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.

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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

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Book Review : Security by Mandy Baggot

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REVIEW

With a slight shift in sub-genre from romance to romantic suspense, Mandy Baggot’s books get stronger and stronger.  This is probably my favourite one to date.

We meet Autumn Raine, singing superstar and she is not instantly likeable, coming across as spoilt and self-obsessed. However, gradually the walls come down and you get to know the real woman underneath who is both vulnerable and determined at the same time. Underneath the celebrity exterior, there is a genuine likeable person. She’s had a lot of emotional obstacles to overcome and has not always had the best advice. Now she’s up against the biggest challenge yet with her life in danger.

Cue mean and moody, northern bodyguard, Nathan Regan. He doesn’t change his attitude or his mind for anyone, that is until he comes up against Autumn Raine . As if outwitting kidnap plots and extremists isn’t enough for one guy, he also has  demons of his own to battle at the same time.

With unexpected twists in the plot, Security, has suspense and tension all the way through, together with some great chemistry and tough romance, this really is my sort of book.

Description

Autumn Raine is a pop vocalist at the very top of her game. She’s a style icon, the paparazzi’s darling and everyone wants to be her friend. But when her safety is threatened, her whole life starts to unravel.

Enter Nathan Regan, an ex-elite soldier who is assigned to protect her. He’s a good man doing bad things but what drives him? Passion? Madness? Or grief? Demons from his past are threatening to consume him. Can he win the fight alone or will he have to admit he needs help?

As the threat deepens, Autumn starts to find out who she really needs in her life. Is there still room for personal assistant Janey or rapper boyfriend Rockweiler? When everyone around her is feeding her lies, how does she work out the truth? Does her record producer know more than he’s letting on? What is her mother, the British Foreign Secretary’s involvement in the situation? And can Autumn put her faith in a forty-something Jamaican woman who handles an automatic weapon as expertly as she cooks?

Eluding kidnap and trying to stay alive, can Autumn find the strength to be the person she longs to be? And can two people, poles apart, forge something strong enough to survive anything?

GIVEAWAY

As part of of the Security launch, Mandy is having a giveaway. Anyone who posts a review on Amazon up until the end of May can enter into the Rafflecopter draw to win a £25/$40 Amazon gift certificate. You will be able to enter via this link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e42d6b8/

About the Author

Mandy Baggot brings you award-winning fiction! In 2012 she won the coveted Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance. Her novel Strings Attached was also short listed for Best Author Published Read!.

Mandy writes strong contemporary romance and characters you’ll fall in love with. Previously self-published, she was signed by US
mandy baggotpublishing house Sapphire Star Publishing in January 2012. Shortly afterwards she became a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Mandy is a self-confessed Twitter addict who also likes to show off her singing talents on You Tube – check out Lady Gaga! She has auditioned for X Factor, appeared on ITV1s Who Dares Sings and longs to duet with Bryan Adams. She also has a fondness for white wine, mashed potato, country music and World’s Strongest Man.

Mandy lives near Salisbury in Wiltshire, UK with her husband, two daughters and two cats called Kravitz and Springsteen.

You can find out more on Mandy’s website
http://mandybaggot.com

or check out her author page at Sapphire Star Publishing
http://www.sapphirestarpublishing.com/mandybaggot

mandy's books

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fiction addiction book tours

A Little Announcement …

I am delighted to say my book United State of Love has been awarded the Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion.

brag-medallion-sticker

For those of you who are not aware of this award, basically it is given to books that have been through an anonymous reading panel and deemed to be of a high quality. If you want to find out more you can visit their website INDIE B.R.A.G. You can also see my book featured under their ‘romance’ section.

So after five months of waiting, I can now say I am officially a ‘2012 B.R.A.G.MedallionTM Honoree’.

And here is my book with its medallion

😀

united-state-of-love

Available in paperback and digital at

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Brag Medallion

Feed A Read

Barnes & Noble

You can find indieBRAG on Facebook HERE

Reviews

Amazon, seven 5* reviews and two 4* reviews

Kim The Bookworm

Lou Graham

Orion’s Gift by Anneli Purchase

Orion's_Gift

About Orion’s Gift

While camping in the exotic landscape of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, Kevin and Sylvia, both on the run from abusive relationships, meet and fall in love.

