Review: The Curvy Girls Baby Club by Michele Gorman

51wVJ4tRlqLEllie is fresh back from her honeymoon and can’t wait to share her news with her best friends Katie and Jane. To everyone’s surprise, mother-of-two Jane has news of her own… The women are due a day apart and Katie can’t wait to be an honorary auntie to the babies.

But it’s hard to keep your sense of humour, not to mention your self-esteem, in the face of hemorrhoids and elasticated waistbands. Add a clingy mother-in-law, a career in cardiac arrest and a sex life that makes Mother Theresa look lusty, and soon their lives are as out of control as their bodies.

As the co-founders of The Curvy Girls Club, where loving yourself is the only rule, will the friends be able to practice what they preach?

I was very happy to hear that Michele has written a follow up to her novel, The Curvy Girls Club. This novella returns us to Ellie, Katie and Jane not long after the end of The Curvy Girls Club ended.

Ellie announces her pregnancy and not long after, so does Jane. The characters are delighted to be going through this event together, especially when Katie makes a surprise announcement.

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Bella’s Scribblings: Dabbling in Different Genres

rp_Bella-185x300111111-185x300-185x300.jpgI understand it is quite common that writers like to have more than one project on the go or at the very least like to have an alternative writing outlet that they can indulge in. For example the lovely Miranda Dickinson, famed for her best-selling Romance novels, talks opening about The Mystical Wombat’s Guide to Life and the T-Cup spy network of tea ladies which are her other writing projects that she dives into when not writing romance.

I’ve heard it said that it’s a good thing to regularly flex your writing muscles and apparently Twitter and Facebook posts don’t count. Whilst writing Romance is my main writing focus, from time to time I do have a break and switch to a different genre. So I too have a pet project that I drift off to when not engrossed in a Romance story and it’s a children’s adventure.

This came about because my wonderful writing tutor, Gill Vickery, sets the class a variety of challenges and encourages us to try new things. One of the exercises she set had me scribbling merrily away and before I knew it I had a coupe of well-formed children’s characters. This combined with a story I wrote in my teens, that filled a whole exercise book and was dutifully marked by the ever accommodating Mr Bundy, produced a whole set of stories in my mind.

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Blog Tour: Love You Better by Natalie K Martin

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I am very pleased to be welcoming Natalie to Novel Kicks today and her blog tour for her new novel. To celebrate the release of Love You Better, Natalie tells us about her typical writing day. Over to you, Natalie.

Being a bit of a nomad, typical days are few and far between now, let alone a typical writing one, but one thing I always try to incorporate is yoga. It’s a nice way to stay constant with so many physical and environmental changes and I find it really helps to get my mind settled, especially because I tend to have a million things going around in my head at once and it only increases when I’m writing.

After yoga and breakfast, I usually start with checking my social media, emails and then get a cup of tea going. I tend to go back and re-read a couple of the previous chapters to get me back into the groove again, and start from there. My ideal working spot is somewhere quiet, where I can disconnect from the distraction of the internet and plug in my music, but since I’m travelling a lot I tend to end up in buys hub cafe’s. It can sometimes stretch my day out by a few hours with people dropping by to say hello, but it can also be pretty precious, and let’s face it, working in a cafe in Goa, or Cornwall by the beach is hardly a chore! I’ve met lots of people in situations like that who’ve inspired aspects of my characters, or situations.

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Writing Room: Continuing the Story…

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991.jpgTuesday 6th October: Continuing the Story…..

Today’s prompt:

Continue on the story by using the following opening line. Also, your two characters are called Charlie and Alison. The setting and when the story is set is up to you. Don’t think about it, just set a timer for fifteen minutes and write. Once you’re finished, edit it and cut the word count by half. If you’d like to share your story then I’d love to see them in the comments below.

Use the following line as your starting point, ‘There are two times when you need to stay absolutely still. The first time is…’

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My Very Late September Book Haul

Morning all. I’ve more books that I would like to share with you today. I love this time of year as we start to edge toward Christmas (yes, I am one of those very annoying people who go completely childish when it comes to Christmas.) There have been some fabulous books that have come my way this month. All the books mentioned are either available now (when stated) at most UK bookshops or are available to pre-order.

51KDGFkkscLWhat books have you got recently and are looking forward to reading or have enjoyed?


See Me by Nicholas Sparks (Sphere, Oct 2015.)

This was sent to me by Sphere and I was very excited to get a copy of this book. I am a long-term fan of Nicholas Sparks. This man has serious Jedi powers. He can make me cry loads whilst reading one of his books and I am sure this one is going to be no exception. If you’re a fan of Nicholas’s books, we are taking part in the blog tour for this novel and will be giving away a special prize to one lucky winner so stay tuned.

Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot.

At twenty-eight, he’s focused on getting his teaching degree and avoiding all the places and people who proved so destructive in his past. The last thing he’s looking for is a serious relationship. But when he crosses paths with Maria Sanchez one rainswept night, his carefully structured life is turned upside down. And when Maria, a hardworking lawyer, meets Colin she begins to question every notion she has ever had about herself and her future – and what truly makes her happy.

Before the couple has a chance to envision a life together, menacing reminders from events in Maria’s past begin to surface. And as the threat of violence begins to shadow her every step, she and Colin will be pushed to breaking point.

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Events: Cheltenham Literature Festival

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Photo Credit:

The Cheltenham Literature Festival 2015 kicked off on Friday 2nd October and is running through until 11th October.

The festival is themed around defining moments. There are 500+ events/panels/interviews happening over the 10 days and there are some fantastic speakers appearing too.

Speakers appearing include Bill Bryson, Nigella Lawson, JoJo Moyes and Carrie Hope Fletcher. Paula Hawkins will also be talking about her book, The Girl on the Train.

Terry Wogan, Mark Billingham, Merra Syal, Bill Oddie, Marian Keyes and SJ Watson will also be attending.

For more information and to book tickets for this fantastic event, visit their website:


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My Writing Ramblings: Writing Around Work

Writing Ramblings.jpgIt has been a bit of a mixed bag with the writing this week. As like many of the people trying to write a novel, I work full-time. I work shifts and that involves day and nights. My productivity level can vary depending on whether I am working and the twelve-hour shifts can stifle my word counts.

I am lucky that I do have a job where I am sat down in one place so that does give me ample time to think through plots and character development. However, at three am in the morning, the last thing I want to do is think (beyond what I have to do for my job, obviously.)
As a result, I am not always getting the word count I am after.

When on shift, it’s all about the organisation for me. Organisation is not always my friend but is needed if I am going to get anything done. If I know I want to get so many words done per day, I will either try and be up a little earlier or I will write in my break. I will have no distractions. I will just try to write through to it. I will treat it a little like NaNoWriMo. I will just concentrate on getting the words down.

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October’s Book Club: Booktober Challenge

41ppPPYUSeL 2Book Corner is our monthly online book club. Anyone can join.

How it works…

We love books and we love chatting about them even more. Every month, we pick a new book for discussion. We will post a question to kick things off and then you can talk about any of your thoughts about the book in the comments box below. The best thing about our book club is that EVERYONE CAN TAKE PART.

This month, I am doing things a little differently. As it’s October, and also the launch month for Books are My Bag 2015, I am going to be doing the Booktober challenge. Four weeks, four books. I’ve picked four books that I will be reading over the next four weeks. You can either read along with me or pick four of your own. Please do let me know in the comments if you’d decided to read along and which books you’ve picked.

Also, to celebrate Booktober, anyone who takes part and comments on any of the books they are reading in the comments below will go into the draw to win a £10 Books Are My Bag gift card which is accepted in bookshops nationwide. 

(Competition open to UK only. Draw will close on 31st October 2015 at midday and the winner will be drawn at random soon after and announced on the Novel Kicks blog.) 


So, to the four books I’ve picked….. The Day we Disappeared by Lucy Robinson, The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, Us by David Nicholls and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

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Author Interview: Megan Tayte

Megan TayteHello Megan, welcome to Novel Kicks. Firstly, how much planning do you undertake when beginning a novel and do you edit as you go?

I let ideas come freely for a long while, and then I start planning. Once I have a detailed plan down, I start writing, but from that point on I still follow the creative process as I write. Sometimes that leads to a deviation that doesn’t work, and I cut the whole lot and go back to the plan. Sometimes the deviation turns out to be great, and I go with it and amend the plan accordingly.
My day job as an editor can be quite a hindrance to writing – I automatically slip into editing mode, and that pulls me out of being in the pure creative flow. My solution is to try very hard to resist the urge to edit as I write. So I write the first draft quickly, letting the words flow out. And then, some weeks later, I begin to edit. And edit. And edit.


Is there a fictional character you’d like to meet?

Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. It seems to me he could do with a friend – and some relationship advice.


Who’d you like to invite to a fantasy dinner party?

Oliver Queen (the Arrow), James Corden (presenter), Dawn French (comedian), Ed Sheeran (singer), Bear Grylls (adventurer), Kathy Reichs (author), Stephen Fry (actor), Beaker (Muppet). Oh, and we’d better have someone to cook, or we’ll be eating cheese on toast – Gordon Ramsey will add a bit more colour (and volume) to proceedings.


