#Shoelove competition goodies

Prize1

The #shoelove competition launches on Monday 4 April, ahead of publication day for The Second Chance Shoe Shop out on Friday 8 April. 

Do check out the blog on Monday for details of the goodies and spot prizes and general shoe love that will be going on for the next three weeks from then. 

You can also visit The Second Chance Shoe Shop and put in your preorder for #shoelove. I’m thrilled with the reviews that are coming in fast and thick. Here are some snippets and the blurb:

The Second Chance Shoe Shop is that rarest of treats, a story filled with warm and wonderful characters who feel like your best friends from the first page. Tilly Tennant

All Riley Flynn wants is to meet someone who makes her happy. But attracting the right kind of man is not easy, and with her heart still hurting from her last break-up, Riley believes she’ll never find love again.

A year ago, Sadie Stewart’s whole world was shattered when her husband, Ross, died. She has struggled to keep herself together for the sake of their young daughter, but with the anniversary of his death approaching, Sadie finds herself overwhelmed by grief.

Second Chance v2Sadie and Riley work at Chandlers shoe shop, in the charming town of Hedworth. But when Chandlers is threatened with closure, the friends are confronted with the loss of not only their jobs, but also their support network – the glue that holds them together when they are close to breaking.

As they put together a plan to save their beloved shop, Sadie realises that she might just be learning to live again. Could it be that new beginnings are just round the corner? The campaign also finds Riley unexpectedly crossing paths with charming photographer, Ethan. Maybe her second chance at love is right under her feet …

A delightfully romantic tale of love, friendship and putting your best foot forward, for fans of Carole Matthews and Amanda Prowse.

‘Another winner from Marcie Steele! The Second Chance Shoe Shop is chock full of relatable characters, romance, fashion and fun. A wonderful read that will draw you in from beginning to end.’ Talli Roland

What readers are saying about The Second Chance Shoe Shop:

‘Yet again Marcie Steele has written a wonderful story with characters who grab you by the heart and touch your soul.’ By The Letter Reviews

’I wanted to savour every page … My favourite Marcie Steele book so far.’ Steph Loz Book Review

‘If you still haven’t read any of Mel’s or Marcie’s books, you really should. You will love them!’ Kerry at Chat About Books

‘This was a lovely, well-told story and easily (in my opinion) Marcie’s best one yet’ Book Lover Worm

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#Shoelove goodies

Second Chance v2

I’m so pleased with all the #shoelove goodies that have been arriving over the past few days.

Next week, I’ll be giving details of how to win one of three goodie bags and also spot prizes around the launch of The Second Chance Shoe Shop on 8 April.

I do hope you will have some fun with me and show me photos of shoes.

You can preorder The Second Chance Shoe Shop here. 

 

 

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How do I write a book?

Second Chance v2With The Second Chance Shoe Shop out on 8 April, I’m already on to writing my next book. As 40,000 words turn into 50,000 words, I find this the lowest point of writing a first draft.

I aim for 80,000 words with a first draft, usually growing to 90,000 on second draft. But 40,000 words is too close to half way to get the racing towards the end feeling.

At 45,000 words I am half way with 45,000 words to go. 60,000 words is near to three quarters of the way through. Once past 40,000 words, I have done more words than I have to left to do. Once I get to 60,000, there are only 30,000 words left to write. Psychological babble? Yes, but it works for me. Because that ten thousand in the middle feels like I’m pulling teeth.

When it comes to writing a book, I’m a planner and a plotter. I know for some writers this takes away the creative element but for me it is vital to me getting it down. Yet I use the plan loosely. If by writing one scene, I get an idea for another scene that isn’t part of my plan, I write it. This usually leads me on to the next and the next and fills in some of the gaps quite nicely.

There are times however, when I get to a bullet point, something that I need to happen then and I realise that I’m nowhere near it in terms of timeline and setting it up. But I have to write it. If, why I’m writing it, ideas don’t come along, I leave it for the second draft. I’m at that place now, going from 40,000 to 50,000 words.

IMG_0733Today I will need good discipline to sit down and do it. Today I will need Dexter, the office dog, to watch over me, supervise me when I run off to make another cup of coffee to postpone the agony of getting another 500 words down on that word count.

I will need ‘bum glue’ – I’m certain of that. But who said this writing lark is always fun? For me, the fun begins again at 60,000. Once the initial rush of the beginning has gone and the middle muddle starts to fade away with the self doubt, this is the time when I think that this actually might turn into another book. It will need a lot of work after this first draft but that’s what second drafts are all about. And third, and fourth and…

 

It’s all about the #shoelove

At the moment, I’m being kept awake by a restless mind. From two until three am last night, I lay in bed while a swirl of thoughts were looping around inside my head as I am writing my next book.

Yesterday, as I feel we have bypassed winter again this year, I decided to put away my boots in the loft and get down my summer shoes. On doing this, I noticed a suitcase that I hadn’t looked in for a while, so I dragged that down too. I opened it up to find about twelve pairs of shoes, mostly high heels.

