Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Nigel

It’s Friday which means it’s time to start writing some fiction.

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s Prompt – Nigel. 

Your story this week is about a young man named Nigel, who has just arrived in a strange city.

Use the following words in your piece of writing – bloom, exercise, paperwork, continuation, speculate and uncle.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: A Letter

In the writing group today, we will be writing a letter.

In this digital age, I am a little sad about the fact that the art of letter writing has diminished. I adore writing letters. There is something very personal about them.

Take two of your characters in your WIP or two of your favourite characters from fiction. You could even take a character from your WIP and an established fictional character if you wanted.

Write a letter from your main character to the other person about an event in your novel. Put in as much detail as you can. Once you’ve done that, write the reply.

Has this given you a new insight to these characters and how they react and feel?

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NK Chats To… Holly Tierney-Bedford

Hi Holly, I am so pleased you’ve joined me today. Can you tell me a little about your book, I Will Follow Him?

My story is about Francie, a private detective hired to follow a groom-to-be and his groomsmen as they go on a cruise. It’s a romantic comedy about a singles’ cruise, so there are lots of laughs, surprises, and (naturally) love.

 

What have been the challenges of writing within the Oceanic Dreams book series?

No challenges! It’s been great!

 

Do you need to have read the other books to read yours?

No. Every book can be read as a standalone story.

 

What is your writing process like, from idea to first draft? (If you are happy to provide a photo as an example of any part of the process, then that would be fantastic.)

I just jump in and start writing. I’m a total pantser, meaning I fly by the seat of my pants. Every story has a “feeling” to it, a mood, of those particular characters, setting, etc. When I signed on to the Oceanic Dreams project, I loved the light, fun premise. Although I didn’t have a particular plot or character in my mind until I sat down to write and saw what showed up, the series had been on my mind, percolating, for months before I started and I’m sure that helped me.

 

Is character or plot more important?

Character. I’d read a book about a fascinating person cleaning their house. I would not want to read a book with a great plot but characters who are boring.

 

How important is it to pick character names and how do you pick yours?

Important. I often change my characters’ names (find and replace) several times before I get it right.

 

Which authors do you admire?

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Book Review: Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance by Laurie Benson

What better way to kick off a Sunday by welcoming Laurie Benson and the blog tour for her novel, Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance.

 

She’s played Cupid for others

Now she’s met her own unlikely match!

The final book of The Sommersby Brides quartet. Widowed society matchmaker Mrs. Clara Sommersby thinks self-made businessman William Lane is just the man for her neighbor’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if emotionally distant, until suddenly—shockingly—his attention turns to Clara herself!

She thought her days of romance were over, but is this younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

 

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance is a seasoned regency romance novel and the last in the Sommersby Brides series.

This was my first novel in the series and one of the things I loved was that the main character was in her forties. Prove that life doesn’t end simply because you’re not twenty.

As I said, this book focuses on Clara Sommersby who is drawn to a visitor to Bath, William Lane. Instantly they have an attraction to each other.

This can be read as a standalone novel but I will be picking up the others in the series when I can.

I immediately fell in love with the characters, the setting and the atmosphere in this novel. I love Bath and felt as though I was there observing the relationship that builds between Lane and Clara. I felt like I was stepping back in time with this magical love story.

I cheered for both Clara (who is a strong, independent woman,) and Lane who is a proper gentleman. Like Clara, Lane knows what it’s like to work hard for what you achieve and what it’s like to have little in the world and for the society around you to expect that you’re not capable of achieving anything.

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Book Extract: Mummy Needs a Break by Susan Edmunds

A lovely hello to Susan Edmunds and the blog tour for her latest book, Mummy Needs a Break. 

 

With a devilish toddler and baby number two on the way, Rachel’s big dream is to one day go to the toilet on her own. So, she’s surprised to discover that her husband has found the time to have an exciting affair while she’s been bringing up their family.

Suddenly, Rachel is left wrangling with a child who will only eat crackers and a 35-week bump. She knows even Mumsnet isn’t going to solve this.

What Rachel needs is a handsome, good-with-children, single man. But she can barely leave the house without a stain on her top and child on her hip. How on earth can she claim her life back, let alone thinking about dating?

 

Susan and Avon have shared an extract today. Enjoy. 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

It was after 4 a.m. when I heard a key rattle in the lock as Stephen returned. I was still sitting on the couch, staring blankly at the almost-silent television, tracing patterns in the textured fabric of the cushions. I held my breath as he neared the living room door. The light was on – he would know I was inside. He paused briefly but then the door to the spare room clicked shut. I sat on the couch, my fingers tracking the movement of blood through my temples.

 

Questions were stomping around in circles in my mind: Was she someone I knew? What was going on? What the hell was I going to do?

