It’s Not Kissing Up, it’s Promo

I’m delighted to welcome my second guest blogger of the month, Sue Moorcroft.  Sue is an award winning romantic novelist (more details of her work below). Sue kindly agreed to write a piece on the importance of self promotion as a writer. Hope you enjoy, and remember feel free to comment! 

Why am I writing this post?

Why will I write the next two blog posts I plan to write this morning, another guest blog plus an entry on my own?

And chat to people on Twitter and Facebook?

It’s because I love talking about myself …

Yes, but apart from that! It’s ‘promo’.

Promo is part of the life of every writer I know. We understand the need to keep our names visible and interest people in our books and the Internet has provided us with a massive global platform on which to do it. Wonderfully, the platform is interactive and conversational. Comments on blogposts, Facebook threads, conversations on Twitter, none of them are just ways of beating prospective readers over the head with constant ‘Buy my book! Buy my book!’ or ‘Love me! Love me!’ messages. Each is a valuable person-to-person connection.

I realise that some of the people who fall into conversation with me DO buy my books. I know, because they tell me. They come back and tell me that they enjoyed the book and ask me about future books. In conversation, they become comfortable with my voice or my sense of humour, we chat about the subjects I’m researching and they’re interested by what I’m going to make of the subject. I ask the Twitterverse what a hot hero might wear to a halloween party, and they tell me he should go as a devil in red lycra – they feel they have a stake in the book, and I get help that I genuinely want. The Twitterverse has also found me a US attorney, told me how to hack a website; Facebook has provided me with a host of heroes with spooky eyes and the name of a clear anti-freeze. (Which led to a fascinating conversation about whether I was planning a murder and whether cooking and eating them would be a good way to dispose of the body. Also whether barbecue sauce would be appropriate. But I won’t be putting that in a book.)

I feel privileged to be writing in an era when readers can click ‘contact me’ on my website, befriend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter specifically to say, ‘I enjoyed your book’. (Or, ‘Here’s how to cook and eat a body …’)

So, yes, blogs, Twitter and Facebook are part of promo. But they’re not about courting readers – they’re about enjoying knowing them.

Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes. Her last book, Love & Freedom, won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 at the Festival of Romance and her next, Dream a Little Dream, published on 1 November 2012, is the one with the devil in lycra.

Combining writing success with her experience as a creative writing tutor, she’s written a ‘how to’ book, Love Writing – How to Make Money From Writing Romantic and Erotic Fiction (on superspecial promo price of £0.77 at the time of writing this blog.) Sue writes a regular Formula 1 column, short stories, serials, articles and courses and is the head judge for Writers’ Forum. She’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner. 

Check out her website www.suemoorcroft.com and her blog at http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/ for news and writing tips. You’re welcome to befriend Sue on Facebook or Follow Sue on Twitter.

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Eleanor of Aquitaine – The mother of all Plantagenets


This month’s guest blogger is Susan Abernethy co-creator of ‘
Saints, sisters and sluts’ – an informative and entertaining collection of abridged histories of the worlds most notable women; from Queen of the Saxons, Aethelflaed (b868), right up to 2011 nobel prize winners Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman.

Susan has kindly agreed to help me spread the word about the glorious Plantagenets. As anyone who follows my blog and/or twitter I’m a big fan of Plantagenet King, Richard III. In this blog we’re going right back to the beginning with the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine, mother of all Plantagenets. 

Married to two Kings, mother of two kings and at least eight other children, zealous crusader, embroiled in wars and rebellions, held captive for sixteen years and finally taking the veil; Eleanor of Acquitaine was certainly a formidable woman. 

Born in 1122, in Southern France, Eleanor was the oldest child of William X, Duke of Aquitaine. Eleanor’s father provided her with a comprehensive education covering Latin, music, literature, riding, hunting and hawking. Her brother and mother died when she was young so Eleanor became heir to her father’s dukedom, one of the largest and richest in France at the time. Beautiful, wealthy, and landed, Eleanor was a highly sought after marriage prize. The winner of this prize was French prince, Louis (later to become Louis VII) who she married in 1137. Before their marriage it was agreed Eleanor would retain rights to her inheritance free and clear of Louis, and when her future son became King of the Franks he would inherit the Duchy of Aquitaine.

Although Louis adored Eleanor, their marriage was stormy, due to Eleanor’s feisty nature, her interference in political and religious matters and his piety. It was not until eight years after their marriage she had her first child, a girl, Marie. In the same year, Louis was invited to go on Crusade to the Holy Land.

Eleanor took up this challenge with zest, pledging to the Crusade and recruiting many people to go, including her ladies in waiting. In their travels to the Holy Land, they stopped in Constantinople and stayed with the Byzantine Emperor where

English: Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen consort o...

English: Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen consort of Henry II of England. Français : Aliénor (ou Eleanor) d’Aquitaine, reine consort de Henry II Plantagenêt, roi d’Angleterre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eleanor was greatly admired. They went on to Jerusalem and Damascus but partly due to Louis’ lack of authority they were hounded out by the Turks.

