Guest Post from Carol E Wyer

carol e wyerTrying to keep a grumpy old man amused is virtually impossible. Trust me, I know. After my own little Grumpy retired, he suddenly became far too interested in what I was doing, for my own good. I couldn’t move without him wanting to know what I was up to or asking if I wanted to have a cup of coffee (i.e. make him one.)

Eventually, after various attempts to keep him amused, I introduced him to blogging. I set him up a monthly column “Hubby’s Hotties” on one of my blogs: Fortifying Your Fifties. It was to allow him to rant about all those things he generally rants to me about, and give me a break. Of course, being technically incompetent he spent hours writing out his posts in biro then handing them to me to put into the blog. It gave me much more work than I anticipated but it amused him for a while. Five months to be precise. It’s a shame he gave it up because he attracted a lot of followers. Just to prove any old grumpy can blog, here’s his second post which amused quite a few people (I am known as Facing50 in the blogging world):

“My second post, and I have decided to type it all myself. After the grief I got (from you know who) for writing out so much last time, I thought I’d better have a go on my tod. (Facing 50 kept muttering about “A dog” and “barking yourself”.) Facing 50 is going to cut this out from my computer screen and glue it into the blog on hers. It remains a mystery to me, so I leave all that technical gubbins to her.

All of this brings me nicely onto the subject for this week – technology or mobile phones to be precise. I am not a fan of mobile phones. Even when I had to have one for work, I used to turn it off when I went out for the day. If I didn’t, the blasted thing would always ring just as I was in an important lunch meeting with a client. Note I say “lunch meeting”. I was usually on the dessert when the phone rang. Some idiot back at base inevitably wanted the answer to some asinine query that could easily be dealt with without disturbing my crème brûlée.

Even today, Facing 50 insists I carry a mobile with me whenever we go to the shops and split up for a couple of hours. She says it is to ensure I get back to the meeting place on time, and not leave her standing there like a lemon, as I have been known to do in the past. I feel it’s like having one of those bracelets that tracks your every move. Like the ones that released prisoners have. Don’t tell her, but I switch it off.  If she says she was trying to reach me, I claim I had no signal when she phoned. Ah, she’s probably just read that bit.

Mobiles irritate me. I detest people who pick up their phone and answer it no matter where they are. If they are in the bank talking to the cashier, they’ll suddenly answer a call and chat, oblivious to the person who is serving them. It’s downright rude. Worse still are those people who walk towards you speaking. You think they are addressing you and are just about to reply, when you notice that “thing” in their ear and realise they are conversing with Bob in the office, not you.

More than calls, I hate texts. I don’t know how to send them and I don’t understand the text language that youngsters use. Even Facing 50 thought our son was sending her “lots of love” for months until she found out “lol” meant “laugh out loud”.

Last post, I received a comment from one of you which read “ROFL”. I worried it might be the sound of her vomiting. I therefore, researched the web to find out what it meant, and in doing so, found some very good text abbreviations for older people to use. I thought I’d share them with you and hopefully, they’ll make you LYAO. See, I’m learning every day.

Try them out and start a new trend:

ATD                At the Doctors

ATGC             At the Garden Centre

BTW               Bring the Wheelchair

BYOT             Bring Your Own Teeth

CGU                Can’t Get Up

CGIU               Can’t Get It Up

FWIW              Forgot Where I Was

GGPBL           Gotta Go; Pacemaker Battery Low!

LMDO              Laughing My Dentures Out

OMSG             Oh. My! Sorry – Gas

ROFL&ICGU Rolling On The Floor Laughing And I Can’t Get Up

WAITT             Who Am I Talking To?

WTP                Where’s The Prunes?”

See, he had potential to be a good blogger. Pity he decided to revert to his old ways and stick to what he knows best; irritating me while I am trying to get on with something. Good luck. Hope you have better luck with your grumpies.

grumpymancover

Is your Grumpy Old Man getting under your feet? Is he wrestling with retirement? Are you wondering if you should bundle him up and entrust him to basket-weaving classes? Then this book could be the answer to your prayers. This light hearted guide is packed full of lively ideas, anecdotes and quips. Not only does it set out to provide laughs, but offers over 700 ideas and ways to keep a Grumpy Old Man occupied.

