Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 2013

Wishing all my readers a happy, healthy New Year.

Personally I will be happy to see the back of 2012 - this year I've lost one family member and come close to losing others. Workwise in my day job we've been going flat out all year and exciting as our challenges are it's taken a toll on the health of all of our team. Pacing will have to be our keywords this New Year I think - hard when we are all so passionate about what we do.

Writing wise it's been exciting - new books out and more to come. It's lovely to know so many more people are reading my stories and enjoying them. I have big things planned for this year!

Dates for your calendar

Jan 1st - Be My Hero is released in large print - ask your library to get a copy!

Jan 3rd - Lights, Camera, Poltergeist is released from Astraea Press. This is a fun, spooky romantic suspense set in Scotland.

Jan 17th - Headline are releasing Crystal Clear and Just Look at Me Now in e book format! - Huzzah! finally! I know lots of you have been asking about this for ages.

March 2013 - This is the biggie - Radio Gaga - my new single title is releasing in e book under my Brierley Rose Press label and Paperback is following in September. I'm really excited about this!

Other things I have planned for this year include a new series of books set in a hotel, a follow up to Passionate Harvest telling Dominic's brothers story. Another couple of short novella's and my next single title book - provisionally called The Happiness Project.

This year will be one of challenge and change but also growth and hopefully a positive year. I have good feelings about this year. I hope you have too.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from our house to yours

Wishing all of my readers a very Merry Christmas - may Santa bring you everything you hoped for!

Love and hugs from Nell, Mr Nell and the belles.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lights, Camera, Poltergeist!

Releasing January 3rd!As the presenter for Ghost Uk, the leading TV show investigating paranormal activity, Fae thought she’d seen it all. Until a Valentine’s Eve live show from Scotland’s Fingelly Manor upsets both her preconceptions and her love life.

To read more about Fae and Ghost Uk - Check out Cue Me In

Fae Heath wants to be on TV, but not just any show. She wants to be on Ghost UK. She intends to win the contest to find the next presenter. Tall, slim and blonde and access to a haunted Welsh Castle on Halloween – how can she fail?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rushing towards Christmas

I'm so topsy-turvy this year. My cards are written but not posted. My presents are bought and wrapped but the house looks like a bomb went off and I haven't done any of the cleaning and tidying that needs to be done before the tree can go up.

Life has been so busy - lots to do at the day job, lots to do on the writing front. My middle belle is having college interviews, youngest has some medical appointments, eldest has arrived home from college and filled the house with her stuff. Plus, of course they are still swapping and sorting out rooms - except they seem to be waiting for me to do all the work!

There has also been lots of serious health issues in my wider family. The end result is lots of half done things and chaos all round.

Today though I'm escaping for a little space for Christmas lunch with Phillipa Ashley and Elizabeth Hanbury - aka the Coffee Crew. We've all had an amazing year writing wise and plans need to be hatched for next year.

In the meantime why not check out our latest releases? From me, The Cinderella Substitute and the New Bay box set. Phillipa Ashley has the fantastic Miranda's Mount and Liz has The Cinderella Debutante. All available from good e tailers for your nook, kindle or kobo.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Guest Blogger - Laura Hamby

I'm thrilled to have Laura as my guest blogger today. She is a dear friend, one of my go to beta readers having been my former editor at Moonlit Romance and she is a wonderful writer. Her latest release is Footprints in the Snow

Footprints in the Snow...A heartwarming collection of three historical romance Christmas novellas.

In Unexpected Christmas Gift, Rita Andrews awaits Vincent Lewis’s return from serving in the Pacific during the long years of World War II.

The Greatest Gift of All brings Jeptha, ‘Jep,’ Cullen and Abigail Hardwick together in a rough mining town in the territory of Colorado at Christmastime 1865. Both have left their lives behind and now unexpectedly find themselves facing their hard existence together.

Hannah Kelsey, now orphaned by the War Between the States, waits patiently for news of her lone, surviving brother. A life that has been anything but easy is made more complicated by the Yankee soldier she finds lying in front of her cabin a few days before Christmas, 1864. Together, Hannah and her soldier, Jeff Steffend, each find a little bit of Christmas Grace.

Here's a little taster from The Greatest Gift of All

Chapter One Snow fell softly over the sleepy little town tucked into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Where no horse-pulled wagons slogged through the mud, the snow created a pristine blanket of sparkling white that spread from the upper elevations clear to the valley floor. Most folks had the sense to stay home. A few who lacked the brains God had bestowed on a barnyard pig stubbornly insisted upon guzzling the proceeds of their latest mining ventures, content to stay in the drafty old saloon, drinking themselves warm with rot-gut whiskey. Others were just passing through the bar, on their way elsewhere, using the place as a shield from the unrelenting wind that blew the snow horizontally.

Winter of eighteen hundred and sixty-five promised to be a cold, miserable affair, and it was just getting started. Christmas wasn’t too far off, not that many in this rough-and-tumble Colorado mountain town would observe it or even acknowledge the day.

It had been too long since Christmas had visited an unfractured United States of America, and while the War Between the States had officially ended, the schism separating ideologies still ran wide, deeply felt. The pain still resonated in Cullen family, so much so, Jeptha elected the wilderness of Colorado Territory, rather than hearth and home the Tennessee mountains. Here, in this tiny Colorado boomtown improbably named Falling Gold, he at least had the familiarity of mountains around, even if they were the wrong mountains. The watered down whiskey served in the Hangman’s Noose Saloon eased his pain, if only just a little.

“We don’t serve wimmens in this here establishment, missy. You don’t belong to be here when you should likely be home tendin’ your young and caterin’ to your husband.”

The audible click of a gun being readied echoed off the thin and weathered slabs that pretended to be walls. “I believe I ordered a damned glass of whiskey, and not from the watered down bottle. I want you to open a new bottle, right here before my very eyes.”

“You ain’t got no call to pull your gun on me. What kind of young lady are you?” Oily sweat glistened on the beanpole bartender’s forehead as his nasal voice pitched higher in his dismay.

“I ain’t no young lady, your mistake thinking I am. Where the hell is my drink?”

“I don’t care if you shoot me right between the eyes, missy. I don’t serve no wimmens, no hows, no ways. Now scoot on home. Bet yer man is looking for ya, and if he has a lick of sense, he’ll wallop some manners into ya.”

Jep hid his grin at the rash of off-color words that streamed from the filthy munchkin’s mouth that brought a look of aghast horror to Beanpole’s face.

“Here now, there ain’t no call for such language, even in this sorry gin-soaked joint. I got standards.”

“Barkeep.” Jep’s quiet baritone gained him the nervous bartender’s attention. “Pour me three fingers of whiskey in two glasses, would you?”

Absentmindedly, the barkeep did just that. Jep relished the look of sheer consternation on the man’s face when he stabbed a finger in the woman’s direction, then crooked it in the age-old order to “come here.”

“She with you?” Beanpole demanded after he’d picked his jaw up from the dirty plank floor. “If she ain’t with you, I’m takin’ that second drink back.

“She’s with me,” Jep confirmed. He handed the filthy glass to her when she came to stand at his side.

“What’s ‘er name, if she’s with you?” Suspicious, the bartender fixed hostile, bloodshot eyes on them.

Jep shrugged one shoulder with a negligence he’d learned to display during the time he’d spent fighting his kinfolk during the War. “Picked her up on the trail. Call her ‘Girl.’ She answers to it, don’t need any better than that.”

Unconvinced, Beanpole wiped the sticky counter top with a rag that had once been white. “What’s ‘is name, missy?”

She slapped the glass to the counter. “Major. His rank in the Army. Got a problem with that?”

Beanpole grunted. “Huh. Guess you is capable of showin’ a bit of respect. Now you’re done, I’d be obliged if you both left. And don’t come back none. I don’t need your kind here, missy. Business ain’t so bad I have to tolerate the likes of you. Sorry, mister. Maybe it would be worth it to you to keep a tighter line on her, eh?” She tried to shrug Jep’s hand off her shoulder when he clasped it through the meager coat she wore against the cold. That only encouraged him to push his other hand against the small of her back to urge her out of the dubious protection of the saloon, into the storm.