 

I knew our relationship had changed. But whose doesn’t, when you have children? Years ago, I had a stash of hugely impractical, very skimpy lingerie that I brought out every night he stayed at my place. I crept out of bed sometimes before he woke to put make-up on and would go to a yoga class every night after work and twice at the weekends, coming home relaxed and stretchy. It had been a long time since I had crawled into our bed in anything other than my faded grey favourites and my yoga was now done most often in front of my laptop, with Thomas imitating alongside me, until he got bored.

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Book Review: The Moments by Natalie Winter

Life is made up of countless moments. Moments that make us who we are. But what if they don’t unfold the way they’re supposed to…?

What if you get on the wrong bus, or don’t speak to the right person at a party, or stay in a job that isn’t for you? Will you miss your one chance at happiness? Or will happiness find you eventually, when the moment is right?

Meet Matthew and Myrtle. They have never really felt like they fitted – in life or with anyone else. But they are meant to be together – if only they can find each other.

A powerful and emotional story about missed chances, interwoven lives and the moments that define us.

*****

 

The Moments is the story about two people as they go through significant moments in their lives. I’ve seen it described as a cross between One Day and Sliding Doors.

This story follows Myrtle and Matthew; two outsiders who have always felt as though they’ve never fitted in. The Moments is told from the point of view of both characters but it was made very clear which one I was reading about. This book was an interesting approach to the traditional love story. These characters have many chances to meet. I am not going to reveal if they do and in what circumstance.

Fate is so present in this novel and very much has its own agenda. The idea of meeting the right person at the right or wrong time. I find it fascinating.

It reminded me so much of my husband and I. Although we grew up at opposite ends of the country, he used to holiday/had family in my home town. His mother and mine were even in the same guide troop a couple of years apart. Although we didn’t meet until we were eighteen, I always loved the idea that, like this novel, we possibly crossed paths without even realising.

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NK Chats To… Sophie Tanner

Your book is called Reader, I Married Me (I love this title.) Can you tell me a little about it and what inspired it?

I wrote this book after going through a bad break up – being cheated on, lied to and rejected by the person I trusted the most. But, you know what, looking back I realise it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Romantic love is wonderful and all, but realising that I didn’t need ‘another half’ to make me happy or ‘complete’ me was an awesome revelation to have. So much so that I decided to take vows of self-commitment and marry myself in Brighton! I know it sounds bonkers but the idea was to start conversations and ask the question ‘why shouldn’t self-love be AS important as romantic love?!’ After all, your relationship with yourself deserves as much attention as any other – and the more you deal with your own crap the less other people have to, right?

So, my new novel is loosely based on my own experience of sologamy because it turns out that loving yourself so publicly is not easy – in fact, it got me a lot of haters. Which kind of highlights the complex attitude our culture has to self-love in the first place! The title slightly adulterates the words of literary heroine Jane Eyre 🙂

 

What’s your favourite word and why?

Discombobulate. I love this word because it sounds amazing in your mouth and describes the rather marvellous state of being tumbled from your comfort zone. It kind of reminds me of how Winnie the Pooh thinks.

 

What’s your writing process like from idea to final draft?

Well, I’m still figuring that out actually. Writing the novel was such a great learning curve and I think the next book I write should be a lot more streamlined. Because there is a certain formula to plot and character development and I think if you can pin that down first then your writing becomes a lot less chaotic!

 

Where do you normally write and do you need coffee, silence, noise?

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Contacts

Starting a contacts page in your notebook.

Today I wanted to look ahead and get prepared for what comes next. I know it is not a good idea to think too much beyond the completion of the book if you’re still working on the draft but I am hoping this is a helpful exercise.

It’s something I have been meaning to do for a while. If you’re a planner like me, then it’s an excuse to make a list.

With the genre of your book in mind, find five agents that handle the type of work you’re currently writing. Make a note of their postal address and e-mail too. The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is good for this but obviously the internet may be more available to you.

Do the same with five publishers, whether they be a large or a small outlet. Be as specific as you can. Also, find the name of the person to whom you would submit the work. Like before, note down the postal address and e-mail address. Look for some online publishers too.

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A Moment With… Laura Bradford

Kensington Publishing (28 May 2019)

Laura Bradford is the author of A Daughter’s Truth and I am very happy to be welcoming her to the blog today.

Emma Lapp tries to be the perfect daughter, to earn the loving embrace of her family and her Amish community in Pennsylvania. Yet she can’t quite win her mother’s smile–or her forgiveness for a transgression Emma can’t quite place . . .
Emma knows she’s the source of her mother’s greatest sorrow, having been born on the same day Mamm lost her beloved sister. The one bright spot has been the odd trinkets anonymously left at her aunt’s grave each year on Emma’s birthday–gifts Emma secretly hides because they upset her parents. But the day she turns 22, a locket bears a surprise that sends her on an unexpected journey . . .

