Sunday, 29 March 2020

Living the #amwriting Life - March

Yesterday, I was in two minds as to whether I should carry on with this feature. As we're all living life in #lockdown was it going to be worth it? Then I remembered the commitment that I had made to myself to celebrate the little stuff as well as the big and decided to go ahead. I would be letting myself down if I didn't, and I was only 2 months into starting.

So... March… it was all fun and games for the first couple of weeks. The month kicked off with the Romantic Novel Awards ceremony in central London. Poppy's Recipe for Life was nominated - which was a huge honour in itself - unfortunately it didn't scoop the win, but the evening was a triumph nonetheless and it was wonderful to catch up with everyone. There weren't many pics of me from the night, but I love this one taken with my wonderful friend, Annette. And in case you were wondering, we were practicing our world famous ventriloquist and dummy number!

Just a couple of days later, it was World Book Day and I had a wonderful surprise. My friend Stephen is a high school librarian and to celebrate the day he created book themed worlds, in miniature. The students had to guess what the book was from the things he included. He enjoyed making them so much, he created one including my books, just for me. Isn't it gorgeous?

The following week Jenni Keer and I had a wonderful event in Eye library in Suffolk. You may have seen the post I shared about it? The turnout out was a huge surprise - standing room only - and very much appreciated. As always, it went on far longer than billed and looking back now, it kind of feels like it was the last hurrah ahead of things starting to change.

By the weekend, I had decided that going out wasn't the best thing to be doing with a vulnerable person in the house so I confined myself to barracks a good few days before we were all officially told to. That said, in spite of my diary suddenly emptying and many fabulous future events being cancelled, it didn't put a complete stop to the #amwriting Life.

I'm still in touch - through the joys of Zoom - with my RNA pals, agent and publishing team and of course, I'm still at the keyboard every day, working on the next book. More details to follow about that very soon. There's also The Secret Seaside Escape publication day virtual celebrations to plan. We all want to escape right now, don't we? I'm hoping wonderful Wynmouth on the Norfolk coast is going to be just what you need!

And last, but by no means least, the news broke that I have signed another contract with Simon & Schuster and this is a big 'un! 4 more fabulous books are going to be coming your way in the next couple of years and that will take the grand total to 15. 15! How amazing is that?

So there we have it. All things considered, March hasn't turned out too bad at all. Here's hoping that April is as enjoyable as it can be. It's my birthday on the 8th but I'm not making a fuss about it. I thought I might stay home, celebrate with a cuppa and maybe allow myself an extra sheet of loo roll to mark the occasion!

Stay safe my darlings and please, please, stay home!

H x

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Exciting Announcement Alert!

Hello my loves and thank you so much for taking the time to read this post, I really appreciate it, just like I appreciate what everyone so kindly did for me yesterday. As you may already know, yesterday afternoon the news broke that I have recently signed another deal with Simon and Schuster and this one is extra special because it is for 4 books. Yep, that's right, 4 more books which will bring the total to 15!

Needless to say, I was thrilled to sign on the dotted line. The Books and The City Team are a dream to work with and my agent, Amanda Preston, and I are very much looking forward to working on these new titles which will keep me writing to the end of 2022. However, as wonderful as the news is and as excited as I am, I really wasn't sure how the announcement was going to be received. On the one hand, I wanted to shout from the roof tops, on the other I was worried that sharing would be considered indelicate given the current state of things. I also thought there was every possibility that no one would notice. My social media feeds have been exceptionally quiet of late.

However, all of my fears were ungrounded because from the moment the Tweet appeared, my phone sprang into life and it's hardly stopped since.

I have been inundated with wonderful messages and kind words from author chums, bloggers and friends alike, all sharing the news on my social media accounts. So many people have been in touch to tell me that the thought of another 4 books has cheered them up, given them something to look forward to and made them feel a bit better about life and those lovely comments have made me feel better too. 

So, this is my thank you to all of you for your generous support and enthusiasm. It has lifted my spirits and got me fired up and looking forward to writing those next 4 books. I can promise you they will be more heart-warming than ever and I very much hope you enjoy reading them.

Look after yourselves and each other. Stay safe, stay indoors and immerse yourselves in some fabulous fiction.

With all my love,

H x

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

What larks at Eye Library, Suffolk

Just a quick post to show you some of the pics from the fabulous event with Jenni Keer in Suffolk yesterday. 

Eye is so lucky to have a magnificent new library and Jenni and I were delighted to find a packed house waiting to welcome us. It really was standing room only, which was phenomenal for a very blustery Tuesday morning!

Huge thanks to everyone who came along to support us and asked such great questions. I think we might have imparted some bookish knowledge as well as shared a lot of laughs.