“You can let go of me now. Thanks for the drink.” She dug into her pocket and found a nickel. Perhaps she shouldn’t have wasted that nickel on the whiskey that now sat sourly in her stomach, but damned if she’d craved the liquor more than food. It at least gave her the illusion of being warm, if only for a few mean seconds.

“Keep it, keep going, before he notices we left without paying.”

“Oh, ho!” The wind snatched her words almost before she’d uttered them.“Look, I’m real grateful and all for the drink, you running interference with ol’ Sourpuss back there in the saloon, but my gratitude has limits.”

They walked silently for quite a while, through a night too cold to snow. Part of what would’ve been a full moon had the clouds cleared enough, beamed through some thinning clouds. Up and up they went. The trees grew tall and thick, sentinels that loomed overhead in silence. At last, Jep stopped before a cabin well-nestled into the towering trees.

“It’s not much, but for now, it’s home,” he told her. The room they entered was dark until Jep lit the candle. A tiny potbellied stove stood in the corner, colder than the ice that coated the inside of the window.

(C) Laura Hamby 2012 You can get Footprints in the Snow from AMAZON or Smashwords

Catch up with Laura at Her website where you'll find a free read or stop by Her blog

Laura also provides free promo for fellow authors Check it out

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Guest Blogger - Keira Kroft

A warm welcome to my guest Keira Kroft.

Here is Keira's bio - Keira carries a vet assistance degree. Her love for animals is as great as her love of people. She gives a percentage of her personal book sale profits to the animal welfare league. Residing in a quiet suburb in the outskirts Chicago with her husband and daughter she spends any spare time she has working with her cats Scamper and Sawyer, to achieve total world domination, one shared Twinkie at a time. Her passions include Reading, Writing, Football, Comic Books and Family.

Here's the blurb for her latest release - Glow in the Dark

Women melt around smokin’ hot Chicago fire fighter Jake Gilroy like butter in a hot pan, getting him dubbed the clichéd and rather false moniker…“the ladies man”. Yet, he never had an interest in anyone, until he meets Corey. She’s different and doesn’t seem to be turning into a pool of goo around him. He wants her and must have her. But she is already taken so he can’t have her…can he?

At first Corey Nolan is resistant to Jake’s advances until a series of events proves that the love between her and her dead beat boyfriend have dissipated a long time ago. It’s then that she begins to think that she and Jake just might have a chance at something real. Until—it becomes clear that someone is stalking her and killing off the people she loves and that her need for Jake may be more than desire—it may be a matter of life and death...

An an excerpt!

Jake slid his fingers down her arm and across her wrist. A spark lit through her. She gasped and her gaze locked with his. She made no attempt to draw away. Corey couldn’t…she didn’t want to.

“How is it?” He glanced at her scraped and bruised elbow.

Coming out of the trance, she lifted her arm and showed him the slight injury. “Oh, it’s fine.”

“I would have been over sooner, but the other guys got you, and I didn’t want you to be overwhelmed.”

Corey couldn’t conjure up a response. What he said, and how he said it, turned her knees to jelly. She felt like the high school girl who was just noticed by the popular jock. She couldn’t stop staring at his soft, dark brown eyes, even though a sensible voice in her head told her to just walk away and forget him.

“I’m very sorry. But I really have to go.” She peeked around his massive chest to the men beyond. “It was so nice meeting you guys,” she called over, waving. She turned to pick up her bike, then pushed it along and hopped on.

“Stop by anytime,” she heard Jake yell behind her.

She smiled but didn’t turn around. Glancing at her watch, she’d realized she was supposed to have started her first day of work eight minutes ago. Fear made her pedal faster.

She hoped she hadn’t lost the job already. But what if she did? How would she pay rent? How would she feed Molly?

Glow in the dark is available from: Amazon.com as e book and also as a paperback. Perfect for Christmas for the keen romance reader!

Keira loves to hear from readers and you can find her here:

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Bloghop

Along with some of my lovely colleagues at Astraea Press I'm taking part in this Thanksgiving Bloghop. There are lots of prizes on offer and some great authors to be discovered, and, although I'm obviously not American I think we should all take time to be thankful for the special people in our lives.

*Five things I'm thankful for.

1. My faith - I rarely speak about my faith or the part it plays in my life but I am thankful.

2. My family - Mr Nell and the belles and my wider family. I am so very lucky and blessed.

3. My Friends - I have fantastic friends - some I've known for many years, some I've never met in person but who are dear to me.

4. Books - Without books the world would be a darker, narrower place. Many times a book has helped me through a difficult time in my life.

5. Life - With all it's ups, downs, bad times, great times and challenges I'm thankful that I am me and I live now with people I love.

Finally, last but certainly not least I'm thankful for the people who buy my books, read my stories and who let me know that they are enjoying them. I appreciate all of you very much.

Leave me a comment and your name will go into a draw for a chance to win a pdf of The Cinderella Substitute - drawing will be at the end of the hop on November 23rd.

Here’s the blurb! In the two years since the tragic car crash that killed his fiancée, Nathanial (Nate) Mayer has successfully avoided another relationship. His family and especially his twin sister Nathalie are worried. Jennifer (Jenni) Blake is Nate’s personal assistant. Hired after the accident, she has her own problems to deal with, including the deaths of her adoptive parents and the debts incurred by their nursing care. But those difficulties pale into insignificance when Jenni finally traces her birth mother…

Now the next important bit! The next stop on the Blog Hop is to WENDY Go take a look and enter her contest - Happy Hopping and Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Passionate Harvest - FREE! this weekend!

Yes, you read it right. Passionate Harvest is FREE this weekend - a special gift from the fabby E-Scape Press to coincide with The Festival of Romance!

Please be aware Passionate Harvest is NOT one of my sweet reads! Nursery nurse Lucy Morgan, unexpectedly inherits half a Somerset vineyard with conditions and a co-owner attached.

Unwilling co-owner Dominic LeFevre, doesn’t want or need a new business partner, especially one who knows nothing about wine.

With Lucy having left behind her old life, and love in Tenerife, she has twelve months to convince Dominic that she’s exactly what both he, and the business, need.

Here’s an excerpt!

Dominic waited until he was on an open stretch of road before cranking up the volume on the CD player and belting out his favourite rock band. He couldn’t believe he’d come so close to kissing Lucy. God, how stupid would that have been? He rubbed a tired hand at the back of his neck in an attempt to ease the tension in the muscles there.

She’d looked so sad and tired with her borrowed tee shirt sliding off one slim shoulder revealing more of the tan on her soft skin. He hadn’t done a great job at convincing her to take up her inheritance. A five mile route march in blatantly unsuitable shoes and allowing his dog to maul her and ruin her clothes maybe wasn’t the best way to commence a business partnership.

“Way to go, Dom.” He muttered to himself. Mutley gave a small whine of agreement from the back of the car.

“And some help you were too.” Dom shook his head.

His mobile phone vibrated in the back pocket of his jeans as he pulled the car to a stop outside his cottage. He glanced at the screen and let the call go to voice mail. The vultures had started circling as soon as Nick’s death announcement had appeared in the press. A couple of them had even approached him about a partnership whilst he’d been at the funeral trying to commend themselves to him.

It had been partly why he’d been so angry with Lucy when she’d arrived late. At the time, not knowing the full story of her connection with Nick, he’d assumed she was yet another one of those waiting to pounce on the business. Mr Fullwood had hinted to him that Nick had left Lucy an interest in the vineyard. He hadn’t known it would be the entire fifty per cent of the holding. At the time he’d assumed it would be simply a couple of shares.

© Nell Dixon 2012 Available FREE Amazon.com and here at AMAZON UK

Friday, November 16, 2012

Guest Blogger - Iris Blobel

A warm welcome to Iris Blobel, a fellow Astraea author to talk about her fabulous new release - Innocent Tears.

