Fairy Tale in New York

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A Fairy Tale in New York… involving snow and a stranded rock star. How extraordinary. The rock industry is hardly the stuff of fairy tales, or is it?

Well. As far as I’m concerned, Christmas, rock, music, and fairy tales go together perfectly.

Fairy Tale in New York is my version of the perfect Christmas story, and I really went all out on the happiness factor. Everything gets kicked off with an epic snowstorm—and I mean epic, of the ground-all-planes-and-halt-all-transport variety. Obviously there’s romance, because I’m a hopeless romantic. And true to form, there’s a rock musician because you know how much I love my golden-voiced bad boys. Honestly, trust me, it’s a winner!

But there’s more to this story than just good cheer and fluff (yes, fluff, it is a Christmas book after all!). I kind of sneaked in a message of personal growth and caring for others. Because that’s what Christmas is all about, first and foremost. Presents are conspicuous in this book only by their near-complete absence, but the characters still have a fabulous time.

And why New York? I’m asked. Why not London, or anywhere else in England?

I wanted to take my characters somewhere different. New York City was on Jude and Carrie’s wish list I have to confess that this is in part because ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues is one of Carrie’s favourite Christmas rock tunes. So why not make their dream come true? After all, granting and fulfilling wishes for one’s characters is one of the perks of being an author-slash-creator. So between us, Carrie, Jude, and I had a lot of fun exploring New York in the snow and discovering some of the differences between an American Christmas and a British one.

In fact, the connection with The Pogues song inspired a whole raft of Christmas-rock-tune related chapter titles, so I invite you to go and work out my playlist. Plus you can have fun playing spot-the-movie-reference bingo—I told you this is an all-out, all-round uninhibited Christmas fun story!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Christmas time. I’d love to hear what you think about my Fairy Tale!

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Fairy Tale in New York

New York. A restaurant near Park Avenue. It’s early evening, and dusk is falling. So is the snow. Jude and Carrie are only killing time while they wait for their flight to London. They don’t know yet that their life will never be the same.

When rock star Jude gets stranded in New York with his family on Christmas Eve, he has no idea that he is setting in motion a chain of events that will turn their Christmas into the most magical one yet…

No good deed goes unpunished, or so it seems to Jude and Carrie on the morning of the twenty-fourth of December. The previous day, they gave up their London-bound flights to someone in crisis. And now, a spectacular whiteout is grounding all planes, and Jude, Carrie, and baby Maya are stuck far from home.

Tired, hungry, and just a little panicked, Jude loads his family into a cab and returns to their hotel. But there’s no room at the inn, and not even a platinum credit card will make a difference. Snow is falling heavily, and the family is facing a very bleak night indeed.

How do you celebrate Christmas with no place to stay, no food, and no presents? Join Jude, Carrie, Maya and a cast of colourful characters in this fairy tale story of Yuletide in New York.

Fairy Tale in New York is now available in Kindle and paperback editions from all Amazon domains, including: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

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About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Siren 107.3 FM with her own monthly show. Rock on!

Nicky’s books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas

| Fallen for Rock | Fairy Tale in New York

 

Join Nicky: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association | Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest | Google+

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places.

 

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Sophie’s Encore – by Nicky Wells

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Nicky Wells

A novel need not be a comedy to have content that gives you a smile or a chuckle. So it is with the novels of UK author Nicky Wells. You may remember Nicky from her other novels in the series on Sophie as she takes us through the lives and loves of her rock star friends.

Excerpt from “Sophie’s Encore

“Mummy,” he started, “I learned something today.”

“Did you,” I responded on autopilot, shooting Dan a meaningful look. As he knew only too well, this kind of announcement was often the opening gambit in a roundabout negotiation for a new toy. Not so today, however.

“You know snails?”

Did I ever? I suppressed a snort as I recalled my erstwhile fiancé, Tim, exterminating slugs on a rainy summer’s night by the light of a miner’s lamp. The neighbors had called out the police, and recounting the interlude to Rachel had cemented her intense dislike for my then boyfriend. Evidently, I had shared the story with Dan, too, because he muttered “exterminator” under his breath. I kicked his shin under the table.

“Yes, Josh, I know snails.” I encouraged my son to continue.

“Well, Mummy, did you know their eyes aren’t in their heads like yours and mine?”

I had never given this much thought before, but I nodded my agreement.

“How did you find that out?” Dan was genuinely interested.

“On the telly,” Josh explained, keen to get back to the key piece of information he was itching to impart. “But do you know where they keep their eyes?”

“Where do they keep their eyes?” Dan and I asked as one.

“Snails,” Josh started, jiggling excitedly on his seat. “Snails keep their eyes at the end of their testicles.”

Dan spat his mouthful of wine across the table, but hastily disguised his amusement in a severe coughing fit. I could feel my mouth twitch with urgent laughter, but I couldn’t allow myself to explode. Josh would be crushed. Slapping Dan’s back to maintain the coughing charade, I addressed my adorable offspring.