Two things stand in the way of their happiness. One—the secrets they keep from each other. Two—their abusers hunting them down.

Will fear drive them apart or will passion and trust surmount the violence and hostility they have endured?

My Review

Told in the first person from different points of view, I found Orion’s Gift refreshing and enjoyed getting into the head of each different character.  

It was good to really get to know the cast and their back stories, having inside information as it were added to the atmosphere and kept the tension high throughout the book.  

As I read Orion’s Gift I was struck by the setting. It was beautifully described with lots of small detail that added to creating a very vivid picture of the area.

Laced with danger, tension and emotion throughout I very much enjoyed reading this novel. At the heart of Orion’s Gift  is the love story of two people leaving behind failing marriages and finding inner-strength and happiness in their new love.

Orion's_GiftLinks for Orion’s Gift:

On Amazon.com http://amzn.to/UhJE00

On Smashwords.com http://bit.ly/MFOcOX

 

AnneliBlog: http://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com

Website: http://www.anneli-purchase.com

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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)

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

Got A #Kindle? Here Are My 5 Star Reviews This Year

Not sure what to download to your e-reader? Well, here are the books that got a 5 star review from me this year, together with a few I would highly recommend (click on the book cover for link to Amazon) …

My 5 Star Reviews of 2012

Never Coming Home

Never Coming Home

Sophie’s Turn

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Devils With Wings, Silk Drop

silkn drop

Devils With Wings, Frozen Sun

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Shades of Appley Green

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Highly Recommend

The Silent Touch of Shadows

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Taking Charge

Taking_Charge_Kindle_cover

Night Watcher

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The Wind Weeps

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Passenger 13 (a novella)

Passenger 13

How Do You Voodoo? (a novella)

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Thank you all for your support of my blog this year – much appreciated

Happy new year everyone and happy reading

Dream A Little Dream by Sue Moorcroft

What would you give to make your dreams come true?

Liza Reece has a dream. Working as a reflexologist for a troubled holistic centre isn’t enough. When the opportunity arises to take over the Centre she jumps at it. Problem is, she needs funds, and fast, as she’s not the only one interested.

Dominic Christy has dreams of his own. Diagnosed as suffering from a rare sleep disorder, disillusioned with his live-in girlfriend and discharged from the job he adored as an Air Traffic Controller, he’s single-minded in his aims. He has money, and plans for the Centre that don’t include Liza and her team.

But dreams have a way of shifting and changing and Dominic’s growing fascination with Liza threatens to reshape his. And then it’s time to wake up to the truth …

My Thoughts

As usual with Sue Moorcroft’s novels, you really get to know the characters, the hero sizzles from the word go and there is no end of conflict with the heroine but you find yourself really willing them on to sort things out.

I liked the fact that it was set in Middledip where I had ‘visited’ before with ‘Starting Over’ and ‘All That Mullarkey’ and was able to catch up with some of the earlier characters.

Getting to know Liza properly was a real treat. She comes across as a tough cookie, but underneath the bravado she’s just trying to protect herself and deal with the huge guilt trip she’s on.  Dominic Christy has problems of his own both medically and personally.  It was interesting to find out more about his sleep disorder – how this diagnosis had impacted on his life and how he struggled to come to terms with the physical and emotional effects.

The secondary characters and sub-plots add to the story line and weave in and out of the plot with ease.  There are some twists and turns along the way, with a great little surprise at the end.  I couldn’t finish without mentioning the fabulous Crosswind – what a great canine character he is!

Dream A Little Dream can be purchased through Amazon on Kindle and in paperback by clicking HERE

Links for Sue Moorcroft

Webpage : http://www.suemoorcroft.com/

Blog : http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/sue.moorcroft.3

Twitter : @suemoorcroft

Published by ChocLit Publishing who kindly sent me a copy to review

Cells by Harriet Grace

One woman. Two men. A last chance for happiness. Peak time on the Features Floor of a national newspaper and the computers crash. Martha Morgan, Features Editor, is losing control of her job. Head pounding she looks up and there is Jon. Is he the saviour she needs? Past and present combine into an explosive future in this literary novel.