Thanks also to Julie for inviting us along, spreading the word that we were coming, baking beautiful biscuits to keep our blood sugar topped up and for the gorgeous gift of an Azalea for each of us. Jenni and I had a thoroughly fabulous time!

Oh... and the toadstool seats were just my size...

H x

Monday, 9 March 2020

I recorded a Podcast!

I'm being really brave and sharing this EVERYWHERE online, but just in case you missed it, I'm giving it a mention here too. Why brave? I hear you cry, well, simple answer - I really hate listening to the sound of my own voice - don't we all?

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, lovely Emma invited me along to feature on the The Slumbering SlothCast and here's the result...

I really hope you enjoy listening to my bookish words of wisdom. Thank you Emma for inviting me along.

H x

Friday, 28 February 2020

Living the #amwriting life - February

Hello everyone and welcome to my second round-up post of the year! February has absolutely flown by - unlike January which lasted at least 75 days - and it has been an exceptionally busy month on the #amwriting front.

It began with the exciting news that The Secret Seaside Escape is available to request on Netgalley. Actually that was as terrifying as it was exciting, but I'm feeling much happier about it now. At the time of typing, the book has already received 56 - I kid you not - 56 reviews and they are all four and five stars. I'm beyond delighted that you wonderful folk are taking Wynmouth to your hearts and I'm very much looking forward to publication day on April 30th. You can still request it on Netgalley (there's a link on the right of this post) and of course it's available to order and skipping merrily up the Amazon charts.

There's also been some serious FREE event planning going on and I'm very much looking to joining my BFF in Eye Library, Suffolk on March 10th from 11am for a wonderful chat about all things bookish. We'll also be discussing our publication journeys and our news books. I'm hoping to have some bespoke bookmarks to giveaway at that event too, so if you do come along, make sure you look out for those!

As well as all the hours at my desk, I've also been getting out and about quite a bit. A childhood dream was fulfilled on February 8th when my daughter and I attended The Dark Crystal convention at Elstree studios. I've been a fan of the film since I first saw it over 35 years ago and now there's the spectacular Netflix series, I'm in love all over again. 

The day provided a fascinating insight into the mind of Jim Henson, Brian and Wendy Froud, the puppeteers, actors and everyone else involved in the complex production. It was truly awe inspiring and such a privilege to hear all about how other creative folk work and tackle such a huge production. If you don't know what I'm getting so excited about, go and have a Google right now!

The following Saturday was spent in the company of none other than Marian Keyes herself! I must have driven you bonkers going on and on about it on social media and I know well over a hundred of you read the post I wrote detailing what it was all about, so I won't start waxing lyrical again, but needless to say, it was AMAZING.

February has also included A LOT of super socialisng. I've caught up with so many friends and attended a very exciting RNA Norfolk and Suffolk Chapter lunch in Norwich. These get togethers are always great fun - a time for catching up with each other's news, current projects and problems - and this one was no exception. There were 11 of us in total, which I think made it the biggest I've been to so far and we were all chatting away for hours. I came away feeling much refreshed, if a little hoarse!

Last, but by no means least, I've - somehow - written tens of thousands of words on the next book and decided to change my reading habits a little. I'm always being asked to read proof copies and provide quotes - which I absolutely love - and so I've split my reading time into day and bedtime reading.

It was Jenni Keer who first gave me the idea because she always has more than one title on the go. I wasn't sure if it would work for me, but so far so good. I've added an extra 'what I'm reading' image to the blog so you can keep track along with me and I'd love to know how you tackle your #tbr pile. Do you read one book at a time or a you a juggler? Let me know in the comments box below!

Finally, thank you for so much for finding this post and reading all about what I've been up to this month. I already know that March is going to be even busier - starting on Monday with the RNA Awards in London - how could I possibly forget to mention that I found out Poppy's Recipe for Life has been shortlisted this month? Probably because I'm feeling so jittery about it. I mean, look at the company I'm in, would you? It's hardly any wonder I'm a bag of nerves!

Here's to a month filled with even more fabulous fiction my loves!

Much love,

H x

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Welcoming Ella Allbright to the blog

Today I am absolutely delighted to welcome Nikki Moore to the blog to tell us all about her new author name, her change of writing direction and her beautiful new book, The Charm Bracelet.

A Change of Direction

Firstly, thanks so much Heidi for featuring me on your blog today, the authorly support is truly appreciated J

Today is very special for me because it marks the cover reveal for my new book The Charm Bracelet, my first commercial women’s fiction novel. I’ve been happily writing romance as Nikki Moore for over five years now, most notably the popular #LoveLondon series. However, when my lovely editor Charlotte Ledger invited me to London in February 2017 and pitched a concept for an emotional and epic love story, we both knew it would be a different kind of book in a new genre, featuring deeper issues and in a slightly different voice. Eventually – after much deliberation – and long after the first draft was delivered in Autumn 2019, the new pen name of Ella Allbright was agreed on. (Thank you again to my good friend Juliette for lending me her daughter’s first name!)