“Do they really keep their eyes at the end of their tentacles?” I voiced.

“Yes, mummy, they do, they keep them at the end of their—”

Tentacles,” I prompted, and “tentacles” Josh repeated carefully.

“Ten-ta-cles” Emily chimed in, never keen to be left out, and Dan stroked her hair.

“That’s right, my sweet,” he praised her. He raised his glass to me. “To your very excellent parenting,” he proposed, and I giggled.

RomanceRockBanner_NickyWells

 

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World! 

Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Siren 107.3 FM with her own monthly show. Rock on!

 

Nicky’s books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas

| Fallen for Rock

Join Nicky: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association | Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places.

Turning Points – Nicky Wells

My guest today is an author you may recognize from a previous visit.

Nicky Wells is your ultimate rock chick author. Signed to US Publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, she writes Romance That Rocks Your World, featuring the rock star and the girl next door… because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Lincoln’s Siren 107.3 FM. Rock on!

 

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And a special news flash: ‘Sophie has now been nominated as Best Heroine in the eFestival of Books Awards 2014. Here is a “turning point” excerpt from one of the Sophie books, “Sophie’s Turn.”

Excerpt:

I found myself dialing her number before I could give it any further thought. I was desperate. This was an emergency.

She answered after the fourth ring, sounding sleepy and anxious.

“Rach,” I burst out. “I’m sorry to wake you. I’m desperate. Girlie emergency. Can I talk to you?”

All of a sudden, I cried again. All the pent-up anxiety and frustration came out without warning, and the relief at having caught Rachel on the other end of a phone line didn’t help matters either.

“Sophie,” she mumbled, suppressing what sounded like a monster yawn. “What time is it?”

“About one, your time. It’s two here. I’m in Paris. In a hotel. On my own, for the moment.”

“Right,” came her sleepy response. “What’s up?”

“I’m engaged to be married,” I announced. I needed to wake her up, and fast.

“I know that,” she muttered, now sounding slightly cross. “Except I thought you were having second thoughts?”

“I’m engaged to be married,” I clarified with emphasis, “to Dan.” I paused. “To Dan, as well as to Tim.”

There was a clatter and a shriek at the other end, and then some frantic clawing noises and a suppressed swear word. If my interpretation was right, she had just dropped the phone and knocked over a glass that had sat innocently on her bedside table.

“You. Are. Kidding.” She was finally back on the line and, as I had intended, now fully awake. “Please tell me you are kidding.”

“I kid not.”

I gave her an edited version of events and I could sense her excitement through the wire.

She kept a long silence after I finished. Eventually, she asked the million dollar question: “Now what?”

“That’s why I’m calling,” I informed her. “I don’t know. But I’ve just realized something.” I paused dramatically. “And I need your advice.”

“Go on,” she coaxed.

“You’re going to laugh at me. After all this time, you are going to laugh at me,” I warned her.

“What is it?” she demanded.

“I’ve just realized that I don’t love Tim. Never have. At least, I don’t think I ever have. I don’t really know. I think I was in love with the idea of him, the idea of our relationship, the idea of our life together. Does that make any sense?”

Rachel did me the favor of remaining completely serious.

“Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense.” There was not a hint of “I told you so” there, and I welled up again in gratefulness for having such a wonderful friend.

“But,” I continued, “I don’t know if I love Dan, either. I mean, how could I ‘know’, I mean?” I didn’t talk much sense, so I tried to put more coherence into my thoughts.

“After all, I have lusted after this man since I was nineteen, never mind he’s ten years my senior. Because that’s what teenagers do. He was like a dream. And when I first met him, it was like a dream come true. Having him woo me, romance me, and make love to me…that, too, was like a dream come true.”

I halted. “You still there?”

“Sure am,” Rachel confirmed. “Just listening.”

I took a deep breath. “I think Dan obviously gives me something that Tim isn’t giving me. And whatever that is—I haven’t quite worked it all out yet—but whatever it is, it’s obviously important to me. But does that mean I love him? How do I know?

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Nicky’s booksSophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas

Join Nicky:Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association |Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | GoodreadsPinterest

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from AmazoniTunes and many other places. 

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Nicky’s Rings

Countdown to Valentine’s Day continues with guest, Nicky Wells, the rock chick author.

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Love means…taking things as they are: A tale of two rings

So my husband proposed to me with a blue plastic ring. It was a gorgeous ring, mind, and I really liked it. I stared at it for a second or two, debating, just briefly, whether I was disappointed that there wasn’t a sparkly diamond in sight. And then I thought, heck, it’s blue and it’s shiny and actually, it is really beautiful. And it’s different. Who cares about diamonds?

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So I said yes.