By the time they returned to France, Eleanor and Louis’ marriage had completely broken down. When Eleanor’s second daughter, Alix, was born in 1151, Louis was ready for annulment. The annulment was granted in 1152 with assurances by Louis that Eleanor could retain all of her inheritance.

As soon as Eleanor returned to her Duchy, she sent word to Henry Plantagenet, to come and marry her. Eight weeks after the annulment they were married and October 1154, Henry and Eleanor became King and Queen of England.

Over the next thirteen years, Eleanor had five sons and three daughters. Henry was unfaithful to Eleanor and their marriage was not a tranquil affair. By the time her youngest child was born, Henry was deeply involved with his favourite, Rosamund Clifford and the marriage was strained beyond repair. In 1167, Eleanor agreed to a separation and returned to her Duchy in Aquitaine.

In 1173, her eldest son, Henry, rebelled against King Henry II. Eleanor may have aided and abetted him along with her two other sons, Richard and Geoffrey. King Henry eventually had Eleanor arrested and in 1174 they returned to England. Because Henry feared any alliance between Eleanor and his sons, he kept Eleanor in captivity from 1173-1189.

Henry’s eldest son rebelled against his father again in 1183 but lost, dying soon after of dysentery. After his death Henry allowed Eleanor a trip to Normandy and some freedoms, although she was still under guard at all times. She even appeared at court with Henry on important occasions.

King Henry II died in July of 1189 and their son Richard I, the Lionheart, became King of England. It is said his first order was to release his mother from captivity. Eleanor rode to Westminster where the lords swore fealty to her in the King’s name. She ruled as Regent on behalf of King Richard while he was out of the country and when he was on the Third Crusade. Richard was captured in Germany while trying to return home after the Crusade. Eleanor negotiated the ransom for his release, though it drained England’s treasury.

Richard I died from a battle wound in 1199. Eleanor lived on into the reign of her youngest son, King John. At 77 years old she attempted to unite England and France by travelling Kingdom of Castile to choose one of her granddaughters as a bride for the son of the King of France.

In 1201, King John and the King of France were at war. Eleanor went to Poitiers to keep John’s enemies at bay and was besieged at Mirabeau castle. King John rescued her and she finally retired to Fontevrault and took the veil as a nun. She died there in 1204 at the age of 82.

You can follow Susan on twitter @SusanAbernethy2

Guest Blog – Michael D Roberts

It’s my first Guest Blogger! (Hopefully the first of many),

I’d like to welcome Michael D Roberts, Actor, Writer, Stage Technician at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and twitter friend of mine since November 2011. We first came in to contact when agreeing 30th November was definitely too early to start Christmas shopping. Since then Michael has become a very supportive writer-friend, he is also a very funny sitcom writer and a name to watch out for in the future.

I’ve always believed in the saying, you get out of life what you’re willing to put into it.

Hi, I’m Michael David Roberts, remember that name because you’ll be seeing it in lights one day, well I hope so anyway. My story begins back in 2007 when I started a writing a pilot episode to a sitcom, based around a funeral directors called Morbid. The whole show centred on a brother and sister called Michael and Ashley. In the first episode we find out Michael and Ashley’s parents are recently deceased and the plot of the first series was to see if they could take over the family business and make a success of their inheritance. But as we all know a sitcom never allows for straightforward thinking; my aim was to see how many funerals they could mess up. The sitcom contained two other characters, Dave and Elric. Dave’s character was based around your modern day Del Boy and Elric was an off the wall character you could write anything for; it would just make sense because he was that strange. So as you can see I had my work cut out for me at the start.

English: Buick Flxible Hearse (note spelling f...

I bet you’re thinking, why did it take me five years to write it and get it sent off? Well, I kept thinking in my head it wasn’t finished and was scared of the outcome as well. I’d built these characters up in my head and didn’t want to let go to them if no-one wanted my script.

January 2012 came. I made a pact to send it off as soon as I’d looked over it and touched up a few more scenes, only to find out the BBC already had a similar idea from a writer in Huddersfield. Well I’ll be honest, I had no-one to blame but myself, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. My next step is to put things in place to film the episode and see what the world thinks of my idea. I’ve been calling up funeral directors for hearses and coffins, speaking to friends who know a cameraman and talking to actors from the local universities in Liverpool. I know at the moment I can’t offer anything in return, but I am a man who never forgets a favour and remembers everyone who helped me get to where I am today. I know I will find the people needed to help me and when I can repay them I will. What really matters is that you’re willing to put the time and effort into working toward something you truly want to do in life.

Out of Morbid came my production company, Take the Cake Productions. I’ve recruited some really talented people and I’ve got a new mission now: to make the best loved comedy production company in the UK. I need you to help me get there.

I don’t want to change the world, I just want to make it laugh.

Thank you for listening to me. I hope this has made you want to achieve goals you’ve set out in life.

If you’re based around the Liverpool area and can offer any help to get the Morbid pilot off the ground, please get in touch with Michael. You can follow Michael at @michaeldroberts , @takethecakepro and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TakeTheCakeProductions.

View a short sketch by Michael at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&client=mv-google&v=3TrovtsnDrk&nomobile=1