Becoming a parent can be daunting at the best of times, but for Flynn, a business lawyer in Melbourne, it almost pulls the feet from right underneath him. He’s become a father to six-year-old Nadine literally overnight! He had no idea about her existence, and the news throws him into chaos, even more so when he is asked to take over custody. With the help of Emma, an employee at the hotel where Nadine and her grandparents are staying, and his parents, Flynn tries to do the right thing. Yet, the right thing in his eyes differs from his parents’, and Emma is voicing her opinion as well. And right in the middle is little Nadine, still grieving the loss of her mother and finding a wonderful friend in Emma. There’s no doubt she’s afraid where and with whom she will settle. But in the end, it’s a letter Flynn receives that helps him figuring out what to do.

Here's an excerpt!

“My Mum is dead.” Somewhat startled by this statement, Emma peeked over the reception desk into beautiful green eyes that belonged to a cute little girl with brown curly hair and a freckled button nose. She couldn’t help but smile. There was something in the girl’s eyes that held a hint of mischief and curiosity, as well as some sadness, and Emma was drawn to her instantly.

“Nadine!” The stern voice of an elderly woman approaching the reception caused Emma to nearly jump out of her skin. The girl stiffened with eyes wide open. “My apologies for that,” the woman said to Emma, though her expression didn’t actually reveal any signs of apologies. The woman’s face reflected a life of bitterness, the lines appearing deep and weathered.

Emma smiled. “No need to.”

An elderly man joined them, and after a brief nod of acknowledgment she asked, “May I help you?”

“Yes. We would like to check in. Gibbs. William and Teresa Gibbs,” the woman replied.

Emma typed the name on the keyboard, and while she waited for the details, she smiled at the girl, and asked, “Holidays?”

Nadine’s face spread into a small smile, but it was enough to show she had her two top teeth missing. “And I see the tooth fairy has been to see you recently.”

“Excuse me–” Mrs. Gibbs glanced at Emma’s name badge. “–Emma. Can we proceed with the check-in please?”

“My apologies, ma’am.” Emma read the details on the screen, made a few notes and turned around to activate the automated door card in the back office. All the while, she felt Mrs. Gibbs’ glare on her and instinctively pulled on her navy uniform skirt feeling slightly uncomfortable. Emma sighed inwardly.

In her early twenties and she still lacked confidence in what other people thought of her. Tucking a lock of her curly, tawny hair behind her ear, she tried to keep a positive attitude because, after all, she loved working at the “All Stars” Hotel in Melbourne. It was something she always wanted to do – to greet people to this beautiful city, and make their stay as comfortable as possible. And she was often told how popular she was with staff and guests alike for her positive attitude, her generous heart and kind spirit.

“Ma’am, that’d be room five-o-two. If you go to the right over there, take the lift to the fifth floor and follow the hall to the near end, you will find room five-o-two on your right.”

Teresa Gibbs took the card from Emma and turned it in her hands.

“Ma’am, you slide that into the door instead of a key. I’m happy to ask someone to come with you and show–”

“I’ll be fine thank you.” And Mrs. Gibbs turned to go.

Emma leaned across the counter and smiled at Nadine. “Enjoy your holidays,” she said and winked. “And come see me sometime to tell me about the tooth fairy.”

“We’re not on a holiday,” the girl said in almost a whisper. “We’re here to meet my dad.” Then she hopped off after Mr. And Mrs. Gibbs, who Emma assumed were the little girl’s grandparents. Emma wondered about that remark and then remembered what the girl had said about her mother. She watched as Mrs. Gibbs rushed her husband and Nadine into the lift, and the door slid shut.

A familiar voice startled her. “Emma! Come on, stop dreaming.”

Emma turned around and saw her colleague Jack standing next to her. She smiled. “Jack! Where’ve you been?”

He lifted one side of his mouth. “Morning tea.”

“Are you for real? You’ve been gone for an hour.”

Grinning, he ruffled her hair. “Another bad hair day?”

She gently pushed him away and rolled her eyes. “You’re avoiding the subject!”

With raised eyebrows he asked, “Which subject?”

She poked her tongue out at him. Why should I care if he gets into trouble!

“Miss Gallagher!” The familiar authoritative voice came from behind them.

Emma startled and with heat creeping up her cheeks she slowly turned, only to see her boss standing behind her. “My apologies, Mr. Morgan,” she said with a tilt of her head. Deep inside she cursed Jack. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him attending to a guest. Typical of him to leave her to vices. Leo Morgan’s square jaw tensed visibly. A man in his midforties, he was still handsome with his olive skin. Even though the hair showing the first signs of grey around his temples, it suited him well and emphasised his blue eyes. He took a deep breath and stepped slightly closer. “Listen Emma,” he whispered. “I only hear good things about you. People like you and you have a good–” he paused seemingly trying to find the right word, “–let’s call it repute. But there’s a certain standard here, and I need you to uphold that. Are we understood?”

She nodded. “Yes, sir”

“Good. Now, go and do your job and whatever it is between you two, keep it outside the hotel.”

She stood straight. “But there is nothing–”

“Miss Gallagher!”

“Yes, sir. Understood.”

Emma turned around and checked-in the next few guests. It was only after she had finished her shift that she was able to talk to Jack.

“Thanks for getting me into trouble again.”

Jack placed his arm around her, and gave her a kiss on her forehead. “Sorry for that. But you seem to attract this guy.”

“Yes, and it’s exactly every time when I muck up, his focus seems to land on me.”

“You’ll be right. How about dinner at my place?”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Jerk!”

He grinned, and held his arms up in defence. “What?”

Where you can buy “Innocent Tears” Amazon Amazon UK Barnes & Noble Where you can find Iris Blobel online: Official Blog: http://www.iris-b.blogspot.com Twitter @_iris_b: Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/irisblobel

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Guest Blogger - Lisa Greer

Thanks for having me as your guest today, Nell!

Just by way of introduction, I'm Lisa Greer, and I write gothic romance and romance. On occasion, I also write sweet romance as Lorraine James. This coming year, I’m doing something different—a Kickstarter project. I really enjoy writing serials, and I like rolling them out as serials were meant to be done: in quick succession. These are mini-stories with cliffhangers at the end. They compose a larger tale—in this case, a spooky one set in the mid-1800s that follows the inhabitants of the Sorrowmoor estate. I love to include all kinds of gothic romance tropes in my work like secret chambers, diaries, curses, ghosts, spooky graveyards, family secrets, heroines in distress, Byronic heroes, and more. If that's your speed, I think you'll enjoy these serials.

The goal I’ve set for funding for the project is where it needs to be to cover the rewards, cover art, editing, formatting and other expenses. And it is pretty reasonable for a Kickstarter project goal from what I can tell. I want to have enough money to complete the project in a way I’m happy with and in a timely manner, and most importantly, to give value to readers. That isn’t always possible unless as an author, I have control over the publishing process. That’s where my project, Sorrowmoor, comes in. I’m planning at least twenty historical gothic romance serials over the course of 2013. My motto is under-promise and over-deliver in terms of what I’ve outlined for the serials. So, it’s likely I’ll have more than twenty serials or that they’ll be lengthier than the minimum of 2000 words each. These will land in backers’ inboxes (unless backers don’t want them in that format), and I’ll also put the serials in a combined e-book edition with a fabulous cover and a print edition that looks equally great. I’m planning lots of other cool stuff, too!

So, how can you get some good reads and back the project? If you have a dollar, that’s a start. There are all sorts of levels to back Sorrowmoor, so please take a look. If you don’t like gothic romance (which is romantic suspense, just with paranormal elements), you can support the project and gift your rewards to a friend who will enjoy these serials. It’s like a year-round Christmas gift.

I appreciate the backing I have so far, and I’m really excited about this project! Check it out if you have a minute, and tell a friend who might enjoy reading these stories. You can see the video about Sorrowmoor and learn more here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1394602435/sorrowmoor-historical-gothic-romance-in-serial-for#project-faqs

Thank you all for reading and supporting my endeavors as a working writer!

