Laura

I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts. I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

A Moment With… Elliott Light

GenepoliceElliott Light, author of the Shep Harrington Small Town Mystery Series joins me today to talk about what he’s learned about writing a series and what he wished he’d known before writing one. Over to you, Elliott… 
 
I have recently read several interesting articles about writing a series. The articles provided a lot of insight into the concept and structure behind a literary series. My timing, of course, is a bit off, kind of like reading “Ten Mistakes Do-It-Yourself Submarine Makers Make and How to Avoid Them” after launching my first sub. The good news is that I survived to write another day.

The gist of the guidance offered online is to plan the series before you start writing it. Okay, so I didn’t do that, probably because I didn’t know that I was going to write a series. And to be fair, planning is more important when writing a series that has a single story arc (e.g., The Hobbit, Harry Potter) than it is when writing a series in which the books are episodes that can stand alone (e.g., Sherlock Holmes). But even in an episodic series, the consequences of not planning enough can be catastrophic and are hard to fix.

The Shep Harrington SmallTown® Mystery Series is currently three books: Lonesome Song, Chain Thinking, and The Gene Police (to be released in January 2018). In Lonesome Song, the main character, Shep Harrington, arrives in a small Virginia town (Lyle) and becomes embroiled in the death of Reilly Heartwood. Shep knows most of the people he encounters because his mother is from Lyle and he visited the town as a child. Shep immediately confronts two problems: Reilly’s death has been ruled a suicide and the Reverend Billy will not bury Reilly in the town cemetery. Shep has his own issues; he was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and served three years in prison as a consequence.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Strange Shoes

Novel Kicks Fiction FridayFiction 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: In a strange pair of shoes…

You buy a pair of shoes from a charity shop. They look new and like they’ve never been worn.

However, when you wear them, you assume the identity traits of the person who owned them before.

Write about an incident or event that happens.

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Extract: Shaken and Stirred by Bella Osborne

shaken and stirredHello to Bella Osborne who is returning  with the blog tour for Ottercombe Bay: Shaken and Stirred.

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

To celebrate the release of Ottercombe Bay Part Four: Shaken and Stirred, Bella and Avon have shared an extract. Enjoy. 

 

**** Start of Extract.****

The warm spring weather had brought the trees to life, the seagulls were back in full chorus and as the holidaymakers returned the sleepy town was waking up. Daisy needed it to be a good season.

Locos was busy because Easter was fast approaching, the celebrations for which appeared to start early thanks to Daisy’s Singapore Sling cocktail promotion, and she was rushed off her feet.

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Book Review: Decide To Hope by June A. Converse

EBOOK COVERHello and welcome to the blog tour for Decide to Hope which is the new novel from June A. Converse. 

An unimaginable trauma. A future that seems impossible. When your world shatters, how do you put it back together?

For 950 days, Kathleen Conners has struggled with that choice. Behind a scarf and sunglasses, she hides from the world, from herself, from The Event, from any future with anyone.

After receiving a box of letters from his deceased mother, Matt Nelson is shoved from his predictable, controlled life to a secluded beach in North Carolina. While trying to understand his mother’s intent, he discovers Kathleen.

Matt must choose whether to follow the path his mother orchestrated or rescue the woman who has captured his heart. When the only person Kathleen blames more than herself reappears, can Matt be the strength Kathleen needs to create a new life, or will he be forced to walk away if she decides the climb is too great?

Decide to Hope Blog Tour Poster (1)

 

 My verdict: 

Kathleen is the survivor of something she calls ‘the event.’ She barely speaks and her days are spent in a very structured way.

Matt on the other hand is a very overworked tax attorney who doesn’t know when to switch off. He is forced into having a vacation through letters from his mother who has not long passed away.

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Blog Tour: Giveaway and Review of Gravity Well by Melanie Joosten

gravitywellcoverA lovely welcome to the blog today for Melanie Joosten and the tour for her new novel, Gravity Well which was released by Scribe on 10th May 2018. 

Thanks to Scribe and Melanie, I have two copies of Gravity Well to give away. 

If families are like solar systems ― bodies that orbit in time around one another, sometimes close and sometimes far away ― what is the force that moves them? And what are the consequences when one planet tugs others off course?

Lotte is an astronomer who spends her nights peering into deep space rather than looking too closely at herself. Returning to her hometown after years abroad, and reeling from a devastating diagnosis, she finds that much has changed. Lotte’s father has remarried, and she’s estranged from her former best friend, Eve. Initially, Lotte’s return causes disharmony, but then it is the catalyst for a much more devastating event ― an event that will change Lotte and Eve’s lives forever.