From collecting airline sick bags to zorbing, you will be sure to find an absorbing pastime for your beloved curmudgeon. There are examples of those who have faced extraordinary challenges in older age, fascinating facts to interest a reluctant partner and innovative ideas drizzled, of course, with a large dollop of humour.

Written tongue-in-cheek, this book succeeds in proving that getting older doesn’t mean the end of life or having fun. It provides amusing answers to the question, “How on Earth will my husband fill in his time in his retirement?” It offers suggestions on what might, or most certainly might not, amuse him. Ideal for trivia buffs, those approaching retirement, (or just at a loose end) and frustrated women who have an irritable male on their hands, this book will lighten any mood and may even prevent the odd murder.

The following is an excerpt from a recent article published in Men’s Health on NBC News

(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50305818/ns/health-mens_health/t/get-my-lawn-why-some-older-men-get-so-grouchy/

The look: A scowling face, a wagging finger, and a shaking head. The targets: The economy. Teenagers. Windmills.

Some informally dub it “grumpy old man complex.” British author Carol Wyer labels it “irritable male syndrome,” a spike in the outward crankiness of guys of a certain age.

“Women have friends and we talk about our problems and we take medication and all that kind of stuff. But for men, it’s something they suppress. It’s a male thing,” says Wyer, author of the upcoming humor book “How Not To Murder Your Grumpy.”

Feeling that they no longer are useful, especially, if a man has held an important position in employment prior to retirement, “can result in severe depression at worst and general grumpiness at best,” Wyer said.

Wyer’s husband of 25 years, John, turned 60 this year and became very grumpy just after his birthday, she says. “I have spoken to other women in the same position who have said exactly the same: Husbands, even those who have looked forward to a big birthday, have become morose soon after,” Wyer says.

John Wyer, who owned his own business and misses “the cut and thrust” of his work, has self-diagnosed his own occasionally gloomy anger as something of a byproduct of Western society’s collective view toward — and value of — people who are 60 or beyond.

“One of the things that really took hold of me was the fact that I was approaching a ripe old age, let’s say, and I felt society can cast you off as a little bit of a no-hoper. I just feel that isn’t right. I feel people in increasing years have a lot to offer. And they shouldn’t cast off to one side. And I suppose my grumpiness is a little bit of a protest against sliding down that particular route,” he said.

“You think, well, gosh, there’s got to be to be something a little more than this. Being grumpy is just my way of getting through it and laughing at myself.”

About the Author:

carolewyerAfter completing a degree in French and English, Carol E Wyer became a language teacher. She actually began her working life abroad, in Casablanca, Morocco, where she taught English as a Foreign Language in an American Language school. It was soon discovered that she could speak French rather well, and she became a translator and teacher to large organisations and companies such as ‘Regie de Tabac’, Morocco’s largest cigarette company, and the Mediterranean Shipping Company.

After a few years she was ‘head-hunted ‘to run the English as a Foreign Language department of a private school in the UK. (Imagine Hogwarts without the wizardry.)

Carol taught English up to, and including ‘A’ Level, along with English as a Foreign Language. She also qualified to teach pupils with Dyslexia and became Head of English for Special Needs.

In 1988, Carol set up her own language company called Language 2000 Ltd and worked in schools and for companies. She taught a variety of languages, including basic Japanese, to all ages and translated documents.

A recurrence of spinal difficulties that began when she was a teenager, forced her to give up teaching and choose a new direction. In order to deal with her health problems, Carol attended a fitness course (Premier), took the qualifications to become a fitness instructor and became a personal trainer. That led her to become a trainer for others, particularly for older people who, like herself, had undergone major surgery.

Thanks to older age, Carol now no longer trains people, but she is currently writing a series of novels, articles and books which takes a humorous look at getting older. It is her hope that they will educate through laughter and help others appreciate life.