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Cinderella Substitute is out!

Here’s the blurb! In the two years since the tragic car crash that killed his fiancée, Nathanial (Nate) Mayer has successfully avoided another relationship. His family and especially his twin sister Nathalie are worried. Jennifer (Jenni) Blake is Nate’s personal assistant. Hired after the accident, she has her own problems to deal with, including the deaths of her adoptive parents and the debts incurred by their nursing care. But those difficulties pale into insignificance when Jenni finally traces her birth mother… Available from all good etailers including: AMAZON UK and AMAZON.COM

Monday, October 29, 2012

Did ya miss me?

Phew, it's been a busy old time. Last week was our halfterm week here. Everywhere else in the country it's this week but no matter. We went to Devon in our touring caravan for our last break of the season. It was a lovely restful week. I finally got to go to Agatha Christie's house - Greenways! So inspirational. We had lunch in our favourite places - a big shout out to the gorgeous Shoreline in Paignton Go Here to friend them and of course the ancient and haunted Pizza Express opposite the cathedral in Exeter. We also dropped in to see our friends at Fables bookstore - a fabulous little shop in Babbacombe at the top near the church Read about them here They have a few signed copies of my books so if you call in tell them Nell sent you! Then it was time to come home. This week is crazy as we have so much on! My middle belle is auditioning for Britains Got Talent, my youngest is having more orthodontic work. We've colleges to view, parents evenings, Halloween, a new bed to be delivered and I've got a novella to polish and submit. Not to mention we seem to have a fieldmouse hanging out in the house again. I also have this book coming out on Thursday!
In the two years since the tragic car crash that killed his fiancée, Nathanial (Nate) Mayer has successfully avoided another relationship. His family and especially his twin sister Nathalie are worried. Jennifer (Jenni) Blake is Nate’s personal assistant. Hired after the accident, she has her own problems to deal with, including the deaths of her adoptive parents and the debts incurred by their nursing care. But those difficulties pale into insignificance when Jenni finally traces her birth mother…

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Guest Blogger - Adelle Laudan

All throughout history there has been remarkable Woman of Strength.
Mother Teresa spent 30 yrs of her life helping others before anyone even knew who she was. In 1979 she won the Nobel Peace Prize. One of my favorite quotes of hers is “If you can’t feed one hundred people, then feed just the one.”
Joan of Arc—at a time when a woman on the battlefield was unheard of she eventually led her army to victory, fearlessly fighting and eventually dying to defend her country. She said, “Stand up for what you believe in.” A quote used over and over again, even today.
There are far too many women to list here today. Princess Diana, Oprah Winfrey, Rosa Parks, the list is endless.
Woman of Strength come from all walks of life. I believe my mother was one. She moved to Canada with my father, leaving a son out of wedlock to be raised by her parents. She didn't know a word of English when she moved here, and went on to work in a factory every day and raised four children.
My new series Women of Strength, I hope to showcase the women of our generation who rise above adversity, hardships, illness, abuse, etc  No, these women will not receive a Nobel Peace Prize, but maybe, just maybe they will give someone the strength or hope needed to make it through their own personal challenges.
I have kicked off this series with three previously published stories of mine.  Juliana is the first story I had published a couple/few years ago. Each month I will add a new story of a Woman of Strength. I hope you will enjoy this ongoing series.
Thank you Nell for having me.  Please leave a comment and I will randomly pick one winner to receive  this calendar magnet for 2013 and this lovely steampunk pewter symbol for woman charm. All names will go in a draw to win your choice of one of these three stories. Please feel free to visit me on the next stop of my blog tour. You will find the schedule HERE
Woman of Strength - Links to purchase as wells as Info on Contest

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Surfacing briefly!

I'm sorry I've been missing so much lately. Life has been crazy. My eldest belle has left home for university and she's swapping bedrooms with the youngest belle so the house is in chaos. Throw in a pressing deadline - I still have at least 6k to write before November 15th and we're away for a week without any net/computer access - and health issues for older members of my family and it's been a bit mad. I've also been working longer hours at my day job too as we've got a massive new workstream and a major new project on top of our usual busy workload. It's safe to say I'm feeling more than a bit frazzled around the edges. Hopefully when I've met my deadline and had a break to recover my health a bit I can regroup. Famous last words. I think I've been promising you all I'll slow down since 2004. I've had some nice news from my lovely publisher - Astraea Press - which I can't share yet but it's going to be a bit of a Christmas treat for readers. There's also the release of The Cinderella Substitute on November 1st to look forward to!
I love this cover and it goes so well with the other two books in this set, don't you think?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Guest Blogger - I do not 'heart' writing systems - Phillipa Ashley

Why I do not heart writing ‘systems’ Something weird happened when I was writing my latest novel, Miranda’s Mount. No, I didn’t have an out of body experience, nor did Johnny Depp leap out of the manuscript and carry me off to a desert island. It was much weirder than all of those things: this book gave me virtually no trouble to write.

Now, I preface this post by stating categorically: No Book Is ‘Easy’ to Write. The novel still took me nine months of daily writing to produce 90,000 words, edit them and then rewrite some of them. Yet for once, I enjoyed every moment of the process, had several offers for the book and not too much in the way of edits from my agent or editor.

Before you think I’m a smug git, I will happily admit to most of my books giving me a great deal of trouble and for a couple to have had a *lot* of rewriting and then some. One or two hurt even to think about but not Miranda, and I’ve asked myself why. Did I discover a magical new writing system to help me create the plot and develop the characters? The Post-It method? Card files? Character wheels? Zodiac signs? Unfortunately not: which means I probably won’t be able to replicate that glorious feeling again.

I’d describe myself as a ‘pantster’ rather than a ‘plotter’ and to be honest, I’m not a lover of writing methods and systems. Now, the unkind might say that shows in my novels but the truth is that I find ‘systems’ stifling to my creativity and to my strange way of thinking, they relegate writing to a slog rather than pleasure. Worst, they drag me outside my story and remind me that it’s not, actually, true. That’s not to say that many writers find a system or method that works for them. It’s probably just me... maybe chaos is my process.

Or perhaps, this being my sixth novel, I’ve finally learned a few things. I’ve learned to spot when I’m heading down a blind alley and to ask sooner: why? Because in essence, isn’t that three letter word is the key to all stories? Asking why a character has acted or is acting or will act in a certain way is the essence of the plot of a romance novel. If people’s motivations aren’t clear or credible, the story just won’t work for the reader. If you ask ‘why’ often enough, it may lead you down a completely different route to the one you’d plotted. It’s hard to let go of a plan or worse, to delete thousands of words, but sometimes you have to do it.

With Miranda’s Mount, the inspirational part came when I got the idea, which came out of the blue on a car journey. Immediately, I knew the setting and the main reasons why my hero and heroine would be in conflict externally and their internal conflicts developed along the way. I really tried to make sure I had those motivations at the front of my mind at every stage of the novel. As a result, the characters spoke to me from the first page to the end, with very few silences in between.

Or maybe I just got lucky this time... I’d love to know if you’ve found any writing processes that worked well for you.

Miranda’s Mount When Miranda finds herself fighting for her home, her job and her heart, sleeping with the enemy may not be the best tactic… With no family of her own, Miranda Marshall has developed a healthy respect – some would say obsession – with other people’s histories. As property manager of a spectacular island castle in Cornwall, she’s made St Merryn’s Mount one of the UK’s most popular heritage attractions. While she may have the castle running like clockwork, Miranda hasn’t bargained on its sexy owner returning to claim his birthright. Dark, handsome and with a rakish reputation, Jago St Merryn not only looks like a pirate but is intent on flogging the Mount to a soulless leisure corporation. Miranda faces the battle of her life as she tries to persuade him to face up to his past and continue the St Merryn dynasty. But Jago has his own reasons for jumping ship and when he throws down the gauntlet to Miranda, she’s forced to delve into painful memories she’d much rather keep hidden… Amazon US Amazon UK AmazonUK

www.phillipa-ashley.com

Twitter @PhillipaAshley

Friday, September 28, 2012

Coming soon - The Cinderella Substitute

Here's the cover for The Cinderella Substitute releasing as e book on November 1st from Astraea press. Also available as audio book from Audiolark.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Behind the scenes of Be My Hero

I'm guesting and giving away more copies of Be My Hero today over at FLY HIGH as a guest of the lovely Maria. There is quite a story behind Be My Hero - one that is very personal to me and my family. Pop over and take a look.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'm visiting Kate Hardy today!