Searching for answers, Emma travels to the English world and finds a kinship as intriguing as it is forbidden. But is this newfound connection enough to leave behind the future she’d expected? The answers are as mysterious, and as devastating, as the truth that divides Emma from the only family, and the only life, she’s ever known . . .

 

Talking about the birth of a story, it’s over to you, Laura. 

With thirty-three published books under my belt to date, it’s not any wonder that readers are curious as to how I get my ideas. Do I keep a notebook by the bed? Do I pick the brains of my friends and family? Do I spend hours thinking about the next book?

The quick answers are no, no, and…no.

My ideas generally are born on a conversation I’ve overheard, the juiciest part of a 30-second radio newsbyte that piqued my interest, and/or, oftentimes, my own imagination.

A conversation, you ask? Sure. I think it was the sixth book in one of my earlier mystery series that came about after listening to someone talk about a co-worker with a penchant for pinching things off people’s desks. There was more to this woman’s story than just that, but that initial nugget was enough to send my thoughts racing. By the time I was back home that afternoon, one of my beloved series characters had an elderly mother with that same affliction…

A 30-second radio newsbyte? Absolutely. Think about it. When you’re listening to a favorite music station on the radio, the disc jockey likes to share quirky little news stories between songs. And it’s always the juiciest part, because they don’t have time to drone on for too long. So when I heard a story about a decades-old letter found during the renovation of a post office, my personal antennae shot straight up. What was in the letter? Who had sent it? What did/didn’t happen because it had never reached its intended destination? These were the kinds of answers the newsbyte didn’t give, but that was okay. Because, once again, the writer part of my brain filled in the answers all on its own. And, before long, I had the plot for what became my first ever romance novel.

Fun stuff, for sure.

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Book Review: I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

When Angela Clark’s best friend Jenny invites her to join a press trip to Hawaii, three days of sun, sea and sleep sounds like the perfect antidote to her crazed life.
 
At work in New York, she’s supposed to be the face of Having It All. But the only thing Angela feels she excels at is hiding in the printer cupboard, eating Mini Cheddars and watching Netflix on her phone and if this is living the dream, she’s more than ready to wake up.
 
A few days away with Jenny sounds like exactly what she needs but Angela’s talent for getting into a scrape guarantees nothing goes to plan – and not even the most beautiful beaches, blue skies and daiquiris will get her off the hook…

I have to say that I was sad to hear that this is the last in the I Heart series. I have enjoyed following Angela over the last few years.

Angela is still in New York. Alice is almost one, Alex is getting ready for a live show full of new material and our heroine has quit Spencer Media to go and work for her frenemy, Cici.

She has also been invited to meet with the exclusive Mothers of Brooklyn group which, on first inspection feels more like the mafia to Angela.

When Angela is given the chance to go on an all expense paid trip to Hawaii, she reluctantly goes, with a little arm twisting from Jenny.

Now, I can’t say much more without giving things away but if you are in any way familiar with Angela, you will know that hilarity and chaos will ensue.

I really enjoyed this novel and feel it was paced well. I was reading far into the night and couldn’t put the book down (the same as the rest of the books in the series.)

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Novel Kicks Book Club: The Flatshare by Beth O’ Leary

Hello August. It’s excellent to see you. 

This month, I have chosen The Flatshare by Beth O’ Leary.

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

I have heard many good things about this book and I am looking forward to reading it and discussing it with you.

As usual, I have posted a question below to start the discussion. Anyone is welcome to join. 

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My Writing Ramblings: Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday!

Today is a celebration for me. Novel Kicks is ten years old.

Back in 2009, it was a little different to what it has now become but the main focus of it remains the same. I wanted somewhere for people who like to write fiction and for people who love to read to come and discuss books, stories and the writing of them.

I hoped then that I would still be going for as long as I could so to have made ten years, for me, is amazing.

Some times it’s been hard, like when I have been trying to run the blog alongside night shifts for work or where the anxiety has been a little strong. The to-read pile is something that remains taller than me but I still love it.

I love posting about books I’ve enjoyed reading or a writing prompt to help writers like me who need a push to write that story.

I have had the privilege to question some of my favourite authors about their writing days, favourite authors and fictional characters – writers I have and continue to look up to like Lisa Jewell, Giovanna Fletcher, Jane Fallon, Cecelia Ahern and Jane Green to name but a few. Many of these amazing authors I have met in person too and yes, I got completely tongued tied on most of these occasions. I seriously fangirled myself to embarrassment. Haha.

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Book Extract: The Single Mums Move On by Janet Hoggarth

Today I’m welcoming Janet Hoggarth who is joining me with the blog tour for her book, The Single Mums Move On. 

 

Can neighbours become more than good friends…

After her husband left her, Ali and her daughter Grace enjoyed living in what became known as ‘the Single Mums’ Mansion’. However, with her best friends Amanda and Jacqui moving on, it’s time for Ali and Grace to make their own way. Thankfully, a chance conversation leads to them moving into the infamous South London gated community known only as ‘The Mews’.