Carol has written several short stories over the years, including humorous books for children which served to teach them French. She was not able to fulfil her desire to be a full-time author until two years ago when her son flew from the nest, leaving his bedroom which Carol turned into her office.

Since then, she has written two novels, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and Surfing in Stilettos, both of which have enjoyed media attention and success, becoming best sellers and winning awards.

Carol writes regularly for author websites and she has recently become a contributing author on a help guide entitled Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital Age.

carolewyerbooks

Carol’s links:

Amazon UK Author Page :  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carol-E.-Wyer/e/B005U34XNM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Amazon US Author Page :  http://www.amazon.com/Carol-E.-Wyer/e/B005U34XNM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

FeedARead (Paperback version)  Surfing in Stilettos :

http://www.feedaread.com/books/SURFING-IN-STILETTOS-9781781764886.aspx

FeedARead (Paperback version) Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines:

http://www.feedaread.com/books/MINI-SKIRTS-AND-LAUGHTER-LINES-9781908481818.aspx

Website:http://www.carolewyer.co.uk/#

Thornberry Publishing:http://www.thornberrypublishing.com/page10.htm

Safkhet Publishing:  http://www.safkhetpublishing.com/authors/Carol_Wyer.htm

And:http://www.safkhetpublishing.com/books/select/9781908208163/How_Not_To_Murder_Your_Grumpy.html

Blog:http://facing50withhumour.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carol-E-Wyer/221149241263847

Twitter:https://twitter.com/carolewyer

Goodreads:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5061207.Carol_E_Wyer

Website:http://www.carolewyer.co.uk

Member of Romantic Novelists Association:http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/index.php/about/author/carol_wyer

This blog visit has been arranged by

fiction addiction book tours

An Audience with an Author – Carol Wyer, Surfing in Stilettos

I had the pleasure of meeting Carol Wyer last year at the Bedford Festival of Romance and what a whirlwind of a lady she is! 🙂

Carol writes warm and witty novels with the general theme of growing old disgracefully and is a signed author with ThornBerry Publishing and Safkhet Publishing.

carol e wyer

 Anyway, I’m giving my blog over to Carol today as she launches her Surfing in Stilettos novel

sis

He who laughs…lasts

My mother who is a chain-smoking, party-loving octogenarian has a lot to answer for. I have finally worked out that she is to blame for my irrepressible sense of humour. It is thanks to her that I find almost anything amusing.

Yesterday, my very own grumpy old man and I were headed for the shops, when we noticed a sign near the town that read ‘Resurfacing Works. Starting April 2nd’. Given that the grumpy one has complained about this stretch of road every time we travel it (which is at least three times a week) for the last six, yes, six years, I thought he would be delighted to learn that the road is finally to be resurfaced. Alas, no. He fell into an even bigger funk than usual. Why? The repairs are going to take four months to complete. He then spent the next few hours complaining about the inefficiency of our workforce, the diabolical states of the roads and potholes. He moaned so much he hadn’t worked out that I had, in fact put on my iPod, and was drowning him out with The Killers, all six albums that I have on my iPod for such occasions. For some childish reason, the more he complained, the more I wanted to laugh at him. It was just so funny to see him beetroot red and almost exploding with annoyance.

I told my mum about it and she too fell about laughing. “Only in the UK could a tiny piece of road take four months to repair,” she chuckled, gleefully glugging back a glass of wine. “It’ll take them a week to set out all the cones and find the traffic lights, and then they’ll need a few more days off because it’ll no doubt rain.” She sniggered and took a long drag of her cigarette and giggled some more. “I might drive by. I could do with cheering myself up leering at some workmen, and making them nervous as I keep going backwards and forwards through road works, waving at them as I go.” That’s her answer to everything. See the funny side of it. I’m not saying that she doesn’t find some things difficult, of course she does. When she fell off her high-heels running for a taxi and broke her hip, it wasn’t amusing at all, but she got over the weeks of pain by watching comedies on television and reading books by Terry Pratchett. She has taught me that finding amusing things in life can see you through the harder times.