My Thoughts

Cells is told through the eyes of three different people, Martha, her husband Grant and a colleague Jon.  It delves deeply into their lives and thoughts, not only as individuals but as they interact with each other and those around them.  Different points of view over the same issues are clearly shown the reader gets to know each character in intimate detail.

The main issue of the novel is fertility problems suffered by Martha and Grant, but other issues in their lives are examined, some going way back to their childhood.

At one time or another I found the characters to be as equally frustrating as they were likable which I feel was a true reflection on how people are in every day life. A thought provoking novel dealing with the challenges of the situation and the fickleness of human nature brought clearly to life.

Links for Harriet Grace and her novel ‘Cells’

http://www.harrietgrace.co.uk/Harriet_Grace/Home.html

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/harriet.grace.50?fref=ts

Twitter : @Harrietgrace65 https://twitter.com/#!/Harrietgrace65 

Amazon.co.uk  here  Available in paperback and e-book

An Audience with an Author … Nicky Wells

So pleased to be having my friend and writing buddy here today, Nicky Wells author of Sophie’s Turn.  We’ve had quite a year between us and I’m delighted that Nicky has got the publishing deal she very much deserves.

Wow, Sue! Thanks for having back here today on this, my official launch tour for Sophie’s Turn. When I first visited you last year, you were the second blogger ever to review my work, and hasn’t it been a journey since? I remember being timid and totally in awe by what you achieve and do. Then we became friends through Loveahappyending.com, and eventually started being writing buddies. And today, we’re celebrating together. Thank you for everything along the way, and thanks for showcasing Sophie’s Turn today. You rock.  [clears throat]

It’s been an absolute pleasure, I am thrilled for you, as you well know 🙂

Right, moving on swiftly before I get all emotional… let’s take a look at your questions.

Sophie’s Turn is your first published novel, did it take long to write?

That’s an interesting question.  It took me a few weeks to plan… I’d say, between two and four depending on how you interpret planning versus writing.  Then I wrote the entire first draft in about three months.  Birth of baby number one was a bit of an immovable deadline, and I definitely wanted it all done before then!  Then of course there were a few re-writes which took maybe a week here and there when I could snatch the time….  So all in all, I think writing Sophie’s Turn probably took the best part of six months.  That said, because of my family circumstances (and another baby coming along), the novel had a long time to ‘mature’ and I had the benefit of reading it ‘fresh’, almost as though I was a genuine reader, having not touched it for a few years at a time.  That helped:  but that’s also almost impossible to build into any writing plan, and now a thing of the past… my current novels are being fast-tracked by comparison!

Do you have a set place & time to write?

Sophie’s Turn was written in what later became the boys’ playroom.  The writing space for the sequel was a tiny little Ikea desk tucked into the corner of the dining room.  However, I also took to moving around the house with the laptop, so I quite often typed on the sofa in the lounge, at the dining room table proper (rather than the dinky desk) and, very occasionally, even in bed.  We’ve recently moved house, however, and I am now the proud owner of a dedicated desk in a study that I only partially share with my husbands’ music and the children’s computer.  I still roam the house though when I get bored of staring at the walls…

As for writing time, I write when the children are in school. I get home from the school run and put my head down, as it were. I have to allow a couple of hours each day for catching up with social networking sites, but when I write, the writing time is sacrosanct and I won’t even answer the phone!

You have a young family, where do you find the time and energy?

I mentioned the time constraints above… finding the energy, that’s an interesting one.  I think of myself as a one-trick-pony (i.e. can only ever do one thing well at any one time) and I also think of myself as perennially worn out.  Yet somehow it all gets done!  I’ve discovered that for me, the most important thing is not to dwell on how busy or tired I am, but to make a plan, portion my work, and stick to it.  As long as I keep going, I’m fine… And, of course, I do consume way too much chocolate!

Did you design your cover for Sophie’s Turn? Was it easy to come up with a design idea?

