The Gift of Christmas Yet to Come by Jo Bartlett

This is a truly lovely story, with all the necessary ingredients for a cosy Christmas read.

It’s set in the little coastal town of St Nicholas Bay, which is so beautifully described that it’s definitely a main character in itself. Legend has it that Charles Dickens wrote part of The Christmas Carol here, and many of the businesses have Dickens references in their names.

Christmas, quite obviously, is a big deal in St Nicholas Bay and, for Kate, this Christmas is particularly important. She’s made a momentous decision – one that will change her life. She is lucky to have the support of her best friends, Sara, Meg and Will, who have been her support network since school days – but Meg isn’t as sure about Kate’s plans as the others, and her well-meaning actions set Kate on a different path to the one she’d been planning.

Will a voice from the past lead Kate to a happy future? And will she get the greatest Christmas gift of all?

With a gorgeous setting, likeable characters (you’ll feel like one of the gang in no time), a heartwarming romance and a little touch of magic, The Gift of Christmas Yet to Come will leave you feeling joyful, enriched, and full of Christmas spirit. As this is Book 1 it seems there will be more St Nicholas Bay stories to come, and I will most definitely be buying them. A five-star story from a very talented author. 5/5

Buy The Gift of Christmas Yet to Come here.jo-bartlett-cover-final

A Story to Warm Your Heart

Yes, I can finally say it. I’m a published author! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Winter Tales ~ Stories to Warm Your Heart went live on Kindle today (Saturday 8th November) and I, along with the other Write Romantics, couldn’t be more proud. The paperback edition of the book will be available very soon and it will be so utterly gorgeous that it will be worth waiting for. In fact, why not buy both editions? Why not buy extra copies as Christmas presents? good copy

I expect you’re thinking, ‘She’s totally shameless! What a cheek, plugging the book like that!’ Well, when it comes to this particular book I’m happy to promote it endlessly because all proceeds go to two such worthy causes that it would be wrong not to. All the money that’s made from Winter Tales will go to two charities that are close to the Write Romantics’ hearts – The Teenage Cancer Trust and The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. If you want to know why these charities matter so much to us, please click here.

At just £2.56, the anthology provides fabulous value for money – just over 10p a story. Now you can’t deny that’s a bargain, can you? 😉 We’ve had so much help with this anthology, not least from our lovely guests who contributed such great stories. The full list of authors is: Jessica Redland, Rhoda Baxter, Zanna Mackenzie, Jo Bartlett, Harriet James, Alison May, Holly Martin, Kerry Fisher, Sharon Booth, Sarah Painter, Jackie Ladbury, Helen Phifer, Jennifer Bohnet, Helen J Rolfe, Alys West, Terri Nixon, Annie Lyons, Linda Huber, Sarah Lewis, Rachael Thomas, Lynne Pardoe and Samantha Tonge. We really can’t thank our guests enough for sparing the time to write such fabulous stories, and for helping us to spread the word about the anthology and the causes we’re raising money for.

 

To celebrate the launch we’re having a party over on Facebook right here between 1pm and 3pm today (Saturday) and we’re giving away some great prizes including signed copies of books from some of our contributors: Kerry Fisher, Jo Bartlett, Rachael Thomas, Helen Phifer and Linda Huber. There will also, of course, be a copy of the anthology to be won and our star prize which will be awarded to the person who has tweeted the most about the launch. There’ll be food, drink, laughter and friendly chatter, and you can bring a guest. (I’m bringing two!) We’ll no doubt have cake and lots of other delicious nibbly things and since it’s all virtual there are no calories involved. Win win!

We hope you can join us, but if you’re reading this after the event then don’t despair. You can still grab yourself a copy of Winter Tales, snuggle in front of the fire, sip your hot chocolate and shut out the wintry weather with twenty-four feelgood stories to warm your heart.  We do hope you’ll enjoy reading them!

Buy Winter Tales here.

Have a great week xx

 

The Best-Laid Plans

Yesterday – November 1st – marked the start of the glorious month of Nano! Yes, NaNoWriMo is here again, and for thousands of people the next thirty days will be spent frantically typing or writing in their bid to make the sacred wordcount goal of fifty thousand words.

I’ve done NaNo three times now. The first time was back in 2011 when I had made up my mind that I was going to write a novel. A full novel. Not the first chapter of one which I’d managed on countless occasions over the previous decades, but the whole thing. I’d made a detailed chapter-by-chapter plan and nothing was going to stop me. I was filled with enthusiasm and determination and when November 1st arrived I was off, out of the box like a champion race horse. And I did it. 120,000 words, give or take a few, and a complete first draft. Little did I know that was just the beginning and it would be almost another three years before I considered There Must Be An Angel fit to be read by anyone else.

In 2012 I decided to start book two. Again I made a detailed plan and got to work. The trouble was, I was still working on Angel, and as this book was the sequel I wasn’t entirely sure I was doing the right thing. This time I managed 60,000 words – enough to win but nowhere near enough to finish the story. I put it away and returned to Angel. That book is now what will be book four in the Kearton Bay series, but it will be very different to that first draft. I may rewrite it and finish it for NaNoWriMo 2015! 🙂

Last year I did enter, but I have to admit my heart wasn’t in it. I had too many other things going on and I was fine-tuning There Must Be An Angel which was my real priority. This time I failed. I managed around 30,000 words. No winner’s badge for me!

I was quite determined I was going to enter and win  this year. Angel was done and, surprisingly, the second book (which I never used for NaNo) was also done.  I had no distractions and I spent weeks plotting out scene by scene for what will be book three. I was all geared up for a month of uninterrupted writing and then…

Firstly, due to unforseen circumstances, it seems I will be putting in a lot of extra shifts at work this month. This is the first time I’ve been called upon to do so and if that’s not an example of sod’s law I don’t know what is. Secondly, as I was eating my evening meal on Friday – just hours before NaNo day dawned – I was visited by the ghost of novel outlines past. A story I’d thought up and roughly plotted some months ago had, for no good reason that I can fathom, suddenly reared up and galloped to the front of my mind, demanding to be heard. Worse, demanding to be written! What was I to do? I grabbed a notebook and fleshed out the rough outline I’d done with more ideas, more about the main character who was suddenly chatting to me in a very determined voice.

I went to bed totally confused. I had to get book three done didn’t I? I didn’t have time to mess about with a half-baked novel idea when I’d planned the other one out so meticulously. And with extra shifts to cover, I certainly didn’t have time to waste by dithering over what I was actually going to write.

So I got up yesterday and switched on my computer and …

I Facebooked, tweeted, messed about with this blog trying out custom designs and adding a new page, ordered some shopping and generally wasted hours. All because I couldn’t decide which story I was going with.

In the end I gritted my teeth, pushed the bossy newcomer back into her box and started book three in the Kearton Bay series.  I managed almost 2,500 words and I’m hoping to continue today, but I’ve promised my new character that I will work on her story after work in my notebook, and that she won’t have to wait too long before I really take her seriously. Honestly, why is nothing straightforward?

If you’re NaNo-ing this month I wish you lots of luck. It’s quite tough but it can be very rewarding too. I hope your characters behave themselves a lot better than mine! 🙂

Have a great week xx