My lovely friend, Kate Hardy is celebrating the publication of her 50th book! I'm guesting there today and you could win a pdf of Be My Hero!Go over and congratulate her!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Author Sheryl Brown tagged me to take part in “The next big thing” and answer ten questions about my current work in progress. I hope you'll enjoy it.

• What is the working title of your next book? Okay, well the one I've just started is called Lights, Camera, Poltergeist and is a follow up to Cue Me In which was my Halloween Story from last year with Astraea Press.

• Where did the idea come from for the book? The idea came from readers of Cue me In who keep asking for another story featuring Fae, her technician boyfriend John 'Flash' Flannigan and some spooky action.

• What genre does your book fall under? It's a short and sweet novella with a twist of humour and a dash of suspense

• What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? I hate this question! I never ever know how to cast my stories and can never remember actors names. Fae is tall, slim, blonde and wears kick ass boots. Flash has blue eyes, dirt blond hair and has dimples when he smiles.

• What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? Valentine's eve in a spooky Scottish country house and and Fae's heart isn't all that going 'bump' in the night.

• Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I'm hoping my lovely publishers at Astraea press will like it :)

• How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I've only just started it so probably eight to ten weeks as it's going to be aprox 15kish

• What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Hmm, people have compared my writing to Janet Evanovich so I'll take that as a lovely flattering description, how true that is I'm not sure.

• Who or what inspired you to write this book? I love architecture - old buildings fascinate me and as someone who comes from a line of women with psychic gifts then this kind of story feels quite natural. I've had lots of readers say they think Fae and Flash are series characters so I thought I'd like to do another story featuring them.

• What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? If you like humour, suspense, ghosts, feisty heroines and something a bit different then Cue Me In and Lights, Camera, Poltergeist would probably be your thing. The writers I am tagging are:- Sheryl Brown and my fabulous CP Kimberly Menozzi

Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest Blogger - Carol Hedges

Carol Hedges is the successful author of 11 books for young adults and teenagers. Her writing has received much critical acclaim, and her books have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Angus Book Award. At the beginning of this year,

Carol decided to become an Indie author, and has just published her firsrt YA novel, Jigsaw Pieces on Amazon Kindle. She is currently working on her next ebook, a Victorian detective novel, with werewolf.

Carol lives in Hertfordshire, with her husband, a pink 2CV, two cats and a lot of fish. She has one grown up daughter.

To celebrate the release of her latest novel, Jigsaw Pieces, Carol kindly agreed to allow me to interrogate, um, I mean interview her.

1. Most authors are also big readers. Do you read the same genre you write? and which book has influenced you most in your desire to be a writer?

I am a voracious reader - one of those who always has a stack of books by the bed - which follow me round the house. I don't read YA novels, actually I don't think of myself as a YA author, but as a writer of crime fiction that just happens to have teenagers as the main protagonists. I find it a bit tedious that we have to be categorised all the time! But I do read a lot of crime fiction and thrillers: Henning Mankell, Robert Harris are two favourites as well as Dickens ( well, he writes crime fiction, in a way). In answer to the last part of the question, I could give a frivolous answer and say Orlando the Marmalade Cat, as Kathleen Hale was the first author I borrowed from our tiny local library, when I was 6. The luscious illustrations and funny kittens were an early source of inspiration. Maybe that's why I have so many kittens on my Facebook page! Seriously though, I can't say one book has influenced me; I think the concept of THE BOOK is what inspires me and drives me to write.

2. Are you a plotter or a pantster when it comes to writing your books?

Because I write crime fiction, I have to be a bit of a plotter. I need to work out what the crime will be in advance, and who is the perpetrator. And I need to know how everything will end. Then I just fly by the seat of my pants, because it's more exciting that way. I always try to end a writing session on a cliff-edge, so that I return to a challenge. Being a pantster means that I'm open to new things happening, and I don't panic if the narrative starts veering off-course, because there is no course. Though there is an ultimate destination.

3. If you were giving a dinner party, which 4 fictional characters would you most like to invite and why?

Oh gosh, what a HARD question! Well, one of the guests would be Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind because she's the original Steel Magnolia, isn't she. And then, I'd invite Kurt Wallander, because his Swedish reserve would be an interesting contrast. My third dinner guest must be Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird because I just love the way she reacts to situations and people in Maycomb. My last guest? Ooh, pure indulgence: Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I adore a man with a crumbly interior. And a wet shirt - no no,wait, that's Colin Firth.

4. What are you working on next?

I'm on the final edits of an historical novel set in 1860. It's called Diamond Girl and is 'Victorian-lite' in that, although researched up to the brim, it's written in a fast-paced and (I hope) humorous style. It also pokes gentle fun at some of the Victorian novel cliches:the bumbling detective, the ragged crossing sweeper, the over-managing mother. Did I mention the werewolf? I hope to get it uploaded around Christmas.

Many thanks to Carol for stopping by today. Jigsaw Pieces is available from AMAZONUK

Here's the blurb!

‘He had been part of my everyday life. I hadn’t liked him much, nobody had liked him much, but he’d been there. Now, I’d never see him again.’ Annie Skjaerstad had been searching for her identity since being uprooted from her native country of Norway. With a spiky personality winning her no friends, and family members suddenly torn out of her life, she is left seeking comfort from a growing intrigue into the stories of fallen war heroes. But one day, a boy from her school unexpectedly commits suicide, changing things forever. Confused by the tragic tale of someone she knew, Annie soon finds herself conducting her own investigation into his death. What she uncovers will bring her to a dark and dangerous place, as suddenly – her own life is put at risk. A tense, coming of age crime thriller by the author of ‘Dead Man Talking’.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday, Monday

It's the start of another busy week here. My day job has a big, huge new project launching and I'm putting in extra time so my writing and on line time is somewhat curtailed. I'm also helping my eldest belle to clear out her room ready for her move to Cirencester in two weeks time. My youngest daughter is then going to take eldest's old room and eldest will take the smaller room for when she comes home. I'm almost done with my critiquing commitments for this year and my proofreading tray is empty too so in a few days time I can kickstart my writing projects. I have tons of stuff in my head that I'm dying to get down on paper, including plans for a new series! I've also been busy sorting out my health issues. My GP seems to have found me something which is helping my arthritis and that means I can be more physically active. In turn, that is enabling me to restart a get fit/weightloss programme. Fingers crossed for a slimmer, fitter, more organised me by Christmas!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Be My Hero - Out today!

Nathalie Mayer is thirty-four. On the surface she is an attractive, happy, single, successful woman running her own bridal business. Despite her line of work and her obvious delight in other people’s weddings, including that of her twin brother, Nate. Nathalie has always declared that a settled relationship is not for her. There has only ever been one man whom Nathalie felt she could love. Evan Davies is back in town after a six year absence. Last time he was here, he and Nathalie had tentatively begun to take their friendship to a different level. Now he’s home again and has the reason for his sudden departure from six years ago with him – his daughter, Polly. Available on Amazon UK And Amazon.com And here on Nook book

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Be My Hero - releasing September 4th

Available once more as an e book September 4th from Astraea Press. It's also available as an audiobook from Audiolark and will soon be available as a large print edition too!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Passionate Harvest is FREE just for today!