I’ve had to get rid of a fair few of my heels because of a back problem from a fall I had years ago, and at the moment, I am more the Queen of Flats. So I was so excited to see them because I thought I had thrown them all away!

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Last night as I lay in bed unable to sleep, it occurred to me that the photo I took is similar to what my mind looks like right now… jam-packed, mixed-up, in no partiSecond Chance v2cular order, thinking of plots and subplots, and hope that I might get to wear some of them again, even if it is just from the car to the pub! 

You see, it’s all about the shoes…

My latest novel, The Second Chance Shoe Shop is on preorder for 8 April.

From the beginning of April, I will be running a competition to win lots of #shoelove goodies too. 

 

#Shoelove goodies

Second Chance v2I have lots of ‪#‎shoelove‬ goodies to give away in a competition, starting around the build up to the launch of The Second Chance Shoe Shop, at the beginning of April. There will be a chance to win one of three goodie bags filled with lots of nice things and even four bespoke products made just for the launch.

The Second Chance Shoe Shop has already been getting some great reviews and I’m so pleased. I’ve had the added reaction that people who know me as Mel Sherratt have been so excited that I’ve written a book about one of my passions, i.e. shoes! How well do they know me!

You can preorder the ebook if you want to read about Riley, Sadie and Dan, and the paperback version will be available mid April.  

Here are a couple of comments I received yesterday re Twitter:

Dan’s love life is really rather challenging. I like his inclusion in the story.

Needed a pick me up. What lovely friends and I want to cuddle Sadie’s adorable daughter.She is so cute and her interaction with Sadie’s friends is so lovely. Excuse me. Pulls out hankie.

You should definitely read it, it was excellent. But I warn you, you’ll need tissues at the end!

 

The Second Chance Shoe Shop

Second Chance v2Today, I can reveal the cover and title of my next book, The Second Chance Shoe Shop. It’s my third Marcie book and I thrilled with it. I loved writing this one because of my love of high heels.

Next week, I will be giving out details of my competition to win one of three goodie bags if you join in with me online… all I’m saying is #shoelove

You can preorder the book here and read the blurb below:

The Second Chance Shoe Shop is that rarest of treats, a story filled with warm and wonderful characters who feel like your best friends from the first page.’ Tilly Tennant

All Riley Flynn wants is to meet someone who makes her happy. But attracting the right kind of man is not easy, and with her heart still hurting from her last break-up, Riley believes she’ll never find love again.

A year ago, Sadie Stewart’s whole world was shattered when her husband, Ross, died. She has struggled to keep herself together for the sake of their young daughter, but with the anniversary of his death approaching, Sadie finds herself overwhelmed by grief.

Sadie and Riley work at Chandlers shoe shop, in the charming town of Hedworth. But when Chandlers is threatened with closure, the friends are confronted with the loss of not only their jobs, but also their support network – the glue that holds them together when they are close to breaking.

As they put together a plan to save their beloved shop, Sadie realises that she might just be learning to live again. Could it be that new beginnings are just round the corner? The campaign also finds Riley unexpectedly crossing paths with charming photographer, Ethan. Maybe her second chance at love is right under her feet …

A delightfully romantic tale of love, friendship and putting your best foot forward, for fans of Carole Matthews and Amanda Prowse.

Praise for Marcie Steele:

‘Wonderfully warm, with characters every woman can relate to, reading Marcie Steele’s Stirred With Love will remind you of chatting over coffee with three of your closest girlfriends. A fantastic read about overcoming life’s obstacles with friendship and love.’ Talli Roland

‘A squidgy cinnamon bun of a book – not too sweet but a perfect pick me up. ’ Reading Room with a View

‘Hooks you immediately, and you feel as if you’re reading about your friends … well written, character rich, heartwarming. An easy 5 stars.’ Bibliophile Book Club

‘I simply adored this book! What an absolutely delightful novel that exceeded all my expectations and left me wanting more … This is chick-lit at it’s best.’ Booklover Catlady Reviews

Q&A with Christie Barlow

Kittys-Countryside-Dream-Kindle

I’ve been busy wrapping up the copy edits for my next book, which is due out on 8 April. I shall be releasing news of it very shortly – I’ve seen sight of the cover and it is amazing! All will be revealed soon. I am very excited about it. 

But first, I’ve been chatting to the lovely Christie Barlow, whose third book, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, has recently been published and is storming the Kindle UK charts because it is on offer for only 99p for a limited time. Over to you, Christie. 

Please tell me a little about the book.

Kitty’s Countryside Dream has been described as a soul-boosting necessity that has been sprinkled with a little bit of magic. Life has not been kind to Kitty Lewis, the main character. Out of the blue, after the death of her mother, she unexpectedly inherits a chicken farm from a grandmother she never knew she had. It’s a new start for Kitty as she settles into country life with all its farmyard antics. She is determined to discover more about her mystery benefactor. When routinely sorting out the office, the diary of a young woman called Violet comes to light and poses more questions than answers. With the help of her new friends, and particularly Tom Drew, she uses some detective work to uncover the past. There’s lots of humour and romantic confusion dotted throughout. Despite a past and a future that Kitty could never have imagined, friendships, love and family prevails in the end.