How to enter: 

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: One Hundred

Novel Kicks Fiction FridayFiction 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: a one hundred word story. 

Choosing one of the prompts below, write a 100 word story.

September, 1960.

Iceland

A train during a long haul journey.

A car journey with the person you most dislike.

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Quick Spotlight: The Potter Magic of Magic Alley

Magic Alley LogoIf you’ve been following my blog for a while you will have picked up that I am incredibly obsessed with Harry Potter. Even now, years later, it’s the book series I will go to if I need to escape into a fictional world to make myself feel better. I am in Ravenclaw according to Pottermore.

So, when I was lucky enough to be contacted by the lovely Nathan at MagicAlley.co.uk, I jumped at the chance to pick a couple of items.

Nathan’s love for the Harry Potter books began in 2000 when his brother brought The Goblet of Fire. Like me, Nathan quickly realised that he’d devoured the first three novels and thus began his love of this magical series.

MCM-London-Magic-Alley-Harry-Potter-1Nathan began Magic Alley in 2015 and as you’ve probably gathered by now, it is a store completely focused on the boy wizard and the wizarding world in which he inhabits and that J.K Rowling created.

There is a really good variety of products including ones that are unique and maybe not available in many other places in the UK.

Things available include wands, tote bags, necklaces, watches, chocolate frogs and charm bracelets. There are also house specific items too such as scarfs and ties.

Harry-Potter-Muggle-Studies-Cotton-Tote-Bag-Shopper-Half-Moon-Bay Harry-Potter-Wand-Noble-Collection-Ollivanders-Studio-TourThe items Nathan sells are sourced from the same distributors that work in partnership with Warner Bros. so you know the products are going to be legitimate which is quite an important thing for me.

OK, so when the items arrived on my doormat, it was a little bit like Christmas day as I ripped open the envelope.

The first item I wanted to review was this Harry Potter Feather Quill Necklace.

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EU Data Protection: Subscriber List Review

Novel Kicks logoI am needing to move slightly away from all the writing and books for a moment.

This post is aimed at the people who have previously subscribed to receive new post and comment notifications.

Due to new EU regulations regarding data protection coming in toward the end of May, I wanted to check that you are still happy to hear from me and receive notifications whenever I post new content or someone comments on a post to which you’ve asked to follow.

Your privacy is very important to me and I would never pass on your details to a third-party

If you’re still happy to remain on the subscribers list, then please just ignore this e-mail.

UnsubscribeIf you’d like to unsubscribe, there is an option to do this on any of the notification e-mails you’ve received from me. It can be located at the bottom of the e-mail.

Thank you for your time and I hope to keep staying in touch.

 

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Novel Kicks Writing Room – Firsts

Novel Kicks Writing RoomSeparating real life and fiction. 

Think of a first in your life. A first kiss, the first holiday, the first argument you had, anything.

Write five hundred words with just facts about the incident. What happened, who was there and the outcome.

Now write it from the point of view of someone else. One of your characters? Add fictional elements this time. Also, how does this new person react to this situation? Any difference?

Like before, write about five hundred words.

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Courses and Competitions: Writers & Artists Evening Masterclasses

Writers-and-Artists-logo.wpm_-300x300Writers & Artists are partnering with Book Aid International for the fourth year to bring a small series of evening masterclasses.

On 15th, 22nd and 24th May between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, each masterclass brings something slightly different.

On 15th May, Debut author, Stuart Turton will be in discussion with Joe Haddow on the creative process of writing his first murder-mystery.

On 22nd May, award-winning author, Abi Elphinstone will be in conversation with Writers & Artists editor, Alysaun Owen about the essential elements of writing children’s fiction.

Finally, on 24th May, award-winning journalist and best-selling author Tony Parsons will be talking about his writing career and sharing top writing tips.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: The Things They’ve Seen

Novel Kicks Fiction FridayFiction 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: conversation about the things they’ve seen. 

Your two characters work in an airport baggage inspection office. A few mysterious things have arrived including something that belongs to a celebrity.

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Upcoming Books Releases: May

the burning chambersHello May. 

I am not entirely sure how we’re already in May. The weather doesn’t help. It’s very confused right. To help escape this weather or enjoy basking in the sunshine (I can hope,) the list below is a few of the new releases coming this month.

 

The first book I want to feature is The Burning Chambers which is the new book from Kate Mosse. I haven’t read any of her books (and I am not sure why,) but this book is a great reason to start. 

Carcassonne 1562: Nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: SHE KNOWS THAT YOU LIVE.