Later, much later that night, I discovered two things. One, the ring wasn’t plastic. It was, in fact, Lalique Crystal and (probably) hideously expensive. And two, it was only a stand-in. My lovely fiancé had scoured the jewellers of London and made a shortlist of three rings (complete with diamonds) from which he wanted me to pick the perfect one. Love him!

 He, in turn, stuck with his proposal even when he discovered that his clueless soon-to-be-wife thought he’d bought her a plastic ring. He wasn’t in the slightest offended (he knew me too well, even then!). He laughed. ‘Well, I’m touched you said yes anyway,’ he chuckled. ‘It must be love.’

Go figure. We’ve been happily married for nearly eleven years now, and both rings are very much treasured.

*****

Nicky’s novels are pictured below. If you want some good love stories in time for Valentine’s Day, you may want to save the Spirits of Christmas for later in the year, but  you can’t go wrong with one of the Sophie books. . For that matter, many of my Valentine guest bloggers have love stories available for you, so don’t be shy. Check them out and have a good time reading them.

NickWellsBannerSee Nicky’s author page on amazon.co.uk  and on amazon.com

 

Christmas Interview – Nicky Wells

As we get closer to the big day, my guest for the Christmas interview is the rock chick author, Nicky Wells.

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Nicky has a very Christmas oriented novella just out on the shelves for this Christmas, entitled Spirits of Christmas.

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Amazon.co.uk Kindle | Amazon.co.uk Paperback

Amazon.com Kindle | Amazon.com Paperback

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I asked Nicky to share her thoughts about Christmas with us:

1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

Absolutely. I adore Christmas, it’s my favourite festival of the year. The lights, the coziness, the singing, the being together… love it. Oh and, did I mention chocolate? LOL!

2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?

I have, as a matter of fact. I was in my late twenties, single, free and unattached in London, and for reasons too complicated to explain here, I didn’t make it home that year. So I bought a bumper CD of rock Christmas tunes, decorated my flat with pine twigs and fairy lights galore, splashed out on fancy food, and hunkered down for a few days with good books and romantic movies. It was very cold, too, so I got to go out and have lovely walks across a frosty park. I was alone, but I didn’t feel lonely. It was different, but it was a good experience.

3. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner? What did you have?

*whispers* I hate turkey! *speaks in a normal voice* Well, normally, I have a Christmas dinner of roast chicken or roast beef. But one time, I simply couldn’t be bothered with all of that. The kids were too little to appreciate the effort and I was too tired to make it, so we had a pizza feast instead. (Me and my husband. The kids weren’t eating that kind of ‘junk’ food then).

4. What are your thoughts on gift giving?

Giving is better than receiving, for sure. I get really flustered and embarrassed when I get given gifts, but I love watching others open my presents. On the whole, I think that Christmas risks being one massive merry-go-round of exchanging presents, and I worry that the true spirit of the festival is being overlooked. But yes, I love presents.

5. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

Singing carols under the Christmas tree. That probably doesn’t sound rock’n’roll but I’m a traditionalist, LOL.

6. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day?

BOTH! Although that’s a new way of doing things. Traditionally, I’d have had a stocking (well, a filled wellie-boot) on St Nicholas Day, and I’ve introduced that tradition for my children. However, to honour the British way of doing things, they also have stockings at Christmas. Best of both worlds, right?

9. What do you do with gifts you don’t like?

I feel guilty for even thinking that I don’t like them, then I put on my best smile, thank the giver and put the present to the best use possible. That may include passing it on, eventually, to somebody who appreciates it more than me.

10. What was the best homemade gift you ever received?

Christmas tree ornaments from the boys! I’d include a photo but the decorations are still firmly stacked in the loft and won’t be coming out until after my birthday. Sorry!

11. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.

Ooh all the time. I used to make figurines and ornaments out of salt dough, paint them and varnish them and wrap them as best I could. My Mum still has all of those! I also did a fine line in candle-holders and coasters, although I fear those have bitten the dust by now.

It is also a Wells family tradition to give home-made chocolates and fudge, so every year, my OH and the kids get making sweet treats for the whole family.

12. What would you change about Christmas?

I would quite possibly cut through all that commercialism. Oh, now you got me thinking. Much as I LOVE Christmas, I’d pass a law that says no Christmas goodies, tunes or advertising in the shops before mid-November. And certainly not in July!!!

14. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

I’ve got five. Of course! Here goes:

1. I Believe in Father Christmas ~ Greg Lake

Love the guitar and the jingles and the lyrics of this one!

http://youtu.be/RMK6eOueKNk

2. Merry Christmas Everybody ~ Slade

Well. Try and stop me from shouting ‘It’s Chrisssssstmaaaaas’ at the opportune moment!

http://youtu.be/6OAUs0rcsA4

 

3. Wish It Could be Christmas Every day ~ Wizzard

Enough said. Although, as my six-year-old pointed out, if it were Christmas every day, it would get a bit boring. Bless!

http://youtu.be/ZoxQ4Ul_DME

 

4. Gaudete ~ Steeleye Span

Love me some acapella. I sing along and pretend ‘I can.’ LOL!

http://youtu.be/EDc2FD-vy8M

 

5. Do They Know It’s Christmas ~ Band Aid

Because I love that all those stars came together to make a charity song, and that it still gets air play after all these years. Plus watching the video is like entering a time-warp, in a good way.

http://youtu.be/bmj7KlIut1w

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Spirits of Christmas: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Carol

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

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Hi! I’m Nicky Wells, your ultimate rock chick author. My books offer glitzy, glamorous contemporary romance with a rock theme ~ imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity ~ rock, pop, movie or other ~ you’ll connect with my heroes and my leading ladies!

Like my first leading lady, Sophie, I love listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When I’m not writing, I’m a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor to The Midweek Drive show on Lincoln’s Siren 107.3 FM. Rock on!

***

Nicky’s latest work is a novella. Spirits of Christmas: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Carol

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Author Nicky Wells tells us of her Inspiration for Spirits of Christmas

Writing this novella was a bit of an inevitability for me, all things considered. If you don’t already know me, you have to understand that I simply love rock music. Rock musicians are like Viagra for my soul. I’m also a sucker for romance and a good-old fashioned happy ending. Moreover, I love the Christmas season: the lights, the sweets, the laughter. Combining all those things ~ rock, romance, and Christmas ~ was one of the most delightful writing projects of my career so far!

The idea for this book came to me the very night after I launched my second book, Sophie’s Run, in February of this year. I was hyped up with excitement, I had finished writing my third book and was waiting for publisher edits, and I had already planned my fourth full-length novel. I was utterly and completely unable to sleep with everything that was going on, and quite unexpectedly, the whole story was in my head. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of my favourite Christmas stories both in the original and its many varied adaptations. I suddenly thought… why not bring it into the rock’n’roll domain?

My wonderful husband, Jon, was somewhat taken aback when I presented him with this plan the following morning.

‘I’m going to write a Christmas novella,’ I said.

‘But you’ve got another book launch in September, and you’ve planned your fourth book already—how’s this going to fit in?’ he responded enthusiastically, if pragmatically.

‘I’ll figure it out.’

And so I did. It took me just over a week to write the first draft in May 2013, and another few weeks here and there to tweak, fine-tune and polish it over the following months. But here it is. Spirits of Christmas. I hope you enjoy!

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 Spirits of Christmas: A Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol

At one time, up-and-coming rock singer Jude had it all: a great band, a platinum record, a loving girlfriend. This Christmas, however, he is well down the road towards spontaneous self-destruction.

Unwittingly at first, Jude has progressively alienated his band and driven away the love of his life. Tonight, the night before Christmas Eve, he has broken the final taboo during a disastrous gig. Yet Jude doesn’t see how badly his life has derailed, not until a ghostly procession of legends passes through his bedroom with a series of vivid and powerful wake-up calls.

Will the Spirits help Jude put the friendship, love, and rock music back into his Christmas?

Spirits of Christmas is a modern-day rock’n’roll adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. This novella will enchant romance readers, rock lovers, fans of ghost stories, and everybody who adores the festive season.

Amazon.co.uk Kindle | Amazon.co.uk Paperback

Amazon.com Kindle | Amazon.com Paperback

EXCERPT

‘Hiya, Jude!’

The voice emerged from the door, and Jude’s head whipped round as if drawn by a string.

‘Hiya, Jude,’ the voice repeated cheerfully. Unexpectedly, it launched into the first line of one of Jude’s most favourite songs. Jude once again sank onto the bed, his legs refusing to carry him with the shock of this second apparition.

‘Is this really you?’

For a moment, Jude’s second otherworldly visitor abandoned his song and remained silent, motionless, allowing Jude to take a good, long look. The sideburns, the nose, the defined chin, the round glasses were clearly visible despite the spirit’s transparent appearance. Everything about this figure was familiar, yet nothing was quite as it should have been. It was as though Jude was looking at a hologram, a distorted, stretched vision where nothing quite fitted together.

Nonetheless, Jude found his voice. ‘Oh my God, it is you!’

Excitement made his exclamation strong and clear. The figure flinched at the sudden burst of noise, but Jude ploughed on. ‘This is…this is totally unreal. I mean, imagine this—here’s me in my bedroom, and there’s you, come to visit me.’

‘I’m not who you think you see,’ the apparition interrupted. ‘I’m the Ghost of Christmas Past.’

 

My books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas

Join me: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association | Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest

Writing Styles – Part 3

Continued from Writing Styles – Part 3

Writers all have different ways of conveying meaning to their readers. In this post I’ve asked authors to provide short excerpts with examples of how they’ve developed description of a character and a setting. A third challenge was to provide a sentence or two showing their favourite ending to a scene.

