is why I have time to blog again. :-)  I have just tried to add it to my Amazon Author Page, and failed. Seems it has to be published first. Ah.

Sue Moorcroft on the Festival of Writing, York 2011

I had such a good time at the York Festival of Writing last year that I’m going again next year. Along with Choc Lit director, Lyn Vernham, and fellow Choc Litauthors Christina Courtenay and Jane Lovering, I’ll be part of the panel on independent publishers.

Also, I’ll be giving one-to-ones as a book doctor during Saturday afternoon.

I’ve just received an update from the organisers and they say:

Breaking news:
- US agent Marcy Posner is joining us from over the pond and taking one to ones
- Writers Workshop are will be offering “next steps” free to three
writers at the Festival who are talent spotted. The writers will be
offered a free manuscript critique, free coaching or a free manuscript
appraisal from Harry Bingham.
- Harper Collins Authonomy are supporting Authonomy Live talent
contest on Friday evening, with editor Patrick Janson-Smith on the
panel. Last years winner, Shelley Harris was offered representation by
4 literary agents in the room, and then went on to achieve a 5 figure
book deal.

I was there when that last author was being hunted down, last year – it was impressive.

So, if you feel like giving yourself the same opportunity, click on Festival of Writing.