All in all, it took me almost three years to deliver The Charm Bracelet. It wasn’t easy to write, and I experienced several bereavements during the first year of writing, which had a huge impact on my ability to be creative. Thankfully, the magic came back and I threw myself into telling Leila and Jake’s story, which is set in stunning Dorset and follows them over an almost twenty year period through dual viewpoints, centred around Leila’s very special charm bracelet. I’ve noticed increasingly over the last few years how many people now wear charm bracelets, and catch myself taking sneaky peeks at what the charms are and dreaming up what they might represent. I do think that writers are naturally curious people - that’s my excuse anyway!

I hope that readers enjoy my new voice and are as excited about Leila and Jake’s story as I am. I’ve written it from my heart and hope that readers take something special away from it.

The Charm Bracelet by Ella Allbright

A moving and heartwarming love story perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day in December

Leila’s charm bracelet tells a story of love, a story of loss, a story of hope.

This is the story of her … and the story of Jake.

When Leila Jones loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and every one is a precious memory of her life with Jake.

So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…

Published by One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins UK

Ebook: 21 August 2020

Paperback: 12 November 2020

A self-confessed reading addict, Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Her first novel in this genre, The Charm Bracelet will be published in August 2020 by One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins, and she’s currently hard at work on her next book. Ella is represented by agent Hattie Grünewald at The Blair Partnership, who represent J.K. Rowling. 

Ella also writes as Nikki Moore, the author of the popular #LoveLondon romance series. A number of the novellas featured in the Top 100 short story charts on Kobo and the Top 20 in the Amazon UK bestsellers Holiday chart, and in 2018 the collection was released in Italy. Her first published work was the short story A Night to Remember in the best selling Mills & Boon / RNA anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply. Her debut romance Crazy, Undercover, Love was shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2015.

When not writing or reading, she can be found working in her HR day job, walking the family’s cute beagle puppy or watching a Netflix series!

You can connect with Ella/Nikki on:

Twitter -  @NikkiMoore_Auth

She also vlogs about how to get published as ‘Author By The Sea’ on her YouTube channel at

Marian Keyes! The actual Marian Keyes!

What can I tell you ? Yesterday was an absolute highlight! The year has been littered with them already, and it's only February, but none the more for that, yesterday was extraordinary and I really don't think any of what I have planned for the next ten months is going to match it, let alone better it!

When I first read that the inimitable MARIAN KEYES was coming to Bury St Edmunds - which is a mere hop, skip and a short train journey from me - I thought I'd misread the missive, but no, she was definitely coming and tickets were available. And not just any old tickets, but FRONT ROW tickets. Needless to say, I snapped one up and added an Extra Special Event countdown on my phone, an honour usually only reserved for Christmas.

As the day drew nearer, there was of course the inevitable weather spanner thrown in the works, as there ALWAYS is with any event I'm hosting, attending or taking part in (folk who know me are well aware that this is no exaggeration and have even refused to attend functions with me for fear of being struck down during a freak storm that my presence will conjure out of nowhere), but I thought 'feck it,' as Marian herself would say and set off, ignoring the battle cries of Storm Dennis and made my blustery way to Bury.

It wasn't just Marian's unique sense of style that I wanted to admire from my front row seat, but I wanted to hear all about how she tackles the writing process, why she writes what she does, how she does it, which bits she loves, loathes and everything in between, because for me there is nothing more interesting than discovering how other authors do the job of writing the words.

I know that we all have very different styles, methods and ideas. There's absolutely no one size fits all when it comes to writing a 400 page book - or in the case of Marian's latest, Grown Ups, a 600+ page book, and having the opportunity to hear first hand how other authors, especially 33 million worldwide selling authors, go about it, is fascinating.

And did Marian live up to expectations? Of course, she bloody did! Warm, wise, engaging and unflinchingly honest about far more than her writing, she has us all in the palm of her hand. I learned loads, and I know I wasn't the only one, and not only about her passion for cosmetics and Strictly. I was even brave enough to put up my hand and ask her a question - another 'feck it' moment and one I was extremely proud of.

It was an absolutely stand out afternoon for me and one that I'll be thinking about for a very long time, so thank you Marian for travelling to my little corner of the world and lighting up a very stormy Saturday with your charm, kindness and much welcomed words of wisdom.

H x