My wonderful publishers at E-Scape Press have agreed to let me give away copies of Passionate Harvest! So just for today hurry along to Smashwords and use the coupon code TX42B. Please be aware Passionate Harvest is NOT one of my sweet titles!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Belles

The last few months have been pretty stressful here at the Nell household. All three of my teenagers were sitting exams. I'm thrilled to say that the eldest belle got all her A levels and the place she wanted at the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester where she'll study environmental and heritage land management. The middle belle took her english language GCSE a year early and has passed with a C! The youngest belle, who was 14 in May took an extra GCSE in film studies and got an A, plus she took her Biology and Physics GCSE's early too and got B's. Well done to all of them for all their hard work and a large gin for me for having felt as if I'd sat everyone of those flipping exams myself!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guest blogger - Julie Day

A warm welcome to fellow RNA member and writing friend, Julie Day. Here's a little bit about her! I live in SE London and am a full-time writer. I have been writing for 19 years and have had published reader letters in health and writing magazines, short stories in small press magazines Creature Features and Crystal, and my first children's fiction book was published in 2009 called Rosie and the Sick School, about healthy eating at school with magical elements. I have recently self-published two YA ebooks in a series called ‘The Guardian Angels’. Just published my first romance enovella called ‘One Good Turn’. Julie's latest book - One Good Turn is just out on Smashwords and should be on Amazon anytime soon.
Here's a bit about it and a small excerpt to whet your appetite. Fifty-five year old Geraldine Simmonds has died and gone to Heaven, but there’s a catch. She has to earn her place in paradise by making her ex-boyfriend Keith a happier and loving man again. With the advice of her acrobatic helper Coco and a sprinkling of heavenly magic, Geraldine not only wins back Keith but becomes a better person herself. The Boss above approves her request to be allowed to return to Earth to help relatives who need a nudge to get their lives back on track and fall in love once more. Here's a taster Through the expanse of white, Geraldine Simmonds gazed down at the sombre group of people below her. She frowned. Only one of them was crying, her niece Mandy. She heard, ‘Oh, Aunt Geraldine, why did you have to die? I was going to help you find some good in your life.’ Geraldine blinked back a tear. ‘You were the good thing in my life, Mandy,’ she muttered. She watched the group of people leave the graveside and climb into their cars. ‘Where are you going?’ Mandy asked her relatives. ‘The wake is at my flat.’ ‘We’re not coming. We only came cos you asked us to. Bye, Mandy,’ one of them replied. What sort of relatives were these, that didn’t want to say a proper goodbye to her, Geraldine wondered. Oh, Mandy. You being there for me is enough. As the scene faded, she sighed. Some relatives they were. She was well away from them. Horrible, mean people, she thought; especially when she heard a sob from Mandy. * * * The scene changed. The whiteness appeared once more and a flash of bright gold like a shiny new ring shone round Geraldine then. What the...? She blinked to focus on her new surroundings. Her eyes widened as huge pearly gates appeared. And standing guard by them was a tall man with a beard, holding a long golden stick with a ball on the end. ‘Are you Geraldine Simmonds?’ the man asked. Geraldine just nodded, dumbstruck as she realised where she was. ‘Thought you were.’ ‘Am I where I think I am?’ ‘Yes. You have reached Heaven. I’m Head of Security. In charge of all missions and tasks as well as guarding this place.’ Then Geraldine heard a deep, smooth voice. One she didn’t think she’d hear again. It shouted: ‘Get me that apple. Now!’ ‘Oh my, that sounds like…’ ‘Your ex, Keith. Yes, it is.’ ‘He never used to be like that. What’s made him so nasty?’ ‘I believe he’s missing you.’ ‘Missing me? But we’ve not been together for three years.’ ‘Well, your name keeps cropping up when he talks.’ ‘Oh.’ She felt her eyebrows lift as he said this. How could they? Wasn’t she meant to be dead? You can get your copy of One Good Turn HERE

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Holiday!

We're off tomorrow to Wales for a lovely two weeks on the Cerediggion coast staying near Aberaeron and New Quay. We plan to go to the beach, watch the bottle nosed dolphins and the seals. We hope to eat Bara Brith and walk along the Welsh coastal path, metal detect on the sand and shop in Aberystwyth. We hope to see Red Kites and avoid the Olympics. I have my kindle loaded and Miss La is also suitably stocked with books. I will have no net access so if it's urgent it'll have to wait till I'm home. Hopefully there'll be some sunshine!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Grab a bargain!

All Astraea titles by me are just 99c or 77p for a limited time - so pop over to Amazon or B&N and stock up! Now is your chance to get all of the Cornish New Bay Series for a bargain price - Making Waves, September Song, A Cornish Christmas,Easter Holiday, New Bay Wedding and Dangerous to Know and Cue Me In too!

Monday, July 16, 2012

What we did in Penrith

This weekend was the annual romantic novelist association conference. This year we were back in Penrith. The conferences are always superbly organised by the wonderful Jan Jones and Roger Sanderson and this was no exception. The campus was jammed to the rafters with writers, editors and agents. I arrived on Friday afternoon and shared a taxi in with Jude Roust and another lovely friend from Twitter. Accomodation was in the student houses which have single bedrooms clustered around a communal kitchen. In my house I had Anna Louise Lucia, Biddy Coady, Julie Cohen, Liz Fenwick, first time conference attender Rose, and Kate Walker with her lovely hubby, Steve, aka the Babe Magnet. Steve and Kate celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary with us so it made the weekend extra special. It was lovely to be with friends and so nice to have time to catch up properly. My housemates appeared to have cornered the world wine market and stashed it in our fridge which always helps. I met up with my good friends Sandra and Ann for a belated celebration of Sandra's special birthday. Conference opened with a celebration of everyones good news, contest wins, agent signings, book sales etc and then a panel, ably chaired by the wonderful Janet Gover, which considered book translation and the international market. We had a delicious dinner, served by the incredible staff who were all so pleasant, patient and helpful they made the weekend a delight. After that it was kitchen party time! It was lovely to meet conference first timers, including Abbi, our youngest conference goer at sweet 16. I'm sure the poor girl is now corrupted for life - hopefully someone covered her ears when she met some of the erotica authors! Saturday had some fab workshops, I went to Maggie Seed, who gave a brilliant talk on submitting to Pocket Novels before giving my workshop on editing. Jan had warned me to expect a lot of people but the room was jammed! They were a fantastic group as always asking lots of inciteful questions and every handout disappeared - and I had a lot of handouts! In the afternoon I talked with Kim Young, one of the editors for Mira, which was great fun and very interesting. I then went to listen to Moira from Book review site Vulpes Libres. That was another good talk. By then I was a bit socialed out and needed a break so went back to the house kitchen where I spent a lovely hour with Biddy, Julie, Liz and Anna just chatting about books, writing, workshops, Pixar, and wine. The gala dinner was fab and I got to chat with Sally Clements who had come over from Ireland, and some of the other romaniacs, including Romy, who had come all the way from South Africa. After dinner, Sandra, Ann and I ended up in the Scottish kitchen with a group of lovely writers from north of the border where we chatted away for the rest of the night. Sunday bought sunshine and a fbulous funny talk from Jane Wenham - Jones, a great workshop on sex in YA books with Tamsyn Murray and a session with a life coach before it was time for lunch. I spent lunch with Cally Taylor and Rowan Coleman before we all headed for the station and the journey home. Another fab weekend gone too soon.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

RNA Conference 2012

Tomorrow I'm heading off to Penrith for the Romantic Novelist's Assoc annual conference. Last year was the first one I'd missed for years. This year I'm giving a workshop on editing - how to tweak, polish and shine your manuscript. My lovely editor at Astraea Press - Kay Springsteen Tate has generously shared some of her material with me and having had a an 'oh my God, what am I doing' moment yesterday, I think I'm now prepared. I love the conference as it gives me chance to catch up with old friends, make new ones, talk writing and drink wine for a whole weekend. What's not to love? The workshops are great and this years programme looks fantastic. Support from other writers is what makes romantic novelist's so special. I can honestly say I have always had nothing but support and help from my fellow authors and it's a pleasure to be in their company. Today I get to meet Phillipa Ashley and Elizabeth Hanbury, my fellow coffee crew members for lunch and a catch up. We have heard the Queen is visiting nearby, hope we're not anywhere she could eavesdrop on our conversations. Mind you, Prince Phillip might enjoy them!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Guest Blogger - Liz Fenwick

I'm delighted to welcome Liz Fenwick to the blog today. Liz is a long time writing friend and fellow RNA member and her first novel, The Cornish House is out now! Writer, ex-pat expert, wife, mother of three, and dreamer turned doer....born in Massachusetts, and after nine international moves now live in Dubai with her husband and two mad cats. She made her first trip to Cornwall in 1989, bought her home there 7 years later and although she lives in Dubai, her heart is forever in Cornwall, creating new stories. her debut novel THE CORNISH HOUSE is published by Orion and German, Dutch, Portuguese and Norwegian editions are being prepared.
When artist Maddie inherits a house in Cornwall shortly after the death of her husband, she hopes it will be the fresh start she and her step-daughter Hannah desperately need.