Today’s first guest is Emma Calin.

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KNOCKOUT! A Passionate Police Romance by Emma Calin

1. Character:

He smiled again, showing even white teeth behind the full wide lips that pouted forward as he spoke in such a way that just possibly he really was French.

Sitting opposite him, she could take in the full presence of this stranger. It was as if he transmitted a force – an aura of danger and a sardonic humorous innocence. She attempted to re-assert her normal senses – her ability to appraise a man, threat or situation in the blink of an eye – a skill she had honed on the streets of South London – in a world of gangs, drugs and murder. And yet – here she was, tripping over the bags that some stupid girl had left in the entrance to her brain.

2. Setting:

She drove down to the beach and looked out at the azure, turquoise and aquamarine cocktail of the Pacific Ocean. Waves split into pure white fragments against an offshore rock. The beautiful loneliness of the scene mirrored her feelings of desolation. The rollers finished their journey pounding their force against the uncaring sand. She laid her head back and let a wave of fantasy break over her as he kissed her lips and moved inside her. For a few seconds he was there again in her heart but too soon the image washed away leaving only the call of gulls and the trickle of her desperate tears.

 

3. Scene Ending:

The great River Seine rippled and pushed on to the sea as the sun tiptoed the back stairs of the world climbing towards dawn across Paris, maybe the morning light would never uncover two lovers hiding within the protection of each other’s arms….

 Knockout 2013 rationalised

LINKS:

Amazon Worldwide Link:  Knockout! A Passionate Police Romance

Amazon Author Page: Emma Calin Amazon Author Page

Emma Calin Blog: http://www.emmacalin.blogspot.com

Emma Calin Website:  http://www.emmacalin.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/emma.calin

and pages: http://www.facebook.com/Knockout.Romance.Novel & http://www.facebook.com/TheChosenbyEmmaCalin  http://www.facebook.com/Escape2Love

Twitter: @Emma Calin
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/emmacalin/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4915751.Emma_Calin

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And now, let’s welcome Nicky Wells.

Author - Nicky Wells

Author – Nicky Wells

1. CHARACTERS—This little excerpt neatly contains the essence of all main characters in Sophie’s Turn; Dan, the rock star; Sophie, the eponymous heroine; her fiancé, Tim; and her best friend, Rachel:

Shh!” I admonished. “Will you keep your voice down? What are you talking about?”

“Dan is completely besotted with you, and he said he couldn’t bear the thought of you getting engaged to Tim so he had to…hic…come and check him out…hic!” Oh God, she had the hiccups. She would have to spend the night in the guest room. Once Rachel got the hiccups, she was beyond salvation. I gave her twenty minutes before she collapsed. I had to extract critical information fast.

“Why did you introduce him to Tim?” I continued my interrogation. “Couldn’t you have sent him away?”

Oh no, Sophie. I couldn’t turn this lovely, heartbroken man away.” She looked at me with big, innocent, and totally unfocused eyes. “In fact, we were just looking for you. You seemed to have… hic… hic… hic…disapp-hic-eared.”

“What did you say to Tim about who Dan was?” I needed to know.

“That he was Dan, of course. Your boy-hic-friend from Tuscq!” She dropped this bombshell completely nonchalantly.

“You what?” I squeaked. “Please tell me you’re joking.”

No, I’m s-hic-erious! Ti-hic-im thought it was very funny. Hic.”

2. SETTING

This excerpt from the opening pages of Sophie’s Run sets the scene for Sophie’s amazing exile:

While I waited for the ferry to finish docking, I drank in every detail of my chosen exile. The calm sea with little white-crested waves lapping gently against the quay. The green and white of the sandy dunes standing stark and fresh against the wide-open, deep-blue sky. The tiny harbor with only a handful of buildings and a few fishing boats bobbing on the incoming tide. Seagulls wheeling overhead, their mournful cries carrying on the gentle breeze, augmenting my sense of emptiness, newness. Fresh, clean, salty air. I took another deep breath, feeling calmer already.

3. SCENE ENDING

Adrenaline sloshed through my body in a rush of great excitement. This was it.

Music. Did I want music?

I flapped about a bit, shuffling through the few CDs I had brought and eventually deciding on my new Eighties compilation CD. No sooner had the first song started than there was a tentative knock. I did a final check; everything was ready.

I went to open the door.

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Nicky Wells is your ultimate rock chick author. Signed to US Publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, Nicky writes Romance That Rocks Your World, featuring the rock star and the girl next door.

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous contemporary romance with a rock theme ~ imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill!

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C. Like her leading lady, Sophie, Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant. Rock on!

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SOPHIE’S RUN SALES LINKS: AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM | BARNES & NOBLE

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We’d love to hear what you think. Why not leave a comment?