Where did the idea come from?

Kitty’s Countryside Dream would never have been written if it wasn’t for a local farmer who sold me my very first chicken over eight years ago. Since then he has taught me everything I need to know about rearing and breeding chickens. Chickens have become a way of life in our house and it was my feathered friends who provided the little spark of inspiration for this story.

Who is your favourite character in the book and why?

Oh, that’s an easy one! Tom Drew is the heart-throb in the book. I modelled him after my friend and actor Mike Denman. Anyone who saw Mike as the sexy and cunning villain in the touring production of The Bodyguard will know what I mean! Every romantic, feel-good book needs a handsome hero. Tom’s appeal is not just his looks, but he’s a genuine nice guy.

Tell me what your main character is like. Would he/she be your best friend? 

Kitty has had a tough life. She lost her dad in an accident when she was a young girl and then as a young woman, she was the sole carer to her terminally ill mother. She didn’t have the time to go to university, and lost touch with her friends, all but giving up on any social life. When she moves to her new life in Staffordshire, she leaves everything behind and takes on a future that is completely unknown. I think it’s Kitty’s determination to find a life for herself, no matter how much she is out of her comfort zone, that resonates with readers. You want to root for her and I’m so pleased that people have taken to her. I tried to show her vulnerabilities but with an underlying strength that comes from her past. Yes, I think she would be one of my best friends – she doesn’t take herself too seriously but is very loyal. Those are both qualities that are important to me.

What is the oddest thing you have ever done/come across when researching a book?

Well, if you’ve read my second book – Misadventures of a Playground Mother – you’ll have read a very humorous section on speed-dating. How I got through that evening of research will remain a closely guarded secret – but let’s just say it had to be done!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

That’s a funny question really. I guess I have, but I didn’t really have it at the front of my consciousness. It came about a few years ago after I’d turn 40. I’d left work after I had my first child and had spent many years dedicated to raising my four children. But, shortly after my “big birthday” when they asked me what I wanted to “do” with my life, I replied, “I want to write a book.” What I thought was an off-the-cuff answer was actually something that had been simmering and suddenly a random comment became my reality.

What are you currently reading?

I’m actually writing my fourth novel right now – so that is consuming a lot of my time. But all authors make time to read. It’s part of our DNA. I’m currently reading Lost Girls by Angela Marsons and next on my list is That’s What Friends Are For by the wonderful Marcie Steele.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing, and does it come in useful for your stories?

I’m a home-body, really. I love my home in my little village in Staffs, surrounded by my family and our mini zoo! My crazy cocker spaniel Woody and I are best friends. We go out for long walks daily and he and a bag of haribos keep me company while I’m writing. I am a piano teacher and love music – so I’m often attending gigs, particularly if Gary Barlow is performing! Since I’ve become an author, I’ve been privileged to join the Zuri Project as a volunteer. I’ll be visiting Uganda this year for a month, and I’m sure that trip will leave me with plenty of ideas for a story.

You can find out more about Christie at her website. 

 

Why did I write Stirred with Love?

1. Stirred FINALAfter writing several crime thrillers as Mel Sherratt, and being known for my grit-lit, readers often ask me why I wrote Stirred with Love. There are three reasons.

Coffee

It’s the smell. The knowing before you taste it that you’re on to something good. The anticipation as the drink is made. The noise of the machine as it creates the delight. Ooh, I need a coffee right now!

It’s the taste. Getting froth on your top lip – or even your nose! It’s the sigh factor – you know, a slurp of good coffee and my shoulders relax and I sigh with appreciation.

It’s my local coffee shop. The buzz about the place, the swoosh of the coffee machine, the clink of a spoon. The people who come and go. The staff and their friendly banter. Those comfy leather settees.

Cappuccino is my ultimate favourite – and if there is a heart drawn in the froth, then that’s even better. But to be honest, I love a good cup of coffee with Coffee Mate. I know it is sacrilege to some but, for me, it’s the magic ingredient. Add to that mix a chocolate chip cookie and I am a happy Marcie. Sit me in my favourite coffee shop and I am coffee loved up.

Friendship

My friends are really important to me. They are quite literally what makes me who I am. I have friends who give me advice, friends who cheer me up, friends who tell me the truth (no matter how hard it is to hear at times). I’ve had friends over the years who have come and gone, as life moves on, but true friends are still around. If you have at least one true friend, then I think you’re blessed.

Making new friends is sometimes hard but once you’ve done it and you’ve found that person who you can trust with anything, well, life can only get better. And when life kicks you in the butt, with the help of that friend you can work through any problem just that little bit easier.

Love

It really does makes the world go round. The giddiness, the anticipation, the expectation of falling in love. Settling into a long-term relationship with someone who gets you completely. Someone you feel safe and secure with. Someone who makes you feel special, like you belong together forever.

Of course there is the other side – falling out of love. Or someone falling out of love with you. The sorrow, the heartbreak, the agony, the hurt, the pain, the rejection. But that’s where friends come on board. Friends get you through the good times and the bad.

So, add a dash of friendship to a huge mug of coffee and what do you get…. Stirred with Love.