Trevenen is beautiful but neglected, a rambling house steeped in history. Maddie is enchanted by it and determined to learn as much as she can about its past. As she discovers the stories of generations of women who've lived there before, Maddie begins to feel her life is somehow intertwined within its walls.

But Maddie's dream of a calm life in the countryside is far from the reality she faces. Still struggling with her grief and battling with Hannah, Maddie is unable to find inspiration for her painting and realises she may face the prospect of having to sell Trevenen, just as she is coming to love it.

And as Maddie and Hannah pull at the seams of Trevenen's past, the house reveals secrets that have lain hidden for generations.

Excerpt... It was nearly eleven and Maddie had been behind the wheel of the car for over eight hours. She yawned and forced her eyes open wider. Slowing the car she approached yet another blind bend. Moonlight silhouetted the twisted trees against the sky. Their tortured shapes rose from the hedges, forming a tunnel. It seemed to be closing in around them. A shiver went down her spine. The engine stuttered.

“Come on old girl. It can’t be much further to Trevenen, and once there, both you and I can have a much deserved rest.” Maddie stroked the dashboard. Smoke seeped from the edges of the bonnet.

She glanced at her stepdaughter asleep in the passenger seat. Hannah looked sweet with her blonde hair in spiky disarray. She changed position and a tattoo appeared on the teen’s arm. Maddie shook her head. Hannah had disobeyed her. She’d had to call on all her patience reserves when Hannah had displayed it last night. Maddie had just let it go. She too had been a teenager. However she’d obeyed her parents.

Turning her attention back to the road, Maddie knew if the map was accurate they must be near their new home Trevenen. This, of course, assumed she’d followed it correctly and she’d no idea whether she had or not. The last thing she needed was to be stranded on a remote country lane.

When she’d visited the house back in April, the solicitor had driven her there. It hadn’t seemed confusing then, but maybe she hadn’t been paying attention as well as she should have. That was no surprise. She hadn’t done anything as well as she should have since her husband, John, had died.

1. Most authors are also big readers. Do you read the same genre that you write? and which book has influenced you most in your desire to be a writer? I love reading and I do read in the same genre that I write, but not when I am writing a first draft…don’t want to find I have lost my voice and begun using another person’s. I’m not sure any one book has influenced me to be a writer. I have always had stories going on in my head and eventually I felt the need to put them onto a page and share them.

2. Are you a plotter or a pantser when it comes to writing your book? A total panster – I begin with a title, a heroine, a setting and hope I will come out the other side with a complete story.

3. If you were giving a dinner party which four fictional characters would you most like to invite and why? This is so tough…OK starting with the most recent – Matthew Clairmont the Vampire from The Discovery of Witches, Professor Snape from Harry Potter, Julian from Regency Buck, and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice…but can I have them one at a time please…

4. What are you working on next? I’m working on my next book, August Rock, for my publishers in the UK. It, like The Cornish House, is set on the Lizard and is about Judith who flees her wedding in the States when she realizes she is living life my other people’s directions…but what happens when she starts taking control?

Available from Amazon and all good etailers Hardback also available - paperback to follow. Many thanks Liz for visiting and agreeing to be interviewed!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Guest Blogger - Tracy Krauss

Tracy Krauss is an author, artist, playwright, director, worship leader, and teacher. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Saskatchewan. She has lived in many places in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor, and their children. They currently live in Tumbler Ridge, BC.

Published works include four romantic suspense novels: AND THE BEAT GOES ON, where archeological evidence for creation comes at a heavy cost; MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, the story of a ‘cougar’ who takes on more than she bargained for; PLAY IT AGAIN, about an unlikely match during the 1980s rock n’ roll scene; and WIND OVER MARSHDALE, where strong spiritual forces rock a seemingly peaceful prairie town. She also has several stage plays in print. Visit her website for more details. http://www.tracykrauss.com

Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens. A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition? Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.

Tracy kindly agreed to be interviewed as part of her stop here: 1. Most authors are also big readers. Do you read the same genre that you write? and which book has influenced you most in your desire to be a writer? Actually, I don’t write my favourite genre which is spec fiction or Sci-fi. When I was a teen all the girls my age were reading YA romances while I was heavy into Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan – all 30+ of them...) I was in love with Spock and had Star Trek posters in my room instead of the latest teen idol. My tastes really haven’t changed. I love a good Spec/ Sci-fi/ Fantasy/ Paranormal book with a really twisted ending. The irony is, I don’t write in this genre. I write Romantic Suspense, but I do try for an element of surprise at the end. After what I just said, it probably sounds out of sync to say that Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne series may have inspired me to follow my writing dreams. Anne is a strong heroine who loved to write and followed her dream by submitting her stories. There are so many inspiring authors it’s hard to pick one. I think I was also inspired early on by C.S. Lewis and Margaret Atwood. Lewis for his imagination and Atwood for her ability to tell her story her way.

2. Are you a plotter or a pantser when it comes to writing your book? I always start off as a ‘plotter’. I like to create detailed character sketches and I outline the basic plot. Then as I get going, things evolve and change so a lot of the ‘panster’ comes into play as well. I go through multiple rewrites, that’s for sure.

3. If you were giving a dinner party which four fictional characters would you most like to invite and why? Sherlock Holmes, Spock, Lizzy Bennett, and Festus the fool from ‘Twelfth Night’. All of them have a very keen intellect and while the first two are sparring over details and technicalities, Lizzy and Festus could make fun of them with sharp witted comments. It would be fun to watch. Of course, I’d probably have to invite them out somewhere since I really don’t enjoy throwing dinner parties and they might not like my cooking. (I’d like the sharp witted comments directed at one another, not my culinary abilities.)

4. What are you working on next? I’ve got two novels that need polishing up and which I hope to submit to my agent by the end of the summer. I’ve also got three new stage plays coming out sometime this year, so I’ll be busy promoting those. I also have a children’s book which I’ve illustrated which I’m in the process of shopping around.

Thanks, Tracy, that was fun and the book sounds great. You can get Tracy's book from: AMAZON or you can find her on Facebook or Her website.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Exams end in sight!

Thankfully this should see the last of the belle's exams. Eldest takes her last A2 paper today, Middle dd takes her drama assesment and youngest finishes off her film studies and science exams. I feel as if I've sat all of them! Mr Nell and I left them all hard at work on Saturday and escaped for a few hours. Where did we go to spend some couple time after barely seeing each other for almost a month? Mr Nell took me to look at touring caravans. Caravans we can't afford and aren't planning on getting till the belles have left home. On the plus side he did buy me lunch - and cake. I refused to go unless cake was involved. A huge thank you to everyone who's been downloading my New Bay Cornish series. I know thee weather hasn't been great but I'm still surprised that my Christmas title is still top of your pops. If you've read and enjoyed them please consider leaving a review on Amazon, B&N or Goodreads or your own blog. I've been taking a few days off from writing to plan mynext projects and to catch up on my own reading. How do you all like to spend your down time?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#APparty

Come and join the fun on Twitter - look for #APparty. We're there from 5-8GMT 1-3EST today! To win a pdf of New Bay wedding as part of the party giveaway leave me a message with your email addy in the comments telling me your best party trick. I'll draw the best tomorrow - Wednesday at 8pm GMT

Monday, June 18, 2012

June Catch up!