I like to practice what I preach, and if I am not out giving talks on ‘ageing disgracefully’ to WI meetings, or ‘The Importance of Laughter’, then you’ll find me writing articles and books that will hopefully help someone feel better about life. The more I write, the funnier I seem to find things, especially the ridiculous things in life that can drag us down. Discovering you have lost all the hairs in your left eyebrow but are now sprouting a fine moustache can knock your confidence. Better to just shrug your shoulders, and distract yourself with some loud music, comedies and a large bag of wine gums.

If you feel a little low and you are struggling with life then take a dose of humour medicine. Put on some seventies music, have a little dance round the kitchen and then either watch a funny DVD or read a light-hearted book. You’ll soon find you feel better, have a smile on your face and will be singing along to ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

ms&ll

You can find out more about Carol and her books on her webside www.carolewyer.co.uk

This book tour was arranged by Fiction Addiction Book Tours, to find out more, click on the image below.

fiction addiction book tours

Book Trailer ‘The Fallen Stars’ by Stephanie Keyes

Hello everyone! I am very excited about hosting the Trailer Reveal today for fellow Love A Happy Ending Lifestyle author, Stephanie Keyes’ second book, The Fallen Stars.

Read on for more information about the trailer and the book!

The Trailer

The Book

The Fallen Stars by Stephanie Keyes

The Fallen Stars by Stephanie Keyes

Release Date: April 12th, 2013 |

Pre-order Your Copy | Add to Goodreads

When all is lost, he will have to make the ultimate decision.

Kellen St. James was just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy, until he eighty-sixed the Lord of Faerie and proposed to the Celtic Goddess, Calienta. But then everything in Kellen’s life gets turned upside-down when he and Cali end up on the run from a seriously irritated group of faeries. The worst part? They have zero idea why they’re being hunted.
Continue reading

Behind the Book and Cover Reveal : ‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black

Today I’m delighted to have on my blog, author of military thrillers, Harvey Black.

Harvey is here to talk about the historical facts behind his novel ‘The Red Effect’ and to reveal the cover. Over to you Harvey …

“Today, West German imperialism is United States’ chief ally in Europe in aggravating world tension. West Germany is increasingly becoming the seat of the war danger, where revenge-seeking passions are running high… The policy pursued by the Federal Republic of Germany is being increasingly determined by the same monopolies that brought Hitler to power.

The Rhineland politicians fancy that once they get the atomic bomb, frontier posts will topple and they will be able to achieve their cherished desire of carving up the map of Europe again and taking revenge for defeat in the second world war.

One of the most ominous factors endangering peace is the bilateral military alliance that is taking shape between the ruling circles of the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. This factor remains an objective of unflagging attention.” (Leonid Brezhnev, 23rd Party Congress, March 1966)

Cover_Reveal_079

The Cold War and Nitroglycerin had one thing in common, both were stable when circumstances allowed. But, when something rocks the boat, or events are overtaken by Incidents that get out of control, the status quo is lost. The consequence is an eruption that is both violent and lethal.

Cold_War_5_030

The Cold War trilogy will trace the Cold War as it simmers, overheats and eventually turns East against West. The outcome? Start with ‘The Red Effect’ out in April, followed by ‘The Black Effect’ and ‘The Blue Effect’.

RedEffect72dpi

1983: The Cold War has been in existence since the end of World War Two. Although tensions have always been fraught between the Western nations and the members of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, common sense prevailed.

Until, as a consequence of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, the shooting down of a Korean passenger aircraft in 1983, and the relentless build up of Soviet military strength, everything is about to change.

In a panoramic novel, readers travel from centres of power to the front lines – a war is brewing and events are happening at every angle. Is the Cold War about to turn hot? Can NATO forces endure a mass strike by thousands of Soviet tanks? Can the West survive?

Follow the series of gripping events that culminated in ‘The Red Effect’, in the first instalment of Harvey Black’s Cold War trilogy.