But before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, a chance encounter with a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon, changes her destiny forever. For Piet has a dangerous mission of his own, and he will need Minou’s help if he is to get out of La Cité alive.

Toulouse: As the religious divide deepens in the Midi, and old friends become enemies, Minou and Piet both find themselves trapped in Toulouse, facing new dangers as sectarian tensions ignite across the city, the battle-lines are drawn in blood and the conspiracy darkens further.

Meanwhile, as a long-hidden document threatens to resurface, the mistress of Puivert is obsessed with uncovering its secret and strengthening her power . . .

(Released 3rd May by Mantle.) 

 

the castThe second upcoming release on my list is The Cast by Danielle Steel. It is due to be released by Macmillan on 31st May. 

Kait Whittier has built her magazine column into a hugely respected read followed by fans across the country. She loves her work and adores her grown children, treasuring the time they spend together. But after two marriages, she prefers to avoid the complications and uncertainties of a new love.

Then, after a chance meeting with television producer Zack Winter, everything changes. Inspired by the true story of her own grandmother, Kait creates the storyline for a TV series. Within weeks, Kait is plunged into a colourful, star-studded world of actors and industry pros who will bring her vision to life, from the reclusive grand dame to LA’s hottest bad boy actor.

As secrets are shared and revelations come to light, friendships deepen. But in the midst of this charmed year, Kait is forced to confront the greatest challenge a mother could ever know and this unforgettable cast becomes more important to her than she ever could have imagined.

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May’s Novel Kicks Book Club: You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac

Simon & Schuster, April 2018

Simon & Schuster, April 2018

Hello May. I hope you bring the nice weather with you. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to be able to sit out in the garden in the sunshine.

As it’s a new month, that means a new featured book. For our book club this month, I have chosen You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac.

You Me Everything is a heartfelt and unforgettable story about the lengths we are prepared to go to for those we love. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry, this is novel you will never forget.

You and me, we have history.
We have a child together.
We have kept secrets from each other for far too long.
This summer, in the beautiful hills of the Dordogne, it is time for everything to change.

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Cover Reveal: Decide To Hope by June A. Converse

Decide to Hope Cover RevealToday I am very happy to be taking part in the cover reveal for Decide to Hope, the new novel from June A. Converse. 

An unimaginable trauma. A future that seems impossible. When your world shatters, how do you put it back together?
For 950 days, Kathleen Conners has struggled with that choice. Behind a scarf and sunglasses, she hides from the world, from herself, from The Event, from any future with anyone.

After receiving a box of letters from his deceased mother, Matt Nelson is shoved from his predictable, controlled life to a secluded beach in North Carolina. While trying to understand his mother’s intent, he discovers Kathleen.

Matt must choose whether to follow the path his mother orchestrated or rescue the woman who has captured his heart. When the only person Kathleen blames more than herself reappears, can Matt be the strength Kathleen needs to create a new life, or will he be forced to walk away if she decides the climb is too great?

OK, drumroll for the cover reveal….. 

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A Moment With: Bella Osborne

Avon, April 2018

Avon, April 2018

A big lovely hug and a warm hello to Bella Osborne who is back on Novel Kicks today with the blog tour for her latest instalment of the Ottercombe Bay series, Raising the Bar.

Escape to the Devon coast, with Part Three of a brand-new four-part serial from the author of Willow Cottage.

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

 

Bella is chatting today about using Pinterest for research when starting a novel. Over to you, Bella. 

Thanks for having me on the blog today. I’m a project manager by profession so I’m a big planner when it comes to pretty much everything I do, so it’s no surprise that I plan my writing. I love the planning stage when a new idea pops up and characters start to form in my mind. I spend quite a long time with them working out who they are, their life history, what their drivers are and what makes them tick. While I’m in the early stages (before I get out the post it notes) I set up a board on Pinterest and start pinning things on it. Not everything will stay but as a visual person it really helps to see pictures of things to help bring them to life.

While I was planning Ottercombe Bay I set up a board on Pinterest, here’s the link – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/bellaosborne9/ottercombe-bay/

I like to picture my main characters and Marlon Teixeira is a model that captures the look of Max perfectly. I struggled more with Daisy. There are a few pictures of Shakira because her hair is similar to Daisy’s but otherwise she’s quite different to Shakira. I am a Rufus Sewell fan so it was no surprise that an image of him popped up when I conjured up the character of Pasco, Max’s dad. But it was very much the rough around the edges, lovable rogue look that Rufus does rather than the neat and well turned out version. I love looking at the pictures of Marlon and Rufus next to each other – I can definitely see a similarity or perhaps I see the Max and Pasco connection that I want to be there?

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