I can't believe it's almost halfway through the year already!The belles are all busy with exams. Eldest is sitting her A levels and hopes to take up a place at the Royal Agricultural College in the Autumn - Fingers crossed! Middle belle is sitting some GCSE papers a year early. Youngest belle is sitting science and an extra GCSE in film studies 2 years early. It's stress city right now. Add in Middle dd's dance show and theatre commitments - she's in Great Expectations next month at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton - and it's a bit busy here. Writing wise New Bay Wedding has just released - the latest in the Cornish short and sweet series. Radio Gaga is finished and I'm deciding what I want to do with it. My special collaborative project is also done now in draft form, I just have to polish and send it to an editor. Now I need to prepare my editing workshop which I'm delivering at the RNA conference in Penrith in a couple of weeks time and work on another very short little project before I get back to the book ideas I want to get done before Christmas. Life wise my hip and back have deteriorated and I'm waiting for the results of X-Rays and test to see if I can hold off the surgery for a few more years. More finger crossing! The day job is very busy with lots of new work coming on stream and our constant quest to maintain funding. Keeps us all busy and out of mischief! What about you? What are you all up to these days?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Releasing Tomorrow! New Bay Wedding, A Cornish short n sweet

Releasing tomorrow! The next of the New Bay short n sweets - A perfect short read for Summer! Emma has been busy organizing her older brother’s lovelife but now Noah plans to turn the tables on his meddlesome match-making sister. But is Ian the best man for this very particular bridesmaid? Here's a snippet! “To our best man and chief bridesmaid.” Noah grinned at them and raised his glass to chink it against theirs. “Cheers!” Emma dutifully lifted her drink for the toast. True to form Ian managed to knock her glass so hard with his that half of her drink slopped over the rim of her glass and onto the table. “Oh, Emma, your jeans are soaked.” Posy pulled some tissues from her bag. “I’ll get a cloth.” Ian’s face turned a deeper shade of crimson and he jumped from his seat to beg a towel from the bar staff. Ian rushed back with a small cloth towel and began to dab ineffectively at the wet patch on Emma’s thigh. “Sorry, Em.” “It’s okay.” She took the towel from him and soaked up as much of the spilled cider as she could. How Ian had ever managed to become a vet she would never know. Whenever she met him he either trod on her, spilled something down her and, on one memorable occasion, he’d managed to set her hair on fire. He was a one man walking disaster area and her brother had asked him to be his best man. (C) Nell Dixon 2012 Available from Astraea press and all good e-tailers Don't forget you can meet the people of New Bay, Cornwall in Making Waves, September Song, A Cornish Christmas and Easter Holiday.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

New Bay Wedding

Coming soon - those of you waiting for the next short n sweet Cornish book. Here's the cover for New Bay Wedding! Emma has been busy organizing her older brother’s lovelife but now Noah plans to turn the tables on his meddlesome match-making sister. But is Ian the best man for this very particular bridesmaid?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

How I nearly met Colin Firth

Some of you know I've had a rather hectic time of it lately with my day job. We have been very fortunate to be listed for some big awards for our work. This has meant a couple of flying visits to London. This week it was to the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel for the Guardian/Observer ethical awards. So, last night duly poshed up in my new maxi dress I toddled off to London to meet one of my colleagues for the big event. Colin and his wife Olivia are on the judging panel along with other luminaries like Ben Fogle, Deborah Mearden etc and in the other categories for the awards we knew Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearneley Whittingstall were shortlisted. Vogue also sponsors an award and we knew lots of the 'beautiful people' would also be present. Colin presented an award last year so we had our fingers crossed we might be lucky. Sadly we didn't win our category but we did get to meet some lovely people and it gave us the chance to promote our work - which for us was the whole reason we went. Colin wasn't there but his wife, Olivia was. She looked very lovely in a pale lime green maxi dress patterned with scarlet poppies and the cutest handbag I've seen in ages - like a little red shiny box the size of a coffee mug. Because she came and stood right next to me I can also tell you she smells very lovely. We did get to stand right by Ben Fogle who looked very dapper in his suit - including a waistcoat - which must have been hot as everyone else was melting in there. We were also privilegdged to hear Katy Tunstall sing live right in front of us and she too had been mingling with us riff-raff at the start. Fashions were amazing - I loved the lady with the leather handbag styled to look like a chicken, the man in smart suit with thick crepe soled shoes patterned in bright white stars and the lady with the Navy silk shoes covered in bright green polka dots.The gentlemen in dinner suit jackets and brightly coloured board shorts were also very striking. We were in London for less than 3 hours before we had to catch the train back but a very interesting evening.

Monday, May 28, 2012

What a week!

Thanks to everyone who came along to the on line launch event on Facebook for Passionate Harvest. It was fabulous to see so many of you there. There will be some more opportunities to win copies soon for those of you who haven't bought your copy yet. The day job is keeping me out of mischief too as we're hugely busy. On Wednesday our team went to the National Trust's inaugural Octavia Hill awards at St Martin-in-the-fields in London. We were second in our category out of over 300 entrants. Thank you again to everyone who voted for us. In the few hours before our train back we slipped into the National Gallery to ogle some pictures. I got a postcard of the one chap - a Monsieur de Norvins painted by Ingres in 1811. At first glance he reminded me of Mr collins from Pride and Prejudice but there was something about his eyes. He had the eyes of a man who has seen too much and is trying to hold on to his humanity and inner self. I must look him up and find out more about him.THIS IS HIM if you want to take a peep. We ambled past the House of Commons through the Bangaladesh demo, paused to watch a Bollywood movie being filmed in Trafalgar square and sat by the Thames for a while to cool off before heading home. This week is equally mad - it's exam season for the belles. Mocks, GCSE's (early!) and A levels. Tomorrow if you're near Brownhills library at 2pmish then Phillipa Ashley and I are reprising our I love Lucy act with a talk about books, publishing, life and anything you might want to ask us. Wednesday is mega exciting - it's another trip to London for another awards event for the day job. I now possess a blue maxi dress for the event which makes me look like a galleon in full sale. Youngest belle refused to let me buy the purple one because she said it made me look like Barney the dinosaur. The reasons for the excitement - 1) it's in a posh place with very posh people. 2) Vogue, the Guardian and the Observer are involved and 3) There is a possibility that Colin Firth may even be there. I promise I'll tell you all about it when we get back!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Passionate Harvest is out!

Passionate Harvest is officially out today. It kind of snuck out early yesterday while I wasn't looking so some of you lucky people snaffled a copy early! Passionate Harvest is slightly different to some of my other books. Most of you know me for writing romantic comedy, Janet Evanovich style humerous suspense or for my clean read stories. Passionate Harvest has a slightly different feel. It's a little more literary womens fiction, sexier and emotional. Hopefully it still has the same touches of humour and warmth that many of you have told me you enjoy when you read one of my books. I really love this story. I enjoyed writing it. It was one of those rare stories that just flew out of my fingertips and onto the page. I really, really hope you'll get the same pleasure from reading it. You can get a copy from: AMAZON.COM AMAZON UK SMASHWORDS ALL Romance E books I want to say a special thank you to my critique partner Kimberley Mennozzi who is an absolute rock and a wonderful author in her own right. And to the Coffee Crew, Phillipa Ashley and Elizabeth Hanbury who give me so much support. Passionate Harvest wouldn't exist without you. Big Love to Julia at E-Scape Press too for the gorgeous cover and being so enthusiastic about the story!