Cold_War_9_Harvey_Black_039

Harvey Black is a qualified parachutist. Harvey served with British Army Intelligence for over ten years. His experience ranged from covert surveillance in Northern Ireland to operating in Communist East Berlin during the cold war, where he feared for his life after being dragged from his car and attacked by Russian KGB soldiers. Since then he has lived a more sedate life in the private sector as a Director for an International Company, but now enjoys the pleasures of writing.

Devils with Wings ref=sib_dp_kd
Devils with Wings Silk: Drop ref=sib_dp_kd
Devils with Wings: Frozen Sun ref=sib_dp_kd
*   *   *
Thank you Harvey and very best of luck with ‘The Red Effect‘, I shall certainly be reading it 🙂
.

Sophie’s Run visits Hamburg

Come on Tour with Sophie and Dan… Discover the Hanseatic city of Hamburg!

Sophies_Run.indd

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.

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).

My Review of Sophie’s Run

I have been looking forward to reading Sophie’s Run after having so much fun following Sophie’s adventures in the prequel, Sophie’s Turn. It was great to catch up with Sophie again, not to mention the utterly gorgeous Dan. Rachel, BBF, is still there and we get to meet some new faces too.

I found that Sophie’s Run, while in keeping with the style and fun element of Sophie’s Turn, it does perhaps go a bit deeper but in a way that is in keeping with the genre. The characters really develop and mature. There are some big emotional moments, some moments that are great fun and other moments that are beautifully and romantically touching.

I loved the settings, can’t say too much without spoiling the plot, but afterwards I could almost convince myself I had been to a couple of new locations.

A great read, one that I would thoroughly recommend.

Today, Sophie gives you the lowdown on Hamburg, a city that she was passing through but that captured her imagination and made her stay a few days longer than she thought.

Nicky: Hi, Sophie, thanks for joining us here today on Sue’s lovely blog.
Sophie: It’s fab to be here, thanks, Sue, for inviting me.
Nicky: So… Hamburg. Tell us about Hamburg.
Sophie: *chuckles* Where to begin?
Nicky: Well, this is what you tell us in Sophie’s Run. *flicks through pages until she hits the right spot; clears throat.* And I quote: ‘So, I booked myself on a flight to Hamburg the next day. I stayed there for a couple of days while I figured out arrangements…’
Sophie: Yup, that’s right.
Nicky: That sounds like you hadn’t planned to stay in the city for any length of time, though.
Sophie: I hadn’t. I was a woman on the run, a woman with a mission, en route to someplace else. However, when I got there… well, it was just so beautiful. It was very much a city to my liking and I found I couldn’t just pass through. I extended my stay to take a closer look.
Nicky: Amazing. Very … blown with the wind.’
Sophie: Exactly. And Hamburg is a great place. Take a look at this picture of the Town Hall. The small image doesn’t do it justice, but it’s totally overwhelming when you’re stood in front of it. The place is full of history and there are dozens of little stone carvings telling the story of the city. I’m not a sightseeing buff but this had me captivated.

Rathaus
NB: ‘Rat’ in German means ‘Council.’ Rather than… well, rather than what you might have thought upon seeing this word.

HH Rathaus pano1

Source: By Daniel Schwen (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sophie: But it’s the maritime side of the city that really captured me. This is a photo of St Pauli Landungsbrücken… the historic departure point for cruise liners. The harbor is tidal in the extreme… I forget now what the tidal difference is, but it’s huge. And this landing stage, it’s all on pontoons so the whole thing sways with the river. It’s weird and wonderful and I could just imagine boarding a big cruise liner there in the olden days and sailing across the sea.
Nicky: *sighs* That sounds so romantic!
Sophie: It is. My biggest problem was that I was all on my own when I visited Hamburg so I had no one to share the dream with! Maybe one day…

Landungsbrücken

Landungsbrücken

Source: By Ingo Weschke (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Nicky: What’s going on in the picture below?
Sophie: Ah, that’s the famous Fish Market. It wasn’t exactly on my list of things to do but I had terrible insomnia and my hotel wasn’t far from there, so the concierge recommended a look-see. My God, it was worth it. The hustle and bustle and all the fish! I nearly went crazy with frustration that I couldn’t splash out on some fresh seafood to cook at home, but I had some cooked prawns in a roll, and I even bought a lobster that I stored in the hotel mini bar and had for lunch later that day. I had to wipe the mini bar out with baby wipes to stop it from smelling!