Five pieces of advice for new writers?

1. Explore. Go places, meet people, challenge your assumptions. Thoreau says it best: ‘How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.’
2. Read. The single best way to improve your writing is to learn by osmosis, to read and read and read. Not just in your favourite genre; all kinds of books by all kinds of writers. Literary, mass market – even the bad ones have plenty to teach you.
3. Believe. If you don’t have faith in yourself, why should anyone else? You’ve nothing to lose by believing you can write, and everything to gain.
4. Enjoy. Always remember why you want to write – for the sheer love of it. Don’t get bogged down in the business of writing. Love every minute.
5. Keep writing. In his bestselling book Outliers Malcolm Gladwell lays down the 10,000-Hour Rule: to succeed at anything, you need to practise your craft for 10,000 hours. That’s a lot of writing!

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Historical Figures

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164.pngFriday 2nd October: Historical Figures

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: Pick four historical figures (all from different time periods) and place them at a round table. What would they talk about? Write this mostly in dialogue.

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Bella’s Scribbling’s: Shelfies

rp_Bella-185x300111111-185x300-185x300.jpgYou may have noticed that a well known UK Superstore is now stocking my novel – ‘It Started At Sunset Cottage’ and if you haven’t then I suggest you hot foot it down to the store where ‘Every Little Helps’ to check it out for yourself. To be honest I’m guessing most folk are not quite as excited as I am to see it on a shelf (I could stand there staring at it for hours but apparently they’re not very keen on that, or so the nice security guard man said as he showed me out).
So how did this happen? (Grab a cuppa and I will update you).

Apparently my lovely editor at Harper Impulse, Charlotte Ledger, has been encouraging everyone she knows to read my book and one of the people she offered it to was Caroline Kirkpatrick from Avon (no not the curly paged magazine that gets poked through your door and then an odd-looking man comes to demand it back a few days later – not that. This Avon is another imprint of Harper Collins and thankfully has no curly pages or odd-looking men). Luckily Caroline enjoyed the story and this is where I get a little hazy as to what happened next, so I may have to make bits up.

After various discussions deep within the nooks and crannies of the News building in London they decided to repackage my novel and make it ‘supermarket friendly’. I wondered if this meant it would have a sell by date and come with two packets of custard creams (well, a girl can dream). Apparently, the supermarkets are very specific about what they want and what their experience tells them will sell. So with that in mind my cover was tweaked – it gained some bunting and the cottage was thatched but sadly we lost the dog in the handbag and the pineapples hidden in the floral arrangements. But overall the revised cover was definitely striking.

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Blog Tour: Little Girl Gone by Alexandra Burt

little girl goneAlexandraI’d really like to welcome Alexandra Burt and her blog tour to Novel Kicks today. Her latest novel, Little Girl Gone was released by Avon on 24th September 2015. To celebrate, we have an extract from Little Girl Gone. Enjoy….

A baby goes missing. But does her mother want her back?

When Estelle Paradise’s baby daughter is taken from her crib, she doesn’t report her missing. A week later, Estelle is found in a wrecked car miles from home, with a gunshot wound to the head and no memory. The only thing she can remember is the blood…so much blood.

She knows she holds the key to what happened that night – but what she doesn’t know is whether she was responsible.


The blood lingers. There’s flashes of crimson exploding like lightning in the sky, one moment they’re illuminating everything around me, the next they are gone, bathing my world in darkness. Then the bloody images fade and vanish, leaving a black jittering line on the screen.

Squeaking rubber soles on linoleum circle me and I feel a pat on my shoulder.

This isn’t real. A random vision, just a vision. It doesn’t mean anything.

A nurse gently squeezes my shoulder and I open my eyes.

‘Mrs Paradise,’ the nurse’s voice is soft, almost apologetic. ‘I’m sorry, but I have orders to wake you every couple of hours.’

‘Blood,’ I say, and squint my eyes, attempting to force the image to return to me. ‘I don’t understand where all this blood’s coming from.’ Was that my voice? It can’t be mine, it sounds nothing like me.

‘Blood? What blood?’ The nurse looks at my immaculately taped central line. ‘Are you bleeding?’

I turn towards the window. It’s dark outside. The entire room appears in the window’s reflection, like an imprint, a not-quite true copy of reality.

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Writing Prompt

Your character becomes their favourite fictional character.

Book Club – October’s Booktober Challenge

Book Club – October’s Booktober Challenge



Can movie adaptations really live up to the original book?