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.
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!
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.COMAMAZON UKSMASHWORDSALL 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!
I'm getting quite excited now about the upcoming release for Passionate Harvest on May 21st. (A week today! eek!)To whet your appetites here's a little sneaky excerpt!
Dominic paused on the step of Maggie’s house for a moment before pushing the bell. He’d lain awake half the night trying to work out all the different options for the future of the vineyard in his head. Despite sacrificing his sleep, he still had no answers. Whichever way he looked at it, whether Lucy decided to stay and work for a year or, if she decided to abandon her inheritance, the outcome couldn’t be good.
He scarcely had time to lift his finger from the bell push when the door opened.
“I’m all set.” Lucy lifted her lightly tanned arm to show him her sweater and bag.
“Are you wearing flat shoes?”
A flash of dismay crossed her face. “These are the best I’ve got with me. Obviously I only packed a few things.” She raised one leg to display a slender foot encased in a denim blue canvas wedge heeled shoe.
“You’ll have to be careful when we walk beside the vines. The ground is uneven.” He opened the passenger door of the car for her. Lucy might have very pretty feet but he could only hope she wouldn’t twist her ankle in a rabbit hole in her impractical shoes.
“Did Nick tell you anything about the vineyard?”
He glanced at her. The morning sun streamed in through the side window lighting up her honey blonde hair like a halo.
“He talked about it quite a lot. How many bottles he expected to get, about the shop and the craft place he had planned in the barn.” He heard her sigh, “I can’t believe he left me his shares though. It was a longstanding joke of his that he’d leave me a drink in his will, but this is crazy.” She shook her head as if still unable to take it all in.
“He never mentioned his intentions to you?” Nick certainly hadn’t said anything to him. Dominic hadn’t liked to ask too much even when he could see Nick’s health was failing. He’d tried to bring the conversation round to it a couple of times but Nick would simply clap his hand onto Dom’s shoulder. ‘All taken care of. Nothing to worry about, I promise.’
He risked another peep at her as the traffic slowed. Her eyes were downcast and she worried the skin of her bottom lip between her teeth. “No, never.” She shook her head again and her hair shimmered in the sunshine like molten gold.
(C)Nell Dixon 2012
My appologies for being absent for so long. Somehow I ended up copyediting four books all at once and I have a tight deadline for another short piece. The eldest belle has now passed her driving test and with all three of the belles sitting various exams and tests, rehearsing for plays and dance shows, running business (eldest)and the plumber being here ripping out our aged ensuite bathroom it's been a tad hectic. I promise I'll make it up to you all soon.
In the meantime - hoist by my own petard and proving what a big fibber I am, go HERE to visit my writing friend Liz Fenwick's blog to discover my resolution for this year (and you can see how crap I am at keeping it)
Nell is an award winning author living in the heart of the Black Country with her husband, three children, a tank of tropical fish, a crazy Cockerpoo called Teddy and whatever is left of her sanity. Welcome to her world...