Now there’s an interesting question! The cover of Sophie’s Turn has been reborn twice now. The original cover was lovingly and artfully created by my husband. It featured a pink background and a sign post with a flower and a butterfly… it was beautiful and I will frame it and put it up on my ego wall at some point soon. However! After a while, I began to feel that it lacked a certain panache, a certain sophistication, a bit of a ‘wow’ factor. I hankered after something a little more glamorous and professional, and my wonderful husband was the first to suggest to move the cover on to the next level. I felt disloyal but he wouldn’t hear of it! So I asked a long-time friend and erstwhile colleague whether she would like to help with redesigning the cover. Jessie went through various iterations, working with the initial concept at first but it just wasn’t zinging. Eventually, I gave her carte blanche and she came back with a fantastic design, shades of purple featuring the merry-go-round and the Eiffel Tower that are on the cover today. I fell in love instantly, as did husband!  Sapphire Star Publishing also loved the cover and took it up yet another level of glamour and wow-factor by making a few subtle but highly effective changes. Et voilà!

Did Sophie’s Turn end up as you originally envisaged or did it change as your wrote?

A little bit of both!  Owing to several iterations of planning, I had the story line very much clear in my head before I started typing.  However, these pesky characters developed a habit of taking wrong turns, inventing new events, or creating problems or diversions that I had not anticipated.  That was actually a very interesting process because at times I felt like I was reading the book while I was writing it.  From previous experience, I know that those are also the incidents that can totally derail the writing process and plot, so it was very useful to have a plan to rein things in again before they spun out of control.

Sophie’s Turn could have had more than one ending, I know I was surprised at the end, was it difficult to decide which way to take the story?

Ah!  That’s a brilliant question.  Let me put it this way without giving too much away.  There were at least three possible, credible outcomes.  (I did make up a few more to start with but they were really too far-fetched).  I knew what I really wanted Sophie to do, and what I would have wanted to have happened to me, had I been in her position.  However, I just couldn’t take the novel there.  I tried, briefly, but it was all very unsatisfactory.  So in the end it was down to Sophie to decide.  There’s a scene when she sees herself at the crossroads… that was all real thought, that was me typing away furiously while Sophie was assessing her options.

Did you do any particular research for the rock group Tuscq in Sophie’s Turn?

I’m afraid to admit that I didn’t.  But then I didn’t need to, I had years of teenage star-struckness to draw on, a vast repository of knowledge about several rock bands, experience of going to concerts, knowledge (from teenage and music magazines) of the touring process… Films like ABBA: The Movie, This is Spinal Tap and Rock Star also offered some helpful insights.  And I just may or may not have met the odd band here or there, once or twice.

Is Dan based on a particular rock star?

Dan is the amalgamation of many lead-singers.  Plus he incorporates some of the best (and worst) traits of people I know, have heard of, or read about.  He is a true bona fide made-up-but-hopefully-still-credible rock idol.  J

Sophie has to make some difficult decisions – did you find it easy to make the choices for her?

Not always.  As I mentioned above, some of her choices were mine, and were choices I would make.  These were the easy ones.  Some other things she does and does not do gave me a real headache.  I don’t think I would have had the gumption to tell the man of I’m dreams I was a virgin (even though I wasn’t); I don’t think I would have had the courage to accompany Dan to the Royal (or his suite); and I think I would have been too blinded to make her choice.  But this was all nail-biting stuff for me…

Without giving too much away, what is your favourite scene in Sophie’s Turn?

I have a few, actually.  The prologue is one: the sense of absolute heady elation and disbelief, the out-of-body wonderment of ‘if this really happening?’  That makes me feel good every time.  Next, it makes me smile when Rachel and Sophie have their morning pow-wow in the coffee shop and Sophie shouts out about s.e.x rather too loudly.  And I’m still quite in love with the scene where Dan has to hide in a cupboard…

Is Sophie anything like you or are you more like Rachel?

Sophie probably reflects my dreamy side, the one that yearns for a fairy tale ending.  But I can also be sarcastic and cutting, like Rachel; not something I’m immensely proud of but that can be very necessary.  Yet it is Rachel who sets Sophie straight on matters of true love and thunderbolt-and-lightning… again, that would be me.  So perhaps it’s fair to say that they distil, each in their own way, aspects of my own character.  If that’s not too scary a notion!