Fish Market by Night

084 Fischmarkt bei Nacht
Source: By Frank Spakowski (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/de/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sophie: That same day, I took a harbor cruise. I know, that sounds a bit dorky, but it’s not, I assure you. It was absolutely fascinating. It took me all through the historic warehouse section and I got to see the working harbor. You wouldn’t believe the size of some of those container ships—
Nicky: *interrupts, looking stunned* Really? I mean, really? I didn’t have you down as a tonnage kind of nerd! *smiles*
Sophie: *bursts out laughing* No, me neither, I surprised myself, but it was totally worth doing. There’s lots of stuff I didn’t get to see as I had to leave the next day but I would do that harbor cruise again in a heartbeat. Maybe with my lovely heartthrob next to me next time…
Nicky: *has ears on red alert* Ah, now you’re talking. Heartthrob… tell us more!
Sophie: *laughs coyly* You’ll just have to read Sophie’s Run….

Hafen/Harbor

Hafen Hamburg

Source: By Vwpolonia75 (Jens K. Müller) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Wait, wait, wait, there’s more: Introducing the Sophie’s Run Give Away!

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!

chocs

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

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OTI2ZmY2ZjlkMzQ0YzMxZGFhOTJkMzFjZjBhY2Q2OjA=/

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!

Nicky_NEWAuthorPic_April12_useforwebsite

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.

An Audience with an Author … Christina Courtenay

I am delighted to have Award Winning ChocLit author, Christina Courtenay with me today. I’ve always loved Christina’s books and her latest The Gilded Fan was no exception. I asked Christina if she could talk about the Far East influence.

TheGILDED_FAN_frontThe Gilded Fan is the sequel to my novel The Scarlet Kimono (although it can be read as a stand-alone), and both these stories were inspired by the Far East in general and Japan in particular.  It’s a fascinating part of the world and whenever I’m lucky enough to go there, I fall in love with it all over again.

I can’t really explain why I like it so much and it wasn’t something that happened overnight.  In fact, the first time I went to Japan I cried for days because I didn’t want to be there!  That may sound crazy, but if you consider that I was a teenager at the time (just turned sixteen) and had left behind my very first serious boyfriend in order to move with my family halfway across the world, it might be more understandable.  As it happened, I soon forgot all about him.  The three years I lived in Tokyo turned out to be the best of my life!

Looking back, I think the Japanese culture slowly seeped into me and I began to appreciate all the great things about it.  Most of all, it’s a beautiful place steeped in history – not the skyscrapers perhaps, but the little traditional buildings squeezed in between them, the parks, the temples and the shops and markets.  Even food is always displayed in an attractive way, tempting you to eat far too much!

So this then is the country in which the heroine of The Gilded Fan, Midori, has grown up.  Imagine her feelings when she has to leave it behind and travel back to Europe (my journey in reverse, you might say).  It’s not something she wants to do, but she has no choice – it’s either leave Japan or die.  I totally empathised with her as I didn’t have much choice either, but I didn’t have to travel alone!  It’s lucky for Midori that she’s a lot more stoical than I was and that she meets a sea captain willing to protect her …

One thing this story doesn’t have is a dog – my characters usually always have one as I love them myself, but for this particular story it wasn’t practicable for various reasons.  We, on the other hand, were crazy enough to bring our dog along when we moved to Japan.  A big rough collie, he looked so much like Lassie that whenever we walked him we were stopped by people thinking he was the canine movie star.  He took it all in his stride (he probably thought he deserved all the adulation) and didn’t mind being called Lassie.  And I never let on either, as my grasp of the Japanese language wasn’t up to it.  So there may be people over there who think they’ve met an icon, who knows? 🙂

Many thanks for having me as your guest, Sue!