Writing Challenges

I asked fellow writers to give us some insights into situations they face with regard to their writing. If you’re a writer, you may recognize some of their complaints and solutions. Let’s see what they have to say.

What are your greatest challenges in writing and how do you deal with them?

Sue Fortin, author of United State of Love

Sue profile pic 1I have to say my biggest challenge is The Voice of Guilt.  It’s not often I get a long stretch at writing and when I do, always at the back of

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my mind, there’s a little niggling voice whispering things like “Don’t forget that pile of ironing,”’ or “Doesn’t the bathroom need cleaning?”

To combat this, I try to plan ahead and have in my mind a set day or time I’m going to write. That way, I can make sure

everything at home is done beforehand so when I sit in front of my laptop, I have a clear conscience and can concentrate on my WIP. I know I shouldn’t really have to feel guilty but …

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Bonnie Trachtenberg

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My greatest challenge in writing is getting myself to finally sit down and do it. I wish I was one of those writers who looked forward to it, but I’m just not. Sometimes I’d rather do anything else, including laundry or cleaning! Unfortunately, what gets me to finally force myself to sit down is anxiety that I haven’t accomplished anything. I sometimes ease myself into it by having a television on while I pull up my latest pages. Once I get started reading them over and correcting any problems, I’ll mute or turn off the television altogether. Soon after, time begins to fly by and I’m back under “the spell”.

 

Bonnie Trachtenberg is the author of “Wedlocked” and “Neurotically Yours.”

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Mandy Baggot 

Author of contemporary romance, Taking Charge and upcoming romantic suspense novel, Security

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Distractions! They are everywhere! Children, pets, husband, Twitter, Facebook, You Tube music videos, TV, dancing babies, interesting blog posts, pictures of half naked men. Some days I think someone is deliberately out to get me! You will not write Lady Baggot, you will waste the day leering at the work of other people while you get nothing done! When this happens there is only one thing to do. Switch it all off! Turn off the internet, the radio, the television, the half-naked men and FOCUS. Let nothing else into your world. Remain focussed for as long as possible or at least until the children scream for attention and food. As writers we feel we need to stay on top of what’s going on at all times – constantly comment on everything that happens on social media – I know I do! But if I didn’t stamp on those distractions sometimes I’d never get a book written!

Besides “Taking Charge” and “Security,” Mandy Baggot is also the author of “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Public Property,” “Excess All Areas,” and “Breaking the Ice.”

 

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Stephanie Keyes Stephanie-Keyes-180x240 The greatest challenges that I face in writing…

  1. The first is editing. It’s exhausting for me! As liberating as writing and creating are, editing is a drain.
  2. The second is time. As a mother with two little ones, I find that coming up with time to write is just as challenging. When you add in public appearances and other responsibilities, pulling together a few moments to write can be challenging.

Regardless of the challenges, I don’t know that I’d change a thing. Both challenges help me grow in my writing.

Stephanie Keyes is the author of “The Fallen Stars” and “The Star Child.”

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Linn B. Halton Linn-B-Halton-180x240 Self-pub or submission? Deciding whether to self-publish or submit to a publisher is the hardest decision of all. Having one foot in both camps has made that decision even harder for me personally. Both routes work well and I do love the support that my publishers – Sapphire Star – are able to give; also their advice and guidance plus technical expertise. Being able to hand over a manuscript and only having to get involved with the edits and cover design, is easier than having to go through the whole publishing process yourself. But there’s a part of me that likes to be in control of everything and whilst it’s been a HUGE learning curve, there’s a lot of personal satisfaction in acquiring new skills. Marketing isn’t easy but the same thing applies whether you self-pub or sign a contract; no one will buy your book if they don’t know it’s out there! For the moment I hope that I can continue to use both routes to publication and enjoy honing the new skills I’ve learnt. Here’s my latest, newly-acquired skill – 3D book covers!

Linn B. Halton is the Author of “Never Alone,” “Touched By the Light,” “The Quintessential Gemini,” The Restaurant@ the Mill,” and “Being a Sceptic is Oh So Easy.”

Linn's 3-D books

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Darlene Jones 100-0059_IMG One often hears of “writer’s block.” It’s happened to me with each of my novels. I come to a point when I just don’t know where to go with the story or the characters. My solution is to stay away from writing for a time. I’m lucky in that any time lines are self-imposed so I have the luxury of not writing for a bit. Then, when ideas start whirling in my head, I get back at it.

Darlene Jones is the author of three novels. Her fourth novel is forthcoming.

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Carol E. Wyer

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Being left alone to type is the biggest problem I face. My husband can’t seem to understand that when I am writing, I need to be left alone, even after five novels. My age helps me hugely. A couple of years ago, I developed insomnia but I turned it to my advantage. Nowadays, I wait until he is snoring in bed, then get up and type until the early hours of the morning. Only to be recommended if you can manage being sleep-deprived for several weeks and don’t mind looking like  a hung over panda who has had a few rounds with a champion fighter. I also find that my eyes get tired more easily these days and I make quite a few typos. I use the “Search” feature in Word to ensure I haven’t made my usual mistakes of typing “form” instead of “from” and so on. It is surprising how useful that tool is.