Will we be hearing from Sophie in the future?

Oh definitely!  The second book in the Trilogy, Sophie’s Run is completely finished and currently undergoing a first round of editing by me; it will be coming your way from Sapphire Star Publishing on 7 February 2013!  And the final part in the Trilogy… well, let’s say I have started writing, and I know how it’s all ending!

Sue, thank you so much for this opportunity to take part once again in your ‘audience with an author.’  I am thrilled to get this space on your blog, and I enjoyed answering your questions!

Click here for my review of Sophie’s Turn

Excerpt from Sophie’s Turn by Nicky Wells

“What the hell is going on here?” I hissed, trying to prevent others from hearing our exchange.

“Oh, Sophie, Dan’s turned up. Isn’t it amazing?” she beamed at me.

“I can see that,” I kept hissing, “But what is he doing here?”

Rachel was quite drunk herself and looked at me with those bleary eyes that usually meant she was up to no good. “Sophie,” she declared solemnly and rather loudly, “you have broken the man’s heart. He has come to reclaim you.” She wobbled unsteadily and I gripped her arm. Usually one to hold her liquor, party-girl Rachel had clearly gone too far tonight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wrung my hands and barely prevented myself from tearing at my hair. If Tim had thought it was funny, he must have thought Rachel was being facetious or winding him up. He had seen her drunk before — the experience hadn’t done anything to endear her to him in any way —so it was likely that he hadn’t paid the slightest bit of heed to the truth she was spouting. But I had to move, and fast.

“You,” I said to Rachel, grabbing her by the shoulders and steering her toward the stairs. “You have had enough to drink. You are going to bed.”

“I hic-am?” Rachel asked, surprised.

“Indeed,” I confirmed grimly and marched her up the stairs. “Right, here you are. Guest room. Bed. Now.” I propelled her forward and she flopped on the bed like a rag doll.

“Very ti-hic-hic-red,” she mumbled before passing out.

I, on the other hand, had sobered up dramatically and had only one thought left: damage limitation. I blundered back downstairs, racing quite unladylike in my high heels, and skidded to a halt in the lounge. There they were, companionably sitting in front of the stereo, playing DJ.

I clattered across the floor, grabbing a bottle of champers and three glasses off a table as I went. Tim looked up, and then sprang to his feet.

“And here she is,” he announced to Dan with no small measure of proprietary pride. “Doesn’t she look gorgeous?”

Dan rose to his feet, somewhat unsteadily, and looked me up and down. A sad smile played on his face for just the briefest of moments.

“She looks stunning, indeed. Congratulations to you both.” He walked over to me and planted a chaste kiss on my cheek. “Well done,” he said softly, and Tim beamed gratefully, completely unaware that the comment was aimed solely at me. In fact, he seemed completely besotted by Dan’s manly, famous presence.

“Dan here and I were just discussing rock music,” he informed me as though Dan were his new best friend.

I shuddered for a moment. God forbid.

“Dan has some very interesting views about the movement, you know?”

I winced and smiled a secret apologetic smile at Dan, but he was too drunk to notice anything patronizing in Tim’s comment. I had to separate the two before things got out of hand. Luckily, one of our other guests absolved me of thinking up more ruses by descending on Tim and whisking him away to the kitchen.

Dan and I regarded each other in silence.

“You do look beautiful,” Dan repeated, suddenly sounding a whole lot more sober.

I wanted to cry. “What are you doing here?” I whispered, not trusting my voice.

“I don’t really know,” he acknowledged. “I just felt…lonely. At a loose end. I had to see you and convince myself that…well, that it really is too late. You know?”

I was simultaneously touched and petrified. “I thought we’d agreed…,” I started, but Dan interrupted immediately.

LINKS FOR SOPHIE’S TURN

Sophie’s Turn is available in Kindle edition from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and many other Amazon sites. The paperback edition is also available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. In addition, you can obtain Sophie’s Turn from Barnes & Noble.