Posted on October 15th, 2013 by Jo

Dear Sweet Hearts fans – I’ve moved!

You can now find me blogging at http://jocotterill.com/ not just about Sweet Hearts but also about my brand new book LOOKING AT THE STARS (it’s nearly here!), my crafty hobbies and my reviews of other people’s books too.

Come and join me there!

Love from Jo

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Posted on June 17th, 2013 by Jo

Hello!

So my writing has been in a bit of a slump recently. I was waiting on the copy edits for LOOKING AT THE STARS (due out next year, so don’t get excited just yet!) and trying to come up with something new. The problem is that I’ve just got TOO MANY ideas! And I want to write ALL of them! But there isn’t time at the moment, so I’ve been trying to work out which one is the best and most likely to find a publisher. I got really fired up about a story about a girl superhero and I plotted it all out and started writing it…but my agent thinks it could be even better if I changed a few things. Er, well quite a lot of things, actually.

So now I’m not sure again! But hopefully I can get into my stride this week and come up with something really solid.

Hope everyone is well! Read any good books lately? (I’ve just read the first two HUNGER GAMES books and WOW they are BRILLIANT!)

Love from Jo

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Posted on May 13th, 2013 by Jo

Sofia, am I right in remembering that you’re in Spain? Or was it Italy? If any of my readers speak or read Italian and would like a copy of one of my books in Italian, please leave me a comment here and I’ll get back to you!

Love from Jo

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Posted on April 15th, 2013 by Jo

I’m going to be talking at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival this Saturday, along with fellow authors Julia Golding, Tamsyn Murray and Karen McCombie. Tickets are FREE! Click here if you want to know more! Plus, if you want to read a kind-of-funny blog post I wrote on the Festival website, click here!

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Posted on March 25th, 2013 by Jo

Hello all! I’m sorry it’s been such a while since I blogged. I’m finding it really hard to keep up my blogging here at the moment – partly because I can’t seem to get the flipping software to work properly, so I STILL can’t upload any photos! Which is a real shame because I have a lovely photo of me at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards in London! I didn’t win, but it was a really lovely event and I so enjoyed getting all dressed up ;-)

It’s been a busy few weeks. At the beginning of March I spent three days in Dublin, talking to pupils from seven different schools. It was really inspiring to see how their librarians are encouraging them all to read, and I’d love to go back there another time to see a bit more of Dublin itself (it rained almost all the time I was there!).

And after I came back, everyone started getting ill. Have you had the sickness bug? It’s been round everyone in my family (my eldest daughter has had it twice, which is really bad luck) and so I’ve lost almost all of my writing time recently, either looking after sick children or being sick myself!

Anyway, it’s all made me realise that maybe I’ve got a bit too much on my plate at the moment. I’m trying to write a new book (TOP SECRET for now!) and have finished editing Looking At The Stars, which won’t be out for another year (sorry!) but I’m also working hard on Girls Heart Books and trying to add some new features to the site.

So I’ll be stepping away from the Sweet Hearts Blog for a little while. I do hope to keep it updated every now and then with my progress – don’t worry, I’m not leaving! – but I can’t hope to blog as often as I used to because I don’t have the time any more.

I hope you’ll come back and visit every now and then – and don’t forget you can email me jo@ilovesweethearts.co.uk anytime!

Love from Jo

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Posted on February 23rd, 2013 by Jo

I went to see The Sleeping Beauty today, performed by the English National Ballet. Wow, but it was good. Stunning costumes, lovely dancing…but it left me a bit cold. When I was young, ballet seemed like magic in pink shoes. Tutus (OK, I still dig the tutus), sparkly crowns, dancing en pointe, pirouettes…it was just awe-inspiring.

Today was a different experience, and not just because I had a wriggling four-year-old on my lap. Yes, it was my daughter’s first visit to a full-length ballet, and watching it with her made me see it with fresh eyes. ‘When’s the bad fairy going to appear?’ she wanted to know, ten minutes into the Prologue. ‘I don’t know,’ I said, wondering just how much walking around the stage there was going to be before the story actually got going.

Maybe I’ve become part of the on-demand generation? Maybe I’m too used to writing books now where things HAVE to get moving along swiftly? Whatever the reason, I found myself looking at the ballet thinking, ‘Yes this is beautiful. Yes, I can appreciate the huge amount of skill these dancers have. But goodness, it needs a decent edit!’

The Sleeping Beauty ballet is nearly 3 hours long, with TWO intervals. You could do the story part of it in about fifteen minutes. I would have enjoyed it more (and so would my daughter) if it had been about an hour and a half. Including the bit with the cat dancers from the end, along with Red Riding Hood and the Wolf (who bizarrely turn up to the wedding party – anyone know why??). And Tchaikovsky’s music is wonderful, but I can only hum you two tunes from the ballet, and one of them was turned into a song by Disney.