Carol E Wyer, author of “Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines,” “Surfing in Stilettos,” “How Not to Murder Your Grumpy,” and “Just Add Spice.”

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Anneli Purchase

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When no bright ideas are blowing around the trade winds of my mind, the doldrums set in. Some call it writer’s block. I call it the doldrums. I dread them. They usually settle in after I’ve written a scene that doesn’t work and I don’t have a new idea yet. I despair of ever writing another good sentence. The solution? When I can’t stand the lack of creativity anymore, I find a quiet place. I take my pen and paper and scribble out possibilities in a brainstorming pattern, making circles around keywords and linking possibilities to them also in keywords. Eventually, a new thread appears and I can’t wait to get back to the computer to try the new scene. Saved again, until the next weather system moves in. Funny thing is, the doldrums happen when the trades are becalmed, and yet my personal doldrums are anything but calming.

Anneli Purchase is author of “The Wind Weeps,” “Orion’s Gift,” and “Julia’s Violinist.”
Front Cover  jpg (1)(2) The Wind Weeps [1] thumbnailOrion's Gift

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Nicky Wells

Author - Nicky Wells

Author – Nicky Wells

Challenge #1 ~ Second-guessing myself. This is a new phenomenon that has presented itself after receiving fabulous edits and suggestions for my first two books. Now, while I write, I can almost hear the editor say, “show, don’t tell” or “can you prove that?” which means I occasionally question my writing even while I write. My response? If it’s an obviously valid point, I make an immediate adjustment (e.g. more dialogue, do the research on a particular point, etc.) If it isn’t, I follow my writing heart and keep writing, perhaps making a note of the uncertainty for future consideration. If in doubt, I’d always advise to keep ploughing on  rather than getting caught up in second-guesses!

Challenge #2 ~ Length. Or rather, limiting the length. I am a prolific writer! The first draft of my second novel came in at nearly 150,000 words. The knives had to come out and some drastic cutting took place. Now, when I write, I listen to myself and my “gut” for cutting. If I know a scene is beautiful but non-essential, I cut it out immediately or, better still, don’t write it at all. Of course it’s not a perfect process (and it ties in with challenge #1 a lot of the time) BUT my most recent WIP finished at 106,000 words ~ a perfect word count, as far as I’m concerned, and a much sharper, fast-paced manuscript from the start.

Nicky Wells is the author of “Sophie’s Turn” and “Sophie’s Run.” Forthcoming on Sept. 5, is her next novel, “Sophie’s Encore.”

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Melanie Robertson-King, author of A Shadow in the Past.

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I work full time as well as write. So juggling work, promoting my current book, and writing requires a sense of balance and sadly, I’ve not found it yet.

I try to do promotional work in the mornings before I head off to the day job.

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Patricia Sands

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My greatest writing challenges:

Condensing my thoughts into fewer words is my primary goal for future projects. Both of my novels have hovered around the 130,000-word mark and the ideal is 80,000 – 90,000. I realize now that I should have made The Promise of Provence into two books and could easily have done so.

My advice: Pay close attention to your word count from the beginning of your WIP. If you see it is getting out of hand, take a look and see how you might tighten up.

My second goal is to be more organized about thoughts and research. I tend to write notes to myself on post-its and end up with an enormous stack. My basic and most important research I keep in notes on my computer and can easily refer to them but the random ideas, words, and bits of information always end up on post-its. I have to stop doing that!

My advice: Develop an organized method of making all of your thoughts and ideas easily accessible. I like the idea shown here and am going to try to do this for my next novel which is slowly simmering as I write this!

Patricia

Patricia Sands is the author of “The Bridge Club” and “The Promise of Provence.”

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Readers, please share your comments with us. We want to know what you think.

Sophie’s Scrumptious Paella

Come dine with Sophie and Dan: Today’s treat is… Scrumptious Paella!

Sophie’s Run Blogtour 2013

 

Sophie’s Run

 Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Who says that the road towards true love is straight and even?  Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.

So she has finally found the man of her dreams! Well… she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet.  But she misses her opportunity, and then her life goes crazy.  Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful.  A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal.

Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change.  Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey and eventually gets her life back on track.

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Sophie’s Run is now available in Kindle edition from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, and in Paperback edition from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. You can also get the paperback at Barnes & Noble, or download Sophie’s Run onto your Nook (coming soon).

 

Hey, you! My name is Sophie, and I’m so excited you’re visiting me here today at Anneli’s fabulous blog. I’m the heroine (God, that sounds weird—I still blush when I say that) in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy by Nicky Wells. Nicky and I, we’re currently taking her second book, Sophie’s Run, on tour, and we’re taking you to all the places and sharing all the food that features in the books.