Blurb:-

How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?

It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?

Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?

During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive…

Links for Christina Courtenay

'Promote Me!' portrait

Available in ebook and paperback format AMAZON UK link  and AMAZON.COM link

Website www.christinacourtenay.com

Facebook : christina.courtenay.9

Twitter : @PiaCCourtenay

Choclit Publishers

An Audience with an Author – Linn B Halton

It’s a great pleasure to drop by and visit you today Sue and tell you all about my latest book, Never Alone.

It’s the last of five manuscripts I wrote when I first began writing in 2009. At that time I hadn’t thought beyond the writing process, really! I had absolutely no idea how long it takes to go through the editing process and get a book out there. In the meantime I signed with Sapphire Star Publishing for two of those five manuscripts and decided I would also self-publish. I enjoy being able to mix it up and it has been a positive in terms of what I’ve learnt about the processes and publishing. It also means I can easily mix genres – so I now have one chick lit, three with a psychic hint to them and one true story.

With my debut novel (Touched By The Light) I really enjoyed weaving the complicated twists in the storyline and when I wrote Never Alone I set myself a challenge. Could I write a story and keep that ‘twist’ to the very end, whereas with Touched By The Light it unravels much earlier in the process. I wondered whether the readers would spot the subtle clues in Never Alone or be shocked when they read the final chapter.

I’m awaiting the first reviews, but early feedback I’ve had includes:

“I have hardly thought of anything else since I read it….that’s a good thing I think. In fact, I want to re-read it to make sure I didn’t miss any ‘hints’…I already re-read the ending right after I finished!”

“Thought provoking to say the least!”

“My jaw dropped open…”

As far as initial reactions go, I’m delighted! This story is meant to make readers think about life, the decisions we make and how we can often be guilty of living one day at a time without thinking too much about the future. That’s fine if you are happy, but what if that isn’t the case and you are choosing to gloss over it, because facing up to it means change? That’s the position Holly finds herself in, despite having ‘the perfect’ life…

A contemporary romance with a Twist!

NeverAlonecover“It’s a gift to be shown something that allows you to make a difference and alter the outcome of someone else’s life.neveralonegirl However, the weight of the responsibility that goes along with that is huge and what about the ethics? The thing I have to ask myself, is how did my actions change the future?” Holly Elizabeth Atherton

Holly is the envy of all her friends, she has lived with the gorgeous Will for five years and supported him every step of the way. His IT business is about to go global and they are on the verge of having all their dreams come true!  A life split between homes in the UK and Los Angeles beckons, offering them a glamorous and exciting lifestyle they will both fit into quite perfectly. So when Will pops the question, why won’t Holly say ‘yes’?

Portrait of man at home with computer

neveralonemale2A series of terrifying encounters unleashes an inherited psychic connection within Holly. Her ‘perfect’ life is turned upside down as she struggles with the reality of her ‘gift’. Help comes from a chance meeting with medium Peter Shaw and she discovers that she is also being given healing and protection by the spirits of two people. One of them is her best friend’s brother, Nick, who died suddenly in tragic circumstances. Holly finds herself confiding in him in an attempt to sort out her own life.

She begins to sense that the path she’s on isn’t the one she’s destined for, but is it too late to change things? The thought of hurting the people she loves the most causes her to bury her emotions, until fate takes a hand………..

Life’s all about the choices we make …

Thanks so much Sue for being a part of my Fiction Addiction Book Tour and for being a fab host!

Linn’s links:

Website 
A loveahappyending.com author
Signed by:http://www.sapphirestarpublishing.com/linnbhalton
Twitter: @LinnBHalton
Facebook: Linn B Halton
Romantic Novelists’ Association page

Amazon.co.uk (buy)
Amazon.com (buy)

neveralonebanner

It’s been a pleasure to have Linn here today and I would like to thank Fiction Addiction Book Tours for organising this.