In ‘The Mews’ everyone lives in each other’s pockets and curtain twitching is an Olympic sport. The neighbours are an eclectic bunch – from Nick the alleged spy, Carl the gorgeous but clearly troubled Idris Elba lookalike, to Debbie who is about to face the hardest fight of her life, and TV agent Samantha who is not as in control as she likes to pretend.

Each day brings another drama, but along with the tears, real friendships grow. And her neighbours’ problems might unlock the key to something Ali has yearned for all along…

Based on a true story – you’ll never be able to look at your neighbours quite the same way again… 

 

Janet has very kindly shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

‘I hate everyone looking at me,’ Amanda said tremulously, holding on to her dad’s arm as we waited for the music to start in the antechamber of Rye Town Hall. ‘What if I cry?’

‘You’re supposed to cry at weddings!’ Jacqui said, rolling her eyes. ‘No one’s going to tell you off!’

‘Stop catastrophising,’ I said gently. ‘Just enjoy it. It’s your moment!’

However, when the time came to walk down the aisle, I hadn’t heeded my own advice. As soon as the impressively ornate doors opened and the town crier rang his bell to announce us, I spotted Ifan standing next to Jacqui’s Mark, his hand proprietorially on Grace’s shoulder, eagerly waiting. The first thought that burned in the back of my mind was: I can’t marry a shop assistant. I swiftly berated myself for being such a snob, but in reality, he didn’t earn enough money to support us if we had a child.

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Book Extract – Willow by Grace Parks

Grace Parks joins me today with the blog tour for the first book in the Pepper Lane Lane series, Willow.

 

Can a socialite and a technophobe fall in love?

A bubbly personality and a great job in social media didn’t mean that Willow Lawson had it all. Her love life was distant memory and her social life only work related. The maddening demands of life seemed to get in the way of finding time for herself or her friends. 

She starts the Pepper Lane Club as a chance to step away from her busy schedule once a month to reconnect with her friends. 

Thomas Greer, the proprietor of the Pepper Lane Café, annoys her. He’s her complete opposite; unsociable, serious, old-fashioned and dead set against social media. 

Always game for a challenge, Willow decides to take him on as a client. She’s going to prove to Thomas that he needs her help. She knew she would be successful, she just didn’t know she would lose her heart along the way.

Can Willow fall in love with a man that doesn’t respect her profession? Will Thomas let go of his preconceptions long enough to get to know the real Willow? Enjoy this sweet romance as Willow finds love and friendship in the first book in the Pepper Lane Series. 

Six women. Six stories. Six chances of love. One café.
The Pepper Lane Series follows the lives of six women as they share life, love and heartache once a month at the Pepper Lane Club. They might be an unlikely group of friends, but it takes all types to form a tribe.

 

Grace has shared an extract today. Enjoy. 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

The dress was what I referred to as my ‘chameleon’ dress because it somehow fit into any occasion. It was ever so slightly slutty, without being offensive, yet because there was nothing showing it still had an element of demure to it. I hadn’t worn it often, but when I did it was for one reason, and one reason only, to make sure I was in control of the night. Was I wearing it only because I hoped to meet the annoying Thomas Greer tonight? No, of course not. Was I lying to myself? Maybe.

            Riley arrived five minutes early, as she always did. Not that I was surprised, she found lateness to be one of the rudest characteristics a person could have. “So, you find me rude?” I had asked her once. To which she had nodded. Twins, huh? They’re annoyingly honest with one another.

            “Oh wow, you’re wearing your chameleon dress,” she said. “You look gorgeous. Hey, your hair! I didn’t know you dyed it. Suits the dress. You’re very coordinated today.”

            I wiggled my red nails at her. “Why thank you. Only my underwear isn’t red, but nobody is going to see that tonight.”

            “What about Thomas Greer?” she teased.

            That made me laugh. “Gross. I’m not that desperate. Come on, let’s go.”

 

The Pepper Lane Club

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Book Review: A Cornish Affair by Jo Lambert

I am very happy to finally be welcoming Jo Lambert back to Novel Kicks with the blog tour for her new novel, A Cornish Affair. 

Here’s a little about the book…

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.

The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.

But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

 

Luke Carrack is back in Carrenporth after a couple of years away.

He soon discovers that in the two years he has been away, not much as changed. There are still the village gossips and his Aunt and Cousin don’t like him much.

There is only one person he seems to connect with, Cat, who is the daughter of the local hotelier.

This book immediately pulled me in. This is partly down to the writing style and how it so easily got me absorbed into the story. Told from both Luke and Cat’s point of view, I really got an idea of what each one was thinking and feeling. The setting also sounds beautiful. I could see myself in this little Cornish town.

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