Today, I share a very special recipe with you. It’s something Steve, my… current boyfriend, shall we say, and I cook for Dan (the rock star) and Rachel (my best friend). I know, that sounds like an interesting set-up, right? You’ll just have to read the book to find out what on earth is going on, but meanwhile, here’s a little excerpt:

Dan popped the tops and handed a bottle to Steve. He pulled out a kitchen chair and sat down, and Rachel joined him instantly. Steve was at the stove looking after the paella and I laid the table.

“January,” I prompted Dan. “That seems an odd time. You’ll miss the Christmas sales.”

“But we’ll be the first launch of the year, which gives us more time to get into the ‘best album of the year’ charts. Plus we’ll be touring from February, and the label has also booked a promo gig for New Year’s Eve. Tickets to go on sale soon, not that you’ll need any.” He grinned meaningfully.

“I should hope so, too!” I teased.

“It’s good to see you,” Dan changed the subject abruptly. “And you, Steve.”

Steve raised his bottle in salute. “Likewise. Sophie’s been looking forward to tonight for days.”

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See? We’re having a regular little dinner party here. And here’s what you need to make your own, Sophie-style sumptuous paella for four people.

~about 500 grams of chorizo sausage, thinly sliced

~1 large onion, roughly chopped

~2 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped

~1 cup of paella rice

~a pinch of saffron

~about a litre of chicken stock

~400 grams of cod or any other white fish (fresh or frozen)

~400 grams of king prawns

~a dash of lemon juice

~a small handful of peas (fresh or frozen)

~a large handful of herbs (fresh or dried): parsley is a must; coriander and basil to taste if you like

~salt and pepper to taste

~4 eggs

~one or two spring onions, roughly chopped, for garnish

~200 grams of little prawns (optional)

~a small chicken breast, diced (optional)

~any other seafood you might like to add (squid, mussels, clams) (optional)

And here’s what you do…

Well, as you see from the ingredients list, this dish is versatile. I’m going to tell you my ‘basic’ version excluding all the optional extras; but if you feel inspired, just add them in as you go towards the end of cooking (I’d say… with ten, fifteen minutes left).

First of all, in a large frying pan or wok, dry-fry the chorizo until all the lovely fat oozes out. I like my chorizo crisp! Then fry the onions in the chorizo fat until they’re just going glassy and soft. Add the garlic and the paella rice and give it a good stir until the rice is properly coated. Next, pour your chicken stock in and stir around.

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Boil for maybe a minute, then add the fish (if frozen), peas, herbs, saffron and pepper. (Leave the salt until the very end ~ all the fish and chorizo may already make this dish plenty salty!) Turn down the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the liquid boils away, add more water.

Meanwhile, hard-boil the eggs, leave to cool, peel and cut into quarters. Leave to one side until ready to garnish your paella.

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After 30 minutes or so, try the rice to see how far it has cooked. If it’s soft and very nearly done, add the king prawns and any other optional ingredients (note ~ if using chicken, brown it in a separate frying pan first so that it doesn’t dry out!). Simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes until all the seafood is heated through. Taste and season as needed. Spoon out into four bowls and garnish with the eggs. Enjoy with a large glass of wine!

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So, bon appetit! I hope my post today inspired you to have a try at making your very own Scrumptious Paella. And while you wait for it to cook, why not join me and the men in my life with a nice glass of wine? Put your feet up and relax for a few minutes. Sophie’s Turn and Sophie’s Run are both out now for you to enjoy… 🙂

Sophie’s Run GIVEAWAYS

1) Standard Giveaway

Nicky Wells is giving away one delicious chocolate gift to a lucky winner in the UK or North America!

  

The small print: This Gift prize is a product of Unique Chocolate. The Gift prize is subject to availability in your country. If the Gift prize is not available in your country, Nicky Wells reserves the right to offer a substitute gift prize of a similar nature at her discretion. Nicky Wells will require the winner’s postal address for shipping purposes.

Rafflecopter Links:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Bonus Giveaway

 Nicky Wells offers a giveaway of one Amazon gift voucher worth $20/£15 for one lucky winner. To enter, simply share your thoughts on Sophie’s Run with Nicky. Email your comment to nickywells@sapphirestarpublishing.com and your name will be entered into the draw. Competition closes 1 May 2013.

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

Author - Nicky Wells

Author – Nicky Wells

 

 

Rock On! Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door.  A signed author with U.S. publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, Nicky is in the throes of publishing her Rock Star Romance Trilogy. Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters.  When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant.

Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.

Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress. You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook. Nicky is a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, loveahappyending.com and has joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Nicky also has author pages at Sapphire Star PublishingAmazon and, of course, Goodreads.