I feel a bit disappointed in myself. I feel passionately about the performing arts – ballet, opera, youth theatre, modern art, music, street dance, am-dram, new writing – the lot. But I found myself thinking, ‘Is this still the right thing to be spending all this money on these days?’ Our tickets cost £32.40. EACH. That is a LOT of money. And there were a lot of dancers, and even more incredible costumes…but I found myself wondering, ‘And?’

What do YOU think? Have you ever seen a ballet?

Love from Jo

PS sorry about lack of pictures, I still can’t upload anything for some reason. But you can visit the English National Ballet page here and see pics from the Sleeping Beauty.

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Posted on February 8th, 2013 by Jo

I went on a photo shoot yesterday. Notice how I casually throw that out there? Oh yeah, I’m totally used to the whole photographer thing and posing…

NOT!

The Oxford Mail is doing a piece on me and Model Behaviour and the shortlisting (yay! again) and they wanted to send a photographer to take a pic of me with some cute animals. How about the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary? I said (which is where I did my research for the book). Great! they said. So yesterday afternoon, I stood in the freezing cold trying to control a cat, a kitten, a dog and a rabbit (not all at the same time) while trying to smile and get the front cover of my book into the shot. LOL! Hilarious! I have NO idea if any of the photos will work out all right, but I’ll let you see the article once it’s out!

Love from Jo

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Posted on February 4th, 2013 by Jo

You probably already know that I co-run the magnificent Girls Heart Books author blog. Well, we’ve just had a makeover of the site, and I REALLY want you all to check it out! And I’d LOVE if you could tell some more people about GHB because I really want us to get more readers this year. Susie Day and I have all sorts of ideas to make the blog more well-known, but for now, just go and revel in the awesomeness that is the new-look site!

Love from Jo

PS I am painting my study light blue :-) Thanks for all suggestions! (Oh, and I need a new desk pronto because my old one fell apart when I moved it and nearly deposited my computer on the floor with a crash!)

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Posted on January 29th, 2013 by Jo

Yes! Model Behaviour has been shortlisted for the Young Adult Romantic Novel of the Year! I am SO excited!

Basically, there’s a big organisation called the Romantic Novelists’ Association. It’s for people who write romance novels for adults, and they always have an annual Romantic Novel of the Year Award, which is divided into categories like Historical, Comedy etc. Last year they added a new category, for YA or teen books – and I asked my publisher if they would enter my book this year. I’d actually forgotten all about it – and then about three weeks ago I heard I’d been shortlisted! I couldn’t tell anyone until the news was made public, but now I can jump up and down and shout about it!

I get to go to a swanky awards ceremony at the end of February, in London, where they announce the winners of each category. Model Behaviour is up against some brilliant books, so I have no idea if I’ll win, but I’m just so thrilled to be going!

The shortlist also includes the following books:

Laura Jarratt, Skin Deep, Electric Monkey/Egmont
Marie-Louise Jensen, The Girl in the Mask, OUP
Victoria Lamb, Witchstruck, Corgi (RHCP)
Sarra Manning, Adorkable, Atom (Little Brown)
Susan Waggoner, Neptune’s Tears, Piccadilly Press

I read Neptune’s Tears last year and really enjoyed it, and I’m reading Witchstruck at the moment and that’s brilliant too! So if you like my books, check these ones out too!

Oh, oh – and guess what? Richard and Judy are presenting the awards!! THE Richard and Judy! I’m so excited!

(You can read more about the awards here!)

Love from Jo

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Posted on January 21st, 2013 by Jo

We’ve been living in our new house for over a year now, and bit by bit we’re getting the rooms sorted. The bedrooms are done now, and the kitchen will be eventually, and the dining room and sitting room…and that just leaves my study.

My study has been the dumping ground for all our extra stuff over the past year, but now it’s finally time to get to grips with decorating it. So I’m looking around (it’s currently painted white, and looks really cold and uninviting) at the room and wondering: what colour walls? Should I have carpet? I need a new desk, don’t I? And although it’s kind of daunting, because there’s a lot to do, it’s also exciting. It’s MY space; I don’t have to share it with anyone else, so I can have it exactly how I like. I think fairy lights will play a big part in this new space :-)

But what about you? If you could have a workspace ALL YOUR OWN what would it be like? Can you suggest what I should put in mine?

Love from Jo

PS I STILL can’t post any pictures, otherwise I’d show you what my study currently looks like. I keep nagging my web person so hopefully it will be sorted soon!

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